When Destiny tells Carter she is accidentally pregnant, she doesn’t expect him to be thrilled. After all, they haven’t discussed any kind of future, and children have never come up. She could handle his shock and dismay, but she is unprepared for his accusation that she cheated on him. Leaving New York City and Carter behind, she returns to her hometown to figure out what to do next. Meanwhile, Carter has discovered he made a huge mistake and goes after her, but she refuses to return with him to the city. He’s determined to wait her out and settles into life in small-town Kansas as he works on wearing her down and earning her forgiveness. Can he ever make up for the things he said and win her back, or will he futilely chase Destiny forever?
This is a complete novella (approximately 25,000 words) with a happy ending and no cliffhangers.
Bonus content includes an older title that you might have missed, so you get two books in one.
Please note this is a novella, not a longer novel. Thanks!
Read Chapter 1:
Destiny paced back and forth through Carter Winslow’s large living room, anxiously awaiting the return of her boyfriend. Boyfriend seemed like such a tepid word for the relationship they had, but it was the only apt description. They were more than lovers, but certainly less than married or engaged, so she was stuck with boyfriend. She was also fixating on such an unimportant detail because she didn’t want to think about his reaction when she shared her news.
They might have been together for the last nine months, completely consumed with each other physically, but she hadn’t seen a lot of softening yet from him on an emotional level, and she was uncertain how he felt about her even after living with him for the last four months in his penthouse apartment above the building he owned, where he conducted business. It was certainly a step up in the world for her, having moved from being his receptionist to his girlfriend in the span of just a few months, but now she was afraid it was all slipping away.
Would he think she had done it on purpose? She hoped not, but it seemed like the kind of assumption a rich white guy might make about his far less economically blessed black girlfriend, especially since she had been trying to make him see for the last few months that she wanted something more permanent and definite between them.
So far, Carter had ignored all of those subtle and not-so-subtle hints, and she had been trying to let it go, knowing it would do no good to push him. He wouldn’t make a commitment unless or until he was ready to do so, and the continued pressure on him was only likely to cause the implosion of their relationship.
She wanted to put it off, but she couldn’t. She had to tell him now, or she might never say a word, which was a completely impractical thought, because he was bound to notice sooner or later.
She took a deep breath and steadied her nerves when the door opened, and he stepped through a few moments later. He had been in Atlanta for a meeting, so she hadn’t seen him for the last three days. That should have given her time to sort out her own reaction and determine how she was going to tell him, but all of her preparation went out the window when she saw him as he hurried across the room and took her into his arms for a deep kiss.
It was so tempting to just melt into him, to let the natural conclusion occur, and perhaps whisper her news after they were both sated and lying in bed together. She couldn’t do that though. He had to know, and he had to know now. She was compelled to tell him.
With a regretful sigh, she pulled away from him and stepped out of his arms. “We have to talk.”
Carter groaned, running a hand through his dark-blond hair. “I hate those words.”
His long-suffering tone and puppy dog eyes would have made her laugh under other circumstances, but she couldn’t summon amusement at the moment, not with their future hanging in the balance. “I have something to tell you, Carter.”
It was his turn to sigh, and he eased away from her to head to the wet bar in the corner. “Hold that thought, love. It was a long flight.”
She could just imagine, recalling the occasions she had flown with him on his private jet. All the luxury in the world must have worn him out, she thought a twist of her lips. Either that, or perhaps he was too busy actively engaged in fending off the flight attendant, who had always made it perfectly obvious, even in front of Destiny, that she would serve all of Carter’s needs if he would just ask. What was her name again? Bambi? Buffy? Bimbo?
It didn’t matter, and she was certain he wouldn’t have reciprocated with the flirting, even though he’d traveled alone this time due to her having a doctor’s appointment. That wasn’t Carter’s style. He was direct, almost blunt, and he didn’t believe in fooling around with someone else when he was in a relationship. At least so he said, and she’d never had any reason to doubt him. It was her own insecurities and uncertainty about what was coming that prompted the response now.
She waited until he had a drink and had taken a seat on the leather couch before heading over to join him. Knowing the seriousness of the discussion forthcoming, she left a cushion between them and curled up in the opposite corner. “How was your meeting?”
Carter sighed heavily, wiping a hand down his face and shaking his head slightly. “Exhausting. Peters is a stubborn old goat, and he doesn’t want to accept help, so I’m trying to sidestep him by working with his grandsons, but they lack a few shares to have controlling interest, so we’re trying to find someone who will sell to them. It’s tedious and frustrating, and also completely boring.” He turned his head to grin at her, holding out a hand and gesturing her to close the distance between them.
She shook her head and stayed where she was.
He frowned. “What have I done to upset you?”
Destiny frowned. “You haven’t done anything. Why would you ask that?”
He shrugged. “In my experience, women pout when I’ve done something wrong, or have denied them something they want.” His eyes narrowed, and she could practically see the ugly thought flashing through his mind. Like a diamond engagement ring.
She tensed, once more tempted to back out on the conversation, or at least postpone it until she felt braver. Only knowing she would never feel braver or more sure of his response kept her seated on the couch and forced her mouth to work. “It’s nothing either one of us have done. It was just something that happened.”
His eyes narrowed, and he looked wary. “What are you talking about?”
