Expecting his child(10)

By: Leanne Banks

Baby booties.

It was the silliest thing; but the tiny, tiny white booties made it all feel real and right to her. Seeing Noah tonight had confused her, and she didn't need to feel confused. Martina knew what she had to do. She had to keep her head together and love and raise this baby. She had to resist the urge to lean, especially on Noah. He made her think. Every time he visited her, there was more to like, more to admire, more to want and, in turn, more to fear.

The thought of knowing him more made every muscle in her body tense. It wasn't just that he was a Coltrane, although heaven knows that was enough. Martina had a feeling in her heart, in her blood, that if she fell for Noah, his being was so big and powerful that he would swallow her and she would simply disappear.

* * *

Chapter 3


"Have you heard anything from—" Martina's sister-in-law, Jill asked "—your assistant procreator?"

Martina grinned as the two women carried the results of their shopping trip into her condo. "I like that. Takes a lot of the messy emotion out of it?"

"I wouldn't want to upset the mother-to-be."

"By using expressions like former lover, or father of my child, or one of the top five men my brothers most hate." Martina gritted her teeth. "Thank you."

"Hate is a strong word," Jill said, revealing her public-relations background. "Your brothers may not really hate Noah Coltrane. They don't even know one another."

"They hate him," Martina said, stomping upstairs to the nursery. "Brock hates him because he's a Coltrane and one of their bulls jumped the fence and had entirely too much fun with some of our heifers. It made calving season a real pain because the bull was the wrong size and some of the calves were too big, and then there's your husband, Dr. Tyler Logan, who used to get into fistfights with Noah on a weekly basis when they were in their teens. And then there's the small matter that Noah got their baby sister pregnant. Yeah, I would say his name is dirt."

"But people change and they haven't truly sat down and talked since they became adults."

"That's to prevent bloodshed and eventual death by lethal injection. Texas believes in capital punishment."

Jill chuckled and put her arms around Martina in a hug. "Don't you think you're exaggerating just a little?"

"No," Martina muttered. "And I'm not exaggerating when I say how nice you are to check on me and go baby shopping with me." Martina knew Jill was unable to bear children because of an injury from an automobile accident, and her sister-in-law's continued generosity often brought tears to her eyes. Jill hadn't allowed her injury to prevent her from being a mother to a child who needed her. She and Tyler had adopted a son as soon as they got married.

Jill's watery gaze met Martina's damp one and both women laughed. "At least you can blame this on hormones. I'm really okay. It's amazing what marrying your brother and adopting Sam have done for me. I just want you and your baby to be healthy and happy." She sobered. "And I notice you didn't answer my question about your assistant procreator."

Martina made a face. "Yes. He found me." She pulled bumper pads and sheets with a soothing cloud motif from a bag.


"And he immediately said we should get married, and I told him never, and he said we need to get to know each other, and I suggested e-mail."

"You must have felt something for him to get involved with him," Jill said.

Martina didn't like being reminded of her initial attraction to Noah. It had been strong and sexual, and she wasn't feeling very sexy these days.

Her doorbell rang, saving her from responding.

"Pizza," a male voice called.

Martina felt a twinge. The voice was familiar. "I didn't order pizza," she muttered, rising from the floor. Although pizza sounded like a good idea.

Jill joined her at the top of the stairs. "Your pizza-delivery guy looks a lot different from mine."

Noah had let himself in her unlocked door. His intense gaze wrapped around Martina and squeezed before he gave a slight grin that made her stomach flip. How had he known she would be hungry? Martina rolled her eyes at herself. When was she not hungry?

"What a surprise," she said in a neutral voice, walking down the stairs.

He flipped open the lid to reveal a large, hot pizza with mushrooms and onions. She eyed him suspiciously. "How did you know they're my favorite toppings?"

"It's my job to know," he said in a voice that would melt brick.

Martina tried to ignore the way her heart sped up. "You're the man who arrived on horseback at Brock and Felicity's wedding," Jill said, her eyes growing wide in realization. "The fa—" She stopped and appeared to correct herself. "The fellow procreator."

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