The In Stilettos girls are doing their thing again! We’re back with another installment of the USA Today Bestselling Series! I’m so happy to revisit the gang with another story for Jaya and Alec in STROLLERS & STILETTOS.
What's it about you ask?
What happens when real life gets in the way of Happily Ever After?
Chronic list-making, event planner, Jaya Trudeaux Westhorpe, envisioned a fairytale ending once she married hotel magnate, Alec Westhorpe—complete with a steamy, extended honeymoon and an eventual family. What she didn't expect was a baby on their doorstep and a family-phobic husband.
When reformed playboy, Alec Danthers Westhorpe, married the woman of his dreams, he thought he’d finally found his happy ending. But a long-hidden secret threatens to jeopardize what he holds most dear.
Can Jaya and Alec reclaim the magic that binds them together? Or will buried secrets tear them apart?
Warning: Sexy, sass talking women will make you laugh, cry and want a pair of killer footwear.
Want a snippet?
Of all the things Alec never thought he’d hear, “Someone’s left you a baby at the hotel” would have been at the top of the list. A baby abandoned on his property was bad enough. One in any way tied to his name was a potential disaster. Especially given the Kleinman deal. The old goat was already looking for a reason to back out of working with them.
Alec’s heart thundered as fury coursed through his blood. With one call, the ground beneath his feet shook. According to Caleb, the baby had come complete with a birth certificate naming him as the father. It wasn't true. Couldn’t be true. Except, maybe it could be.
His stomach pitched even as he gripped the steering wheel. Normally, Jaya would be a calming influence, but right now, the last thing he wanted was her near this mess.
This was all some kind of mistake. He and Jaya had been apart for six months before he'd finally pulled his head out of his ass and come back to her. But he hadn't slept with anyone. He would never have done that. Are you sure about that?
The bile rose in his throat, and he choked it back. Shortly before he’d realized he couldn’t live without Jaya, he’d been willing to do anything to bring himself a reprieve from missing her. Including drinking himself into blind oblivion. All he had were hazy, foggy patches and pieces from that one night, but he’d woken in his own bed. But there had been blond hairs on the pillow next to him, and the place had smelled distinctly of floral shampoo. Would he have substituted someone else for the woman he wanted? Could he have? No.
At least that’s what he wanted to believe, what he had to believe, but still, it was possible.
"Alec, I'm sure it’ll be okay. We’ll figure out what's going on." Jaya's voice was soft, reassuring.
It only made him feel worse. He cleared his throat. "Jai, you didn't have to come."
"Caleb called in a 9-1-1. When are you going to realize that means that I'm coming too? We're a family now. Your problems are my problems."
Yeah, well, he'd see how she felt about it once they got to the hotel. Because he was pretty sure she wasn’t going to take it so smoothly that he had his own personal Billie Jean.
After breaking a myriad of traffic laws, they arrived at the hotel in barely one piece, and Caleb met them in Alec’s office, but halted when he saw Jaya. His gaze darted to Alec's as he spoke. "Jai, I didn’t expect to see you here."
"Whatever you have to say to him you can say to me. Where's the baby?" Jaya asked.
When she crossed her arms over her breasts, Alec realized he probably couldn’t love her more than he did in that moment.
Caleb nodded brusquely before radioing one of his team to bring the baby in. When he turned his attention back to them, he spoke quickly. "About an hour ago, one of the maid staff found the baby girl in the business center. The kid had a note pinned to her that said, "Property of my daddy, Alec Westhorpe." Caleb darted a glance at Jaya before moving on. "She also had what looked like a legit birth certificate on her, naming him as the father."
Alec ground his teeth together. Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot. "I don’t have a kid."
Caleb nodded. "We'll clear it up. The mother is listed as one Melanie Brooks. We’ve started digging up any information on her that we can. But right now she's a ghost."
Jaya's voice was calm and level as she asked, "How old is the baby?"
"Eight and a half months, if the birth certificate is to be believed."
Alec kept his eyes on Jaya. His body clenched, waiting for her to do the math. Waiting for her to turn a wounded, disbelieving gaze his way. But it didn’t come. Instead, she asked more questions.
"Can we talk to the maid who found the baby? Maybe she saw something?"
"My guys are talking to her now. Whoever left the kid, left her with a few days of baby food and her blanket and a toy or two."
She sighed. "That poor baby."
Alec watched his wife carefully. She seemed unconcerned whether the baby was his or not. Her only concern was for the welfare of the child.
There was a brief knock at the door, and Caleb’s right hand guy, Tom, walked in, carrying a squirming bundle. If the situation hadn’t been absurd enough, Alec might have started laughing at the picture Tom made with the kid. Someone as big as him, looking extremely uncomfortable with a baby in his arms.
As if sensing the new audience, the baby turned her head, and her gaze collided directly with Alec’s. He sucked in a sharp breath. Jet-black hair framed her heart-shaped face. Startling blue eyes stared back at him. And like him, she had a cleft in her chin. His head swam, and prickly heat stung his skin.
Jaya didn’t seem to notice. Instead, she relieved Tom of the tiny burden. "Hey there, beautiful girl. You’ve had a heck of a night, huh? Well, don’t you worry, we'll find your mama, okay?"
The baby gurgled and rewarded Jaya with a smile.
"Have you called Child Protective Services yet?" Alec asked.
Caleb nodded. "Right after I called the cops. They're already on their way and will be keeping it discrete. They’re interviewing the staff."
For the first time since they'd walked in, Jaya slanted him with a displeased look. "We are not handing this baby over to CPS."
Goal Update - 15 BOOK PRODUCTS IN 12 MONTHS
I think for the first time, I’m going to miss a goal. Even if I manage to get the audiobook for Strollers out this year, I will still only have 11, not 15. But you know what? I’m still super proud of myself. It’s been a hell of a year
The Flirtation (A Chick-Lit with Heat Novella) as Q. Malone
Sugar and Sin: The Sexy Seven with 6 other fab writers.
The In Stilettos Bundle in Audio with the fabulous Traci Odom as my narrator
London Bound (Chase Brothers Book 1) A New Adult Romance
London Bound in Audio with the amazing Graham Halstead and Kitty Bang
Come Home Again my latest Contemporary Romance
Hit & Run Bride a Romantic Comedy w/ The awesome Misty Evans
Wounded Protector (Protectors series) Finally Jansen’s story
Strollers & Stilettos an Interracial Romantic Comedy
Exposed Audiobook (A chick-lit with heat novella)* Coming any day now
Strollers and Stilettos Audio before the end of the year.
2014 has been a crazy ride and I’ve loved every minute of it! 2015 is shaping up to be even crazier — Stay tuned!