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Authors: Fiona McArthur

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The Midwife's Little Miracle

BOOK: The Midwife's Little Miracle
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‘How did you remember it was Dawn’s birthday?’

Andy shook his head, denying it had been hard. ‘Forget the day you and Dawn came into my life?’ Andy looked across at her baby, dozing now on her mother’s lap. ‘Forget the magic on the mountain on New Year’s Day?’ he said softly, and his words brought back the serenity of that morning.

Then he leant across and kissed her cheek, and she could see he really did remember that day with emotion. ‘You were amazing.’

She found herself leaning towards him, and his long fingers stroked her jaw and drew her nearer. Just the feel of his warm strength splayed across her cheek and the caress of his thumb sent sensations tumbling into her stomach and chest, and she couldn’t help but close her eyes. She didn’t see his mouth coming, but she’d known it would happen. Wanted it to happen.

Fiona McArthur brings you a fabulous new trilogy…

LYREBIRD LAKE
MATERNITY

Every day brings a miracle…

It’s time for these midwives
to become mothers themselves!

This month meet single mum Montana Browne in…

THE MIDWIFE’S LITTLE MIRACLE

Montana’s found a new home in Lyrebird Lake,
and just maybe the perfect father for her baby!

Look out for Misty and Mia’s stories,
coming soon in Medical™ Romance

A mother to five sons,
Fiona McArthur
is an Australian midwife who loves to write. Medical™ Romance gives Fiona the scope to write about all the wonderful aspects of adventure, romance, medicine and midwifery that she feels so passionate about—as well as an excuse to travel! So now that the boys are older, her husband Ian and youngest son Rory are off with Fiona to meet new people, see new places, and have wonderful adventures. Fiona’s website is at www.fionamcarthur.com

Recent titles by the same author:

THE MIDWIFE’S BABY

THEIR SPECIAL-CARE BABY

THE SURGEON’S SPECIAL GIFT

THE DOCTOR’S SURPRISE BRIDE

THE MIDWIFE’S
LITTLE MIRACLE

BY

FIONA McARTHUR

www.millsandboon.co.uk

Dedicated to Flora May Simpson.
The best mother-in-law,
who just laughs at the mess in my house.

CHAPTER ONE

NEW YEAR’S
morning began with the faintest hint of grey shimmer on the horizon and Montana gently stroked her fingers across her swollen stomach.

This had been the first New Year’s morning without her husband and the last she would spend at the mountain house before the new owners moved in.

The sea was a long way off, somewhere below the white fluffy quilt thrown over the mountains, shrouded like the future she couldn’t see but did have faith in.

Eagle’s Nest Retreat sat so high and wild that it overlooked everything and Douglas had loved it when he’d painted here.

The sky had lightened only enough to illuminate the deep drifts of mist in all the lower valleys across from the house, and she sat symbolically alone, and accepted it would always be so.

The first contraction squeezed gently, like the tendrils of dewed spider webs that stretched the tops
of the stumpy grass, and she nodded when she felt the mysterious child within herald her intentions.

Montana had agreed with her two best friends that, for her child’s sake not her own, it would be safer to avoid the mountains for the last two weeks of her pregnancy.

So it wasn’t Montana’s fault her baby had decided to come earlier.

She closed the house and gathered her shawl and water bottle and, grasping the rail on the stairs, made her way slowly down to her vehicle. To actually climb into the four-wheel drive proved much more difficult than she’d expected and she chewed her lip as she started the engine.

The chug from the diesel engine scared a flock of lorikeets into flight, a little like the flutter of apprehension she fought down while she waited for the engine to warm up. Two more waves of pain came and went in that time.

As the contractions grew closer and fiercer a tiny frown puckered her forehead. It might not be as easy as she’d thought to drive the truck for two hours in early labour.

After thirty minutes of careful navigation down the misty mountain sweat beaded her forehead and Montana’s breath fogged the windscreen with the force of the pain. Though still focussed on what lay around the next corner she found it more difficult to divide her thoughts between road and birth.

The dirt track twisted and turned like the journey
her baby would make within her and on an outflung clearing overlooking the mist-covered valley she had to pull over to rest and shore up her reserves.

A pale grey wallaby and her pint-sized joey stood at the edge of the clearing and their dark pointy faces twitched with fascination at her arrival.

Montana’s labour gathered force and she glanced with despair at the distance to the valley floor. It was impossible to descend the mountain safely when she couldn’t concentrate on the road and suddenly the tension drained from her shoulders as she slumped back.

So be it.

When the pain eased she slid from the truck and spread a rug on the damp grass and tucked her shawl and water beside her. She eased herself down and sat with her arms behind her to watch the deepening of the horizon from coral to pink to cerise as the sun threatened to rise through the cloud below.

When the next surge had dissolved she sighed and gazed skywards. Maybe he was looking down.

