The Soul Mate Page 7

After Bren’s blood draw earlier, the lab would take twenty-four hours to get the test results back. I’d be on pins and needles until the results were in. Which meant I had a full twenty-four hours to ruminate about Bren.

Leaden feet led me back to my office where I shut the door and inhaled. Focusing on paperwork helped, so I shuffled through a pile and waited a few hours to call her so she could have time to process and calm down.

I knew I’d be useless until things were settled or at least discussed between Bren and me, so I suggested dinner. How emotional could she get in a public place? Once I got her on the line, I could tell by her hesitation she didn’t want to see me. Too damn bad. So I pushed.

“Sure,” she mumbled, giving in.

Glancing at the clock on my desk, I blew out a frustrated breath. I still had an hour before we were supposed to meet. Plenty of time to go to my apartment to shower and change. This was going to be the longest twenty-four hours of my entire life until those test results came in.

In the meantime, I needed a plan. I needed to push everything else out of my mind so I could focus on Bren and getting to know her. Make her want to know me.

I tented my hands and touched my fingers to my lips.

You can run, Bren Matthews, but you can’t hide.

Chapter Six


I didn’t go back to work. Couldn’t, because then I’d have to tell Mandy what happened, and I figured if I didn’t say anything—out loud, to anyone—I could pretend for a little while longer that this whole sordid afternoon was a grainy figment of my sleep-deprived imagination.

I didn’t want to have a random stranger’s baby growing in my belly, didn’t want to be saddled down with responsibility and tied to a man I didn’t even know. What if he didn’t like romantic walks on the beach and candlelit dinners? What if he was a typical workaholic and every night he came home dead tired, after hitting the gym and then collapsed onto the couch with the remote control in his hand?

What if he tried to rein in my freedom?

When the phone rang a couple of hours later, I about jumped out of my skin. Even though he’d said he’d call, I’d been consumed with my jumbled emotions so hadn’t really been expecting it, or his invitation to join him for dinner. I tried like hell to think of an excuse. But I wasn’t good at lying on the spot, and so I’d mumbled a weak “Sure.”

Glancing at the clock above my kitchen sink, I blew out a frustrated breath. I still had an hour before we were supposed to meet at the restaurant. This was going to be the longest twenty-four hours of my entire life. I wanted to hit my knees and pray for a negative result. If I wasn’t pregnant, I could get rid of him and his unwelcome effect on my equilibrium. Trying to push the pending results out of my mind, I stood in front of my walk-in closet, gazing at the endless options I had hanging inside. Wearing stained khakis and my assigned polos to work every day meant I liked to splurge on girly things like handbags and sandals and dresses from time to time.

But now I was surveying my closet for an entirely different reason—since I only had a one bedroom apartment, this is where the baby would sleep. I’d have to have it remodeled to accommodate a crib and changing table and all the other unknown essentials a tiny human required.

Finally deciding on a skirt and cardigan combo, I headed toward the front door, steeling my nerves for what was sure to be an awkward date.

I couldn’t shake from my mind the memory of the slashes of Mason’s dark eyebrows pulled into a scowl this afternoon. I’d never expected to see him again, especially not with such an irate expression on his face. But his angry expression wasn’t what had shaken me to my core.


It was unexpected, but that wasn’t what had me so shaken.

I couldn’t believe that of all the doctors in the city—Mandy had sent me straight into the stirrup-laden clutches of the one man I’d been trying so hard to forget. And during all the time we’d spent together, Mason had never mentioned what he did for a living. Even worse than the shock and awe was his massive effect on my already shaky body. Every line of his handsome face, every plane of his chiseled body, slayed me right through to my soul.

Those sapphire blue eyes framed in dark lashes had blazed on mine, and I’d been at my most vulnerable, unable to steady myself, wanting more distance between us. As if widening the physical gap would sever the magnetic pull I’d felt from the moment our eyes had locked across a crowded club. Even after I’d dressed and fled to the lobby, he’d given chase. A sturdy, square jaw dusted with stubble, and powerful shoulders that jutted out wide, then tapered down to a trim waist. The man was perfection, and that was without allowing myself to remember what was beneath those baby-blue scrubs. Placing my hand on my belly, I said a silent prayer that I could make it through this evening without succumbing to his charm.

I’d been through too much and couldn’t go down that road again. He may have missed the neon sign on my heart practically flashing Closed, and it would be my job to remind him. I wasn’t looking for anything. We’d had one night of fun, and now look where I was. I’d just have to put on my big-girl panties and deal. Like I always did. Ridiculously hot doctor be damned.

Chapter Seven


I didn’t feel right not picking her up and driving her to the restaurant like a gentleman. Hell, Bren could be the mother of my unborn child. But then, of course, nothing about this whole situation felt right—not my clothes, not the way it happened, and certainly not the way it might end up. But then, well, maybe it really was fate.

I glanced at my phone, knowing it wouldn’t tell me anything my internal clock hadn’t told me already.

Bren was late. Which left me to sit here, wondering if I’d been stood up.

When I’d called her earlier today, she’d sounded willing enough—no doubt she wanted to plan out what would happen if the results came back the way she expected them to…the way we both expected them to.

But then, on some level, I thought we both already knew the answers. I would be there with her, take care of our baby, and make sure her delivery went as smoothly as it could. I would help her and I would love our child. There was no question I would be there for my baby in every way I could.

What was less certain was how she and I would do. How we would get along aside from our one night of hot, passionate sex. Even though my gut told me it was right, I had to admit I didn’t really know her at all. I knew her body well enough. But I needed to get to know the woman attached to it.

Before this baby came—if it came at all—I wanted to get to know her. Wanted to see if the reality lived up to the fantasy I’d built up in my mind about who Bren could be to me.

The one.

My phone buzzed on the table in front of me and I glanced at it. When I saw it was from Bren and read the word “here”, I breathed a sigh of relief. Glancing around, I spotted her standing in the bright sun pouring through the glass doors. I waved her over to the table I’d requested near the wide bay windows overlooking the water.

 She offered me a nervous smile, then headed over, hitching her purse on the back of the chair before settling into the seat opposite me. “Fancy place,” she said.

I nodded. “Hope you don’t mind. They have the best Arnold Palmers here, and since you’re probably not drinking, I thought…”

She bit her bottom lip, a soft pink glow taking over her cheeks. “Thanks. That was thoughtful.”

A long silence stretched between us, and I glanced out at the water just as a fish jumped into the air and splashed back down.

I know how you feel, buddy. Less than five minutes and I’m already floundering…

My mind raced, searching for the right words to say to fill the awkward pause. Something that wouldn’t give her any reason to want to run away from me. Bren dug through her big bag and pulled out a stack of crisp white papers. “Look, uh, I know this is weird, but I drew up some ideas for custody and—”

I took the sheets and set them aside. “I get that and why you want to do it, and if it turns out that’s necessary, I promise I’ll look at them. But it’s jumping the gun, to say the least. I don’t want to talk about the elephant in the room,” I said. “We had a good first date—let’s consider this the second. I just want to have a nice dinner and get to know you.”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies