Authors: Candace Schuler
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary
One Night With You
The Heart of the City Series
Bestselling, award-winning Author
ONE NIGHT WITH YOU
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"Top read... nicely executed."
"Candace Schuler is a maestro at developing real characters."
Affaire de Coeur
Previously titled: Desire's Child
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"Go home," urged Dr. Craig gently when Desi just sat there, stunned at his news. "Give yourself a few days to think it over. But not too long. Just a few days and call me when you make a decision."
"You're sure?" was all Desi could say, her wide blue eyes raised hopefully to his.
"Positive," he said.
Desi's hand moved unconsciously to her stomach, feeling for the roundness that was not yet evident, an expression that mingled worry and wonderment creasing her smooth forehead.
"You really had no idea, did you, Desi?"
"Well, that's not
true," she admitted, feeling like a prize fool. "I mean, somewhere in the back of my mind I realized it was a possibility. But that's all. Just a...." Her voice faded for a moment. "Just a very remote possibility. I know that must sound incredibly naïve or just plain stupid but—" she waved a graceful hand distractedly "—it just never occurred to me in any real sense. No, that's not true, either. I didn't
to see it. I made excuses. I mean, I'm on birth control and it was only that once..." Her voice trailed off and she colored in embarrassment because it had not been just one isolated incident as her words implied, but several uncounted times during one glorious abandoned weekend. That was what she had meant by "once"—one weekend.
Oh, Lord, how could she have been so incredibly stupid?
"No birth control is 100% effective," said Dr. Craig gently.
"I know that," Desi said. "I do know that, but...well, you know I've never had what anyone would call a regular cycle and I haven't been sick in the mornings or anything, so when I didn't get my period I just thought it was just business as usual," she said, "or that it was something terminal. You know, like cancer or something." She looked up then, her inborn irrepressible sense of humor coming to her aid. "In a way it's a relief. People don't usually die from being pregnant." She laughed, a bright, sharp sound, not at all like her usual warm chuckle. Hysteria hovered on the edge, waiting, and she stopped abruptly, refusing to let the emotion rise any further.
"Well, thank you for the extra time today, Dr. Craig," she said, rising, and slung the strap of a large, well-worn leather satchel over her shoulder.
Dr. Craig came around the desk and captured her hands as they fidgeted, adjusting the bright-striped knit scarf looped around her neck, smoothing the front of her navy sweater over the still nonexistent swell of her stomach.
"Call me in a few days," he said. "If you're going to terminate the pregnancy, the earlier you do it, the better."
Desi shook her head. "No," she said, surprising herself with the vehemence of the word. She shook her head again, pulling her hands away from his. "No."
"Don't say no yet," he urged. "Think about it. You're young, Desi, with your whole life in front of you. It sounds trite, I know, but being trite doesn't make it any less true. Don't let one foolish mistake ruin your life."
"It wasn't a mistake," she flared. And she blushed again, feeling the heat rise from her throat, staining her pale redhead's complexion with betraying color. "It was foolish, I admit that, but..." She shrugged and reached for the doorknob. How could she explain to this kind caring man, who had known her all her life, what had happened?
She simply couldn't look at this pregnancy as a mistake. It would mean that everything leading up to it had been a mistake, too. And it wasn't. She had gone into it, grabbing at a dream, with her eyes wide open. Well, almost wide open, she admitted ruefully, a small smile of self-deprecation curving her lips. Because not for one brief minute had she ever really considered the possible consequences. Foolish, yes, but not a mistake. Never could she admit that it had been a mistake.
"Will the father... I mean are you contemplating marriage then?" asked Dr. Craig.
"Marriage?" Desi turned in the doorway, honestly amused, and a warm chuckle escaped her. "No, 'fraid not. He doesn't know and I'm not going to tell him."
"But surely, Desi, he has a right to know."
"Not in this case," she said. "No promises were made or expected. Not on either side. This is strictly my problem, okay?"
"Okay," he conceded reluctantly, recognizing the stubborn light in her blue eyes. Stubbornness, pride, willfulness—call it what you will, it had gotten her, uncomplaining, through childhood bumps and scrapes, broken bones and a long convalescence after a bad car accident in her teens. He hoped it would get her through this.
"Think about what I've said," he called after her. She half turned, smiled and shook her head, causing wavy tendrils of coppery hair to bounce gently against her pale cheeks. "Then see my nurse about a referral, you stubborn child," he said, turning back toward his office.
"A referral?" Desi frowned, her voice halting him.
"You still live in San Francisco, don't you?"
"Well, then, you're going to need a local doctor," he explained patiently. "Driving eighty miles for every appointment, especially during the last months, wouldn't be very practical. And you'll need someone close by in case of an emergency. Not that I anticipate any kind of emergency," he added, as she began to frown again. "You're young and very healthy. I don't anticipate any problems at all, but it's always wise not to take any unnecessary chances. And having your doctor eighty miles away is an unnecessary chance. Agreed?"
"Yes, agreed." Desi smiled and let him return to his office and his other patients.
She was given the name of two San Francisco obstetricians along with a prescription for vitamins, a calcium supplement and a list of do's and don'ts for supposedly fragile pregnant ladies. She stuffed them all into her satchel and went outside, heading toward the parking lot and her baby-blue Spitfire convertible.
She didn't feel especially fragile, she decided as she struggled to put up the recalcitrant top on her car. On the contrary, she felt healthy as a horse, full of energy, strong. Physically, that is. Her emotions were another matter entirely.