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Authors: Gina Wilkins

The Family Plan

BOOK: The Family Plan
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“I don’t know what I would have done without you today,”

he said as he covered her hand with his.

Something in his voice—and maybe the way he was looking at her, with warmth in his eyes—ignited a spark in her. A spark she fully intended to douse before it blazed out of control.

It wasn’t hard to figure out what was going on here. Nathan was feeling overwhelmed. And Caitlin was the one person who was on his side. They had to be careful about mistaking gratitude and desperation for something more…personal. She did not need a messy relationship with her business partner. Especially now, when his emotions were so precarious, his life so complicated.

“There’s no need to thank me again,” she said lightly, trying to pull her hand away.

His fingers tightened on hers. His hand was as warm as his gaze, and she felt the spark inside her flare dangerously.

She had worked out the reasoning behind
behavior, but how was she supposed to explain her own?


Dear Reader,

Make way for spring—as well as some room on your reading table for six new Special Edition novels! Our selection for this month’s READERS’ RING—Special Edition’s very own book club—is
Playing by the Rules
by Beverly Bird. In this innovative, edgy romance, a single mom who is sick and tired of the singles scene makes a deal with a handsome divorced hero—that their relationship will not lead to commitment. But both hero and heroine soon find themselves breaking all those pesky rules and falling head over heels for each other!

Gina Wilkins delights her readers with
The Family Plan
, in which two ambitious lawyers find unexpected love—and a newfound family—with the help of a young orphaned girl. Reader favorite Nikki Benjamin delivers a poignant reunion romance,
Loving Leah
, about a compassionate nanny who restores hope to an embittered single dad and his fragile young daughter.

Call of the West
, the last in Myrna Temte’s HEARTS OF WYOMING miniseries, a celebrity writer goes to Wyoming and finds the ranch—and the man—with whom she’d like to spend her life. Now she has to convince the cowboy to give up his ranch—and his heart! In her new cross-line miniseries, THE MOM SQUAD, Marie Ferrarella debuts with
A Billionaire and a Baby
. Here, a scoop-hungry—and pregnant—reporter goes after a reclusive corporate raider, only to go into labor just as she’s about to get the dirt! Ann Roth tickles our fancy with
Reforming Cole
, a sexy and emotional tale about a willful heroine who starts a “men’s etiquette” school so that the macho opposite sex can learn how best to treat a lady. Against her better judgment, the teacher falls for the gorgeous bad boy of the class!

I hope you enjoy this month’s lineup and come back for another month of moving stories about life, love and family!


Karen Taylor Richman

Senior Editor

The Family Plan


For my parents, Vernon and Beth Vaughan,
in recognition of your golden wedding anniversary on
April 29, 2003.
I love you both.

Books by Gina Wilkins

Silhouette Special Edition

The Father Next Door

It Could Happen To You

Valentine Baby

Her Very Own Family

That First Special Kiss

Surprise Partners

The Stranger in Room 205

Bachelor Cop Finally Caught?

Dateline Matrimony

The Groom’s Stand-In

The Best Man’s Plan

The Family Plan

Previously published as Gina Ferris

Silhouette Special Edition

Healing Sympathy

Lady Beware

In from the Rain

Prodigal Father

Full of Grace

Hardworking Man

Fair and Wise

Far To Go

Loving and Giving

Babies on Board

Previously published as Gina Ferris Wilkins

Silhouette Special Edition

A Man for Mom

A Match for Celia

A Home for Adam

Cody’s Fiancée

Silhouette Books

Mother’s Day Collection 1995

Three Mothers and a Cradle


is a bestselling and award-winning author who has written more than fifty books for Harlequin and Silhouette. She credits her successful career in romance to her long, happy marriage and her three “extraordinary” children.

A lifelong resident of central Arkansas, Ms. Wilkins sold her first book to Harlequin in 1987 and has been writing full-time ever since. She has appeared on the Waldenbooks, B. Dalton and
bestseller lists. She is a three-time recipient of the Maggie Award for Excellence, sponsored by Georgia Romance Writers, and has won several awards from the reviewers of
Romantic Times.


