Kimberly's Reviews > Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley by Robyn Carr
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Dec 07, 2016

really liked it

** spoiler alert ** With this story we finally get to see Rick and Liz's relationship progress and somewhat plunder at times. Both were in the previous books, but they were teens. Now Rick is 20, a marine, and Liz is 18, just finishing high school. He is wounded in Iraq, losing his right leg up to his mid thigh. Now, usually I love to read about wounded or disfigured war heroes, but for some reason it just didn't jive with me like the others I've read. I think what didn't work with well for me was Rick's anger and hostility towards those who tried to help him - Liz and Jack. I mean, I get his life has dramatically changed and I don't expect him to be all sunshine and roses, but his negative attitude was a bit much.

I will say Liz has matured a whole lot since she first appeared in the series at 14. I know she loves Rick, but I don't see how she had the patience to deal with him. Also I liked how she gave him a taste of his own medicine - he ignored her when she tried to talk to him, but when she starts to ignore him like he doesn't exist after he dumped her, well it's a different story.

I know this was suppose to be Rick and Liz's story, but my favorite parts were with Cameron and Abby. They first appeared in previous books and I'm glad Robyn decided to write more about them and give them a happy ending in this book. I liked how Cameron wanted to be more than just a father to their twins, he wanted to marry Abby and be a family. It was cute and a bit mischievous of him having her move in with him so he can help her when the babies come, to watch her, and secretly hoping he could woo her into making her fall in love with him. I just loved his character.

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Quotes Kimberly Liked

Robyn Carr
“General Booth, sir, I’m the reason Shelby left a little over two weeks ago. I apologize, sir. She had every reason to think her future wasn’t secure with me and she left.” Walt settled back. Shelby was twenty-five to Luke’s thirty-eight and Walt had been concerned that his niece’s involvement with this tough-edged Blackhawk pilot might end with her being hurt. “How does that not surprise me?” Walt said churlishly. “I let her go, sir. I thought she might be better off. I hated to think she’d bet everything on someone like me.” Walt smirked. He couldn’t have put it better himself. “I should’ve just shot you,” he said. “I gave it serious thought.” Luke couldn’t suppress a huff of silent laughter. “I figured you did. Sir.”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“I’d like to see my niece, if you don’t mind.” “She’ll be here pretty soon. But there’s another thing. I’d like your permission to ask Shelby to be my wife.” Walt ground his teeth. “You’re really pressing your luck.” “Oh, you don’t know the half.” Luke chuckled before he could stop himself. “Almost thirty-nine years old and I’m buying into the whole program. It’s not even one of her conditions—it’s one of mine. General Booth, she’s everything to me. I can’t live without her. I thought I could and I tried, but it’s too late for me. I’m in love with Shelby. I’m going to be in love with her for the rest of my life.” Walt was sitting straighter. He moved to the edge of his chair. “What about her education? What about a family? I think my niece wants a family and I heard you say that wasn’t—” “You probably heard me say a lot of things I thought I meant and didn’t, sir. Shelby can have anything she wants, do anything she wants—I’ll support her. I’m not going to waste her time, sir. If she’ll marry me, I’ll give her everything I have, go anywhere she needs me to go. She won’t ever again leave my house thinking I don’t care about her. That could have been the biggest mistake of my lifetime.” Walt smiled in spite of himself. “Learned your lesson, did you, boy?” Luke didn’t mind so much being called a boy by this military icon, but the truth hit him pretty hard. “Oh, man,” he said, shaking his head. “You have no idea.” Walt leaned back. “I like seeing you humbled a little bit, Riordan. What if I withhold my permission?” “Oh, I’ll ask her anyway. I’ll tell her you disapprove and ask her to overlook that. But I’d like to do this right, sir. I’ve made enough mistakes—I don’t want to make one more.” “Hmm,” Walt hummed. “I guess I can still be surprised….” “Sir?” “I didn’t figure you for intelligence.” Luke”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Walt looked at her beautiful, shining face. Her hazel eyes glowed, her cheeks were flush with love. But looking at Shelby wasn’t the startling part. One look at Luke told the rest of the story. Luke had always had that bad-boy edge, an aura of danger and a short fuse. No more. All the rough edges had been ground down and his expression was docile as a puppy. Walt just laughed as he pulled Shelby into his arms. He hugged her fiercely. “Shelby, Shelby,” he said. He held her away from him and, grinning, he said, “Looks like you’ve tamed him. He doesn’t have any fight left in him.” “Thank God,” she said. “I don’t think I could take much more. He’s been a real handful. But Luke still needs a little work, so I’m going to be staying with him now. I’ll be over to help you with the horses every day, just like always.” “That would be nice, honey,” he said.”