Professional rugby player, Lane Gerrard is used to women throwing themselves at him, but a scurrilous tabloid article naming him as father of a child sends his temper soaring. The woman he confronts doesn’t fit the blackmailer profile. Kate Alexander is attractive with an enchanting innocence, enticing. A total stranger. Her feistiness draws his unwilling admiration, but the child…he is the image of Lane.
Kate can’t deny her son’s similarity to the sexy man at her door but no way will she hand him over without a fight. Kate doesn’t possess money but she can shower her son with love. With public speculation rife, Kate reluctantly works with Lane to discover the truth. They grow closer as distrust slowly turns to mutual fascination, but the tabloid articles bring out a stalker. Mild pranks escalate into danger, and suddenly Lane realizes Kate is a woman he could love. With Kate and her son, he could have a family. Now, with his heart on the line, this is one game he’s playing to win…
Read A Few Excerpt...
“We need to talk. Would you like to stay for dinner?” Kate’s voice held sympathy. “It’s nothing fancy. Corned beef and vegetables.”
Camp out with the enemy. Lane considered her offer then shrugged. It was magnanimous considering the way he’d treated her earlier. If the situation were reversed, he didn’t think he would have shown the same generosity. He surveyed her for an instant longer before nodding. Why not? Heck—he couldn’t even state she positively was the enemy. It wouldn’t hurt to get to know her and the child. The answers lay here, not in the tabloid stories. “Thank you. I’d like that.” His attention wandered to the boy—Jamie.
Or one of his brothers?
Either way, Lane saw trouble ahead. If Jamie was John’s child, Sabrina would be hurt and upset, but their marriage appeared strong and would survive. On the other hand, if Jamie were Will’s, then this child’s presence would destroy his brother’s marriage. Will and Tanya were still patching things up after a trial separation. On top of that, no matter how things turned out, his mother would worry and that wasn’t good.
The child was a ticking bomb.
It didn’t take Lane long to weigh the consequences. He couldn’t let his brothers take the heat. Not yet. He clenched his jaw, his resolve strengthening. He would have to assume parentage until he learned the truth. All he needed to do was keep the press at bay.
Jamie looked up and Lane’s heart jolted. Recognition seared through him as he met the boy’s gaze. Deep down in his gut, he sensed it.
This boy was his son.
“Do you want me to answer the door?”
Kate hesitated before heaving a resigned sigh. “No, I’ll go.”
When she reached the front door, she halted, took a deep breath and pasted a smile on her face. She opened the door. Her smile faded when she came face-to-face with two police officers. Alarm flared within her. The police did a wonderful job but personally, Kate could do without them arriving at her front door. They brought bad news. She gulped and took another deep, fortifying breath.
“Is something wrong?” she asked. “Jamie, my son?”
They both flipped identification at Kate. “Are you the owner of this property?”
Kate scanned the IDs without really seeing them and slowly lifted her gaze back to their faces. What else could go wrong today? “Yes. How can I help you?”
One of the police officers took a small notebook from his pocket. “What is your name please?”
“Katherine Alexander. Is something wrong?”
The two officers exchanged a guarded look. “Do you own any garden gnomes, Mrs. Alexander?”
“Miss Alexander, do you own garden gnomes?” he asked his question patiently.
“Gnomes?” Kate stared, waiting for the punch line.
“Yes, gnomes,” one officer repeated, his lips twitching in what looked like the beginnings of a grin.
“No.” Kate shook her head. Personally, she thought they were ugly.
An elderly woman marched around the corner of Kate’s house. Tall and lean, the woman’s dress hung on her body like clothes on a hanger. Straight up and down. A coat hanger with a temper, Kate amended when she took in the woman’s pinched lips.
“No doubt about it!” The woman’s voice sounded as sharp as her angles. “They’re mine! The person on the telephone told me they were my gnomes, that she’d stolen them.” She folded her arms across her scrawny chest and gave a defiant nod. “I want them back. Gnome-napper!”
A few steps into the room, Kate hesitated then shrugged and stepped boldly forward. Lane’s bedroom appeared tidy but had a lived-in feel and more individuality than any of the other rooms. The lingering fragrance of his cologne and a touch of lemon furniture polish scented the air. Kate’s breath quickened with sudden sensual awareness.
A king-size bed dominated the room but she looked away hurriedly when unwanted images, steamy images of entwined bodies flashed through her fertile imagination. Her pulse spiked and her skin felt hot all over. Horrified, she shook the vision away, impatient with her graphic thoughts of sex and lovemaking. Kate fixed her attention on the display of photos covering a nearby portion of the bedroom wall. Gradually, her pulse slowed as she perused the faces in the portraits.
The only trouble was that the faces in the photographs bore wide grins as though they’d witnessed her discomfort. When color filled her cheeks, Kate searched for something else to take her mind off Lane.
She spied an en suite and pushed the connecting door open. The large spa bath—big enough for two—caused an action replay. Masculine and feminine limbs entwined. Hot passion and slow, drugging kisses while the couple made love. Kate’s right hand shot to the cold water tap. A burst of frigid water would force her confused emotions to order.
The scuff of a foot on carpet jerked her head up. There it was again. Kate jumped about to stare in the direction of the noise, her heart pushing and clawing its way up her throat. The door squeaked as a hand pushed it open.
Someone was entering the bedroom.
Gasping, Kate searched frantically for a place to hide. Behind the door—it was the only possible place. She leapt into hiding, her heart hammering loudly enough to play in a rock and roll band.
But not quite fast enough.
Meet The Author...
Shelley lives in Auckland, the City of Sails, with her husband and a cheeky Jack Russell/mystery breed puppy.
Typical New Zealanders, Shelley and her husband left home for their big OE soon after they married (translation of New Zealand speak – big overseas experience). A year long adventure lengthened to six years of roaming the world. Enduring memories include being almost sat on by a mountain gorilla in Rwanda, lazing on white sandy beaches in India, whale watching in Alaska, searching for leprechauns in Ireland, and dealing with ghosts in an English pub.
While travel is still a big attraction, these days Shelley is most likely found in front of her computer following another love – that of writing stories of romance and adventure. Other interests include watching rugby (strictly for research purposes), cycling, baking bread and curling up with a good book.