Baby My Baby (A Ranching Family)

Free Baby My Baby (A Ranching Family) by Victoria Pade

Book: Baby My Baby (A Ranching Family) by Victoria Pade Read Free Book Online
Authors: Victoria Pade
he’d better just accept it.
    And if he didn’t?
    Then she’d leave. She’d pack up in the middle of the night and she’d disappear. She wouldn’t even let her brothers know where she was so there was no risk of one of them telling Asher Blackwolf.
    Damn him anyway!
    But then she stepped from behind the turnstile and caught sight of him again.
    And some of the steam fizzled out of her.
    He wasn’t watching her anymore. He was studying a crib. Very intently. Very seriously. Checking its sturdiness. Checking the movement of the side and how secure it was when it was up. Checking the width of the gaps between the spindled bars.
    And there was something very touching about the big man so intent in thoughts of his child’s safety that it gave her heart quite a lurch.
    Damn him anyway...
    It struck her then that he was going to love this baby, just the way she was. Just the way she already did. That no matter what he’d thought or said before, now that it was on the way, he really did want it.
    He really did want to be included in it all. And she knew she had to accept that, in spite of her own feelings about him. Feelings she was just going to have to control. No matter how difficult that might be.
    Because regardless of what was between them, she couldn’t deny him the pleasure of planning for this baby any more than she could deny him the baby itself after it was born.
    But she could keep hoping something would distract him or call him away, to ease the burden of those feelings for a man who no longer wanted her.
    The saleswoman recovered from her pique at Beth’s curt dismissal and returned to take the bras to the register. She was still in a bit of a huff, which subdued her enthusiasm and, thankfully, her voice, so that Beth managed to pay for her underwear without more embarrassment.
    When the transaction was complete, the baby furniture seemed to call to her, too, and she joined Ash.
    “I think we should buy this set, tie it to the roof of the car and take it with us,” he informed her decisively over an oak dresser, crib and matching changing table.
    “It’s too soon for that. And even if it wasn’t, until Linc and Danny move in with Kansas, there’s no room for it all.”
    That wasn’t exactly true, but it seemed viable. The truth was that something about the purchase made Beth feel uncomfortable.
    It wasn’t that she had any more than the usual concerns about carrying the baby to full term or delivering a healthy infant; this had more to do with Ash. With the awkwardness of their situation. With her unwanted and unrealistic wish that they were choosing furniture to put in the nursery of the home they’d share with their child instead of the house she shared with her brothers.
    “I don’t think it’s too soon,” Ash persisted, oblivious to her thoughts and lost in his own. “But if you don’t like it, maybe I’ll have it sent to my place.”
    Everything seemed to stand still for Beth. “Your place?”
    “Sure. I’ll need the whole setup, too. For when the baby is with me on the reservation.”
    Beth felt as if he’d hit her. Hard.
    She could barely breathe, let alone respond to that. All she could do was turn and leave behind the store, Ash and the beautiful furniture while she dealt with the sudden harsh realization that he was right, that there would actually be times when she would have to hand over her baby to him.
    Somehow, in all of her previous thinking, that hadn’t occurred to her. She’d pictured the baby with her. She pictured Ash spending—at most—a few hours or an afternoon with it. Not actually taking it across the state for days or weeks or months...
    Outside she took long gulps of air to fight off the tears and anger that were tearing at her insides like claws.
    “Beth?” Ash came out of the store behind her, his voice and expression rife with concern.
    She wanted to shout at him, to scream that this baby was hers, that he could visit with it but that he couldn’t buy

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