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Walt looked at her beautiful, shining face. Her hazel eyes glowed, her cheeks were flush with love. But looking at Shelby wasn’t the startling part. One look at Luke told the rest of the story. Luke had always had that bad-boy edge, an aura of danger and a short fuse. No more. All the rough edges had been ground down and his expression was docile as a puppy. Walt just laughed as he pulled Shelby into his arms.”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Shelby came back,” he said. Silence answered him. “She did?” Muriel finally asked in a shocked breath. “Yes, ma’am. And apparently Luke did enough groveling to satisfy her, because she’s moved in with him. And this morning he paid me a visit, asked my permission to propose.” “Get out of town! Did you grant it?” “No. I told him to go to hell. I should have just shot him. I told him that.” “Oh, you’d like me to believe you’re that kind of bully, wouldn’t you?” “The silly girl seems to love him. And you should see him. Whipped into shape that fast. I bet if we pulled up his shirt, there would be lash marks all over his back. He’s limp as a noodle.” “I bet he’s not,” she said with a laugh. “Well, good for Shelby. That maneuver never worked for me. When I stomped off into the night, they just said, ‘Okay, bah-bye.’” “What’s”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“He’d forced himself to get used to living a single man’s life after his wife died. In fact, he had never expected to find another woman to fill that space. But once Muriel had, it astonished him how quickly he got used to female companionship. And not just any companion, but a woman who seemed perfect for him. While she was here, riding, shooting, hunting, refurbishing her house, he realized they were made for each other. But the minute the call came from Hollywood he began to think he’d been ridiculous to imagine they had anything in common. It was so easy for her to pack up her cosmetics and dainties, board a fancy Lear and take off for another kind of life. “I”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“I saw Shelby and Luke the other night. They came by for a beer and a take-out dinner. Looks like things are back on track there,” Jack said. “I guess so,” Walt said. “Do they look content?” Jack leaned toward him. “In every sense of the word,” he said. Then he laughed. “Took Luke lots longer to bite the dust than I gave him credit for.” “I just want Shelby to be in good hands,” Walt said. “Oh, General, there’s no question about that. Luke gave up the fight.” And he grinned. “He’s all hers.” “Better be,” Walt growled. “I wouldn’t mind shooting him.” Jack laughed at him. Walt put the fear of God in a lot of men, but there was no evidence he’d actually done any physical harm. However, he had enough hot air in him to float a balloon. Only”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Vanni mentioned Muriel’s out of town, sir. Would you like some dinner?” Walt looked him up and down shrewdly. Paul had his wife all to himself for a change and was going to begrudgingly invite her father to join them? “I don’t think so, son. Though the deep sincerity of your offer touches me.” Everyone laughed but for an indignant Paul. “Aw, come on, I was really nice about that! Sir.” “You were a peach,” Walt said, knowing he was getting a little grumpy. “I’ll just sit here and have dinner with Jack.” “Where’s”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Where’s Muriel, Walt?” Mel asked. He was tired of explaining about this, and it hadn’t been all that long. “Making a movie,” he said unhappily. “Really? How exciting! Since she was looking forward to a long break from that, it must be quite an important film.” “Yeah, so she says. Jack Whatshisname is the star.” “Jack What’s… Jack who?” “You know. Big star. Cuckoo’s Nest guy…” “Nicholson? Holy shit,” Mel said. “Melinda, we were going to stop saying shit in front of the kids,” Jack patiently reminded her, glancing over his shoulder toward David in the backpack. “Oh shit, I forgot. But, Walt, that’s really something, isn’t it? I mean, he’s huge. This must be a thrill for her.” Walt got a fairly dangerous gleam in his eye. “I suppose she’s thrilled to the heart of her bottom.” “Well, no wonder you’re so pissy,” Mel said with a laugh.”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Do you remember the night we met, Abby? And the conversation we had before going to the room? It was about that list you had—the one about what you were looking for in a man?” She glowered at him and nodded, grudgingly. “An important item was manners. You might want to remember that.” “Listen, Cameron—you got me into this mess and—” “I had help,” he said firmly. “Lots of help.” “Just take me home. Please,” she said just as firmly. “In a minute. You need to listen to me now. Pay attention, Abby. If being considerate and accommodating isn’t going to work with you, I can change my approach. Regardless what nasty twist you put on things, I never intended to be a sperm donor. Nor was it my idea that we never see each other again after that night we spent together. I looked for you. I wanted more time with you. I never saw it as a quick roll in the hay. That was your doing when you disappeared on me, refused to contact me, even though you promised you would. “It’s very important that you understand something,” he went on. “I’ll try to work with you as much as you allow me to, but if you try to separate me from my children, I’ll fight. I’ll come after you. I’ll launch a search that