Authors: Sabine Ferruci
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #Adult
© copyright by Sabine Ferruci, April 2008
Cover Art by Eliza Black, April 2008
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author’s imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
“Sending me the wrong sperm sample is not a minor customer satisfaction problem, Dr. Ashtar.” Clasping her palms across her pregnant belly, Chloe Simon willed her stomach to stay calm.
“I’m not minimizing the complexity of the situation, Miss Simon.” The physician looked down at the open chart on the conference table in front of him, then hit her with a high wattage surely-we-can-solve-this smile. “I’m merely trying to assure you that your
donor, Sergeant, uh ….”
“Gallagher. B.D.” Those were the first words that Chloe’s donor had uttered since his arrival in the clinic’s conference room. “Broderick Devlin,” he added, his clear green eyes giving nothing away as they observed her. By his unconcerned demeanor, he could have been sitting in a clubhouse waiting for his tee time.
“I assure you,” Ashtar continued, “Sgt. Gallagher provided a specimen of the highest quality. He’s in excellent health.” Dr. Ashtar beamed with pride as he gestured to Gallagher. “No family history of inherited disease. Meets—in fact, exceeds—our extremely rigid donor standards. Had he appeared in our catalogue, he would have been very popular with our clients.”
Chloe conceded that the hunk sitting across the table was as perfect a physical specimen as a man in his mid-thirties could be. A moss green sport shirt accentuated his tanned forearms, well-muscled arms, and wide shoulders. The short cut of his light brown hair emphasized the square jaw and the shadow from his clean shave. His nose was a little big for his face and his eyebrows a little too heavy, but B.D. Gallagher would never be voted off the island, at least by any of the women.
“I’m sure the
Essence of Sgt. Gallagher
would have been a sell-out, Doc.” Chloe was satisfied to see a flash in Gallagher’s suspiciously bland eyes, but her satisfaction was short lived. Nausea that had been simmering just below the surface since this morning’s phone call was beginning to churn in earnest.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
“Another positive attribute you should not discount, Miss Simon, is the superior strength and quality of the sperm you received.”
Trailing her fingertips lightly over the swell of her belly, Chloe took a deep breath and tried not to hyperventilate.
“In order to achieve success, our average client inseminates over a period of at least three cycles, using as many as six vials at each setting.” The little man in the starched white coat could hardly contain his excitement as he leaned forward on the table to touch her arm. “You merely used one vial and became pregnant on your first try. Superb results, really.”
Chloe swiveled her chair away from the contact and watched Gallagher closely. If he moved so much as an eyelash to display macho pride, she would purposely lose her breakfast all over his crisp khaki slacks. She was almost disappointed when not so much as a facial twitch occurred. It was smooth sailing in the ocean of those green eyes, no victory flags flapping in the breeze.
“Dr. Ashtar.” Chloe was tired of hearing about the upside of this little glitch. “I selected donor attributes that were of more importance than Olympic caliber sperm.”
“Such as what, Ms. Simon?” asked Gallagher. Of course, his voice would be radio announcer deep. It made the hair on her arms vibrate to attention.
“Certain talents and interests.” She was not about to explain her desire to insure the family artistic gene, the one that had managed to skip over Chloe.
Gallagher leaned back in his chair. “I would have thought the goal would be a healthy baby.” Before she could answer, he placed his folded hands on the table. Those fingers were long and sure and capable of palming a basketball. “Never mind,” he muttered. “There’s another issue you’re overlooking.”
Ashtar cleared his throat. “I really think we ought to give Miss Simon time to digest this news before we explore further ramifications.”
Chloe stared straight at Gallagher with icy dread. “What ramifications?”
“I banked my sperm here. I never gave permission for its use as an anonymous donation.”
Chloe smoothed back the damp hair that had escaped the heavy braid down her back. The air conditioning in the building seemed to suddenly lose its battle with the outside Atlanta heat. “Well I didn’t give permission for the clinic to overnight
sperm instead of the donor’s I selected. So we’re even. ”
“The only way things will be even, Miss Simon, is if you agree that the child you’re carrying is just as much mine as yours.”
Chloe put both hands on her womb and felt the blood drain from her face. “No.”
“And while we’re at it,” he continued, unclasping his hands, leaning back in his chair with almost certain feigned relaxation, “I’m not delighted
at all --
as in, no fucking way -- with the prospect of my child being born a bastard without the Gallagher name.”
That did it. The churning in her belly percolated to the surface. She covered her mouth and scrambled from her chair, knowing she wasn’t going to make it as far as the door, much less the hallway restroom.
Like magic, an empty wastebasket appeared before her and a strong arm supported her chest. Chloe knelt down and emptied her stomach. Gut wrenching heaves that were far too loud racked Chloe’s body for what seemed like hours. When she started to calm and begin to hope that it was over, she vaguely became aware of her hair being lifted off her neck and soothing murmurs.
