Hailey James can no longer hide her pregnancy, but she refuses to name the father. She wants to go back home and keep everything a secret. Lt. Col. Todd Coopersmith thinks the child is his but cannot prove it. Will the truth ever be revealed? Ms. Chai creates wonderful conflict that must be resolved. Hailey and Todd are both stubborn people. I kept hoping that they would swallow their pride and see what they could have with each other.
Hailey awoke in a strange bed in unfamiliar surroundings. Late afternoon sun filled the room. Where was she? Todd sat in a chair next to the bed, watching her. What was he doing here? A slight gasp escaped her lips and brought him to her side.
"Quiet, babe. You're in the hospital." The baby! Had she lost…? Immediately her hand went to her stomach. No, she felt the baby move. Had Todd just called her 'babe'? How easily he slipped back into old patterns. Memories of him calling her that while he held her close surged through her mind, bringing a longing stronger than she'd ever imagined.
"Why am I here?" Her voice grated with hoarseness. "Why are you in Vegas?" She searched his face. If Gil had asked him to come to Vegas, she was going to kill her brother.
"Sorry, babe, you're still in Houston." He poured a glass of water. "Here, you need to drink. The doctor says you're dehydrated." At the touch of a button, the head of the bed moved up and he held the cup to her lips, rationing the liquid so she wouldn't choke.
"After fixing Bugs, you collapsed in the control room."
He ran a hand through his hair and sighed. "Damn it, Hailey, this is my fault. I knew you wouldn't take care of yourself and I should've insisted you come with me last night." He put the cup to her lips again and she drank more. "It scared the daylights out of me when they told me what happened."
Todd scared? No way. Nothing fazed him. Like Gil, he was a fighter pilot. He put the cup to her lips again, forcing her to take small sips. Her throat still hurt, but she had to get him out of here so she could get back to Vegas and put distance between them. And how dare he say she couldn't take care of herself?
"Well, I'm all better now." She tried another bluff. "So if you don't mind, I'll get dressed and head home."
"No, you won't." He stared down at her, a steely glint in his eye.
She imagined his men quaked in their boots when he wore that face. She knew him too well, and wasn't the least bit frightened by his stony countenance.
"The doctor has decided that given your weakened physical condition, traveling isn't an option for you." Todd gloated as if he'd won a coup—or a great poker hand. "So, you're stuck here until the doctor says you can travel or the baby is born. You won't listen to me, but you'll damn sure listen to the doctor."
"I'm going home and that is all there is to it," Hailey shot back. "You can't stop me, Todd. I don't belong here." She tried to get out of bed, but two hands pinned her firmly to the bed.
"Stop arguing, Hailey. It's not safe for you or the baby to travel right now." Sincerity rang loud and clear. "You don't want to take a chance and hurt the baby just to get even with me, do you? You want to do what's best for the baby, don't you?"
Her head bounced like a bobblehead.
"Good, then lie back and get some rest. The doctor will be in soon."
Oh how she wanted to tell him the truth, but she couldn't. He'd made his position clear from the beginning. The Air Force was his life. He loved what he did and had fought hard to get where he was. She couldn't take him away from it.
Sleep came fitfully until the doctor arrived and told her she had to rest if she wanted a healthy baby. Fortunately he worded his advice without mentioning her due date.
Cindy West entered the room, but waited to the side while the doctor was there.
"I'll make sure she takes care of herself," Todd told the doctor. "Once you release her, I'll take her to my house."
Todd brushed aside her protests after the doctor left. "Don't try arguing, Hailey. You'll do as the doctor says, and to make sure you do, you'll stay at my house."
There was no reasoning with him.