Surprised By A Baby by Mindy Neff released on Nov 24, 2003 is available now for purchase.
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Surprised By A Baby
By Mindy Neff
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneDonetta Presley's nerves were flat-out wrecked. And no wonder! She'd had another run-in with the town's new fire marshal; the contractor who'd renovated her trendy hair salon and her upstairs apartment wasn't returning her phone calls; and despite feeling like road kill and hugging the porcelain throne more times than she cared to remember, she'd actually given a haircut to a toy poodle named Debbie!
On top of that, she'd had to drive clear over to Austin just to buy a home pregnancy test. Hope Valley had the fastest gossip mill in Texas and she did not want the whole town discussing the nature of her purchase before she could even get home and remove the cellophane from the box.
She could have saved herself the trouble.
Pretty soon everyone would know anyway.
She wiped her clammy forehead with the back of her wrist, tempted to lower the thermostat on the salon's air conditioner another notch. That probably wouldn't be a good idea. Her clients were shivering as it was.
Trying to take shallow breaths, praying the nausea would pass, she removed the last few bobby pins and rollers from Millicent Lloyd's blue hair and tossed them into an open drawer. The pink-and-gray perm rods she'd used on a client who'd left more than an hour ago were still scattered in the shampoo bowl. Too bad the scent hadn't gone with the woman, because the acrid smell of ammonia that wafted from the shiny black sink bowl made Donetta's stomach revolt anew.
Wasn't that a hoot? The owner and operator of Donetta's Secret, the only hair salon in Hope Valley, Texas, couldn't bear the smell of permanent wave lotion.
Lordy, she didn't need this grief. Her schedule was so messed up she was now juggling three clients at once. And Miz Lloyd expected to leave here at twoforty-five on the dot - same as every Friday.
She patted the woman on the shoulder. "Be patient with me, okay, Miz Lloyd? I'm tryin' my best to get you out of here on time."
She reached for a bottle of finishing spray and gave Millicent's short barrel curls a squirt, then pumped a couple of aromatic spurts into the air.
Millicent's blue-tinted eyebrows shot up. "Did you just blast me with air freshener?"
Donetta forced a smile and retrieved her small teasing brush from the top drawer of the laminate workstation. "No, silly. It's finishing spray. It sets the curl and gives your hair more body. Don't you just love the way it smells?"
"You've never used it on me before," Millicent said, her light-blue eyes narrowing.
Donetta looked down at the sectioned curls. "It's a new product. Just came in this week."
"Expensive, I bet. Ought to have a care about wasting it." She sniffed, still clutching her taupe gloves in her age-spotted fist. Millicent Lloyd never went to town without matching gloves, shoes and pocketbook.
"Squirting it all over the place like it was toilet water perfume from the dime store. Why, if I wasn't trussed up in this cape, I'd be needing a bath."
"You're fine," Donetta soothed. "It's not sticky."
As she backcombed Millicent's hair into a temporary Phyllis Diller look, she glanced at the chrome clock above the front door and checked the minute hands, shaped as neon-red scissors. Barring any more interruptions, she could probably finish these last three clients within the hour and close up early.
Then again, maybe not.
Her hand tightened around the red plastic handle of the brush when she saw the sheriff's car wheel into a diagonal parking space in front of her salon.
He was her best friend's brother - an ex-Texas Ranger who was now the sheriff of Hope Valley.
And he was the last person Donetta wanted to see today.
"I declare, Donetta. You're about to snatch me baldheaded."
She jolted and quickly smoothed out the two-inchlong section of hair she'd just teased into a ball of frizz.
"Sorry, Miz Lloyd. My mind wandered."
"Good thing you didn't have a pair of scissors in your hand. No telling what I'd look like." She cut her eyes toward the front window, then back to Donetta's reflection in the mirror. "That Carmichael boy is heading this way. Is that what's got you in such a tizzy?"
Storm Carmichael wasn't anybody's idea of a boy, Donetta thought, which was partly the reason her knees were shaking. Thank God she hadn't worn her miniskirt today. The man was more observant than a hawk, and Donetta had learned a hard lesson about showing vulnerability.
"Just running behind schedule is all that's wrong with me," Donetta said.
The door swished open, sucking out precious degrees of the salon's cool air. And there he stood, Sheriff Storm Carmichael, six feet five inches of sinfully delicious masculinity in boots, jeans, a khaki uniform shirt with a sheriff's star pinned above his breast pocket, and a Stetson sporting a cattleman's crease.