“I haven’t been feeling well lately, and I thought it was just the birth control shot disagreeing with me, so I saw my gynecologist Wednesday, the day you left for your trip. That was why couldn’t come with you to Atlanta, if you recall?” At his nod, his expression giving away nothing, she continued, “It’s not the shot giving me problems, other than the fact that it failed to work properly. I’m pregnant, Carter.
He sat still for a moment as his expression gradually darkened. “It isn’t mine.”
She jerked back in shock, never having expected him to say something so horrible. She hadn’t expected him to be thrilled about the idea of them being parents when they were barely more than a couple living together at the moment, with the state of their relationship uncertain, but she’d never expected him to accuse her of infidelity. “That’s a terrible thing to say, Carter. I’ve never cheated on you.”
He glared at her, his expression making it plain he didn’t believe her. “I didn’t get you pregnant, but someone sure as fuck knocked you up. If it wasn’t a fling, maybe you got artificially inseminated. After all, you’d do anything to have my money, wouldn’t you?”
She flinched at the accusation, shaking her head. “I don’t want your money. All I want is you, though I’m having a difficult time remembering why at the moment.”
“I don’t like games, and I sure as fuck won’t be manipulated into marrying you just to claim a kid that isn’t mine. I want you out. You have an hour to pack and get out of my house—and don’t come back.”
Of all the ways she had imagined this would turn out, it had never crossed her mind that he would refuse to accept paternity and throw her out of his apartment. In the dark of night a couple nights ago, she had briefly entertained the idea that he might be so appalled by the thought of having a child with her that he would send her away, but she hadn’t expected him to ever try to deny it was his.
Who was this man, and how had she fallen in love with him? He was nothing like the Carter she knew, the man she’d been waiting for to give her a firm commitment for the last few months.
Suddenly, it seemed entirely plausible that he had never intended to commit to her, and that the deeper feelings had all been on her side. Perhaps she had been nothing more than a diversion, or even worse, a novelty. By his own admission, he had never dated a black woman before, so what if she had been just an item to cross off his bucket list? It would certainly explain why he was so determined to cling to the assertion that he wasn’t the father.
“Well? What are you waiting for? Time’s ticking away. I’m sure you need to cram all the designer clothes you can get out of here into your bags in the next hour.”
That was another direct attack, and one that she felt was really unfair. It was true she had several pieces from designers in her closet, but they had been gifts from him and purchased at his insistence, since he had claimed she would need to dress the part to act as his hostess or his companion when they went to various functions.
Just like the jewelry in her jewelry box, it had all been his idea to purchase, and certainly nothing she’d ever requested. Shaking her head, still disbelieving his reaction, Destiny got to her feet and turned away from him. She couldn’t stand to look at him for the moment.
She marched away from him to the bedroom they shared and went to her closet on her side of the bed. His closet was arranged on the other side of the bedroom suite. Her fingers were clumsy, and it took a few tries to actually start getting things off the hanger, but soon enough, she’d filled both of her suitcases with her meager possessions, leaving behind anything he had purchased for her.
She almost bypassed the jewelry box too, but she stopped at the last moment and gathered a handful of the more expensive items from the bottom drawer. She’d given up her job months ago, and it might take a while to find a new one. If he wasn’t going to live up to his financial responsibilities to their baby, she’d just have to find an indirect route to let him support them.
Perhaps she should feel a twinge of guilt for taking some of the jewelry, but since she had no intention of keeping it and was planning to pawn it for living expenses, she decided it wasn’t a morally ambiguous move to take. It certainly wasn’t anywhere near as morally decrepit as denying paternity of their child and kicking her out onto the street.
When she returned to the living room, he was gone. It was better that way, because she didn’t have the right vocabulary to tell him goodbye. Not because she was uneducated, but simply because she was still stunned by how he had behaved, and how quickly he had resorted to believing the worst of her and kicking her out of his life.
It was obvious he didn’t want the child and cared nothing for either one of them, so she would have to love their baby enough for both of them. She was certain she could do that at least, because from the moment she had found out she was expecting, she had been nothing but excited, at least when it came to the baby. Considering his reaction had made her fretful and worried, but now even that was over. The worst had happened, so all she had to do was rebuild and move on.
That seemed like a daunting prospect, but she would just have to summon the strength to do so. She didn’t want a man who would think something so low about her, and it was obvious now that Carter believed she was with him at least partially for the things he could give her.
Feeling sick to her stomach, she locked the apartment behind her and walked away without looking back. The elevator took her to the ground floor, and she bypassed the garage where a small hatchback was at her disposal, yet another gift from Carter. That was one gift she had no intention of taking either. The only thing she was taking with her that Carter gave her was her shattered heart and their child.
Mia Caldwell has been fantasizing about stories of “Happily-Ever-After” since she was a little girl, and now that’s she’s all grown up her “Happily-Ever-After” stories have taken a steamier turn! After graduating from college Mia still wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do with her life. Bored with her day job as an Administrative Assistant for a non-profit, she started writing stories on the side and sharing them with her friends. They gave her the push she needed to share them with you! She lives in New York with two rascally cats named Link and Zelda, eats too much chocolate and Chinese take-out, and goes on way too many blind dates. She’s still waiting for Mr. Right, but in the meantime she’ll keep dreaming up the perfect man!
Mia loves hearing from her fans and you can reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org