The Billionaire's Christmas Baby

By: Victoria James



She took a deep breath of icy air and knocked. Her thick red mittens made it sound more like the paws of a furry animal thumping on the door…maybe he couldn’t hear the muffled knocking against the sound of the storm. She was about to yank off a mitten when the door swung open. Her hand froze in midair, and the only thought she could process was why oh why did she have to be wearing the hideous red hat?

Jackson Pierce was at least six foot two inches of raw masculinity—the type of man who looked as though he belonged to no one, shared with no one. The kind that would normally make her run in the other direction. His hair was the color of expensive cognac, slightly mussed but clean cut, with eyes a few shades deeper. He was tanned, in that natural, not-from-a-tanning-salon sort of way, with dark stubble across a firm jaw and chin. Jackson was not what she expected.

Definitely built and definitely mouth-watering… if you were into that sort of look.

And she was not.

He frowned at her. “Are you lost?”

Hannah realized she must look like an idiot standing on his porch not saying a word. She lowered her arm, straightening her shoulders, and tried to project the image of the calm, cool, collected professional she usually was. “No, no. Not really.”

In the six-hour car ride and the twenty minutes of stalking in her car outside, she’d had everything rehearsed. She had even practiced her speech in front of Emily and had earned a few enthusiastic gurgles. But now, in front of him, she couldn’t bring herself to say the words she’d carefully planned. He raised his eyebrows, bracing his shoulder against the doorjamb. His fitted navy Henley shirt outlined his muscular arms and wide chest. The cold air obviously wasn’t bothering him in the least.

“Do you need help?” His voice. Sort of like smooth silk and rough suede. Unfortunately, his carefully enunciated question also implied that he thought she was mentally challenged.

It was now or never. She cleared her throat and was sure to maintain eye contact.

“Are you Christopher James?” she blurted out, deciding to use his real name at the last minute.

His brown brows snapped together. He pushed away from the doorjamb, and stood straight up. Suddenly he looked much more intimidating, and not at all nice.

“Who are you?”

“I’m Hannah Woods. Look, I’m sorry to bother you—” She took a deep breath. “I’m here because of your sister, Louise.” Self-preservation was a skill she’d learned early in her life, and right now her instincts were telling her to run in the other direction.

“I don’t have a sister.”

Hannah cleared her throat. “I’m sorry. I know that—”

He scowled. “What? What do you know?”

“I know that you changed your name and—”

He slammed the door in her face and Hannah was in disbelief. She stood still and stared at the black door. One thing was for sure—Jackson Pierce or Christopher James or whatever his name was, was definitely not a Christmas sugar cookie kind of man. What had she been thinking anyway? That she could shove cookies down the man’s throat while having a heart-to-heart about his sister and abandoned niece?

Tears began to blur her vision as she stared at the bare door, the reality of her situation setting it. Emily’s temporary foster placement with Mrs. Ford would end soon and after that Hannah would have very little control over what happened to the baby. Hannah had fought vigorously to have the woman be Emily’s interim guardian. Mrs. Ford was one of the best foster parents she’d ever come across. Hannah had gone to visit Emily every day after work. Spending time with the baby had become the highlight of her day. Hannah had been able to sleep at night, knowing the baby was in good hands while she searched for her uncle. It was Mrs. Ford’s faith in her that allowed Hannah to take Emily to find her uncle without going through the child welfare office. There was no way Hannah’s boss would have given her approval.

Hannah clutched the tin tightly to her chest and tried to ignore the lump in her throat that she suspected was due in part to feeling like a moron and in part to desperation. She would not cry. She did not cry. Before the night she’d found Emily, she hadn’t cried in years. What was she going to do? The man she had gambled on was nastier than a man that good-looking had any right to be. And to top it all off, she was in the middle of nowhere during a blizzard with a two month old baby and only her car for shelter.

She squinted against the wind, looking at the car. She had to make a move and fast. She pictured little Emily being removed from Mrs. Ford’s care. What if they didn’t find permanent placement for her? Emily could have years and years of being shuffled around, never having a home of her own. Hannah knew all about that. She wasn’t going to let that happen to this baby.

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