Read The Baby Arrangement Online

Authors: Samantha Chase

The Baby Arrangement

BOOK: The Baby Arrangement
8.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Baby

Arrangement

 

 

 

 

Samantha

Chase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

 

Copyright © 2014 by
Samantha Chase. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means.

Prologue

 

“So what are your plans for Valentine’s Day?”

“Seriously?  Is it that time already?  Didn’t we just finish Christmas?”

“Technically, but if you look around you, you’ll see that the stores are already acting as Cupid’s minions and putting the pressure on.”


Ugh
.  I’m not ready to think about it yet.  I’ve still got…what?  Five, maybe six weeks?”

“Well you better get yourself ready because the big V-day will be here before you know it.”

Kayleigh Mitchell stood and looked up at the obscene amount of red and pink hearts dangling from the ceiling of the Super Target and sighed.  It didn’t matter how much she tried to prepare herself, clearly Valentine’s Day was not her thing.  She looked over to where her friend and co-worker Carol was flipping through racks of red lingerie and if anything, it made Kayleigh even sadder.  Once again, there would be no one for her to look forward to surprising with racy lingerie and then she’d have to sit through hearing all about everyone else’s super romantic dates.

Kill me now.

Resignation weighed her down as she walked over to catch up with Carol.  “So I’m sure that Joe really appreciates this kind of stuff, huh?”  She sounded uncomfortable and ridiculous even to her own ears. 

“Are you kidding me?” Carol said with a laugh.  “We have been married for five years and we dated for three years before that and all I have to do is flash a little red lace and it’s like we’re teenagers again.  It’s become kind of like a game for us; each year I try to find something sexier and more daring.  I’m not big on leaving my comfort zone, but once a year I can handle.”

“Wearing sexy lingerie is leaving your comfort zone?” 

Carol looked at her with pity.  “When was the last time you purchased anything slinky?”  It was too depressing to even admit it out loud.  “That’s what I thought,” Carol said before turning back to the rack and looking at her options.  “Wearing sexy things isn’t out of my comfort
zone; it’s the kind of sexy thing that does it.” 

She held up a red silk nightie.  “See this?  The first few years we were together, I’d wear something like this; it hits mid-thigh, it covers everything and the spaghetti straps make it feel more like a slip than pajamas, but for the most part, it’s tame.”

Tame?
  In Kayleigh’s mind, that would be racy for her.  She watched in fascination as Carol led her around the lingerie department and described each item that she held up – the garments grew smaller and smaller, with less fabric that after a while, Kayleigh had to wonder why people would even bother wearing it.

“I’m pretty much down to just needing a thong this year,” Carol said finally.  “I’m not quite as fit as I used to be and I’m a little self-conscious about wearing just that, but hey, I know Joe will be thrilled.”

Kayleigh thought of her flannel boxers and t-shirts.  Would any man be thrilled by that sight?  Somehow she doubted that.  Still, being that no one was going to be seeing her in them any time soon, it didn’t really matter.  She knew the man she’d like to have see her in them, but somehow she knew with great certainty that a man like him would be less than enthused by her lack of sophisticated choices in sleeping apparel.

“If you want, I can fix you up with one of Joe’s friends for Valentine’s Day.  You know, we can double date and go out for dinner or something.  What do you say?”

That I’m pathetic,
Kayleigh thought to herself.  “Thanks, but…I’m good.  Valentine’s Day doesn’t seem like the best night for a blind date.”

Carol shook her head and made a tsk-ing sound.  “When are you going to admit that you’re fighting a losing battle?”

“What are you talking about?”

“You never go out, you don’
t date and you spend most of your Friday night’s babysitting for your nieces and nephews.  It’s time for you to leave
your
comfort zone, Kayleigh.  That knight in shining armor isn’t going to come searching for you and if he does, he’s not going to be looking at your sibling’s houses.  It’s time that you stopped letting your family take advantage of you and thought about yourself.”

It wasn’t a new concept.  Kayleigh knew that she needed to get out more and babysit less, but she didn’t want to hang out at clubs or at bars.  She knew the man that she wanted.  She just needed him to notice that she was alive first.

Chapter One

 

There was a whirlwind of activity going past the customer service department.  Kayleigh had looked up several times from her tiny cubicle at the raised voices and the fast-paced movement of people running by.

“I wonder what’s going on,” she quietly whispered to Carol, who was sitting in the adjoining cube.

“I bet Brian’s done something wrong again,” she replied with a snicker.

With the shrug of her shoulder, Kayleigh figured that Carol was right.  The Sloan brothers ran Sloan Design – a nationally recognized textile distributor – whose clientele included some of the most exclusive hotels, resorts and spas in
North America and soon going abroad.  Their grandparents had started the company some thirty years earlier and just five years ago had retired – leaving their grandchildren in charge.  And since that time, the company had more than quadrupled in size.

Derek, the older brother, was the company president and the brains of the whole operation.  He had come to work for the company while still in high school and Gerald Sloan had groomed him to take the helm one day.  Brian, five years younger, had no real interest in the company and held the title of vice-president merely to have a title.  Everyone who worked for the Sloan’s
knew that Brian was a playboy who enjoyed having the perks of the family’s wealth and success, but did nothing to contribute to it.  The stories were legendary around the water cooler of how many ways Derek had to bail his little brother out of one predicament after another.