It was unbelievable that anyone had stayed in the room, much less right next to her. And it was, of course, inevitable that the someone was unquestionably the Sergeant. Gallagher sat down on the floor and eased her back until her head rested against his chest. “Doc. Do you think you could help me out here?” He pushed the wastebasket into Ashtar’s hands. “Get me an ice cold towel, some mouthwash and a glass of water.”
Chloe just kept her eyes closed, not wanting to move. She heard furious scrambling out the door and quick orders being issued.
“Useless asshole,” Gallagher muttered.
“There goes my hope for a child with eloquent verbal skills.”
He stroked back the hair from her face. “You’ll have to settle for concise. And effective.”
Chloe heard the nurse bustle in. “I’ll take over, sir.”
“No,” he answered. “Just give me the stuff and leave us.”
“Miss Simon?” the nurse asked.
Chloe didn’t want to move a muscle from where she was sprawled. It felt cooler down here on the floor and nice to be taken care of for a change. His chest was solid and reassuring against her back. She didn’t open her eyes or even think twice. “I’ll be fine.”
Any year now
The wet cloth on her forehead and neck felt like heaven, as did the mouthwash and sips of water. She gradually felt her strength returning and sighed. This unpleasant interlude had not erased the problems she faced. “I need to get up.”
“Wait a second.” He looked down at her. “It may have slipped by you. Or maybe the urge to vomit was your reaction. But bringing up the Gallagher name for our baby was kind of a marriage proposal.”
“Noooooo.” She wanted to scream. “Anonymous was supposed to be just that. It was supposed to be just me and my baby.” She scowled at him. “No overbearing father. No in-laws. No custody battles.”
His green eyes narrowed. “I have two questions for you. Are you married?”
“Are you a lesbian?”
“Then anything else can be dealt with. I have a plan.” He lifted her easily to her feet as if she was some elfin sprite instead of a pregnant woman who hadn’t been called petite since, well, ever. He was still supporting her forearms, standing right in front of her when he showed perfect white teeth in a traffic-stopping smile. “You’ll find that I’m very good at planning.”
All in all, Dev Gallagher thought that Chloe had taken the news rather well. She was still a bit shaky, but that was to be expected, and her unsettled state provided a benefit he was quick to exploit. She’d agreed to let him drive her home.
Fingers tapping on the steering wheel, Dev drifted forward in the slow line exiting the clinic complex. He glanced at her from time to time as he drove. Her face wasn’t three shades of green anymore. Her warm olive skin peeked through strands of glossy black hair that had escaped the thick braid over her shoulder.
He pegged her at five ten, which was a nice fit for his six foot and a quarter. While she was by no means too heavy for her height, she was solid, healthy, and very much all woman. Even while Chloe retched her guts out, Dev had enjoyed the feel of her generous breasts pillowed above his arm as he supported her. He’d felt the unbelievable softness of her skin as he soothed her hair back from her face and couldn’t resist nuzzling her hair and kissing the back of her neck. He’d even gotten half hard.
So sue him for being a crass bastard. He was just a guy, damn lucky to be alive. Not to mention currently driving down an American avenue that had only one in a million chance of hiding a roadside bomb. Yes-siree-bob. This was IED-less paradise.
When he hit the interstate, it was mercifully empty by Atlanta standards, so Dev was able to enjoy the scenery inside the car. A gauzy black skirt covered most of Chloe’s long legs. A sleeveless top of the same material hugged her breasts and stretched across the bulge on her lower belly. Instead of detracting from her figure, her pregnancy only served to make her look like some kind of fertility goddess.
The clunky sandals on her narrow feet drew his eyes to toes painted the color of ripe mangoes. And then there were the earrings, lots and lots of jingling earrings. Those intricate strands of silver would make an enchanting jingle of a Siren’s song every time she sank down on his cock, head thrown back in exquisite, desperate passion, striving for release that was just out of ....
“Broderick Devlin, don’t you think you should keep your eyes on the road?” she asked.
“Busted.” He had exited the freeway and was headed down a small thoroughfare toward her neighborhood. “I thought you were asleep. And ...."
He’d been visualizing the look on her face as she screamed out her climax above him. He grinned. “I was thinking about how much I like your earrings.”
“Oh. Thanks. They’re one of my weaknesses.” Chloe pulled her braid up on top of her head and did some kind of magical woman-thing with her fingers to make it stay put. “I dozed off for a few minutes.” She pushed the seat back up and looked around. “Turn left here and then a right three blocks down.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He followed the rest of her directions and pulled his battered Land Cruiser into a parking space on the street. Tall oaks and pines shaded the entire block. “By the way, most people call me Dev.”
“Well. Okay.” Without looking at him, she gathered her carpetbag purse and unbuckled her seatbelt. “Um, Dev. Yeah. Thanks for the ride.”
Dev turned off the engine and stepped out of the car, uncurling his right knee, which was always a treat. He marveled at her notion that he was just going to roll her onto the curb and burn rubber as he peeled off down the street. When he helped her out of the car seat, he touched her chin and made sure he had the attention of those golden brown eyes. “I’m not going to go away, Chloe. Not until we’ve talked.”