In 2013, I wrote Something More. It instantly became my favorite book I had written. There was something about the hero that stayed with me. It also became one of my best selling books. Fast forward to 2017... I retained my rights on the book, freshened up the cover, and tightened up the writing (because we all get stronger as writers). Now it's five years later and I have a much bigger readership than I had when I first published the book. So that means I get to introduce these characters to a whole new audience. How exciting is that?
This brings a secret baby romance to a whole new level. He may be fine with the pregnancy but what happens when he learns exactly who the father is...
A shocking secret threatens to tear apart a rich and powerful family.
Claudia Samson, housekeeper to the privileged Callahan family, finds herself alone and pregnant after a brief fling with Gavin, the youngest Callahan son. When she informed him of the pregnancy he accused her of running a scam and made it clear that she was on her own.
Brody Callahan, Gavin's older half-brother, has devoted his entire life to running the family business. He doesn't realize what he's been missing by throwing himself into his work until he finds Claudia asleep in the family guest bedroom. He has discovered his very own Sleeping Beauty. Intrigued by the young woman, he vows to get to know her better.
Although Claudia is instantly attracted to the charismatic businessman, she knows her secret will destroy any chance they have for a future together, but Brody's hard to resist.
Meanwhile, as Gavin watches Brody and Claudia's relationship develop, he begins to devise a plan to use the secret to his advantage. He wants full partnership in the business—something he was denied by both his brother and their deceased father—and maybe now he can finally obtain it.
Can Brody and Claudia survive the storm, or will the secrets and blackmail destroy both them and their love?
Content Warning: graphic sex and some explicit language
Claudia Samson climbed the grand staircase of the massive estate. She needed to change the sheets in the two guest bedrooms before her shift ended. The Callahans were having guests over the weekend, and Angela Callahan expected everything to be in order. It was Claudia’s job to see that everything was perfect.
She didn’t particularly like being a housekeeper, but her employer paid well and at this point in her life she needed all the money she could get her hands on. Her grandmother had been with the Callahans for nearly thirty years when she retired. Being raised by her grandmother, Claudia grew up in the presence of the rich and powerful family and began working for them to put herself through college. Her education plans were put on hold when her grandmother broke her hip and had to move to an assisted living facility. They had to sell her house, and Claudia was forced to move into a small apartment. At twenty-two years old, things weren’t moving in the direction she’d hoped they would.
She wanted to go back to college but her recent revelation didn’t help her situation any. It had been a few weeks since she found out about her current condition but her pregnancy wasn’t getting any easier to accept. She thought it might’ve been better once she told Gavin Callahan. That didn’t go so well. It wasn’t as if she’d expected him to totally embrace the idea of a baby, but she didn’t expect him to act the way he did either.
As Claudia placed fresh sheets on the queen-size bed she let her mind wander to the Thursday morning she’d broken the news to Gavin that he was going to be a father. They had spent the night together as they had every Wednesday in his swanky apartment overlooking the city. Their relationship wasn’t public. Claudia knew Gavin didn’t want his family to know he’d been seeing the housekeeper. Although technically, they weren’t seeing each other, unless sleeping together once a week was considered dating. Claudia wasn’t sure how she ended up in his bed on a weekly basis, but sex was exciting and new to her. She liked the time they spent together. When he approached her and asked if she’d be interested in coming to his new apartment, she assumed he wanted her to clean for him. She had no idea he wanted sex.
* * * *
Claudia opened her eyes to the sound of birds chirping in the spring air. It was early April. She sat up and pulled the sheets over her naked body. Gavin must have slipped out of bed while she was asleep. She hadn’t heard him, but they’d had a pretty intense night and now she was exhausted. She’d slept right through his alarm.
The previous evening had started out much the same way as it always did when they were together. Claudia showed up around eight and Gavin couldn’t keep his hands off her until the next morning. She promised herself she’d tell him her news before they made it to the bedroom, but his persistence left little time for words. Claudia knew she could have found time to tell him they were going to have a baby at some point in the evening, but she was afraid. She didn’t want to ruin the time they had together. She feared it might be their last night.
