Expecting a Bolton Baby

expecting-a-bolton-baby

Bobby Bolton is sick and tired of everyone thinking he’s the family screw-up. No one takes him seriously, even though his deals have made the family business millions. He’s got a plan, to prove his bona fides—he’s building a destination resort for their upper-class biker customers outside of Sturgis, South Dakota. His resort won’t be a down-and-dirty bar for the real bad-asses, but a place where all the dentists and lawyers who ride choppers on the weekend can kick back and drop a few thousand on amenities. Thing are going according to plan—until Stella Caine shows up at the construction site. The daughter of a powerful music mogul, Stella walks a fine line between leading a sheltered life and rebellion. Bobby had made Stella’s acquaintance the last time he was in L.A. And if he recalls correctly, they got buzzed—and then some—in the back of her SUV. When Stella announces that she’s two months pregnant, all of Bobby’s plans change in an instant. Suddenly, things get very serious. Is Bobby father material, or will this screw up all his big plans?

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The Bolton Brothers: Book 3
November 2013 from Harlequin Desire
ISBN-10: 0373732805
ISBN-13: 978-0373732807




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Praise

4.5 Stars! The Bolton Brothers are back, and they’re hotter than ever in this latest series installment. With interesting and quirky characters, funny dialogue and a sexy romance, Anderson works magic. —RT Book Reviews 

Grade: A! …The Bolton boys are irresistible!The Good, The Bad and The Unread

…The way Sarah M. Anderson writes motorcycle guys? I might have to come around to a new way of thinking…I might not be ready to chuck my clean-cut hero preferences out the door permanently, but I am willing to concede that maybe I’ve been a bit judgmental about these biker boys. Maybe they’re not all bad…Everyone else can fight over the barely housebroken bad boys—I’ll take more Bobby please.Wendy the Super Librarian at Heroes and Heartbreakers

4 stars! For me, it was simply a lovely book with engaging characters that I wanted to succeed. I love Sarah M. Anderson’s stuff and this one was no different.Scorching Book Reviews 

4 stars! Good book.  Bobby hadn’t forgotten his encounter with Stella, but respected her wishes to leave her alone.  Then she came back to see him and tell him that she’s pregnant.  Bobby is stunned but determined to do the right thing, if only he can convince her.Susan’s 2013 Reading Blog

The latest Bolton Brothers romance is a fun contemporary due to a delightfully unconventional cast (think of the Duck Dynasty crew). Readers will enjoy Bobby’s monumental screw-up as he must overcome the impression he left Stella with that the deal and the show come before love and the baby.–Genre-Go-Round

Expecting a Bolton Baby is a strong tale of family expectations, fear, and hope. Not what I expected from the beginning, but I’m delighted with what I got.Tales to Tide You Over

4 stars! This was a very well-written story with really great characters and a good ending. I recommend everyone to give this book a try, you will not regret it.Jackie’s Book World

4 stars! I’m glad these two managed to get their acts together and get married. I loved the look at the Bolton family as a whole and how they came together when they needed to…I’ll happily read the next book in this series when it comes out, and for me, that’s saying something…So, happily I can say this earns a 4-star rating from me. Thanks, Ms. Anderson, for writing a great book.–Tory Michaels’ World

Expecting a Bolton Baby was hard to put down in the beginning. I read the first half straight through and got really engaged with the story…Bobby was ever caring, sweet, and was always putting Stella’s wishes and wants before his own. Plus, he cooks and does the dishes! Now that’s the kind of hero I love.–Nina’s Literary Escape

4 stars! The weather’s changing and it’s time to cozy up with easy to read, light romance. Expecting a Bolton Baby by Sarah M. Anderson is a great choice if you like to watch the hero and the heroine tip toe around each other emotionally, while denying any feelings, even to themselves! Sarah M. Anderson writes with a light hand, adds a few colorful characters and a few little twists just to keep things lively in this nicely paced, cozy little romance!–Tome Tender Book Blog

4 Stars! I liked the way this man thinks…This was a fun read.First Page to the Last

(Bobby) treated Stella like a lady even after she told him about the pregnancy. He acted like a true Bolton…they made a cute couple. And we got to see more of those badass Bolton Brothers again.Book Travels

This story is chock full of great characters who quite immediately win your attention and heart. This book abounds with feel good moments. I never wanted it to end. Anderson is well known for her westerns and this story shows how prolific and versatile she is.Fresh Fiction

This is a great novel to read one afternoon by the fire if it is winter or outside if it is summer. Quick read, good characters, good plot and narration.The Opinionated Me

I found this story enjoyable and Bobby totally won me over….an enjoyable read for me.–What I’m Reading


Chapter One

What was Stella doing right now?

