BEVERLY BARTON

A Child Of Her Own


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      “Sometimes I Wish I Hadn’t Been So Damned Noble.” Letter to Reader Title Page About the Author Dedication Acknowledgments Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Epilogue Copyright

      “Sometimes I Wish I Hadn’t Been So Damned Noble.”

      Rick pulled Lori Lee into his arms, crushing her breasts to his chest, pressing her against him. “I should have taken you with me that night and said to hell with your innocence and with the barriers that stood between us.”

      

      Lori Lee pulsated deep in the secret heart of her body. Longings more intense than any she’d ever known radiated through her. “I’ve always wondered what it would have been like with you.”

      

      “I’d have been your first, if I’d taken you that night.”

      

      The words were a statement, not a question. All the guys had known that Lori Lee Guy didn’t put out, that she was waiting for Prince Charming....

      Dear Reader,

      

      A book from Joan Hohl is always a delight, so I’m thrilled that this month we have her latest MAN OF THE MONTH, A Memorable Man. Naturally, this story is chock-full of Joan’s trademark sensuality and it’s got some wonderful plot twists that are sure to please you!

      

      Also this month, Cindy Gerard’s latest in her NORTHERN LIGHTS BRIDES series, A Bride for Crimson Falls, and Beverly Barton’s “Southern sizzle” is highlighted in A Child of Her Own. Anne Eames has the wonderful ability to combine sensuality and humor, and A Marriage Made in Joeville features this talent.

      

      The Baby Blizzard by Caroline Cross is sure to melt your heart this month—it’s an extraordinary love story with a hero and heroine you’ll never forget! And the month is completed with a sexy romp by Diana Mars, Matchmaking Mona.

      

      In months to come, look for spectacular Silhouette Desire books by Diana Palmer, Jennifer Greene, Lass Small and many other fantastic Desire stars! And I’m always here to listen to your thoughts and opinions about the books. You can write to me at the address below.

      

      Enjoy! I wish you hours of happy reading!

      Lucia Macro

      Senior Editor

      Please address questions and book requests to:

      Silhouette Reader Service U.S. : 3010 Walden Ave., P.O. Box 1325, Buffalo, NY 14269 Canadian: P.O. Box 609, Fort Erie, Ont. L2A 5X3

      A Child Of Her Own

      Beverly Barton

      

      

www.millsandboon.co.uk

      BEVERLY BARTON

      has been in love with romance since her grandfather gave her an illustrated book of Beauty and the Beast. An avid reader since childhood, she began writing at the age of nine and wrote short stories, poetry, plays and novels throughout high school and college. After marriage to her own “hero” and the births of her daughter and son, she chose to be a full-time homemaker, a.k.a. wife, mother, friend and volunteer.

      When she returned to writing, she joined Romance Writers of America and helped found the Heart of Dixie chapter in Alabama. Since the release of her first Silhouette book in 1990, she has won the GRW Maggie Award, the National Readers’ Choice Award and has been a RITA finalist. Beverly considers writing romance books a real labor of love. Her stories come straight from the heart, and she hopes that all the strong and varied emotions she invests in her books will be felt by everyone who reads them.

      For my daughter, Badiema Beaver Waldrep, and

      her friend Beth Bange, the two prettiest girls to ever grace the Deshler High School majorette line, and Mandy Hall Files, former lovely DHS drum major.

      And a special thanks to my good friend and a lady who,

      as far as I’m concerned, should always be center stage, Brenda Hall. I appreciate your sharing a hundred and one interesting details with me about your daughter Beth Bange’s Quad-Cities Twirlers, National and World Champions.

      One

      Carrying a steel gray toolbox, Rick Warrick entered the Dixie Twirlers studio and immediately realized half a dozen women were sizing him up. Not that he wasn’t used to the fairer sex paying attention to him, but these weren’t good-time girls at a local bar. These were wives and mothers, some of them the cream of local society. Glancing around the huge open room, he noticed that the decor was definitely feminine, everything done in various shades of pink and lavender, with gold and silver accents. Surveying the bevy of ladies seated together in a lounge section at the back of the room, he didn’t see the studio’s owner, Ms. Lori Lee Guy, who had called for a repairman.

      His partner, Bobo Lewis, had brought him up-to-date on Lori Lee’s life. She was a hometown girl who’d gone to the University of Alabama as a majorette, become homecoming queen and snagged herself a star quarterback. Although he had feigned indifference to Bobo’s gossip, Rick had been interested. It wasn’t that he’d been carrying a torch for Lori Lee all these years—he hadn’t—but he still considered her “the perfect female.” He had come to that conclusion when he’d been eighteen and fantasized about scoring with Deshler High School’s head majorette. Having seen her recently in passing on the street hadn’t changed his opinion.

      A hot, jazzy tune drifted down from upstairs, mingling with the sound of dozens of feet tapping and interspersed with childish giggles.

      “I’m looking for Ms. Guy,” Rick said, not localizing his stare, but taking in all six of the women. “She called about the heat.”

      A plump redhead dressed in a multicolored sweat suit stood and, swaying her hips provocatively, sauntered over to Rick. “You’re Rick Warrick, aren’t you? I heard you were back in town and working for Bobo Lewis.”

      “I’m Bobo’s partner,” Rick corrected her. He wished it wasn’t so important to him for people to