will make Columbus look like a novice. So don’t even think about pulling something sneaky. Whether you like it or not, we’re in this together.” “Take me home. Please.” “Did you hear me?” “I heard,” she said. “Now I’d really like to go home.” He turned back toward the road and pulled around the stable to the front of Vanni and Paul’s house, Abby’s current residence. When she went to jump out of the car to flee, he grabbed her wrist and held her back. She turned and looked at him with a little panic in her eyes. “Abby, I can’t make you like me, but I can make you allow me to be a father to my children. I know a hundred ways. Please remember that.” Without”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Why in the world are you crying?” “I had a fight with Cam,” she said, tears running down her cheeks, her words caught on a sob. “Cam?” Paul asked, confused. “I was upset. He got all teary when he saw the ultrasound—one of them is for sure a boy. I hated that he got emotional in front of John Stone and I lost my temper.” “Oh, Abby…” “He got emotional?” Paul repeated, more confused. “Cameron?” “Vanni—I called him a sperm donor! I was so mean.” “Oh, Abby!” “Sperm donor?” Paul said, totally lost. “He laid it out for me, very seriously. Angrily. He’s not getting out of my way on this. He’s going to be a problem—as if I don’t have enough problems.” She leaned toward Vanni and wept on her shoulder. “He said he can’t make me like him, but he won’t let me take the babies away from him!” “Like him?” Paul said. “Babies? What the hell’s going on here?” Vanni looked over her shoulder at Paul. “Cameron’s the father—don’t tell anyone.” “Please don’t tell anyone,” Abby stressed tearfully. Paul was quiet for a long moment while Vanni just held Abby, comforting her. Finally he found his voice. “Are you fucking kidding me?” “I didn’t mean to be so hostile,” Abby wept. “Maybe it’s pregnancy.” “Sure it is, honey,” Vanni comforted. “Wait a minute,” Paul attempted. “Wait a minute here.” “Long story, Paul,” Vanni said. “Just don’t tell anyone. I’ll explain later, okay?” “But I thought they just met!” Paul said. “Obviously they didn’t just meet. Don’t be a dimwit. I’ll tell you about it later, after Abby gets calmed down.” Paul turned away from them and went to pick little Matt up from the floor where he played. “Must be a long story,” he muttered. “Very, very long. Say, about five months long?” “Abby,”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Everything all right?” “Dandy,” he said. He lifted his drink. “Swell.” Cameron hadn’t even sipped his drink when Paul walked in. He sat next to Cam and put his elbows on the bar. “What you got there?” he asked Cameron. “Scotch.” “Gimme a Crown. Same recipe,” Paul said to Jack. Jack got down a glass and poured. “I could’ve sworn you had plans for the evening,” he said to Paul. “I thought so,” he said. He lifted his glass and took a drink. “But then Abby came home, having some kind of emotional crisis, and Vanni got all hooked up in that.” Paul glared briefly at Cameron. “Lots of crying. Carrying on.” Cameron turned toward him. “I did not do anything to bring that on,” he said rather harshly. “I was completely courteous. Thoughtful. I was wonderful.” “I know that,” Paul said. “I gather she brought it on herself. She said she lost her temper. Said some rude things. Mean things.” He sipped. “You’re gonna have to let it go, man. Cut her some slack. For being pregnant and out of her mind. You know?” Jack”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Is that so?” Cameron said. “Well, guess what? I feel real bad about what she said, too.” Then he looked back into his drink and sulked. “Come on,” Jack said. “What the hell could she have said?” Cameron looked up from his drink. “She called me an unkind name.” Jack laughed at him. “Well, you’re a big boy. What could a little pregnant girl call you that would get you so riled up?” “Never mind. It’s over.” “How about—sperm donor,” Paul supplied. Cameron shot Paul an angry look. “Way to go, dipshit. Anybody ever tell you you have a big mouth?” “When Vanni said not to tell, I didn’t think she meant you. I mean, you know. Right?” Cameron glanced at Jack. “Don’t worry about Jack,” Paul said. “He doesn’t talk. Well, he does, but when he has specific orders not to, he can manage to keep his mouth shut.” Then Jack, caution drawing every word, said, “Now, why in the world would she say something like that to you?” “I can’t imagine,” Cameron said, pouting. “Well, if it makes you feel any better about things, Vanessa called me a dimwit for asking just about the same question.”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Was everything all right with the ultrasound?” he asked warily. “Fine,” Cameron said, sipping. “Babies look great.” “And at least one’s a boy,” Paul said, picking up his drink. After a swallow he found Cameron glaring at him again. “What? I wasn’t told not to tell that.” “You are a dimwit,” Cameron patiently pointed out. “Yeah? Well, I’m a dimwit who was going to get lucky once the baby was tucked in, until you got Abby all upset and crying and—” He stopped suddenly. He shook his head dismally. “Gentlemen,”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Gentlemen, I propose a toast,” Jack said, lifting his glass. “Let’s drink to silence. If this conversation ever leaves this bar, we’re all going to die. Skinless.” “Silence,” the other men agreed. “All”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Was everything all right