For the hundredth time this week, Bobby asked himself that question. And the answer was still the same.

He didn’t know. But he wished he did.

Maybe he should have tried harder to get her number after that wild night at the club. Yeah, he should have. But Bobby Bolton didn’t chase women. He enjoyed their company—usually for the evening, occasionally for a weekend—and that was that. He didn’t do long-term, didn’t do ‘relationships.’ Everyone had a good time and parted as friends. That was the way he’d always interacted with the opposite sex.

Until that night two months ago when he’d met Stella.

The last night he’d felt as if he had the world in the palm of his hand.

FreeFall, the TV network that had bought his reality show, The Bolton Biker Boys, had hosted a behind-the-velvet-rope party to celebrate the upcoming season. It was the sort of event Bobby lived for—glamorous people in a glamorous setting.

But even as he’d been doing some serious schmoozing, the woman sitting at the corner of the bar caught his eye. She’d had a sense of style that marked her as different—instead of too tight or too short, she’d had on a long-sleeved dress covered in leather straps and buckles that was completely backless. The outfit demanded attention, but the woman wearing it had been alone, her gaze trained on the crowd.

He hadn’t known who she was when he’d bought her a drink. She’d told Bobby she was a fashion designer, but she hadn’t mentioned her last name. She’d enchanted him with her outrageous sense of style, soft British accent and distance from the rest of the crowd. She’d been a woman apart—except for him. They’d talked as if they were the oldest of friends, every joke an inside one only they found funny. He’d been unable to resist her.

Which must have been how they’d wound up in the back of a limo with a bottle of champagne and a couple of condoms.

It was only afterward, when he’d asked for her number, that she’d dropped the bomb. She was actually Stella Caine, only daughter of David Caine—owner of FreeFall TV, distributor for Bobby’s reality show, majority investor in Bobby’s new resort and one of the most notoriously conservative men in the world.

He’d felt as if the rug had been pulled out from under his feet. How could he not have known who she was? How could he have done something so stupid? What would happen when she told her father?

David Caine would ruin him, that’s what, and everything he’d worked for would be gone.

Even after revealing her identity, she hadn’t given Bobby her number. Just a kiss on the cheek and an “It’s better this way,” leaving Bobby to wonder, Better for who?

And that had been the last he’d heard from her. He hadn’t been called on the carpet by David Caine for corrupting his daughter. He hadn’t received any calls or texts from Stella. He had nothing to remember her by, except a picture.

And the memories.

Just then one of the production assistants, Vicky, said, “We got the shot,” shaking him out of his thoughts. “Anything else?”

Right. Bobby wasn’t in New York. He was filming his show for FreeFall TV in South Dakota. And Stella Caine had made it clear that she didn’t want anything from him beyond their one-night stand. He needed to stop thinking about her and focus on the job at hand.

And what a job it was.

“I think that’s it for today,” Bobby told Vicky as he looked around the narrow trailer that was his office and, most days, his home.

It was four on Friday afternoon in the middle of November, the setting sun already cloaking everything in winter gray. The construction workers had packed up for the day. Vicky and her film crew, Villainy Productions, had stayed later to get a couple shots of Bobby sitting at his desk, looking overwhelmed.

He had not done a lot of acting today.

What the hell was his problem? This was everything he’d ever wanted. His reality show had debuted on FreeFall with impressive numbers. The production contract he’d signed with Freefall had underwritten half the financing he needed to begin building Crazy Horse Resort, which was being filmed for the show.

Ten miles outside of Sturgis, South Dakota, the Crazy Horse Resort was going to be the upscale destination for weekend bikers—the doctors, stockbrokers and lawyers who made money hand over fist during the week and liked to cut loose in motorcycle leathers on the weekend. It’d be a five-star destination resort, complete with spa, shopping, three restaurants, a nightclub and a Crazy Horse boutique and garage so guests could upgrade their ride or buy a new one. It was the perfect synergy of business form and function and would turn Crazy Horse into a total lifestyle brand.

