Living With Lies Trilogy (Books 1, 2, and 3 of The Dancing Moon Ranch Series)

BOOK: Living With Lies Trilogy (Books 1, 2, and 3 of The Dancing Moon Ranch Series)
11.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



Patricia Watters


Book 1: Righteous Lies

Book 2: Pandora's Box

Book 3: False Pretenses


: Grace Templeton thought the child she'd been carrying for 7 months was that of her dead husband, and Jack Hansen thought the sperm he'd donated had gone to the wife of his sterile twin—until they learn that two vials of sperm were switched by mistake. The shock sends Grace into early labor and the only place she can have bed rest is at the ranch owned by Jack and his twin. But soon, Grace finds herself falling in love with a hard-edged cowboy who appears to want to control every aspect of her life, now that she's carrying his son. But Jack has his reasons. He also has no intention of marrying, and Grace is determined to learn why.


: When a relationship with a CEO goes sour and Justine Page finds herself without a job or a place to live, she goes to the ranch to stay with her sister and reassess her life. Brad Meecham, a best-selling author with post-traumatic stress is there to try to deal with mind demons. Brad's drawn to Justine, who knows intuitively what to do when dark memories surface. But when Brad finds himself with a daughter he never knew existed, who wants nothing to do with anyone but Justine, Brad knows without question that a woman who slept her way to the top will never be a candidate for step-mother. But then, he fails to factor in the power of love to bring together a flawed woman and a troubled child, and his need to have both in his life. 


: Jayne Hamilton has a secret she hopes will stay hidden until she lands the job of guest ranch manager at the Dancing Moon Ranch. But as Sam Hansen interviews her, he’s uneasy. Things don't add up. Still, he hires her because his mother's retiring and neither he nor his twin, Jack, want to take over that job. But soon, Sam finds himself blindly attracted a woman he knows is hiding something, something that has to do with a child. But Sam also senses there's much more.


: I invite you to check out the
Dancing Moon Ranch Family Album
on my website. There you'll find photos of everyone in the family now, and those to come later, along with covers and descriptions of all the books in the Dancing Moon Ranch Series. Here's the link to my website:



Prequel: Justified Deception


Book 1: Righteous Lies

Book 2: Pandora's Box

Book 3: False Pretenses


Book 4: Uncertain Loyalties

Book 5: Becoming Jesse's Father

Book 6: Bittersweet Return


Book 7: Cross Purposes

Book 8:
Dancing With Danger

Book 9:
Bucking the Odds


Book 10: Forbidden Spirits
(early 2014)

Book 11:
Imperfect Magic
(late 2014)

Book 12:
Sheer Combustion
(early 2015)


is not included in this trilogy, it can be read any time prior to Book 4 (Uncertain Loyalties). JUSTIFIED DECEPTION takes place on the Kincaid Ranch in Southeast Oregon, and although it's Matt Kincaid and Ruth Crawford's story, 6-year-old Annie Kincaid will grow up to marry one of the sons from the DANCING MOON RANCH SERIES. For more information, as well as a family album with photos of characters and scenes in the stories, please go to:


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or were used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental

2012 by Patricia Watters

Created by Patricia Watters

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in whole or in part, or transmitted in any form or by any means by any electronic or mechanical or other means, not known of hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without permission of the copyright owner is illegal and punishable by law.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Watters, Patricia

Title of Work: Living With Lies
Trilogy / by Patricia Watters





Effective Date of Registration: October 11, 2012

Date of 1st Publication: December 24, 2011

Date of Certification: August 14, 2012

Domiciled in: United States of America

Nation of 1st Publication: United States of America






AUTHOR'S NOTE: The incident that is the basis of this story actually happened, and because fertility clinics are not regulated, such mistakes are not uncommon. Even hospitals are not exempt from error. Currently, at a well-known health-science university hospital, a lawsuit involving the implantation of embryos of different races, in the wrong women, is making its way through the legal system. And of course, women will react to, and handle such life-changing mistakes, in vastly different ways. However, Grace Templeton and Jack Hansen, the hero and heroine of "Righteous Lies," and all the other characters in the story, are fictitious.



