Dundee, Idaho #1
Delaney Lawson knows what it’s like to feel indebted. Orphaned at the age of six, she was raised by Aunt Millie and Uncle Ralph, with a little help from the small Idaho community of Dundee where they live, and feels as though she must repay them for their love and generosity by being the “good girl” they’ve always expected her to be—the good girl she’s always been. But her best friend and housemate is marrying and moving away and, at thirty, she’s beginning to feel the constraints of her staid life. She longs to break the mold, to reach out and make what she wants happen before it’s too late. Only what she wants is a baby. And she can’t make a baby on her own!
Conner Armstrong has hit rock bottom and is finally trying to pull his life together. The grandson of a multi-millionaire rancher/businessman, he’s come to Dundee, Idaho to prove himself at last. But when the only scandal to hit the small town in years revolves directly around him—threatening his whole future—he’s determined to make Delaney Lawson pay for tricking him. Except the woman he’d rather think of as cold and calculating is actually as warm-hearted as she is attractive. And no matter how hard he tries, he can’t forget that one night in Boise!
This book is available
in an E-Book edition
September 1, 2002
(left: original book cover)
He knew she was coming. She saw his gaze flick over her in the mirror, guessed he’d been expecting her—and felt like a complete fool. Especially because the guy sitting next to him at the bar was watching her far more eagerly, and she knew she wouldn’t sleep with him if he was the last man on earth.
Relax. Pretend you’re someone else, someone chic and bold and…—she gulped—…easy.
“Hi,” she said, sliding onto the empty stool next to him. She’d been planning to order a drink to make her approach a little less obvious, but her timing wasn’t good. The bartender had turned around and was busy fiddling with the television in the corner.
She glanced forlornly at his back, then braved a smile at the man she hoped would father her child.
He considered her for several seconds before responding. “Hi,” he said, but he didn’t return her smile or swivel toward her or do anything else to make himself more approachable, and it stung Delaney’s pride enough to make her sit up and pretend to have confidence in what she was doing.
“You live around here?” she asked, keeping her focus strictly on him because the man in the red flannel shirt kept leaning forward to entice her with a battered grin. He may as well have been holding up a sign that read, “Take me,” but no matter how blatant his interest, Delaney wasn’t buying. She’d do the artificial thing first.
“No, I’m just in town for the night,” ‘Ricky’ said. “What about you?”
Now that she was so close, she could tell his eyes weren’t entirely brown. Gold flecks made them appear almost amber, and there was something inside them that seemed more world-wise than Delaney would have expected for a man who looked so close to her own age. After only a few seconds in his company, he reminded her much less of Ricky Martin than he had at first. He didn’t possess the same easy smile or laid-back attitude. This man came off as intense, shrewd, even unforgiving, which added significantly to Delaney’s anxiety.
I don’t have to worry about his ability to forgive. I’m never going to see him again.
His gaze fell to the cleavage revealed by her dress, and she instinctively moved to cover herself. “I live a couple of hours from here,” she responded automatically, then wanted to kick herself for being so truthful. The less he knew about her the better.
“Oh, really? Where?” Unless it was her imagination, his voice revealed a spark of interest.
“It’s a town called New Meadows, to the north of here,” she lied, picking a town on the opposite side of Boise.
“Oh.” The spark died, and an awkward silence ensued, during which Delaney curled her fingers into her palms and thought about all the ways she was going to torture Rebecca for pushing her into this. If not for her, Delaney would be safe at home dreaming about a baby…and doing absolutely nothing to make it a reality.
That thought sobered her enough to keep her where she was. One night, one man, remember? No big deal.
“What can I get for you?” the bartender asked, finally making his way over.
Delaney ordered a club soda and opened her purse to get her money out, but ‘Ricky’ surprised her by paying for it. “What are you and your friend doing in town?” he asked once her drink had been delivered.
Delaney took a sip and focused on his hands, which were circling his beer glass. They were big, nice hands. And he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring.
Romantic Times *** 4 Stars ***
“Delaney Lawson wants a BABY OF HER OWN, so she sheds her good girl image and goes looking for a man. But complications arise when her “one night stand” moves to her small hometown. Conner Armstrong is trying to cast off his bad boy image, and the last thing he needs is a major scandal. Somehow they have to find a way to make the whole mess work, or they both lose. It’s a winner for Brenda Novak, with her honeyed heroine, enticing hero and the passion they create. Readers will also get a kick out of Delaney’s quick-witted friend Rebecca.”
“Friendship, family and offbeat personalities sparkle in A BABY OF HER OWN. Brenda Novak once again displays her dazzling gift for creating characters we believe in. A BABY OF HER OWN comes very highly recommended.”
Cindy Penn, Senior Editor
Old Book Barn Gazette
“This story is rich, rewarding and romantic. Ms. Novak blends a serious situation with compelling characters to create a wonderful romance you cannot put down. Watch for Rebecca’s story, A HUSBAND OF HER OWN, in 2003. Sure to be another treasure.”
“Ms. Novak has hooked me with her endearing characters and heart-tugging romance.”
Romance Reviews Today
“Emotionally satisfying, with a cast of interesting characters, A BABY OF HER OWN is sure please.”
The Best Reviews
“A one-sitting read! Kudos to Brenda Novak for an insightful and emotional story that tore at my heartstrings! I look forward to reading Rebecca’s story!”
Dorothy Parker Award Nominee
Finalist in the Golden Quill
Finalist in the Award of Excellence