The reality show, featuring not only the construction of the resort but his family and their business, was also feeding a huge sales boom for his brother Billy’s custom-made choppers. Crazy Horse Choppers was now an international brand with a loyal following among both celebrities and hard-core bikers, and Bobby was still the marketing director.

He had worked for years to get to this point. He was rich, famous and powerful. All of his dreams had come true. By all objective standards, he was a success.

So why the hell did he feel so…unsure?

Hours after everyone else had gone home, he sat at his desk, which was wedged against one wall of the construction trailer. The sales numbers for Crazy Horse were up on his computer screen, but he wasn’t looking at them. Maybe I’m just tired, he thought, trying to get his eyes to focus. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been home.

Instead of sleeping on his California king bed with Egyptian cotton sheets, he’d been spending nights on the trailer’s couch. Instead of cooking in his condo’s gourmet kitchen, the one with marble countertops, he’d been using a hot plate, coffeepot and microwave. And instead of enjoying his whirlpool-jet tub, he’d been making do with the trailer’s closet-size bathroom. His days had become a blur of coffee, construction, cameras. Hell, he hadn’t even made a business trip since he’d been to New York—two months ago.

Suck it up.

As his older brothers, Ben and Billy, constantly reminded him, he’d brought this on himself. They weren’t about to step in and offer a helping hand. His brothers thought his ideas were ridiculous and expected him to fail, so Bobby would do whatever it took to prove them wrong.

Including living in a construction trailer and reviewing sales figures on a perfectly good Friday night.

Soon he would have his penthouse apartment on the top floor of the resort. He’d have a private elevator, expansive views of the Black Hills and—most important—he wouldn’t be living in anyone’s shadow. Not his father, Bruce, and his hopelessly out-of-touch way of running things. Not Billy and his insistence on building the bikes he wanted, not the bikes customers wanted. And not Ben and his slavish devotion to the bottom line.

He knew his brothers thought he was a screw-up, but he’d show them. Nobody was going to mess up this deal.

For the first time in his life, Bobby would have something that was his and his alone. His own personal kingdom. He’d have complete control—hiring the chefs he liked, the designers he wanted. It was a big dream, but dreaming big was what he did best.

A car door slamming shut snapped him back to the present.

They’d had a few problems with copper thieves. Copper wasn’t cheap and its resale value had recently gone through the roof. He had hired a security guard, but it took Larry about twenty minutes to drive around the entire site.

Then he heard it. Whistling. A jaunty tune, by the sound of it.

Not just thieves, but confident thieves. Bobby slid open the bottom drawer of his desk and grabbed his Glock. He’d gotten the gun a while back. He’d heard tales of contractors taking huge losses when their raw materials walked off. Insurance usually covered it—but then insurance rates went up. He refused to pay for the same materials twice.

They’d learn soon enough that no one stole from the Boltons.

He’d no sooner gotten the lock off the gun than someone knocked on the door. He jumped. Copper thieves didn’t knock.

“Coming,” Bobby said for lack of a better plan.

He shoved the gun into the back of his waistband. This could be Cass, the receptionist at Crazy Horse Choppers. She checked on him from time to time. Maybe she was stopping by to nag him about something.

Bobby opened the door. The light spilled out into the night, illuminating a…leprechaun? He blinked, but the image stayed the same. Short guy wearing a green vest over a plaid shirt underneath an overcoat, reddish hair sticking out from under one of those caps old men wore.

“Ah, there ye are,” the leprechaun said in a distinctly Irish voice, giving Bobby a cocky grin. “Yer a tough feller to track down, laddie.”

“Excuse me?” Bobby peered around the little man and saw a black sedan, the kind with windows tinted so dark they weren’t legal in most states.

Suddenly, Bobby realized he’d seen that car—a Jaguar—around all week long, coasting past the construction site at odd times, the sleekness of the vehicle sticking out like a sore thumb.

He reached around his back, trying to be inconspicuous, trying to get a handle on the Glock.

The next thing he knew, he was looking down the barrel of a snub-nosed pistol. “Don’t think that’s the best idea, lad.” The leprechaun held out his other hand. “Nice and slow.”