with the ultrasound?” he asked warily. “Fine,” Cameron said, sipping. “Babies look great.” “And at least one’s a boy,” Paul said, picking up his drink. After a swallow he found Cameron glaring at him again. “What? I wasn’t told not to tell that.” “You are a dimwit,” Cameron patiently pointed out. “Yeah? Well, I’m a dimwit who was going to get lucky once the baby was tucked in, until you got Abby all upset and crying and—” He stopped suddenly. He shook his head dismally. “Gentlemen, I propose a toast,” Jack said, lifting his glass. “Let’s drink to silence. If this conversation ever leaves this bar, we’re all going to die. Skinless.” “Silence,” the other men agreed. “All”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Well, what are you going to do about it?” “Do about it?” “Well,” he said, looking over each shoulder to make sure they weren’t being overheard, then leaning close to whisper. Jack, of course, leaned down to not miss a word. “She’s pregnant. You’re the father. Anything come to mind there, bud? Like maybe marriage?” Cameron put down his drink impatiently. “Pay attention, Paul. I couldn’t even get her to go to Fortuna to eat at a restaurant with me. She hates me. I was a perfect gentleman, back then and tonight, but she hates me. She called me a sperm donor.” “Whew,” Paul said. “Whew,” said Jack. All three men lifted their glasses in misery. *”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“You’re right. I have to work on that. After all, I have some problems, but they’re under control at the moment. And I’m going to move forward with Cameron. If he doesn’t hate me too much…” “Oh, he doesn’t.” She shot him a questioning look. “I’m sure he doesn’t,” he amended. He smiled lamely. “I”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“He was wearing sweatpants, his chest and feet bare, a towel slung around his neck and his hair wet from the shower. She flushed a little, remembering that wide, hard chest as it had been pressed against her breasts. And those muscular arms that had held him up over her to keep from crushing her with his weight. “I”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Come to the kitchen. Have you had breakfast?” “If it’s all the same to you, I’ll save that for after we’ve talked a bit.” He filled the kettle and glanced over his shoulder. “Something about this little mission of yours upsetting your stomach?” “Something about two babies is upsetting my stomach. Double morning sickness. It’ll pass.” She sat down. “I’ve already thrown up this morning, so we’re safe for a while.” Cameron stared down at the kettle on the stove. She wouldn’t understand this, but he wished he could have been there for that. He’d like to be around for even the worst parts of the pregnancy; he’d like to be the one she complained to, blamed, criticized and harangued. Even though he was already getting plenty of that, he hated that she suffered her upset without his arms around her, comforting her as she calmed down. Crazy as it was, he wanted to watch her turn pea green, shoot for the bathroom, come out white as a sheet and fall into his arms. He’d like to be the partner, not the silent partner. He’d like to feel her big belly pressed up against him at night, waking him with the romping inside.”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Thing is, it might get out eventually. It’s kind of funny in a way—” “Funny?” “Think about it—two strangers are sitting alone in a bar, feeling sorry for themselves, and not only do they get together and find a lot of comfort in each other, they start a family. And not just a baby, but twins. Then they end up in the same small town. No one would believe it. I know it wasn’t planned, but I’m not sorry about the outcome.” She looked angry. At least indignant. “Well, I’m sorry!” “No, you’re not. You hate the complications, but there are twins coming and I’m going to be around to help you with that. One’s a boy. I hope the other one’s a girl. These might be the only kids I get, and I hope I get one of each.” He grinned stupidly and knew it. “You”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“You’re stuck with me either way. They’re mine as much as they’re yours.” “What a godawful, stinking mess,” she said, pouting and lifting the cup to her lips. Cameron was silent. Frowning. When she put the cup down, she looked at him and said, “What now?” He shook his head and said, “You wouldn’t want to hear about some of the sad things I’ve seen in my practice. Abby, you’re worried about all the wrong things—about who’s going to pay for the lawyer, about being embarrassed that we didn’t have a long relationship before this happened. Give thanks. The babies are healthy and strong and, so far as we can tell, perfect.” Her hand went to her tummy. “Are you the calm and reasonable one because you’re not the pregnant one?” she asked. “No, sweetheart. Because I’m the desperate one. You’re holding the prize.” *”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Aw, Jesus Christ,” Jack said. “You again.” Dan took off his hat and ran a hand through his hair. “Nice to see you, too.” “Aw, man—you’re the one. Paul hired you!” Jack stepped up behind the bar, hands on his hips. “He said he hired a big guy who wore a funny-looking cowboy hat. Guess he doesn’t know a Shady Brady when he sees one.” Dan just shook his head and gave a half smile. “You hold some kind of grudge or something? What’d I ever do to you?” “Just seems like when you’re around, there’s some kind of trouble.” “Yeah, and