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Authors: Cate Beauman

Falling for Sarah

BOOK: Falling for Sarah
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Table of Contents

Falling for Sarah

Copyright © 2012 by Cate Beauman. All rights reserved.

Visit Cate at
www.catebeauman.com

Or visit her Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/CateBeauman

First Kindle Edition: October 2012

Editor: Nicholas J. Ambrose

Cover and formatting: Streetlight Graphics

All rights reserved. This eBook is licensed for the personal enjoyment of the original purchaser only. This eBook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this eBook and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

The characters and events portrayed in this book are a work of fiction or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

Dedication

For my mother, Susan, for singlehandedly raising three happy, healthy, successful girls.  Your strength is my inspiration.

Acknowledgements

Thank you Rachelle Ayala and Aminah Grefer for your help and support.

Thank you to Glendon and Tabatha Haddix from Streetlight Graphics for your dedication and support with all of my excellent cover art. Your patience and understanding of the frantic writer has made this process so much easier.

Chapter 1

September 24, 2010

S
ARAH JOHNSON TURNED THE KEY and opened her front door. She crossed the threshold, breathing in the familiar scent of fresh-cut flowers and the hint of low-tide blowing in from the Pacific. “It’s so nice to be home. Welcome home, sweet baby girl.” She stared at her sleeping newborn, smiled, brushed her lips over the soft skin of the baby’s forehead.

“Look out, coming through,” Ethan Cooke said, loaded down with balloons and vases overflowing with cheerful blooms. “I had no idea bringing a baby home from the hospital required movers.”

Sarah stepped aside, chuckling. “I know. Kylee has quite a fan club already. Let me help you with some of this stuff.”

“I’ve got it. You gave birth yesterday, for God’s sake. The nurse told you to take it easy.” Ethan set the vase on the entryway table, released the balloons to the ceiling as he dropped the diaper bag from his shoulder to the floor. “Besides, Jake would kick my ass if he knew you were hauling things in.”

Sarah’s smile widened as she thought of her husband. “Yes, you’re probably right, but I also know he would be grateful you were able to help me out. My mother wasn’t expecting to run her shop today. Dana called in sick, so that was that.”

Ethan moved closer to her side, stared down at the baby. “I’m happy you called. I wanted to come visit you ladies again last night, but things got a little crazy while I was on duty.” He brushed a finger down Kylee’s tiny nose. “She really is beautiful, Sarah. She looks just like you.”

Sarah’s blue eyes twinkled. “Thank you, but I definitely see some of Jake in her too.” She wrapped her free arm around Ethan’s waist. He returned her embrace and she rested her head against his muscled shoulder. “I’m so happy right now, Ethan, so absolutely happy. Twenty-nine more days and my family will be whole again. I can’t wait to hug Jake and watch his face when he holds her for the first time. I could tell he wanted to crawl through the video conferencing equipment yesterday and touch her tiny fingers and toes.” She looked down at Kylee. “No more deployments for your daddy. He’ll be all ours.”

“He’ll be mine too.” Ethan grinned, wiggled his eyebrows. “I’ve been waiting just as eagerly for Jake’s return. It took me two years to convince him to join my firm. Now I need to get Hunter on board, and the crew will be together again.”

“Getting yourselves into as much trouble as ever, I’m sure. You’ll have to wait a little longer for your new security expert. He’s not leaving my side for at least a week.”

“I think I can live with that.” Ethan kissed her forehead before he started for the door. “Let me get the rest of the stuff from the truck. Then I’ll set up Jake’s surprise.”

“Oh, I can’t wait for him to see it. I’ve nixed the big screen TV idea for so long, I’m pretty sure he’s stopped hoping for one.”

“It’s a beauty, all right. He’ll love it. I’ll have everything hooked up in no time.”

“Great.” Brimming with joy, Sarah kissed her daughter again as Ethan opened the door and went outside.

Sarah took the baby to the nursery she had painstakingly painted on her own. The pale yellow stripes looked wonderful with the touches of pink scattered about the room. She put Kylee to her breast, listening to the door open and slam shut as Ethan brought their items in from his Range Rover. She smiled when she heard him rummage through the cupboards in the kitchen. If he was anything, it was always hungry.

Kylee’s mouth went slack as she fell back to sleep. Sarah fastened her nursing bra, fixed her shirt. She settled Kylee against her shoulder, walked out to the kitchen while she rubbed her daughter’s back, burping her.

Ethan stood in front of the open refrigerator, mumbling his excitement about her stocked shelves. He glanced up, grinned, and she itched for her camera. “Hey, I’m going to make myself a sandwich before I get started on the TV. Want one?”

“No thanks. Do you want me to make it for you?”

“Nah, you don’t have to do that.”

“Why don’t you let me? I have another favor to ask of you. ” She smiled. “The least I can do is make you something to eat.”

Ethan went to the pantry, grabbed a loaf of bread. “Why don’t you tell me what you need?” He pulled open a cupboard, took out a plate.

“A shower.” She smiled again and nibbled at her lip.