“Who are you?” If Bobby was going to hand over his gun, the leprechaun owed him a name.

“The name’s Mickey.” Once he had Bobby’s Glock in hand, he added, “That’s a good lad. She said you were smart. I do hate to prove ʼer wrong.”

“What? She who?”

That got him another cocky grin. “Anyone else in here?” Mickey leaned in.

“No.” Even though Bobby knew he should be keeping his eye on this Mickey, Bobby found himself staring at the black sedan, thinking she?

“Keep yer cool and we’ll all be just fine.” Mickey winked at him. “Sit tight and remember—” He brandished the pistol in Bobby’s face again. “Try anything funny and I’ll ʼave to break my promise to ʼer.”

“What promise was that?”

“Not to hurt ye—at least, until she said so.”

At this cryptic statement, Mickey pocketed both guns and turned back to the sedan. Still whistling, he opened the backdoor and held out a hand to the passenger.

A long feminine leg exited the vehicle, followed by a second equally impressive leg. Bobby’s pulse began to pound. Maybe he wasn’t about to be robbed. Maybe he was about to get lucky. Why else would legs like that be here at a time like this?

A gloved hand settled in Mickey’s and a woman cloaked in black stood up. Even at a distance, Bobby could see the blunt black bangs and the severe bob that was three inches longer on one side than on the other. Bobby’s pulse went from pounding to a dead standstill in the space between heartbeats.

Only one woman in the world looked like that.

Stella Caine.

Bobby rubbed his eyes, but the vision stayed the same.

Stella.

How was this possible?

She stood for a moment, her eyes taking in the construction site. Mickey offered her his elbow, and arm in arm, they walked up to the trailer.

Enchanting was all he could think as her hips swayed toward him. A long black fur coat almost swallowed her whole, except for the flash of leg that cut through the night with every other step. When she hit the circle of light that spilled out of his trailer, she looked up at him.

Her eyes, the palest of green, flashed at him. For all her edgy style, her eyes were something completely different—soft. Vulnerable, even.

“Hello, Bobby.”

A gust of wind blew between them like a warning. Bobby sensed immediately that, beyond the armed leprechaun, he was in danger. What had been cool and reserved in Stella the last time they’d met was nothing but arctic cold today. If she was happy to see him, she wasn’t letting on.

“Stella.” For a moment, he had no idea what else to say, which was something in and of itself. He always knew what to say, when to say it. It was his gift—the ability to read people and know exactly what they needed to hear. That gift had gotten him this far in life.

Apparently, it was going to fail him now. He didn’t want to say anything. He wanted to pull her into his arms and tell her he wasn’t going to let her out of his sight again.

But he knew that would probably get him shot. So the best he could come up with was, “Come in.” He stepped to the side as she brushed past him, the scent of lavender surrounding him.

Mickey didn’t follow her in. Instead, he leaned against the railing, oblivious to the winter temperature. “Keep yer cool,” he told Bobby with a small salute. “I’d hate to ʼave to bust in, all un-gentleman-like.”

What, did he think Bobby would do something to Stella? They’d already…well, they’d already spent time in each other’s company. He wasn’t the kind of man who’d hurt a woman. Bolton men took care of women.

For him, that usually meant that he made sure a woman was just as satisfied with their encounter as he was. He took care of her sexual needs, and she took care of his. Everyone went home happy.

But this? This wasn’t the same thing. Not even close.

With a final confused look at Mickey, Bobby shut the door and turned his attention back to the woman looking around his construction trailer with obvious disdain. Again, he knew he should say the right thing—New York was a hell of a long way from Sturgis, South Dakota, no matter how one went about it. But again, his mouth failed him.

“Can I…take your coat?”

Stella turned her back to him, but he saw her loosening the belt on her coat. He stepped forward and placed his hands on her shoulders.

The fur slipped off her and into his hands, revealing a sheer maroon lace that covered her arms and back but left nothing to the imagination. He stared at it for a moment before the pattern clicked into place—skulls. The lace formed tiny skulls. It was entirely ladylike and entirely out there—very Stella.

Below that, she’d sewn a leather corset. This continued down into a floor-length knit skirt that, from the back, seemed puritanical. Then she stepped free of him and he saw that the front of the skirt was divided by two long slits that went all the way up to her thighs.