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter One

athan McCloud tried to be discreet about checking his watch for the third time in fifteen minutes. It was almost 2:45 p.m. and his tee time was 3:30. If he got away within the next five minutes, he would still just barely have time to change, grab his clubs, and…

A loud sigh of exasperation cut into his mental calculations. “Nathan, would you
pay attention? We need to make this decision today.”

He gave his partner his most engaging smile. Caitlin Briley was always a pleasure to look at, and he usually enjoyed teasing her and spending time with her. But he was impatient to escape on this perfect autumn afternoon. “That last one sounded good. Why don’t we give her a call?”

He knew he’d said the wrong thing when Caitlin’s heart-shaped face darkened with a frown. “You haven’t been listening.”

He cleared his throat. “Of course I was listening. Uh, what was wrong with the last one?”

Tapping a red-nailed finger on one of the job applications spread on the desk in front of her, Caitlin replied curtly, “This woman said she would like to work for our firm because it would be nice to be on the
side of the law for a change. She also wanted to know if her compensation could include free legal representation on occasion.”

Nathan winced. “Maybe I wasn’t listening closely enough. I’m not sure she’s what we’re looking for—though she might prove entertaining,” he added thoughtfully.

Rolling her eyes, Caitlin let out what might have been a strangled growl. “We aren’t looking for entertainment. We’re trying to find an efficient, professional, reliable office manager.”

“Couldn’t you just pick someone? You’re good at that sort of thing. I trust your judgment.”

“You aren’t ‘trusting’ me with this responsibility, you’re trying to dump it on me.”

Caitlin always had a knack for cutting right through his BS. Nathan sighed in resignation. “Okay, you’re right. I don’t really care who you hire as long as she’s pleasant to work with and doesn’t interfere with my schedule.”

“Your schedule?” His partner looked at him in disbelief. “You barely
a schedule.”

“Exactly. And I like it that way.”

“We need a good office manager to bring some order to the chaos in this place. And you should have some input into choosing the person we hire.”

“If I promise not to criticize your choice, will you take care of this?” he wheedled. “I’d stay and help you, but I have an appointment this afternoon.”

“With a client or a fishing rod?” she asked suspiciously.

“A client,” he assured her. And then, because he considered himself a fairly honest guy—for a lawyer—he added, “And a set of golf clubs.”

She had looked momentarily mollified, if still skeptical, but now she was frowning again. “Darn it, Nathan.”

He considered reminding her that
was the senior partner here. He had run this firm by himself for two years before he’d impulsively taken on a fresh-out-of-law-school partner just over nine months ago because his workload had gotten heavy enough to interfere with his leisure time.

Caitlin had been the first lawyer he’d interviewed, and he had hired her because she had the most beautiful smoky-gray eyes he’d ever seen—in addition to a thick, shoulder-length curtain of glossy brown hair, an intriguingly dimpled chin, and a petite yet nicely curved figure. Add those attributes to a more than respectable résumé, and he could find no reason at all to send her on her way after that first meeting.

He didn’t know then that he had hired the Attila the Hun of ambitious young lawyers.

She had swept into his lazy little practice with a gung-ho, conquer-the-legal-world attitude that exhausted him. Apparently, she had added him to her list of things about this office that needed to be changed.

But he still thought she had beautiful eyes, he mused, losing himself in their depths for a moment.

She drummed her fingers on his desk. “You really aren’t paying attention to any of this, are you?”

“Did you know you get little sparks in your eyes when you’re annoyed? They just sort of glitter, all silvery in the gray.”

“They must be glittering like crazy right now, then.”

He propped his chin on his fist and gazed at her. “Actually, yes. And a very enticing sight they are, too.”

Her invariable reaction when he flirted with her was to speak gruffly and busy her hands. She did so again this time, shuffling noisily through the applications she was suddenly studying with renewed interest. “I suppose I could narrow these down to two or three and call them in for interviews. I would, of course, expect you to sit in on those interviews with me and help me make the final decision.”

BOOK: The Family Plan
8.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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