Ethan’s eyes zeroed in on Kylee, and he took a step back. “Geez, I don’t know, Sarah. I’ve never held a baby before. What if I drop her?”

A laugh bubbled in her throat at the sheer horror in Ethan’s eyes. Even after he’d helped her through hours of labor, watched her deliver Kylee, and cut the cord in Jake’s honor, he’d refused to hold her.

Sarah walked to where he stood. “You’re not going to drop her. Fold your arm like this.” She held her arm out, bending at the elbow.

Ethan cleared his throat and followed her lead. Sarah placed Kylee in the crook of his rigid arm. He grabbed her hand when Kylee squirmed. “She’s moving, she’s moving. She’s going to fall. Shit, Sarah, I really think this is a bad idea.”

“I think it’s a great idea. Trust me on this one.” She adjusted the baby slightly, moved his arm closer to his body, making sure his hand held Kylee under her diapered bottom. She backed away from them, grinning at the discomfort and mild panic she read all over Ethan’s face. “You’re a natural. Look at you two. I need my camera.”

Ethan groaned as she moved to the pile of bags outside the kitchen door and grabbed her case, pulling her Nikon D3 from the bag. She held the camera up, looked through the lens. For a test shot, she focused on Ethan’s arresting face. Sharp cheekbones and straight black eyebrows accentuated long, thick eyelashes and bold gray eyes. She zoomed in on the clear gray pools surrounded by dark, smoky rings, pressed the shutter closed in rapid succession. His firm, full lips and muscular torso showcased a man perfectly comfortable with his masculinity. She tightened her focus on his big hand holding Kylee’s little body, clicked away again, moved in closer, snapped more, getting lost in her passion for pictures.

“Sarah, do you want that shower or not?”

She pulled the camera back, focused on Ethan’s raised brow and lips pressed firm in annoyance. “Sorry. I got a little carried away. You two make excellent subjects. The camera loves your face.”

“So you’ve told me more times than I can count.”

She placed the Nikon back in the bag, zipped it closed. “You’re doing a great job with her.”

He glanced down at Kylee. “I guess this is okay.”

“See? I’ll be quick. She just ate, so she should sleep. Here’s the burp cloth, just in case she spits up.” Sarah draped the cotton towel over Ethan’s shoulder.

As she backed out of the kitchen, Ethan took a step forward. “Wait. Um, what if she starts to cry?”

Amused by his distress, Sarah couldn’t help but smile. The man standing before her dealt with the scum of the earth every day, yet a seven pound infant brought him to his knees. “Just jiggle your arm a little bit. She’ll fall right back to sleep.” She turned and walked toward the bathroom, called over her shoulder, “Oh, and relax. Babies feel tension.”

Alone and mildly terrified, Ethan stared down at the pretty little bundle snuggled against him. Her serene face, a miniature of Sarah’s, was so perfect. She smelled of baby powder and weighed next to nothing.

He began to wiggle his arm, just in case. “I guess this isn’t so bad. Let’s make a deal. If you keep sleeping until your mom comes back, I’ll talk her and your dad into a really kickass swing set for the backyard. It’ll be my present to you.”

Kylee’s lips made a sucking motion as she continued to sleep.

“Okay, I guess that means we have a deal.”

Relaxing with more confidence, Ethan turned back to the counter, attempting to make his sandwich one-handed. He finagled the twist tie from the plastic as Kylee curled closer against him. Startled, he dropped the bread. He bent at the knees to pick up the loaf and Kylee grunted. Seconds later, a small, wet explosion sounded in her diaper. Ethan stopped dead, still crouched. Kylee nuzzled herself against his chest and slept on.

“That couldn’t be good.” He stood, walked toward the bathroom, desperately hoping Sarah was finished. The radio played beyond the closed door as water sprayed into the bathtub.

The baby began to stir and fuss. He jiggled his arm from side to side, but Kylee’s fussing turned into a lusty cry. Panicked, Ethan almost forgot the rules of friendship and rushed into the bathroom. With his hand on the knob, he stopped himself.
Christ, pull it together, Cooke. You’ve got this.

He headed to the pale pink and yellow bedroom, glancing back at the bathroom door wistfully. “Come on, Sarah. Hurry up,” he muttered.

Kylee turned a deep pink as she cried harder. Ethan stared at her mouthful of smooth, toothless gums and tiny fists curled tight as they moved about. “Okay, kid. I guess we don’t have a choice here. Let’s get you changed.” He glanced around the cheerful room with stuffed animals piled next to a rocking chair, zeroed in on the pine changing table. Stacks of diapers and wipes lay tidy on the shelf above.

He awkwardly lay Kylee down on the soft white pad, found a package of unopened diapers, quickly scanned the directions. As Kylee continued to cry, he pulled a diaper off the shelf. “My God, look at these things. My hand’s bigger than this.” He located the sides with the tape, put it down next to her, just like the picture showed. He unbuttoned her sleeper and the white onesie buttoned at her crotch. “How many layers are you wearing?” He pulled the diaper tape next, blew out a breath. “Here goes nothing.”

BOOK: Falling for Sarah
12.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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