Gavin’s tall, lean form stepped out of the bathroom, towel slung dangerously low over his hips as the steam from the shower escaped from behind him. She could smell the mixture of his manly soap and shaving cream. The skin on his face looked smooth and clean, and his overgrown blond hair was still damp.
“Morning, gorgeous.” He smiled. “I thought you’d still be asleep. I think I tired you out last night.”
“Hey,” she said. “I didn’t hear you get up.”
“You were sleeping solid.” He walked over to his closet and took out a navy blue suit. “I have a meeting in an hour, and if I’m late my brother will kill me. He’s threatening to send me to the Boston office if I screw up one more time.”
Gavin’s brother Brody was all business. He’d inherited their father’s company after Mr. Callahan died a few years ago. Brody was only seven years older than Gavin but he was so much more focused and business oriented. Claudia always perceived Brody to be much older than he actually was. Gavin liked to play games and have a good time. The two of them clashed on so many levels. Gavin hadn’t shared much of his personal life with her, but she knew his brother was a sore subject.
“I need to tell you something.” Claudia tugged the sheet higher and held it tight against her swollen chest. Her breasts were sore and already fuller than normal. A nervous knot formed in her stomach, the one she couldn’t seem to will away, no matter how hard she tried. She hoped the morning sickness didn’t pick now to make an appearance. “I should have said something last night.”
Gavin removed the towel and slipped on his boxers and white t-shirt before turning and acknowledging her. “What is it?”
“I haven’t been feeling well,” she said. “I thought I was just tired.”
“Is everything okay?” He pulled the crisp, sharp dress shirt over his muscular shoulders.
“Gavin.” She took a deep breath as she looked down at the comforter. “I’m pregnant.” When he didn’t say anything after a few seconds, she looked up at him.
He continued to button his shirt. He didn’t look in her direction as he carefully took his well-tailored pressed pants from the hanger.
“Gavin?” Claudia watched his every move in the mirror over the dresser.
He slipped his pants on, but he still didn’t say anything. She figured her words must be settling in. He probably needed a few minutes to digest what she had just told him. When she took the pregnancy test the other day she was more than a little shocked. He needed time to process such life-changing news.
“I don’t know what happened,” she said. “I know how careful we are, but—”
“You don’t think…” He stopped dressing and looked at her. “You can’t possibly think I got you pregnant.”
“I haven’t been with anyone other than you. You’re the only one I’ve ever been with.”
“Well, that was true when we first got together. I mean, I know I was your first, but we’re only together once a week. How do I know what you’re doing the rest of the time?”
“You think I could be with someone else while we’re together?” She knew they weren’t exclusive. They’d never even been on a date, but the idea of sleeping with someone else while they were seeing one another never crossed her mind.
He nodded as he ran his fingers through his hair. “We’re only together on Wednesday nights. We’re just having fun. I told you that. It’s just friends with benefits.”
In that moment she saw in his expression everything she needed to know. How could she have been so dumb? “I’m not the only one you’ve been with.” It wasn’t a question, she already knew the answer.
“I never led you to believe that, but that’s not the issue we’re dealing with right now.” He reached for his belt hanging behind the door and threaded it through the loops of his pants.
“No, I guess it isn’t,” she said. “I just found out the other day, but I didn’t want to tell you on the phone, and I didn’t think this was a conversation we should have at the main house.”
“This isn’t a conversation we should be having at all. I didn’t get you pregnant. I always use protection.”
“It’s not a hundred percent.”
“Look, I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing here, but it won’t work.”
“What are you talking about?” Claudia knew he’d be upset, but she never thought he’d deny the baby was his. “This isn’t a game.”
“You’re a second generation housekeeper. You’ve been around my family long enough to know how much money we have.” He laughed as he pushed his hair from his eyes. “How didn’t I see you working me?”
“What?”Her stomach churned. She swallowed back the bile that rose in her throat. She was going to vomit all over his expensive bedding.
“You saw a chance and you took it. It’s not going to work.” Amusement flickered in his vibrant green eyes. “I’ll give you an ‘A’ for effort, sweetheart, but I’m shutting your scam down before it even starts.”
“What scam? You pursued me,” she said. “You were relentless.” She didn’t want to come off as desperate, but this was his responsibility too.
“I saw the vibes you were sending my way. That whole ‘babe in the woods’ routine. It was hot. I’ll admit it.” His laughter humiliated her. “Then when I found out you were a virgin, well shit, who wouldn’t want to hit that?”
“You’re disgusting.” She hopped out of his bed and searched for her clothes. “I tell you I’m pregnant with your child and this is what you come up with?”
“I don’t believe you’re pregnant, but if you are, no way is it mine.” He calmly put his socks and shoes on as she managed to retrieve her clothes from around the room. “I suggest you drop this whole charade before you embarrass yourself.”
“Screw you.” She threw on her pants and tugged her t-shirt over her head.
He selected a tie from his closet and slung his jacket over his arm before walking over to her. She backed away, but he cornered her against the wall. “This game is over. If you want to keep your job at my family’s house, you keep your mouth shut. No one knows we slept together, and any ramblings of a baby will make you look like the slut you are.”
“What’s wrong with you?” she asked. Gavin was never a romantic, but he’d never shown this side of himself before. How could she have been so wrong about him?
“I don’t take kindly to women who use me for my money. I should’ve known better than to take you to my bed.”
“Pig!” She pushed past him, grabbed her bag, and headed for the front door. Her heart rate increased when she heard the sound of his footsteps following close behind her.
“Claudia,” he said. “I’m serious. I know how much my family contributes to your grandmother’s assisted living. Don’t screw that up.”
“Leave my grandmother out of this.”
“Don’t force me to go to my mother and tell her you’re a con artist.” He moved to where she stood. “She’s not that fond of you as it is.”
He spoke the truth. Angela had never cared for Claudia. She was sure his mother would blame her for the pregnancy.
“I can’t believe how wrong I was about you.”
“I was thinking the same thing about you.” He opened the front door and nodded for her to go.
She stepped out into the hallway, and as she headed for the elevator she heard him slam the door behind her. She couldn’t contain the sob that escaped from someplace deep inside her chest. Now what was she going to do?
* * * *
As she placed the last throw pillow on the bed, she couldn’t help but think how inviting it looked. It was a little after three o’clock, and she still had an hour to work, but she was so tired, and her back was sore. She just needed to sit for a moment. Angela was down at the stables and wasn’t due back for a bit, so she sat on the edge of the bed and closed her eyes.
She was only eleven weeks pregnant, but that little baby was sucking every last ounce of energy from her body. The afternoons were the worst. All she wanted to do was cuddle on the couch in her tiny apartment and sleep for an hour or two. She leaned back and sunk deep into the soft mattress. Her bed at home was nowhere near this comfortable. Everything was spotless and pretty in the guest bedroom. The sunlit room smelled like fresh-cut roses. The soft pink tones adorning the walls and curtains lulled her into a deep state of relaxation.
The last thing she remembered was the white of the ceiling before she heard a voice pull her from her unintentional slumber. A warm hand touched her arm. When she opened her eyes she realized what had happened.
She’d fallen asleep, on the job, in a guest bedroom of a home she was hired to clean. As she gazed into his stunning blue eyes she tried to recover from her nap. She’d never noticed how clear his eyes were. Then again, she’d never been this close to Brody Callahan before.
“Is everything okay, Ms. Samson?” He pushed a strand of his thick, dark hair from his forehead. He and Gavin had almost the same messy kind of haircut, but Brody’s hair was darker and tamer.
Claudia stood from the bed much too quickly. The room swirled around her and then she lost her balance, falling against his hard, muscular chest.
“Whoa.” He caught her by the forearm, staring down at her with concern. “Are you okay?”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Callahan.”
Could my day get any worse?
Available on October 23, 2017