‘You should be here, Douglas.’ A single tear held her loss that still pierced so keenly.

She felt the whisper of cool breeze brush the dampness on her cheek and suddenly she was not alone and she didn’t care if she imagined him because the next pain was upon her and she needed his strength with her own to stay pliant on the waves of the contractions.

I am here,
the wind whispered.
You are safe.

I love you,
she heard, and then she listened to the nuances of her body and in her mind she watched the descent of her baby and squeezed her husband’s hand and the waves changed in tempo and direction and strength and suddenly the urge was upon her to ease her baby out into the world.

The sun cascaded through like the gush of water, her baby’s head glistening round and hard and hot in her hands, and then the next pain was upon her. Her baby’s head rotated towards her leg and the released shoulder slid down and through to follow.

In long, slow seconds, her baby’s body eased into the world until, in a waterfall rush, legs and feet followed and in a tangle of cord and water and fresh broken sunlight, her baby was born.

The unmistakable sound of a newborn’s first cry startled the birds as Montana reached down and gathered her daughter to her, forgetting the cord that joined them, and she laughed at the tug that reminded her that all umbilical cords were not long.

A daughter. Douglas’s daughter. She turned, not expecting to see him yet so grateful she had imagined him in her time of greatest need.

The clearing was empty save for the mother wallaby and her skittish joey, and like the last of the night tendrils they too disappeared silently as the fog rolled away.

She shivered.

‘You must be Montana?’ His voice was different from Douglas’s, not as deep or careful with enunciation, but the same timbre of quiet authority and caring drifted over her and that must have been why she didn’t jump.

She wound down the window and saw the darkest auburn hair and green eyes that proclaimed his relationship to her friend. So this was Misty’s big brother from Queensland. He towered over her door.

It seemed almost normal that Misty’s four-wheel drive had pulled up next to hers in the morning light and have this man stand beside her car door to look in.

He had to bend down quite a bit to her level and she smiled to herself at the trials of tall men. ‘Yes, I’m Montana. I gather Misty sent you?’

He nodded. ‘I’m Andy.’ He looked across at the top of her baby’s head snuggled into her chest with blankets over both of them in a big mound, and he smiled.

To Andy they both seemed so peaceful despite the absolute isolation in which they’d met. There was something so tranquil about the mother and daughter in this isolated spot that it was difficult to grasp she had given birth without support. ‘And who is this?’

Montana smiled and he felt the curve of her lips and the softening of her eyes right down to his combat boots and back up again where heat flick
ered in his chest like a hot coal from an outback campfire.

‘This is my daughter, Dawn,’ she said, and her serene voice wrapped around him like the fog he’d just passed through to get here.

‘Hello, Dawn.’ He smiled at the thatch of dark hair against Montana and the baby snuffled as if in answer. ‘I can guess what time she arrived.’

His smile faded and his training reminded him this woman had been without assistance. He framed the question as delicately as he could. ‘Any problems you need help with?’

She glanced at him and he felt the humour behind her voice more than he heard it when she spoke, and the observation confused him. Since when had he picked up fine distinctions in tone from unknown women?

‘No, thank you, Doctor,’ she said. ‘Third stage complete and I’m not bleeding or damaged. My baby has fed.’

He didn’t like the way he was so conscious of his sister’s friend but maybe that was because he felt for her recent loss.

He knew he avoided emotions these days, had done for three years. It was the way he’d decided to stay and he empathised with her journey. But, actually, he was more than conscious of her.

They were on the side of a mountain, for heaven’s sake, and she’d just had a baby.

He concentrated on the things he was good at.
‘Right, then. Let’s get you out of here.’ He glanced around to decide where to reverse the vehicle.

Montana’s voice was gentle, as if explaining to a child—and a slow one at that. ‘We have to wait for the fog on the road to clear further down before we go.’

He could feel himself frown but what could she expect? He hadn’t predicted resistance to rescue. ‘I managed to get here.’

‘That’s lovely.’ And she smiled that damn schoolmistress smile again that made his neck prickle under his collar.

She went on. ‘I’m not risking my daughter in a drive down the mountain with a man I don’t know until the mist is gone completely, even if the man driving does rescue for a living.’

The inflexible set of her chin and the tilt of her fine-boned face should have exasperated him but inexplicably he could feel himself bend like a reed to her wishes. So be it. ‘Fine. We’ll wait.’

He paused while they both pondered how long that would be. ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’

He saw her eyes widen as her taste buds responded and his own smile twitched as he tried to contain his amusement. Ha!

Deadpan, he gave the choices as he watched her face. ‘Earl Grey, breakfast, peppermint or jasmine tea?’

A tiny frown marred her forehead as if she wasn’t sure if he was joking. ‘Jasmine?’