The very man responsible for this god-awful, debilitating morning sickness.
His gaze locked onto hers and never wavered, yet she knew he could probably give a detailed description of every customer in the salon, as well as the hairstyle models in the photos on the walls. Despite her outward control, her heart galloped like a thoroughbred on an open range.
She'd had a major crush on him when she was a dreamy ten-year-old and he was sixteen. But that was twenty years ago - and at this particular moment, puppy love was not the emotion she was feeling.
"Excuse me just a minute, Miz Lloyd." She set the brush on her station, then strolled toward the reception desk to head him off in case he had any ideas of coming in and getting comfortable. Not that he'd ever hung out in the salon, but he looked like a man with something on his mind, a man willing to wait until she was finished with her clients.
That was all she needed, she thought with a mental sigh. To have Storm's eyes trained on her backside while she worked. She'd likely give Darla Pam Kirkwell a mohawk.
She stopped at the reception desk, realizing she'd almost walked right up to Storm to automatically give him a hug.
That was what happened when a person had sex with a friend. Normal, lifelong habits became awkward. She'd always greeted him with a hug - even if she was miffed at him. Now she was afraid the simple gesture would give away more than she wanted him to know.
Wishing she could sit down for about five hours, she leaned against the red laminate counter, instead, and put on her polite, welcome-the-customer face. It took a Herculean effort. She felt about as sociable as a shebear in satin.
"Afternoon, Sheriff. What can I do for you?"
His eyes blatantly lowered to her V-neck tank top, embroidered with a large, dramatic face of a cat, then to her slim khaki pants and open-toed platform shoes. Although it was October, a warm front had moved in from the Gulf, making it feel like the middle of summer. Storm Carmichael's visual caress cranked up her internal thermostat to triple digits.
"I guess you didn't see that red tag on the door," he said in his perfectly charming Texas drawl. He was one of those men whose smooth baritone voice had an innately sensual, teasing tone.
Excerpted from Surprised By A Baby by Mindy Neff Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Cute story. A little too many cliches and cutesy sayings in the dialog but overall good.
Interesting enough .
Really enjoyed this story. I loved the way Storm just stepped up and wanted to take care of Donetta, not only before he found out, but after he made the discovery. Donetta really struggled with her situation, but eventually, she conquered her demons. This book is the second in the series and can be read as a standalone. So far, the first book is my favorite, but this runs a close second. The characters are well written, the Texas Sweethearts are fun, and the story pulls you in from the very beginning and holds you until the last page. My icing on the cake would be if the writer would start adding an epilogue. I would so love to read about Storm and Donetta, maybe 1, 2, 3, maybe 5 years down the road. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book.
I really enjoyed Donetta and Storm's story. They are perfect together, loved the connection and build up of their relationship. What a great addition to the Texas Sweethearts series. Love the small town vibe - very realistic. The characters are strong, well written, developed and likable. The plot was entertaining and this book just really drew me in. I can't wait to read the next in the series. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
I loved this story so much! The Texas Sweethearts really are sweethearts! Donetta, Sunny, Becca Sue and Tracy Lynn are the sweethearts. Since they were children they vowed to be best friends and truly are. Donetta had a one night of passion with the love of her life, one of her best friend Sunny's brother, Storm. She discovers she is pregnant and tries to hide it from the small town of Hope Valley, Texas. Storm is the Sheriff and he arrives in her beauty salon to tell her she has to close up because of problems with her building. Storm plans to help her get her salon on track and insists she moves in with him until it is done. Donetta does not want to marry, she was married before and was abused and is gun shy. Of course once Storm finds out about the baby he wants to wed Donetta. A really sweet and fun read! I could not put it down!
Im tired and i gtgtb good night [~_~]
Is goin back to dance.
Tall and sweet as a cool glass of water on a hot day, Donetta Presley is a magnet for guys- sometimes really bad guys. One failed marriage, though, and she¿s vowed to clean up her act. She¿s almost back on track- and then a wild ride in the arms of the local lawman shoots her up to number one on his Most Wanted list and has her eating for two. Sheriff storm Carmichael knows what trouble looks like, and the long-legged owner to the town¿s hair salon is just that- with a capital T. from the red curls cascading down her back to the perfect toes peeking out of her strappy sandals, Donetta is designed to disturb a man¿s peace. Making an honest woman out of her won¿t be easy, but Storm is a man with a mission. He just has to catch her first.