Crombie Fertility Clinic; Portland, Oregon 


Hands folded across her rounded belly, Grace Templeton looked at the other pregnant woman sitting across from her in the waiting room then shifted her gaze between the two men on either side of the woman. The men were identical twins by features, but opposites in every other way. The man holding the woman's hand was freshly shaven, hair neat, clean shirt. The other man looked like he'd just come in from the range, with his day-old stubble, and worn and faded clothes, and dark hair in need of a trim. But clearly, the untidy twin had the most testosterone. He was all male, from the heavily-muscled chest evident beneath his western-cut shirt to the corded forearms revealed by his rolled up sleeves. Even his wide scratched belt buckle and scuffed western boots screamed of bucking broncos and bull riding and hard-edged cowboys, and way, way too much testosterone. Grace could not even imagine the quantity of semen the man would produce if he came in to donate. Or the potency. Millions and millions of squirming, assertive little sperm, all aggressively nudging each other out while swimming around in search of that tiny egg to impregnate.

A smile tugged at her lips, causing the man to affirm her speculation by saying in a voice that was distinctly baritone, "Am I put together wrong?"

Grace was at a loss to answer. She'd been scrutinizing the man from head to toe while speculating on the quality of his sperm, not a usual subject to address with a complete stranger. "I'm sorry," she said. "I wasn't smiling because of something
you. It was a silly thought, and I have this habit of looking through people when I'm thinking."

"Then I guess being transparent is better than being put together wrong," the man said. He unfolded his crossed leg, leading Grace to surmise if he were standing he'd top out at around six-foot-five inches of lean, solid muscle.

Feeling a thud in her tummy, she pressed her hands to it and felt the stirring of life. Five more weeks and Marc junior would make his way into the world. She hoped he'd have his father's blond hair and blue eyes and jovial personality.

The image of the child growing inside her quickly vanished when a woman swept open a door from the inner office, looked at the pregnant woman and two men, and said, "I presume you are Susan and Sam Hansen, and Jack Hansen?" The people nodded. The woman turned to Grace then, and said, "And you are Grace Templeton?" Grace also nodded. "Dr. Crombie will be with you folks in a few minutes," the woman said. "Can I offer you some coffee?" When everyone shook their heads, the woman said, "It shouldn't be long."

After the woman left, the untidy twin, who the receptionist addressed as Jack, looked at the others and said, "Isn't Dr. Crombie owner of this clinic?" The others nodded. Jack's face hardened. "This whole meeting seems pretty irregular… being called in at night, the owner of the clinic present, certified letters."

Grace looked at Jack with a start. "I also got a certified letter setting up this meeting," she said, wondering if these peoples' reason for being called in was the same as hers, though she had no idea what that was.

"We can't imagine what this is all about," Susan Hansen said. "They wanted all three of us here."

Trying to dismiss her own misgivings about the meeting, Grace shrugged, and said, "It probably has to do with making a documentary film. They were talking about it when I came in for the insemination procedure. They want to interview couples and individuals, both donors and recipients, and follow them through the birth. I'm a widow, and I was inseminated with my husband's sperm two years after he died, so they'd want to show that frozen sperm's as good as fresh. Did you hear anything about a movie?"

"No," Susan said, "but maybe you're right." Her lips twitched in a nervous smile, and she added, "They might be interested in us because we're having a child we hope will be a genetic match for our son, who has a blood disorder and needs a bone marrow transplant. If the cord blood of my baby is a match, our son will be able to lead a normal life, but because Sam is sterile from chemo," she said, glancing at her husband, "I'm unable to have more children with him, but Jack—" she touched the untidy man's arm "—being Sam's identical twin, gives us a chance of having a match. So thanks to Jack and artificial insemination this baby will be almost as close to our son genetically as if Sam were the father."

Except Jack's child would probably have scruffy hair, a stubborn chin, sinewy jaw muscles, and be born with dirty fingernails, Grace was tempted to add as a touch of humor. But seeing Jack's sober face, decided he wouldn't appreciate the remark.

"I'm so sorry about your son," Grace said. "I hope your baby will be a match for him."

"We expect he will be. And I'm sorry to hear you lost your husband," Susan said, the sincerity in her tone having the usual effect of making Grace choke up some. "It must be difficult knowing you'll have to go through the birth process alone."

Grace blinked away any emergence of tears and said, in the cheery voice she'd become skilled at fabricating, "I won't be alone. I'm giving birth at home so I'll have a midwife, along with my sister, and my parents, and probably every aunt, uncle and cousin in the family." She forced a smile to assure them she was not a grieving widow, even though she was and always would be, but she hated the looks of pity she got when the subject of her widowhood came up, the same look Susan Hansen had given her moments before. But she could tell from the intense look in Jack's dark eyes as he stared at her, that she hadn't fooled him. She got the feeling he too had been blindsided by tragedy at one time or another.

"Your first child?" Susan asked.

"Yes. It's a boy," Grace replied. She intended her smile to go to Susan, but her gaze slid to Jack, who assumed she was smiling at him. When he gave her a token smile back, her heart quickened. He was not a man most woman could ignore. He was brawnier than his twin. Thicker shoulders, beefier chest, forearms knotted with veins, clearly the result of hard work. But unlike his twin, there was a shrewdness about his face that made him seem unapproachable.

"I'm having my baby at the Hackensack Medical Center in New Jersey where they can do the cord blood transplant, assuming it's a match," Susan said.

Grace looked at Susan's belly, feeling a little sorry for her to be carrying Jack's child. It was certain to be a very large baby. "When are you due?" she asked.

"In five weeks," Susan replied. "February 20th, to be exact."

"That's amazing," Grace said. "February 20th is my due date. We must have come for insemination on the same day."

Susan's gaze dropped to Grace's belly, and she frowned. "Your stomach's much bigger than mine," she said. "Your husband must have been a very large man."

"Actually, he wasn't," Grace replied. "But my doctor assures me my baby's fine. Just a very big boy. So there's a large gene in the family somewhere." Her eyes shifted to Jack, but he gave no indication he'd heard her. Instead, he sat staring intently at her belly, the expression on his face, weighty, which puzzled her.

The woman from the inner office swept open the door again, and said, "If you will all come with me, we'll be going to the conference room."

After they were seated at a large table—Jack, Sam and Susan on one side of the table, Grace on the other—two men entered the room. One she recognized as Dr. Crombie. The other, she'd never seen, but he was wearing a dark suit, white shirt, expensive looking tie and was carrying a black brief case, and had
written all over him. She looked across the table at Jack, whose face was dark with concern, and at Susan, who was clutching Sam's arm.

The man in the suit opened his brief case and removed a sheaf of what appeared to be legal documents. And Grace had a sudden urge to go around the table and squeeze between the brothers, or sit beside Susan and hold onto her arm the way she was holding onto Sam's arm. Nothing about this smacked of a documentary film.

When the man finished arranging papers, he introduced himself as Don Gray and said he represented the clinic in a matter they greatly regretted, after which he went on to say, "Cryopreservation utilizes liquid nitrogen as the storage medium for donor sperm, and the samples are carefully labeled and stored in small vials that hold up to one milliliter of sperm."

Grace stared across the table at the others, who looked as baffled with what the man was saying as she. Clearly, he had not come to the part they greatly regretted, they being the fertility clinic, but was biding time before hitting them with whatever it was.

"Sperm introduced into the intrauterine cavity by artificial insemination is the same as sperm introduced through sexual intercourse," Gray said, somewhat cryptically, since it was information they'd all been given before signing the contract with the clinic. "In most cases the sperm donor doesn't become the legal father of a child produced through artificial insemination," Gray went on to say. "However, on occasion, the commissioning parent or parents may need to go through an adoption procedure."