sometimes when I’m around, someone needs a lift. Didn’t I pick you up off a dirt road in the middle of a wildfire? Jesus, some people have no gratitude. Can I get a beer or are you going to glare at me all day?” “You”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Why couldn’t he be a clingy one?” she said softly. Jack actually laughed. “Rick? We both know why. Because he’s too damn proud for his own good, that’s why. Liz, honey, there’s no reason Rick can’t have a completely full, productive life. There’s almost nothing a guy with a prosthetic limb can’t do. I’ve seen news stories on guys with fake legs running marathons. And Rick will learn, he will. He’ll do whatever he wants…eventually. But if I know my boy, he’s going to be a giant pain in the ass getting there.” She”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“He turned and watched her go, seeing Jack standing in the doorway, glowering. Oh, he’d pissed off the big man. Too fucking bad, he thought. Maybe everyone would have been better off if he hadn’t made it. He brought bad karma. He”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Interesting,” Stu said, looking up at him. “Beautiful girl, adores you, and you shut her down. You have a brain tumor?” “Maybe,” Rick said, looking away. “That’s one thing I haven’t had yet.” “I know the leg hurts, but your lips don’t.” “Why don’t you mind your own business?” “This is a little town here, this ward. It’s impossible to mind your own business. And you’re FUBAR, man.” “Well, we knew that,” Rick said, smiling meanly. “No reason for me to fuck her up, too.” “From what I heard, just minding my own business in this little town of ours, you already fucked her up, and now you’re cutting her loose. We need to get you a new MRI on your head—you definitely have a brain tumor.” “Leave it alone.” “Maybe you don’t get this yet, but people care about you. They come running all the way from the States when you’re hurt. And you’re going to walk back into that homeplace of yours, looking just like you looked before you left until you take your pants off. Everything’s going to work just fine. But you’re too lame to see that right now. You working on pissing everyone off till they hate you? You could just be happy you have this much going for you. How about that?” Rick glared at him. “No, Stu. I can’t just be happy.”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Right now Rick didn’t want anything from anyone, and for Jack this was horrible. It was like being rejected as a father figure. “Hey,”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“I invited Abby to come here for dinner tonight. I want to talk to her about things. I’m going to try to convince her we should be roommates.” “Roommates? How romantic,” Mel said. “Yeah, well, she doesn’t have romantic feelings, but I want to take better care of my family. Whether she likes it or not, she’s my family. At least, she’s giving birth to my family. In another month, she’s going to realize how much she needs me nearby. After they’re born…” He shook his head. “After they’re born, she’s going to need me even more.” “So.”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“In the end, where I live isn’t going to be up to me. I’m not letting them get away. If Abby insists on living in some godforsaken place like London, I’ll follow.” Mel couldn’t help it, she burst out laughing. “Godforsaken London? I’d give my eyeteeth to spend a year in London.” “You know what I mean,” he said. “I understand—you got your head wrapped around being a small-town doctor, living in the mountains, a low-stress lifestyle, and then, whoops—you’re going to be a father.” “As you would say, boy howdie.” “So—tell”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“You enjoyed yourself once. I bet you can again. Cam’s a great guy.” Abby”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“You look pretty, Abby. Beautiful, in fact.” “Thanks. I look full-term and I’m not even close.” “You look perfect. Healthy and strong and very pregnant.” He grinned at her. “You feel okay?” “Sure,” she said. “Fine.”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Backache, edema, heartburn… What else?” She took a sip of her cider. “Something they call ligament pains that feel remarkably like a wide-awake cesarean section.” He winced. “I pee on the half hour.” He laughed. “You think it’s funny? A few more years, when your prostate is a bit larger, you won’t think it’s all that funny.” “I hope it’s more than just a few more years, Ab,” he said. But he smiled. He touched her hand, gave it a little squeeze.”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“We’ll never make it three months. Do you have any of the details worked out?” “Well,” she said. “Sure. Some.” He leaned toward her and smiled pleasantly. “Care to share?” “What would you like to know?” “Well, there’s nothing to suggest we have a high-risk pregnancy, but it’s pretty common for the mothers of twins to go on bed rest for a while to delay labor while they grow and get stronger. And when babies come, it’s often early and fast. And taking care of them as newborns is pretty demanding. Also, you have a financial situation that’s giving you some stress. And—” “Okay, okay,” she said. “Sheesh. I’m not too worried about bed rest, I’m in good health and I have Vanni and Mel. John Stone is watching real close for early and fast. My mom will come as soon as they arrive and—” “So will mine,” he said, and she actually grabbed her belly. “What?” “Oh