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Fake Fiance, Real Revenge

Second chance...or payback?

Real-estate tycoon Mitchell Granger has a problem. In order to avoid an awkward situation with an eccentric client, he told the teeny white lie that he was engaged...and now he needs to prove it. Even worse? The only name that came to mind was midwife Sabrina Becker, the girl he was never good enough for growing up, and who still lives near his family ranch.

Sabrina doesn't mind posing as Mitch's fake fiancée--no, she doesn't mind at all. One, she'll make him pay with new construction for her birthing center. And two, Sabrina's got a plan to exact revenge on her first love, the boy who left her and Three River Ranch behind. She'll pretend so well, he'll fall in love with her...and then he'll get a taste of what true heartbreak feels like.

But as Mitch sheds his corporate skin and picks up his dusty jeans and cowboy hat, Sabrina catches a glimpse of what they might have again. But she's got more than one secret to tell. And it's a doozy...

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About the Book

The Birth on Earth Maternal Health Care Clinic of Lutherton, Montana, needed thicker walls, Sabrina Becker thought as she listened to the groans of the young woman in front of her. It was one thing to embrace natural childbirth in all its vivid reality; it was another to have the soundtrack playing on full volume for the wide-eyed prospective parents in the next room.

Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw the young father’s eyes roll back in his head.

She leaped to his side just in time to keep him from breaking his skull when he fell. “Oh no, you don’t!” As it was, he’d have a goose egg to commemorate the birth of his first child. Well, she had no time to worry about him.

“Come on, Daddy, buck up. Mama needs you.” Sabrina eased him into a sitting position on the floor, against the wall of the birthing room. “Press your forehead to your knees.”

“I…I’m okay,” he mumbled.

“Of course you are.” Sabrina gripped his chin gently, assessing his pallor and unfocused gaze, then pushed his face down again. “Stay here for a sec, okay? I’m kind of occupied at the moment.”

Another cry from the mat on the floor. “I think my water just broke!”

Sabrina grabbed a towel. “Almost there now. You’re doing fine, Jenny!”

She could remember the mom’s name. But the dad’s? Gone like self-control at an ice-cream bar.

Focus, Sabrina! You can sleep later!

Her assistant, Daphne, was wrapping up the prenatal class and then she could look after Dad. Until the next call, at least. Sabrina was thrilled that word of mouth was making her center the place to go for uncomplicated natural childbirth care. But she’d been up for two nights running now. She needed a nap. She needed more staff. And she needed more space.

She needed a fairy godmother.

The about-to-be-new-dad groaned from the floor. “Did I…pass out?”

“Swooned like a medieval maid,” Sabrina said. Surely he could manage to sit upright while his wife pushed out their child. “Come on, Daddy, coffee break’s over. Hold her hand. Talk to her. Hey! Look at me! Can you handle it?”

He nodded, and then rolled onto his knees next to his wife.

“Oh God, I can’t do this!” the mother-to-be cried. “Make it stop, Sabrina, make it stop!”

Transition, she thought. “Almost there now, honey. Breathe!”

The baby’s presentation was putting pressure on the mother’s sciatic nerve, and the only way she could get relief was to labor on all fours, on a yoga mat. Fortunately, Sabrina was set up for every possibility. If women wanted a water birth, she had a tub. If they wanted to labor in a Jacuzzi, they could. She had a birthing ball, an open-seated chair, a pole. She had music, candles, and massage oil. She had sterile instruments, monitoring equipment, and adjustable beds.

But only two birthing rooms.

What she needed was more…of everything.

The man’s eyes started spiraling again.

“Daphne!” Sabrina yelled. “Dad’s losing it here.”

Brad! That was his name.

“Jenny wants Brad to cut the cord,” she said as Daphne jogged into the room. “If he passed out at this, he ain’t gonna like what’s coming.”

Every midwife in the history of the universe knew that in the ultimate deciding match in the battle of the sexes, the hands that rocked the cradle really did rule the world.

Jenny moaned, moving back and forth slightly on her knees. Sabrina checked her again—almost time now. The woman had been laboring since the previous evening and they were all exhausted.

“You’re fully dilated, honey. You’ll feel the urge to push any time.”

With that came the next contraction and a roaring grunt from the floor.

“What are you doing to her?” Brad stood up, then wavered, all the color leaching from his face as he watched his wife bearing down.

“Down, boy,” Daphne said, pushing him back onto his knees. “Stay.”

No matter how many classes they went through on labor and birth, Sabrina thought as she slipped her gloved hands between the woman’s thighs, they were still shocked by the reality.

The baby’s head emerged, a thatch of black hair, followed by a tiny, scrunched-up face.

The sight, as always, gave Sabrina a jolt of joy so pure and crisp that she felt her throat catch. Birth was primitive, earthy—but it remained the single most awe-inspiring experience of her life, no matter how many she attended. It also remained the greatest desire of her heart.

And her greatest fear.

Her one short-lived pregnancy had ended in sorrow she’d had to bear completely alone, thanks to the jerk who’d abandoned her. Didn’t matter what extenuating circumstances he might claim: Mitchell Granger had left her when she’d needed him most. And if she ever got the chance—

“Aaah…,” Jenny moaned. “It’s coming! It’s coming!”

“Dad! Hey!” Sabrina barked, gesturing with her chin. “Look alive! You’re going to be the first face your child sees.”

“I…am?” he said, looking at her in alarm.

“You are,” she confirmed. “But not if you’re out cold.”

“Is…everything…okay?” the woman gasped. The next wave hit and she bore down again with a great cry.

“Everything is just fine.” Sabrina slipped her finger into the infant’s mouth, sweeping it free of mucus. She cradled the slippery head with a sterile huck towel, easing out one shoulder, then the other. “Say hello to Daddy, little one!”

“Oh…my God…,” the father murmured. But to Sabrina’s relief, he’d finally snapped to attention.

“Here we come, baby love,” she crooned as the mother gave one last great push. The rest of the child slid out into the warm towel, still attached with the purple twisted cord. “Welcome to the world, sweetheart!”

Jenny, shaking with fatigue, collapsed onto the mat. “Is everything okay?”

“Baby is just great, Mom.” Sabrina quickly checked the infant, swaddled him in another dry towel, and handed him to his father. Then she turned to the new mother, wrapping her with warm blankets, plumping up cushions and bedding to bring the most comfort.

“Lie back, okay? I’m going to put your son on your chest.”

Brad still looked shell-shocked, but his color was fine, and he held the baby with firm arms.

Sabrina directed the young man to lay his newborn son on his wife’s naked body, and together, they watched the infant crawl and creep and nuzzle his way to his mother’s breast.

“It’s amazing, isn’t it?” Jenny said, laughing and crying at the same time. “I mean, you showed us videos, but—”

“I know.” Sabrina swallowed.

“I love you so much, Jenny,” Brad said in a choked voice.

“I love you, too.” Tears ran freely down Jenny’s face. “We’re a family now!”

Sabrina’s throat clenched. Usually she celebrated with her clients. But today, maybe because she’d been thinking about Mitch, she couldn’t watch.

“I’ll, uh, give you three some privacy.” And she dashed to the washroom to pull herself together.

The only thing Sabrina Becker wanted as much as a baby was to find Mitchell Granger and hurt him, the way he’d hurt her.

Maybe then that Mitch-shaped scar on her heart would finally heal.

Series: Three River Ranch, Book 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled
Publication Year: August 2013
eBook Price: 2.99
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