At this point, Jack leaned toward the man and said in a curt voice, "What in hell is going on? You're giving us a fertility tutorial that I suspect hasn't got a damn thing to do with why we've been called in so why not cut the crap and get to whatever's really going on."

Looking decidedly uncomfortable, Don Gray reached into a folder and removed three envelopes, and said, "In your contracts, each of you waived certain privacy rights regarding anonymity, so we called in everyone involved in order to disclose a problem we have." He looked at Dr. Crombie, who gave a shrug of resolve.

"The thing is," Don Gray said, "on the day of the insemination procedures, there was an unfortunate misdirection of the sperm samples. The vials were accidentally switched, so your sperm, Mr. Hansen," he said, looking at Jack, "was injected into Mrs. Templeton, which means you, Mrs. Templeton, are carrying Mr. Hansen's child," the man said to Grace. "And your deceased husband's sperm was injected into you, Mrs. Hansen," he said, turning from Grace to Susan, "which means you are carrying the child of Mrs. Templeton's deceased husband. Unfortunately we're all human, and subject to error," he said in a contrite voice. "But the technician who made the error has been dismissed."

There was dead silence for a moment before the room seemed to explode.

Susan started screaming incoherently, Jack slammed his fist down on the table and started shouting at Dr. Crombie, Sam shoved his chair back, sending it tumbling over, and joined Jack, both of them threatening, in terms laced with colorful expletives, to shut down the clinic. And Grace found herself collapsed with her head on her folded arms against the table, her limbs weak. It was some moments before she realized she was saying over and over, "No... no... no..." while pounding her fist against the table.

By then, Sam was holding Susan to calm her down, and Jack had Dr. Crombie by the lapels when the attorney, also a large man, grabbed Jack's arm, and said, "I don't think you want to do that. It'll cost you a lot of money and it won't solve anything."

"Of course we can't begin to express our regrets for the mix-up," Dr. Crombie said, straightening his shirt, which was bunched where Jack had grabbed it.

Jack backed off from both men, and said, with irony, "You can't begin to express your regrets? Do you have any idea what's happened because of your mix-up? This woman's carrying my child," he said pointing a finger at Grace, "and this woman's carrying the child of her dead husband," he said pointing first at Susan, then at Grace. "Do you have any idea what the ramification of
is, beyond the monetary settlement I'm certain you gentlemen have waiting in those envelopes?"

"It was an unfortunate mistake," Dr. Crombie said, in a repentant voice.

"An unfortunate mistake that could result in the death of a child because the baby my sister-in-law is carrying has no chance of being a genetic match because her son's illness is passed through the male line.
That's how unfortunate your damn mistake is!"
Jack barked.

Grace pressed her fingers to her temples and closed her eyes, hoping she might emerge from a bad dream. She'd awaken to find everything as before. Marc hadn't died of cancer. They were expecting
baby in five weeks. He was a fine, healthy baby boy. But when she opened her eyes, Jack was staring at her, as if absorbing the reality of it at the same time as she.

She was carrying
child. A child that came to her because of a mistake. Just like her parents predicted the whole artificial insemination idea would be, although they'd been opposed to it because they wanted her to get on with her life, not have the child of a dead man. But her life was Marc's child. Or had been. Until now.

The baby inside her turned, and what felt like a foot moved against Grace's belly, drawing a gasp from her, along with the feeling that she had to go to the bathroom. Pushing her chair back, she stood and felt herself swaying.

Jack came around the table and took her elbow. "You'd better sit down," he said.

"I can't," Grace replied. "I have to go." She started to pull away from him.

His fingers remained on her elbow. "Go where?"

She looked at him, miffed. "To the bathroom, if it's any of your business."

"I'll walk with you then." He edged her toward the door.

BOOK: Living With Lies Trilogy (Books 1, 2, and 3 of The Dancing Moon Ranch Series)
11.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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