yeah. We can hold her off for a week, maybe, but these are her grandchildren and she’s never missed a grandchild’s debut.” “Have you told her?” she asked, aghast. “Not yet,” he said, twirling a little spaghetti around his fork. “But I have to do that. It’s going to be hard enough to explain not telling her sooner and making sure she had a chance to meet you. They’re not just our children, Ab. They have grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins…et cetera…on my side of this family as well as yours.” “Oh God,” she said, dropping her fork. “I don’t feel so good.” He just laughed lightly. “Relax. Nothing to worry about. They’re fantastic people and you’ll be real happy to have them in your life, I guarantee it.” “But won’t they think… I mean, we’re not married and—” He shrugged, got up and fetched himself a beer from the old refrigerator, using the underside of his heavy class ring to pop the top. “I’m sure they’ve heard of things like this before. A man and woman, not married, having children. But telling my family is just one item on this list. Abby, the list is long. We have so many things to work through before you go into labor. And not all that much time to do it.” She”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Why don’t we consider moving in together? While we head for this event?” She gulped. “What?” she asked weakly. “Let’s clear the debt, get Kid Crawford out of the picture, I’ll take on your upkeep rather than Vanni and Paul shouldering your food and board, and we’ll evolve into…” He cleared his throat. “We don’t have to explain anything. People will just say, ‘Dr. Michaels likes that nice pregnant girl.’ We’ll share a house. I’ll be your roommate. You’ll have your own room. But there will be late nights you’re worried about some belly pain or later, night crying from the babies. You don’t want to do that to Vanni and Paul and—” “I was just going to go home to Seattle. To my mom and dad’s.” “They have room for me?” he asked, lifting his fork and arching that brow. “Oh, for God’s sake,” she said, slamming down her fork. “You can’t mean to say you plan to just follow me and demand to live with the babies!” “Well, no,” he said. “That would be obsessive. But Jesus, Ab, I don’t want to miss out on anything. Do you know how much babies change from two to six weeks? It just kills me to think you’d take them that far away from me. I mean, they are—” “I know,” she said, frustrated. “Yours.” “Yeah, sweetheart. And they’re also yours. And I swear to God, I will never try to take them away from you. That would be cruel.” He had just aimed an arrow at her sense of justice. The shock of realization must have shown on her face, but he took another bite, had another drink of his beer, smiled. “Live together?” “Here’s how it’ll go if you stay with Vanni and Paul. Toward the end, when you’re sleepless, you’ll be up at night. You’ll be tired during the day, but there will be a toddler around, making noise and crying. And you’ll have all those late pregnancy complaints, worries. Then you’ll have a small guest room stuffed to the ceiling with paraphernalia. Then babies—and grandmothers as additional guests? Newborns, sometimes, cry for hours. They could have Vanni and Paul up all night, walking the floor with you. Nah, that wouldn’t be good. And besides, it’s not Paul’s job to help, it’s mine.” “Where do you suggest we live? Here?” “Here isn’t bad,” he said with a shrug. “But Mel and Jack offered us their cabin. It’s a nice cabin—two bedrooms and a loft, ten minutes from town. Ideally, we should hurry and look around for a place that can accommodate a man, a woman, two newborns, two grandmothers and… We don’t have to make room for the lawyers, do we?” “Very funny,” she said, crossing her arms over her chest. “Abby, we have things to work out every single day. We have to buy cribs, car seats, swings, layette items, lots of stuff—it’s going to take more than one trip to the mall. We have to let the families know there will be babies coming—it’s only fair. We should have dinner together every day, just so we can communicate, catch up. If there’s anything you need or anything you’re worried about, I want to be close so I can help. If you think I’m going to molest you while you’re huge with my babies—” “You know, I’m getting sick of that word, huge.”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“You expect me to stay here while you give them that year?” she asked. “Abby, I just hope I can take care of you and the kids well enough, help and make you happy enough, so you’ll give me some time before you spring some major change on me. Because I care a lot about all of you. I do. I’m trying everything I can think of. And, Abby—I wouldn’t run out on you.” He swallowed. “But,” he said with a shrug, “if you can’t stay here, for whatever reason, I’ll look for work wherever you and the babies go.” Oh goddamn, she thought. She was getting teary. Why would she get teary? He was trying so hard.”