Suddenly Engaged (A Lake Haven Novel Book 3)(4)

By: Julia London

I have no one to help me. Her mother had been gone fifteen years, taken from their lives by brain cancer. Her dad—oh Jesus, he’d be pissed, and he’d be no help. And what about her job? Brandi said she was in line to get the editorial position, but that job required long hours and had deadlines that sometimes kept staff in the offices all night.

Kyra somehow reached the river without knowing how she’d crossed the streets, but here she was, staring down at the undulating current as the river flowed merrily along.

She knew nothing about babies. She didn’t know how to have one, she damn sure didn’t know how to take care of one. And what kind of money was she looking at? Diapers cost a lot, didn’t they? Her insurance sucked, and she didn’t have any money in the bank, because hello, she’d spent it on that damn trip to Puerto Vallarta. How was she going to pay for this?

Maybe Josh was right. Maybe she should abort it. What was she supposed to do, bring a baby into this world whose father didn’t want him and whose mother couldn’t afford him?

Kyra’s breath began to grow short. She braced her hands on her knees and bent over, desperately trying not to hyperventilate. “You can’t have this baby,” she whispered to herself. “You can’t. You can’t.”

It was several moments before she managed to catch her breath. She slowly pushed herself upright and shook her head, trying to clear the muck of so many jumbled thoughts. She dug her phone out of her bag and punched Brandi’s name on the contact list.

“Brandi Jenkins,” Brandi answered after two rings.

“Brandi . . . I talked to Josh.”

She gasped. “You did? What did he say?”

“I don’t . . . I—” She paused, rubbed her forehead. “He’s engaged.”

“What? Since when?”

“Will you go to Planned Parenthood with me?” Kyra whispered.

She heard Brandi’s breath catch. Her friend said nothing for a moment. “Oh, Kyra,” she whispered. “Of course I will.”

Chapter One

Seven years later


Leave it to a female to think the rules did not apply to her.

The little heathen from next door was crawling under the split-rail fence that separated the cottages again. Dax, who already had been feeling pretty damn grumpy going on a year now, wondered why she didn’t just go over the fence. She was big enough. It was almost as if she wanted the mud on her dress and her knees, to drag the ends of her dark red ponytails through the muck.

She crawled under, stood up, and knocked the caked mud off her knees. She stomped her pink, sparkly cowboy boots—never had he seen a more impractical shoe—to make them light up, as she liked to do, hopping around her porch several times a day.

Then she started for cottage Number Two, arms swinging, stride long.

Dax watched her from inside his kitchen, annoyed. It had started a week ago, when she’d climbed on the bottom railing of the fence, leaned over it, and shouted, “I like your dog!”

He’d ignored her.

Two days ago he’d asked her, fairly politely, not to give any more cheese to his dog, Otto. That little stunt of hers had resulted in a very long and malodorous night between man and beast.

Yesterday he’d commanded her to stay on her side of the fence.

But here the little monster came, apparently neither impressed with him nor intimidated by his warnings.

Well, Dax had had enough with that family, or whatever the situation was next door. And the enormous pickup truck that showed up at seven a.m. and idled in the drive just outside his bedroom window. Those people were exactly what was wrong with America—people doing whatever they wanted without regard for anyone else, letting their kids run wild, coming and going at all hours of the day.

He walked to the back screen door and opened it. He’d installed a dog door, but Otto refused to use it. No, Otto was a precious buttercup of a dog that liked to have his doors opened for him, and he assumed that anytime Dax neared the door, it was to open it for him. He assumed so now, stepping in front of Dax—pausing to stretch after his snoring nap—before sauntering out and down the back porch steps to sniff something at the bottom.

Dax walked out onto the porch and stood with his hands on his hips as the girl brazenly advanced.

“Hi!” she said.

She was about to learn that she couldn’t make a little girl’s social call whenever she wanted. There were rules in this world, and Dax had no compunction about teaching them to her. Clearly someone needed to. He responded to her greeting with a glower.

“Hi!” she said again, shouting this time, as if he hadn’t heard her from the tremendous distance of about six feet.