Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas - Romance>Contemporary eBook
Jack Travis leads the uncomplicated life of a millionaire Texas playboy. He makes no commitments, he loves many women, he lives for pleasure. But no one has ever truly touched his heart or soul. Until one day, a woman appears on his doorstep with fury on her face and a baby in her arms. It seems Jack is the father and this woman is the baby's aunt. The real mother has abandoned the child to her more responsible sister. And now, Jack is being called upon to take responsibility for the first time in his life. With delicious romantic tension, characters so real they walk onto the page and into your heart, Lisa Kleypas delivers the kind of novel that makes you laugh, love; cry and cheer ...in Smooth Talking Stranger.
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"Don't get," I said as I heard the ringtone of our apartment phone. Call it a premonition, paranoia, but something about that sound severed every comfortable feeling I had managed to stitch around myself.
"It's a 281 number," my boyfriend Dane said, sautéing tofu in a pan, dumping in a can of organic tomato sauce. Dane was a vegan, which meant we used soy protein in place of ground beef in our chili. It was enough to make any native-born Texan cry, but for Dane's sake I was trying to get used to it. "I can see it on the caller ID."
281. Houston. Those three digits were enough to start me hyperventilating. "It's either my mother or my sister," I said desperately. "Let the machine pick up." I hadn't spoken to either of them in at least two years.
Pausing in the act of stirring a handful of frozen veggie crumbles into the sauce, Dane said, "You can't run away from your fears. Isn't that what you always tell your readers?"
I was an advice columnist for Vibe, a magazine about relation-ships and sex and urban culture. My column, called "Ask Miss Independent," had started at a student-run publication, and I had quickly developed a following. Upon graduating, I'd taken Miss Independent to Vibe, and they offered me a weekly feature. Most of my advice was posted publicly, but I also sent private paid-for replies to those who requested it. To supplement my income, I also did occasional freelancing for women's magazines.
"I'm not running away from my fears," I told Dane. "I'm running away from my relatives."
"Just pick it up, Ella. You always tell people to face their problems."
"Yes, but I prefer to ignore mine and let them fester." I sidled closer to the phone and recognized the number. "Oh God. It's Mom."
"Go on," Dane said. "What's the worst that could happen?"
I stared at the phone with fearful loathing. "In the space of thirty seconds, she could say something that would send me back to therapy indefinitely."
"If you don't find out what she wants," Dane said, "you'll worry about it all night."
I let out an explosive breath and snatched up the phone. "Hello?"
"Ella. This is an emergency!"
To my mother, Candy Varner, everything was an emergency. She was a shock-and-awe parent, the ultimate drama queen. But she had covered it up so adeptly that few people suspected what went on behind closed doors. She had demanded her daughters' collusion in the myth of our happy family life, and Tara and I had given it to her without question.
At times Mom wanted interaction with my younger sister and me, but she quickly became impatient and surly. We learned to watch for every sign that would indicate the fluctuations of her mood. We had been storm chasers, trying to stay close to the twister without getting swept up in it.
I headed to the living room, away from Dane and the clatter of pans. "How are you, Mom? What's going on?"
"I just told you. An emergency! Tara came to visit today. Just appeared with no warning. She has a baby."
"Her own baby?"
"What would she be doing with someone else's baby? Yes, it's hers. You didn't know she was pregnant?"...