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“I think I’ve lost my appetite,” she said. “Nah,” he laughed. “I didn’t do anything scary. I didn’t threaten or beg. I offered help. We’ve had a few rough spots, but we have good rapport. Abby, I really want to be part of this. You’re awful special to me. Keep eating and tell me about those fireflies you caught as a kid. Tell me about going to the lake with your family.” She”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“She pulled out the trash can from under the sink and before dumping her leftover sausage and meatball into the bin, she started to laugh so much she bent over her tummy. She stuck her fork into the opening of a discarded jar and lifted it out of the trash. She presented an empty jar of Ragú spaghetti sauce. He grimaced. “Old family recipe?” she asked, laughing. “Well, they’re an old family,” he said. “Or so I heard.” “Cameron,” she laughed. “You’re such a liar!” *”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Mel,” she said tentatively. “I’m a little worried about…” “What?” She took a breath. “Gossip. Everyone talking about us.” Mel’s eyes twinkled and she smiled. “Abby, you’re an unmarried woman pregnant with twins and you’ve been spending time with our pediatrician. He never misses a chance to sit by you at Jack’s. Surrender. The gossip is way ahead of you.” Abby gasped. She leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially. “Do they think there’s something to us? Like a relationship?” One of Mel’s light brows lifted in amusement. “They hope.” “Oh God!” “Yeah, I’ve been there,” Mel said. “The whole town had me married to Jack before I had my first really good kiss with him.” She waved a hand. “Ah, hell, go with it. At least they’re not malicious. Just very nosey. I got through it. You can, too.” Heavy”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“I actually like it. It’s cozy. Sweet.” But when he looked back at her, tears were running down her cheeks. “Oh, Jesus, Abby,” he said, pulling her toward him. “Do you hate it?” “No,” she sniffed, shaking her head. “I kind of like it.” “It could be temporary while we look for something better. I just want to keep us in close quarters, so I can help.” She shook her head and found words with difficulty. “What have you gotten yourself into?” He wiped away a tear. “I know this is so hard for you. If you’d rather be at Vanni’s, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind. But, Abby, I—Honey, I want to help, be a part of it.” “I never thought I’d end up doing something like this. It’s so…so…calculated. Such a practical arrangement.” “Abby, give me a chance here. I want to take care of you. I know you don’t like hearing that—you’re used to taking care of yourself.” He slipped a hand over her belly. “Right now that’s not practical. We have to think about your health. This isn’t an ordinary pregnancy.” He smiled sweetly. “It’s an extraordinary pregnancy.” She sniffed again and he pulled her close. “If there’s a better way, better for you, just tell me. I’ll do anything I can.” She”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“She shook her head against his shoulder. She inhaled his scent, remembered the lusty night that had gotten them here. She closed her eyes. Such a sweet memory…. And he felt one of them kick him in her belly. He pulled her closer, tighter, wanting more of that.”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Maybe, if you’re very nice, I’ll let you watch a movie with me.” He smiled at her. “I bet they’re all girl movies that make you cry.” He used his thumb to wipe a tear away from her cheek. “Cameron, everything makes me cry. Haven’t you noticed?” “It’s pretty normal. Pregnant women cry a lot, whether they need to or not.”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“At first David squealed in annoyance, but Dan grabbed him and brought him onto his lap. “Hey now,” he said, holding him with a firm arm around his waist, bouncing him on his thigh. “Take it easy. Only in a town of six hundred would it be considered normal to have a kid your age right up at the bar. Count your blessings.” Jack shook out some Goldfish crackers into a bowl. “His favorite,” he explained. “Perfect,” Dan said. He turned his attention on David. “So, little man, you want one?” He maneuvered the small cracker into David’s mouth. “Now. Give one to me? Please?” David thought about it a second, then slowly pushed one toward Dan’s open mouth. “Mmm,” Dan said. “Your turn.” And he plucked one out of the bowl and directed it toward David’s mouth, but pulled it back, making the kid laugh. “Oh, you want that? Can you say please?” David shook his head obstinately, stiffening his back, grinding his fists into his eyes, pushing out his lower lip. Dan took the Goldfish for himself and laughed. “Let’s try that again,” he said, picking up another. “Please?” he coached. “Pease,” David said in a pout. “Wonderful,” Dan approved, popping a Goldfish into his mouth. “You’re gifted,” Jack observed. “He’s been a real asshole lately.” “Jack! We were going to try to stop swearing!” “Yeah, I know. I think I’m doing better at that than you are, by the way. But hasn’t he been?” “He can’t help it—he’s at the asshole age. He’ll come around.” “See?” Jack said, grinning at her. “You have a rotten mouth and you can’t help yourself.” She grinned back at him. “I never uttered a single curse until I met you.” Dan focused on David. “Your parents are flirting with each other. You better have another fish. You could be on my lap a long time.” Jack”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“How’s the family, Jack?” “Exceptional. Mel’s exceptionally gorgeous and demanding, Emma’s exceptionally beautiful and David is an exceptionally bad terrible two. We may not survive him.” “Oh,”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“The only thing that could make him happier would be if they could become a real family—husband, wife and kids. This was still in its infancy and Abby needed time. But she liked him, he