Authors: Vanessa Devereaux
Copyright© 2013 Vanessa
Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is
No part of this book may be
used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission,
except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
This is a
work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any
resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or
dead, is entirely coincidental.
MATTERS OF THE HEART
the newspaper under her arm and then pulled on the tab of her soda can. She
glanced at the clock.
She’d have time to
enjoy her drink and catch up on the local news before heading over to Perfect
Pairing the matchmaking service she’d started when she’d been assigned to the
Department of Love. Today she was off to
and be one step closer to finally landing her dream cowboy.
She sat on
the couch in the nurse’s lounge, took a sip of the lemon-lime drink, and opened
up the newspaper.
Nothing new going on in the world.
Same old, same old, in fact.
She turned to the community
news page and her heart skipped a beat. There was Bryce Connors' photo staring
back at her. That wasn’t so unusual because whenever she looked at him her
knees went weak. However, this time that wasn’t the reason. He had a beautiful
young woman on his arm and the words
printed under the photo jumped out at her. Through her tears, she was just
about able to read that they’d been married two days ago by a judge at the
now on a Hawaiian honeymoon.
breathe. This had to be a nightmare. Bryce hadn’t even told her he was dating
anyone, let along thinking about getting married. Had he done so, she might
have gotten the courage to tell him exactly how she felt about him.
be happening.” She threw the newspaper on the ground but hadn’t realized she’d
shouted those words out loud until two other nurses turned to look at her.
Jodie, who worked in cardiology, came over to her as tears ran down Lucy’s
it? Is it bad news?” asked Jodie. She sat down beside her and put her arm
around Lucy’s shoulder, pulling her in close.
late for what?”
down and scooped up the paper, its pages now falling out of order as she placed
it upon Jodie’s lap and sobbed some more.
Jodie took it
and read the page Lucy had handed her. “You’re too late for the sale at the
If it was only as simple
best-looking cowboy got married yesterday.
I’ve been in love with him since we were in kindergarten. I’ve always
dreamed I’d be his wife. I’d even arranged to sign up with Perfect Pairing and
have him sign up too. The owner was going to pair us together. Who can I ever
as he drove his truck into the parking lot of the sheriff’s headquarters. He’d
been up at five a.m., now the sun had set, the wind had picked up, and he’d
smelled snow in the air.
The ideal time to call it a day.
He turned off the ignition and yawned again. Once he’d finished with his
paperwork, he was going straight home to sit in front of the TV, watch a movie
and enjoy a beer. Maybe he’d even make himself some popcorn and settle down for
some peace and quiet for the evening.
out of the truck, he noticed something on the steps of the entrance to the
building. From this distance he couldn’t quite tell what it was, but he was
guessing that dear old Mabel Parker had left him yet another box of her freshly
made apple butter. She meant well, but he’d already been the recipient of two
previous boxes and there were only so much of that stuff a man could eat or
even look at.
toward the steps but then stopped in his tracks. Holy shit, there was something
moving inside the box. Maybe a raccoon or someone’s cat had crawled inside it
to keep warm. He picked up his pace and as he got closer he realized there was
a tote sitting next to it, and the box wasn’t a box after all, but a baby
carrier. And inside sat a real baby.
What sort of person leaves a baby on a doorstep?
Okay it was
out of the cold and under the eaves and protected, but nevertheless, once he
found its mother he’d give her a piece of his mind and have her charged with
beside the carrier, he pulled the blanket away from the baby’s face. It made a
babbling sound as if it was trying to talk to him. He stroked its cheek which
surprisingly felt warm.
you the cutest thing,” he said.
He wouldn’t be going home as soon as he’d
planned. He’d need to call social services and hopefully they’d find the baby a
foster home while they located the mother, or even the daddy.
the tote bag and placed it on his shoulder, opened the door to the offices,
bent down to lift the baby carrier, and then went inside the building. He
walked back to his office and placed the carrier safely on his desk while
putting the bag on the chair.
“I bet that
feels better than being out there in the cold. I think we’re going to get some
around, checking that the rest of the staff and his deputy had already, as he’d
assumed, gone home for the night. He’d hate to think anyone had overheard him
talking to a baby like it was an adult.
The baby made
another babbling sound and then kicked its legs against the carrier. By the
look of the pink snowsuit and the length of the hair, he guessed it was a girl.
He peeked inside the tote and saw some diapers, a bottle with a box of formula,
a blanket, some clothing, and a tattered cloth doll.
back to look at the baby again and noticed she’d kicked the blanket off her
legs and it now sat on the ground. He bent over to pick it up and noticed an
envelope wedged in the side of the carrier. His name was written on it. Not
Sheriff Riley, but Brad with three lines drawn underneath it.
that the baby’s mother or father obviously knew him by his first name, he slid
his finger into the back of the envelope and opened it. He pulled out a letter.
I know this is going to be a terrible shock to
you. I mean finding a baby on your office doorstep. I intended to bring her to
you personally but I lost my nerve. In case you’re wondering why I’ve left her
with you…okay prepare yourself for this big one…Presley is your daughter.
shook as he looked at the baby again. It couldn’t be true.
“I didn’t know I was pregnant until after I’d
left town. I guess The Pill isn’t as reliable as everyone thinks. Shortly after
Presley was born I met a wonderful man and we got married last week. Bottom
line is I’m not cut out to be a mother and he has no interest in being a
father, but I think you are, so I thought it best that you take your daughter
and raise her. I know you’ll do a great job.
at the baby again. Her name was Presley and she was his. No,
was pulling a fast one on him. And her thinking he
could raise a baby on his own. That was crazy. He moved the bag from the chair
so he could sit down before his legs gave out on him.
He swung the
baby carrier around so he could look at the baby again. He was sure she’d just
smiled at him. He crumpled the letter in one hand and threw it onto his desk.
If this was indeed his daughter, then
of a bitch than he’d initially given her credit for.
not telling him that she was pregnant, and two, for being heartless enough to
dump her own flesh and blood on a doorstep like she had.
He rubbed the
baby’s right calf. Even though the thickness of the snowsuit it felt cold. He
reached down on the floor, picked up the blanket and secured it around her,
tucking it into the sides of the carrier, hoping that would keep her warm.
Obviously he’d made his first mistake as a parent because she began wailing at
the top of her lungs.
Brad took a
deep breath. Heaven help him, and heaven help her. He didn’t know the first
thing about looking after a baby.