‘Fine. I’ll rustle that up shortly.’ He pulled the hot water bottle his sister had slipped into the car from the pocket of his doctor’s bag and showed it to her.

‘Misty sent this.’ He touched the handle of her car door and raised his brows again. ‘May I?’

When she nodded he tucked the warm rubber bottle under the blanket against her feet.

He couldn’t help noticing she had little feet. Slim, shapely ankles, too, but he liked her feet. He heard her sigh with the warmth as he stepped back, and that dragged his mind away from her toes. Now he had a foot fetish? What was wrong with him this morning?

The air seemed colder now that he’d moved back away from her. ‘Sure you’re warm enough? I have a great heater in the car.’

She tugged the blanket closer around her neck. ‘That seems sensible. Perhaps you could heat your car first and then I could hand you Dawn to keep snug while I do a bit of a tidy with myself?’

Nurses. Obsessed with being tidy, he thought. He grinned. ‘I’ll be right back.’

She watched him walk away. A tall, lean man, even taller than Douglas. She really had to stop comparing people to her darling Douglas. Andy resembled his sister uncannily but there was no doubt he held the Y chromosome. It had been kind of him to come, unnecessary but kind.

No doubt Misty and Mia had panicked when
she hadn’t arrived last night but she’d wanted one more night on the mountain before she had to move out to start afresh.

The most important night, as it turned out, and she smiled down at her daughter.

Minutes drifted peacefully and then he was back. ‘The car is heated. Shall I take Dawn?’

He held out his arms and she saw he’d unwrapped a small blanket and a tiny warm beanie from another hot-water bottle.

It didn’t surprise her any more about his sister’s intuition. Misty was known for her premonitions. ‘Misty must have been pretty sure Dawn would arrive.’

Andy nodded. ‘She rang me at five this morning in a state and I’ve learnt to believe her when she “feels” something.’

‘Is it a family trait?’ Montana could see he was proud of his fey sister. She’d found another thing she liked about him.

He smiled crookedly and the way he curved his firm mouth made him more a real person and less Misty’s brother. ‘Sometimes I’m accused of uncanny intuition if we’re searching for someone, but not with the precision and clarity of Misty.’

He pulled the soft bonnet over Dawn’s hair as if he’d beanied a baby many times and then rolled her little body in the blanket as he peeled her away from Montana’s skin so that the cold air wouldn’t distress her. Dawn didn’t even whimper.

Montana was quietly impressed with his confidence with her newborn daughter—even Douglas, an obstetrician, hadn’t been that adept at handling babies. The thought was diverted by a sneaky eddy of cold air that had whispered against her own skin like a blast from the refrigerator, and she pulled the blanket in tight and hugged it with a shudder.

Andy wrapped Dawn in another warm shawl and tucked her against his chest as he flattened the blanket back firmly around Montana with his other hand. He must have seen her shiver.

Dawn whimpered and he whispered softly to her. His cheek rested against her tiny head with his skin on hers to comfort her while he carried her to the warmth of the car.

Montana frowned at how at ease they looked together and decided she’d had enough huddling to keep warm while she waited for the mist to lift.

Her heated feet felt good and she slipped the bottle up to tuck into her now loose trousers and keep her stomach warm as she pulled her shirt together where she’d opened it to keep her daughter snug against her skin.

The sheer bliss of hot water to wash her face and hands made her smile and after she’d communed with nature she crossed to Andy’s car and her daughter.

Andy had the cup holders out on the dashboard and each held a steaming cup of tea that caused puffs of condensation on the windshield above each mug.

Dawn dozed quite happily tucked into Andy’s arm and Montana stilled him with a raised hand as he went to lean across to open the passenger door.

She slid in. ‘Don’t move. She’s settled.’ He looked remarkably at ease for a big man with a newborn in his arms.

She inhaled the aroma. ‘The tea smells wonderful,’ she said, and gathered the cup in both hands to divert her mind away from him. The heated comfort infused into her hands like the flavour had into the water.

How brilliant that Andy had instinctively known not to fuss. Even Douglas would have flapped and scolded at the thought of Dawn’s arrival here on the mountain, and Montana sipped her tea slowly and relaxed.

They sat silently for many minutes and Montana may even have dozed.

When she opened her eyes again he was looking at her. Not staring, just an appraisal to see if she was fine. She couldn’t remember when she’d felt so comfortable in a stranger’s company.

‘Were you frightened?’ His words were soft and acknowledged something powerful and amazing had happened on the mountain that morning and she took pleasure in his lack of censure. She smiled at the bundle that was her daughter and shook her head.

Suddenly it was important he understand that she wasn’t reckless with her daughter’s life. ‘It was
the most serene dawn. I couldn’t drive any more, not safely anyway, and when I stopped it all happened as it should.’

BOOK: The Midwife's Little Miracle
2.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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