knew she did. She couldn’t keep it secret. She liked him, depended on him, respected him. It was going in the right direction. He”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“What movie did you decide on?” “What Women Want. Mel Gibson.” “I better pay attention to that one,” he laughed. “I seem to be deficient in that department.” When they’d finished, he picked up their trays. “You can start it or wait for me to do dishes, your choice.” “I’ll wait,” she said. And once the water was running in the little kitchen, she murmured, “And you’re not deficient in anything.” *”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Cam had slipped under her legs, resting them on his thighs to keep them elevated, so she was too cozy to stay awake. She looked over at him and had to stifle a laugh. His feet were up on the trunk, his head tilted back, his mouth open, and his hand snaked under her sweatshirt to feel her belly. But the movement of the babies hadn’t roused him. Yet. She”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“When she stood from the couch and faced him, she looked into his beautiful blue eyes and said, “Would you like to sleep next to your children?” His eyes were startled, his mouth agape. “It won’t be like the last time,” she hastened to promise. He smiled slowly. “It will be even better,” he said, slipping his hand over her belly. “Whoa,” he laughed. “It’s up to you.” “I wouldn’t pass up an invitation like that. I’d like to feel all of you up against me, cozy and safe.” “Then come on.” Abby had her turn in the bathroom first and when Cam came out, she had changed into a huge T-shirt that came almost to her knees and, he assumed, panties. So he stripped down to his boxers and crawled in, curling around her back. “Nice,” he whispered against the back of her neck. “Mmm,” she hummed, snuggling in. His hands found her belly and rested there and sleep found him, content and confident for the first time in so long. He was going to make this work. Yes, he was. In”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“I don’t think you can help,” he said, turning away from her and heading for the kitchen. She followed him. “You don’t really know, though, do you? Until you run it by me?” “It’s kind of embarrassing,” he said, not facing her. “For God’s sake, I look at cracks and talk about sex for a living. You can’t embarrass me.” He turned around. “I was thinking it would be embarrassing for me.” “Well, get over it. I’m your midwife.” He took a deep breath. “Abby and I are getting along very well. It’s incredible. Better than I thought it could be. We’re so compatible. And last night I slept beside her, holding her and the babies….” He dropped his chin. “Aw,” Mel said. “That’s sweet. I’m so happy, Cam.” “And woke up with my hand up her shirt and with the biggest hard-on.” Mel looked momentarily perplexed. “I’m sorry. Did I need to know that?” “I can’t believe how much just being near her is getting to me. I can’t let her think that—I mean, I let her think it would be completely safe for me to just lie beside her and… Aw, Christ. I have no control at all. What a damn mess.” “Cameron, take it easy. Most of that’s just nature. Huh? It happens all night long. I’m sure Abby knows that.” “It’s not just happening when I’m asleep. I really have a problem here. I’ve wanted that woman since the first second I saw her, but she’s in no condition for me to want her like that. What kind of man wants to… I mean, I won’t touch her, I swear I won’t. But if she thinks she’s not safe from my instincts, then I’ll be sent back up to the loft. And I don’t want to go back up to the loft!” He took a breath, shook his head dismally. “I should probably go back up to the loft.” Mel’s”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Jack sure didn’t have this problem. He wasn’t embarrassed by his feelings. Frustrated by them, yes. Embarrassed? Pah.” “Maybe Jack is the guy I should be talking to….” Mel lost every trace of humor. “Okay, I have to draw the line there. You can’t do that. Jack might say too much—he’s been known to do that once or twice. And I can’t have you conjuring up pictures of me in—” She straightened her spine. “I’m your boss, I think. I am, yes I am. You’re the doctor, but it’s my clinic. I can’t have you picturing me in compromising positions, even if they might help your pathetic sex life, because I’m your boss.” He just grinned largely, happily. As of her last words, he didn’t need Jack’s input to drum up an image or two. Her turn to squirm. She’d certainly enjoyed his discomfort, but all he said with regards to hers was, “Why, Melinda. Hmm.” *”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley

Robyn Carr
“Is there a date set for the wedding yet?” Muriel asked Shelby. “No, not exactly. We can’t figure out when to do it, where to do it. Luke still has two brothers in the Middle East. I think we should wait for them to get home and he thinks we’d better hurry.” “What’s the hurry?” Muriel asked. “We want to have a baby,” she said, smiling. Muriel just frowned. “Shelby, you’re so young—you have lots of time. It’s not like your clock is ticking.” “I know,” she laughed. “Luke’s clock is ticking. He’ll be thirty-nine next month. He’s afraid he’s going to be going to high-school football games with a walker.” “Oh,”
Robyn Carr, Paradise Valley


Reading Progress

December 7, 2016 – Shelved
December 8, 2016 – Started Reading
December 20, 2016 – Finished Reading

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