His eyes dark, he raked a carnal look down her body, setting her on fire. “I damn sure wasn’t thinking of Mother England.”

* * *

In the back of the limo, Jax leaned close to redo the tie of Blake’s tux. He dreaded the benefit auction tonight, because his mind hadn’t stopped spinning since she’d called him this morning with the life-altering news. Breathing was difficult. Completing the complicated task of securing a bow knot had been impossible.

Because, to hell with going blind, who would have guessed that masturbation could lead to fatherhood?

He still couldn’t wrap his brain around the turn of events, especially given how Jax looked. Adorned in a red, floor-length spaghetti-strap dress that emphasized her cleavage, she wasn’t exactly emitting a motherly vibe. And Blake wondered if his inner turmoil was visible on his face.

He was going to be a father....

Blake’s stomach lurched.

As she fixed the tie around his neck, Jax said, “You were a little crooked, Suit.”

Crooked? He’d been turned completely inside out.

He inhaled the smell of spiced apricots, every one of his senses feeling heightened. Most likely because of the pure, pumping rush of shocked adrenaline that continued to surge through his veins.

He was going to be a father.

The weight of responsibility consumed him, leaving room for little else. Not that he hadn’t planned on one day getting married. Perhaps even having a few kids. But that had been far into the future, not an immediate possibility.

“Are you done freaking out?” she said.

Hardly. He was just getting started.

Instead, he said, “I did not freak out.”

“Yes, you did,” she said with a small laugh. “Admit it. You had a complete and total meltdown.” The glimmer in her eyes was lighthearted, but beneath he detected a note of concern. Probably because she figured his meltdown was ongoing. “In your own adorable way, of course,” she said.

He studied her for a moment before responding, his voice honest. “This wasn’t how I pictured starting a family.”

Her fingers stilled at his neck, and then she dropped her hands to her lap. “The best things in life are rarely planned,” she said lightly, her expression wary.

But, planned or not, the baby was his. The responsibility was his. And he kept hearing his father’s voice in his head, telling Blake he had to step up and be accountable for his actions.

You have to start taking your future seriously, Blake.

You have to stop thinking only of yourself and start thinking about your family.

Heart buckling at the memory, he let the words slip. “We need to plan the wedding.”

Jax’s hand paused in the midst of brushing a strand of wild, tawny hair from her cheek, and she met his gaze head-on. “There’ll be plenty of time for that later,” she said simply.

Blake refused to frown at her hesitation. “I suspect the next eight months are going to fly by.”

She finally tucked the lock behind her ear and smoothed her hand down her dress. “We can get married after the baby is born.”

He sensed the words for what they were: a delaying tactic. The idea of waiting cut against the grain, and Blake twisted in his seat, studying Jax carefully as the sense of dissatisfaction settled deep.

“We have to get married before,” he said.

The look on Jax’s face was hardly encouraging. “Says who?”

Blake opened his mouth, but no words came out, his mind scrambling for an answer that didn’t sound antiquated and dated. Society? Their family?


The thought in regard to Jax was laughable, so he gave up and frowned. “I said.”

Jax lifted her eyebrows, an almost eye-roll that clearly communicated she thought his excuse was lame. “I refuse to give my wedding a shotgun theme.”

Unhappy with the turn of events, he pressed his lips together as the limo pulled up to the curb in a trendy section of town.

“No one is using any weapons here,” Blake said, struggling to keep the frustrated tone from his voice.

The driver opened the door, cutting off further conversation, and Jax stepped out. Blake fought to control the profound sense of unease and followed her onto the sidewalk. He took her arm and led her up the steps to the beautiful modern building hosting the benefit, surprised by the sign out front. He supposed reconstructive surgery was the connection, but a plastic surgeon’s office hardly seemed the usual location to hold a fundraiser, even for breast cancer.

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