The Baby Bargain

The Baby Bargain by Dallas Schulze

Book: The Baby Bargain by Dallas Schulze Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dallas Schulze
herself, she'd dragged her aching body to the kitchen sink and bathed her bruised face in cold water until the chill made her shiver.
    She had to get away. If she was still there when her father returned, he'd surely kill her. She'd dressed clumsily and stumbled out of the trailer. Her only thought had been to call Dan. She had no one else to turn to. There was no one else she could call.
    Kelly drew herself farther up on the pillows, moving cautiously, waiting for the nausea, typical of the past few days, to strike. When her stomach only twinged in warning, she dared to draw a deeper breath. Though the bedroom was a comfortable temperature, the air felt cool on her blanket-warmed shoulders.
    Her dress lay tossed across the arm of a chair, along with her coat. Dan must have undressed her. The thought made her flush, as much for the condition of her worn underwear as for the thought of him seeing her nearly naked. Then again, he'd seen her more than nearly naked on New Year's Eve.
    Her frown turned into a wince as the movement pulled at her bruised face. She reached one hand up to explore the damage. Some of the swelling had gone down. Her left eye was partially open but she could guess at the bruise that must surround it. In fact, she suspected that she looked like hell, which pretty much described how she felt.
    She was just trying to get up the courage to get out of bed to find a mirror and a bathroom when she heard a sound in the hallway. Clutching the covers over her shoulders, she shrank back against the pillows as the door was slowly pushed open. Dan eased into the room, his tense expression relaxing when he saw her.
    "You're awake," he said, his relief obvious. "I was getting worried. How do you feel?"
    "Fine," she choked out the lie past the nervous lump in her throat. She wasn't sure how she was supposed to react in this situation.
    She and Dan had been intimate with one another, yet they didn't know each other at all. They weren't strangers and they certainly weren't friends. Nevertheless, she'd called on him when she needed help and he'd been there for her.
    "You slept a long time."
    "Did I?" She glanced around for a clock, startled when she saw that it was well past noon.
    "Sleep was probably the best thing," Dan said, coming farther into the room.
    He stopped at the foot of the bed. Kelly's fingers tightened over the blankets. Why was it that she never remembered how blue his eyes were? And why was it that blue eyes always seemed so much more penetrating than any other color? She felt as if he could see inside her with just a glance.
    "You look better," he said softly.
    She reached up to half cover her face, aware that she must look even worse than she felt.
    "If I look better now, I must have looked like death warmed over before," she said, surprising them both with the dark humor of the comment.
    Dan smiled but his eyes remained watchful. "How are you really feeling? Any pains or cramping?"
    He was worried about the baby. Kelly felt a sharp little pain near her heart. How stupid of her not to have realized it before. He hadn't come to her rescue. He'd come to the baby's rescue.
    "The baby's fine," she said dully, her eyes dropping to where the blankets were tented over her knees. She was aware of him moving around the bed until he stood next to her.
    "I was worried about you," he said quietly.
    She lifted her shoulders without looking up. It would be nice if she could believe him but, after all, he had no real reason to care about her personally.
    She started as the bed dipped beneath his weight She lifted her head, her heart beating too quickly. He was too close, too big. His shoulders seemed to loom before her, cutting off the light, cutting off the air.
    Catching the flare of fear in her eyes, Dan reached out one hand in an automatic gesture of reassurance. But Kelly ducked back as if from a blow.
    "It's all right, I'm not going to touch you," he said tightly. He pulled his hand back, white lines bracketing

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