One Secret Night, One Secret Baby(10)

By: Charlene Sands

“Royce Brisbane. He’s in financial planning.”

Emma dug her teeth into her bottom lip to keep from chuckling. “You, with a suit?”

“Yes, but he looks dreamy in it.”

“Wow, Brooke. You really like this guy. You shopped.” Brooke was not a shopper. She had one color in her wardrobe arsenal, basic black, and she wore it like armor every day.

“I think I do like him. A lot. It was so easy talking to him. We have a lot in common.”

“Tell me more.”

After getting the full details on Royce Brisbane, Emma’s thoughts went to Brooke’s upcoming date on the drive home. Emma had to admit, the guy sounded good on paper. If he made Brooke happy, then she was all for it. She hadn’t seen Brooke smile so much in months. That could be a good thing, or a bad thing. A very bad thing. The more you care about someone, the more they could potentially hurt you. But Emma wouldn’t poke a hole in Brooke’s happy balloon; her friend deserved to have a good time.

Emma parked in her apartment structure and climbed out of her car. Her legs were two strands of thin spaghetti tonight. It was an effort to walk across the courtyard to her front door. She shoved the sticky door open with her body and glimpsed her comfy sofa with cushy pillows and a quilt she could curl up in. She dropped her purse unceremoniously onto the coffee table, sank down onto the sofa and let out a relieved sigh.

A hundred details ran through her head. The upcoming golf event was first and foremost in her mind. It wasn’t for a few weeks yet, but it was a big opportunity for the business. She did yet another mental check, making sure all bases were covered, before she could really relax. Somewhat confident she hadn’t forgotten anything, she lay her head down and stretched her legs out, allowing the cushions to envelop her weary body.

If only she could go mindless for a while. Sometimes she envied people who could close everything off and go blank. She tended to overthink everything, which made her excellent at her job, but a sad prospect for a carefree lifestyle.

The night of the memorial for Roy Benjamin played in her head and she immediately zoomed in on Dylan McKay. The way he had held her on the beach, the way she had felt when his hand covered hers possessively, the way his mouth had moved over hers and claimed her in a kiss. It wasn’t a birthday kiss. It wasn’t a friend’s kiss, either, though Dylan seemed to think so. It was much more for her. And the memory floated through her body and filled in all the lonely gaps.

Secret dibs.

She smiled. It was never going to happen, yet part of her fantasy had come true. Dylan had made glorious love to her. Okay, so she wasn’t sure about the glorious part. She’d been too out of it to know if he was a good lover or not. But in her fantasy world, Dylan was the best. Appeal magazine had said so, too. He’d been voted Most Sexy Single this year. And there had been endorsements by his former girlfriends. So it had to be true.

Her eyes grew heavy. It was a battle to keep them open with the cushions supporting her fatigued body and the quilt covering her. All tucked in, she gave up the fight and surrendered to slumber.

Ruff, ruff...ruff, ruff.

Emma bolted upright, her eyes snapping to attention. She found herself on the sofa, half covered with her favorite quilt. How long had she been out? Squinting, she glanced at the wall clock. It was eight thirty. Wow, she’d been asleep for ninety minutes. She’d never taken a nighttime nap before.

Ruff, ruff...ruff, ruff.

Her phone rang again. She grappled for it inside her purse and put it to her ear. “Hello.”


It was Dylan. There was no mistaking that deep baritone voice that had half the female movie-viewing population panting to hear more. “Oh, hi.”

She hinged her body up, planted her feet on the ground and shook her head to clear away the grogginess.

“I didn’t wake you, did I?”

Did she sound as if she’d been sleeping? She tried her best to pretend she was wide-awake. “Not at all. I’m up.”


“No. Just sitting here...going over a few details in my head.” A yawn crept out and she cupped her hand over her mouth to hide the sound. “What are you doing?”

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