Bobby’s pulse began to pound again. Only Stella Caine could pull off something that left her completely covered while still revealing so damn much. What was she doing here? And why did he still want her so badly?

He was taken with the sudden urge to kiss the back of her neck, right under the precise line of her hair. If he recalled correctly, he’d done the same thing once before, pinning her against a back door as they made their way out to the car.

He fought against that urge something fierce. The odds that Mickey would consider that ‟something funny” were too great. So Bobby hung her coat on the hook on the back of the door. “Would you like to have a seat?”

Her gaze cut a swath through the room before it landed on the couch at the other end of the trailer. He saw it now through her eyes. It was lumpy from where he’d slept on it and someone had spilled coffee on it at some point.

“Thanks, no,” she said in a crisp tone, her hands smoothing down her skirt.

Scrubbing a hand through his hair, Bobby glanced down at her feet. Black suede boots with more buckles, the heels had to be four inches if they were one. He had no idea how far she’d traveled today, but he couldn’t imagine that standing in those shoes were comfortable.

“Here. Let me get this for you.” His desk chair, at least, was relatively new leather.

He wheeled it over to her. With a nod of appreciation, she settled in—and crossed her legs. The slits of the dress did not contain her right leg. The boot went almost up to her knee, but there was something about the flash of skin, from knee to upper thigh, that was unbelievably erotic.

For lack of anything better to do, Bobby took up residence on the lumpy couch.

He needed to say something.

But as he sat across a cluttered construction trailer from the most enchanting woman he’d ever met, he had nothing. He didn’t know why she was here or what she wanted, which meant that he didn’t know what she needed to hear. All he knew was that his Glock was outside with an Irishman who probably wouldn’t hesitate to shoot Bobby with his own gun.

That, and he’d never been so glad to see a woman in his life. Which didn’t make sense, because she sure as hell didn’t seem all that glad to see him.

Finally, he couldn’t take the silence anymore. “Your dress is stunning.”

Her smile was stiff. “Thank you. I made it, of course.”

“Where did you find skull lace?”

When her eyes narrowed, he realized he’d said the wrong thing.

“I made it,” she repeated, her accent clipping the words.

“You made the lace?”

“It’s called tatting, if you must know. It’s my own design, my own creation.”

He stared at the fabric. From this distance, maybe ten feet, he couldn’t see the skulls. It fit her like a second skin. “Amazing.” He meant the lace, but he realized he was looking her in the eyes when he said it.

A pale blush graced her cheeks. “Thank you,” she said again, her voice softer. Then she dropped her gaze.

That, at least, had been the right thing to say. But he knew she hadn’t come all this way to fish for compliments. So he tried again.

“Mickey seems like an…interesting fellow. Have you known him long?”

“Since—a very long time.”

Okay, so they weren’t going to talk about Mickey. Which left him out of ideas. If she wasn’t going to give him anything to go on, what could he do?

Luckily, Stella saved him from himself. “This is lovely,” she said, looking around the trailer again. She managed to sound ironic and humorous and cutting.

“Isn’t it?” he said, relieved to have a conversational opening. “Nothing but the best. I have a condo downtown,” he felt compelled to add. “But that’s just until the resort is finished. I’m going to live on-site when it’s done.”

Man, this was not going well. That came out as if he was trying too hard. Which he was. Confusion did that to a man.

Where was the smooth? Where was the ability to talk to anybody, anytime, anywhere? Where was the man who hadn’t been able to keep his hands off this very woman?

He didn’t like feeling this off balance. It was unfamiliar and unsettling.

“You haven’t been to your flat in a week.”

Bobby gaped at her. What did she want? Obviously, she hadn’t come all this way just to stalk him into making awkward small talk.

“I’ve been working on the resort. Would you like to see the blueprints?” He sounded lame, even to his own ears, but he was desperate to establish some sort of connection with her.

She didn’t answer. Instead, she stared him down.

God, he wished he could make sense of that look—angry and frustrated, as if she was barely clinging to her better manners. But underneath all of that, he sensed something else churning in her delicate eyes.

She was worried.

Finally, she moved. She wiped a black fingernail down the side of her lip, as if she’d eaten something she found distasteful. Then she took a deep breath, squared her shoulders and launched a verbal grenade into the middle of the room.

“I’m pregnant.”

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