The sound of a baby wailing brought Kayleigh’s head back up.  She looked over at Carol.  “Was that what I think it was?”

“If you thought it was a baby, then you’d be correct.” 

Kayleigh looked around the department to see if anyone else seemed as distressed by the situation as she was
, but found most of her co-workers unphased.  The sounds coming from the executive end of the hall were most definitely that of an infant crying.  Loudly.  After several moments, the others seemed to catch up with Kayleigh’s initial reaction and the women of customer service looked at one another with raised eyebrows and nearly got whiplash when Derek’s normally reserved and in control assistant Eileen came running by them – and away from her office.

Several moments passed before she could be seen running back to her boss’s executive
suite and heard the distinct slamming of the door.

“Well that was odd,” Carol comm
ented while punching numbers into her computer, clearly still uninterested in what was going on.

Kayleigh said nothing but inwardly felt great distress.  The infant’s cries grew louder and more heartbreaking.  “Why is that poor baby still crying?” she wondered out loud.

“Who knows,” her friend replied casually, still not looking up from her work.

Later she couldn’t say what
had possessed her to do it, but after looking at her clock and seeing that the cries had been coming from Derek Sloan’s office for nearly thirty minutes, along with raised voices, Kayleigh could no longer remain in her seat.  Rising from her chair, she strode purposefully down the wide carpeted hallway towards the one office she had never been invited into.

Knocking gently, she waited for a reply.  The raised voices m
ade it impossible for her to be heard.  Gently turning the knob and opening the door a mere slit, she was assaulted by the argument going on inside.

“I am
not
a babysitter, Derek!  If that’s what you need, then you better find one fast because
that
is not in my job description.  And so help me, if you don’t do something about this situation right now, I’ll quit!”

Kayleigh had to admire Eileen’s ability to stand up to her boss
, but in the current situation, she hated the fact that the woman could stand there and yell while an innocent baby was so obviously in distress.

“What is it you’d like me to do, Eileen?”  This coming from Derek Sloan.  His booming voice caused Kayleigh to jump and retreat slightly from the partially opened door.  At thirty-five, Kayleigh thought him to be the most handsome man she had ever seen.  His six-foot two frame towered over most people in the office and he was built like a linebacker.  His impeccable attention to his appearance and his commanding presence made him an entity unto himself. 

Most of the employees rarely saw the man in person because he was either holed up in his office or away traveling on company business.  Kayleigh knew that because she was merely a customer service representative for his massive company would never put her in his presence much either.  A problem that plagued her daily.  After being with the company for a short time, Kayleigh found herself coming into the office earlier than need be just so that she could catch a glimpse of Derek’s raven black hair and smell the distinctive cologne that only he could wear.

Breaking out of her fantasy thoughts of her boss, she quietly opened the door further and stepped tentatively inside.  The boss and his assistant were still arguing and the baby continued to cry.  Kayleigh spotted a wicker basket on the floor and noticed a tiny red fist flailing around in it. 

“I suggest that you remove this child from the building and go and find your brother,” the woman snapped.  “It’s probably
his
responsibility anyway.”

Kayleigh nearly gasped at the woman’s hard words.  Who knew that a woman who looked like a saintly grandmother could have such a hard heart?  She was about to comment on her thoughts
, but the sight of the tiny child screaming and squirming in what could only be described as a lunch basket grabbed her attention once again.

No longer caring what anyone thought at this point, Kayleigh entered the room and swiftly went to the child and picked her up.  Her motions went undetected until the child instantly quieted.

“I have no idea where…” Derek stopped speaking mid-sentence when he noticed how loud his voice was and how quiet the room had become.  He looked across the room with confusion and noticed a woman holding the baby who had been dropped off in the lobby of his building earlier that morning.

He took a moment to observe Kayleigh and when Eileen went to speak, he held up a hand to abruptly silence her.  Deep in thought, Derek had a feeling that the woman in question was probably an employee of his
, but he couldn’t be sure if he’d ever seen her before.  She was humming softly to the child and, in turn, the child had calmed down considerably.  Her voice was like that of an angel and for the briefest of moments, she looked like one.  The light streaming in from his wide window hit her just right and gave her a kind of surreal glow.

Derek walked over to her.  She looked up at him with the bluest eyes he had ever seen.  They were so wide, so round, and showed such emotion that Derek felt like he wan
ted to dive right in and see into her very soul.  His stomach clenched and he suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to take care of the waif-like woman standing before him.

Chestnut hair that was long and pulled back by a tortoise shelled clip framed her heart shaped face and she smiled shyly at him with a full, sensual mouth that made him wonder what it would feel like on his bare skin.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Sloan,” Kayleigh said in a soft, wispy voice; careful to keep her tone soothing for the infant in her arms.  “I just couldn’t bear to hear her cry anymore.”

Derek stood transfixed.  The fact that this w
oman was bold enough to come into his office without being asked or invited
should
have irritated him; the fact that she implied that he wasn’t handling this situation well, did.

BOOK: The Baby Arrangement
8.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah
Forbidden Pleasure by Freeman, Michelle
The Mysterious Mr Quin by Agatha Christie
Playing Knotty by Elia Winters
A Buyer's Market by Anthony Powell
Love Me Broken by Lily Jenkins
Twice in a Lifetime by Dorothy Garlock
Nowhere to Hide by Thompson, Carlene