The Baby Contract – Excerpt

Abby closed her eyes tight and pressed send on her phone. Liam's phone rang once, twice, three times. A bit relieved, she waited to be routed to his voicemail.

"Liam Whitmore's office."

She sucked in a hard breath and nearly dropped the phone. "Uh…hi…this is Abby Haden, Abigail Haden that is."

"Yes, Miss Haden," the receptionist said quickly. "Please hold."

Several seconds passed.

"This is Liam."

"I…" Abby paused, searching her heart one last time. Her grip on her cellphone tightened, and her courage failed. "I…I…"

"What's the holdup?" Liam asked, his voice gruff.

She flinched. "H-holdup?" she stammered.

"Seven hundred fifty thousand dollars, and that's the final offer, Miss Haden. Take it or leave it."

Abby blinked. "That's not—"

"Take it or leave it," Liam interrupted. "I want an answer now."

His brisk tone set her on edge and raised her ire.

Her courage returned. "Fine, but I have a requirement."

His pause felt tangible through the phone, and she feared he'd had second thoughts. Not that she'd back down from her decision.

"What is it?" He nearly growled the question.

She filled her lungs with air. "I want two hundred fifty thousand upon conception, the rest after the baby is born."

Another pause. "We have a deal." His anger had disappeared, his voice holding no hint of emotion.

Abby blew out her pent-up breath. "Okay, good. I've been unable to find a clinic for the…the artificial, um, you know." She placed a cool palm on her flaming hot cheek. If it was possible to die from embarrassment, she'd be a goner for sure.

"I'm not following you, Miss Haden," Liam said. She heard papers shuffling in the background. "I'll have the contract drawn up."

"Artificial insemination," Abby blurted out.

"Artificial insemination?" He sounded taken aback. "I hadn't considered any such thing."

Abby frowned in confusion. "How else are we going to get me pregnant?"

Liam's laughter echoed through the phone. Rich and throaty, it sent a hot tingle down Abby's spine. Goose bumps broke out over her skin.

"Miss Haden, there are such pleasurable ways of making a baby that are quite successful," he said, his voice dropping to a deep rumble over the phone. Abby took a shuddering breath as it did obscene things to her insides. His tone returned to its more business-like manner. "I have a cabin in Aspen. As soon as your cycle is at the most likely time for you to conceive we'll fly up there for a week," he said. "AI would take too much time," he added.

"I-I didn't plan on that," Abby stuttered, her mind reeling. Sex hadn't been in the equation when she'd made her decision. Sex? With Liam? Oh my God. Her heart kicked into overdrive. "Look, Mr. Whitmore—"

"I'll set up an appointment with my physician for STD tests. Can you be there tomorrow afternoon by, say…" He paused briefly. "Three-thirty?"

"Mr. Whitmore, I—"

"Do you know when you'll most likely ovulate again?"

Abby blinked, she was being steamrolled.

"Miss Haden, it's a simple question. I need to know."

She looked at her calendar, she'd already figured up the days in case she'd gotten an appointment at one of the clinics she called. "Um, next week, but listen—"

Liam pushed on. "I'll have everything set up. We can leave for Aspen late Sunday evening. My personal assistant will be in touch tomorrow morning to give you directions to my physician's office."

"Mr. Whitmore, there's no way I can get off work for a week on such short notice. It's Tuesday," she insisted, trying to backpedal.

"It's taken care of. Don't worry, Abigail," he said.

The sound of her given name rolling off his tongue caught her off guard. It stopped her next objection dead in its tracks.

"What's your contact number?" he asked.

Abby gave him her cellphone number.

After a quick 'thank you' Liam hung up, leaving Abby in a bit of a stupor. His driven personality explained his business success, as well as the rumored success he had with women. He was a raging river and she had been helplessly swept along in its current.