Baby and All (MF)
Fiona is tired of running. She'd made one stupid mistake, by the name of Garret. Pregnant and on the run, she collapses near a small town. Lucky for her, Aidan happens along.
Aidan Forrest first notices the car on the side of the road. When he gets closer and sees a woman slumped over the steering wheel, he rushes to check on her. Imagine his surprise when he sees that she's pregnant.
Fighting an attraction for his unexpected guest, Aidan wishes that Fiona would be more open with him. He knows that she's in trouble; just one look into her haunted eyes tells him that much.
With Garrett on her trail, Fiona knows she can't stay with Aidan for long. But oh how she wants to! Being in his arms makes her feel safe, something she hasn't felt in quite a while. Is it foolish to wish she could have a happily ever after? Or will her wish come true?
"Paige Warren delivers a wonderfully romantic romance short story that will keep you reading from start to end."
Fiona could feel her heart racing as she sped along the highway, heading south toward Texas. She’d fled from Denver, Colorado earlier that morning. She’d made one stupid mistake her in whole life – Garrett.
Willing her heart to slow its rapid pace, she absently rubbed her swollen belly. Seven months pregnant and all she had to show for it was an abusive boyfriend – ex-boyfriend – and a beat-up car. She had no job, no house, no husband… there was less than two-hundred dollars in her wallet and one credit card she’d made sure to pay off last month, knowing that the time was getting near for her to make a run for it.
Thinking back, Fi realized that it wasn’t any wonder she had fallen for Garrett. With this tall muscular frame, blond Adonis good looks, and smooth talking, she hadn’t stood a chance. He’d been the perfect gentlemen the first few months they were together. Then he’d found out she was pregnant and had asked her to move in with him. It hadn’t taken long for his true colors to show. At first, it had only been arguments with lots of yelling and threats being screamed at her, but later… well, later she’d had to hide the bruises from the few friends she had. She told herself that she only hid them so they wouldn’t worry about her, but honestly, she’d hid them because she was embarrassed.
In high school, Fi hadn’t been the most popular girl in school, but she’d had a lot of friends. After graduation, she’d moved from Montana to Colorado, hoping for excitement and adventure. Instead, she’d found jobs waiting tables and occasionally she’d been lucky enough to get some office work. It paid the rent, but it didn’t make her happy. She took classes at night, trying to get her degree, but she was still a long ways off from finishing. She wasn’t sure when, or how, she’d gotten sidetracked from her life goals, but now she found herself alone and pregnant, twenty-three and on the run from the man who supposedly loved her.
Fiona squinted at the green sign coming up, “Amarillo 200 Miles.”
She mumbled under her breath, she was never going to make it to Mt. Pleasant, Texas at this rate. It was the only destination she could think of where Garrett wouldn’t find her. Or at least, she hoped he wouldn’t find her. She’d had an aunt who had lived there a while back. When Aunt Mae had died, she’d left her small house to Fiona. Thankfully, Fi had never mentioned it to Garrett. Maybe deep down, she’d always thought she might need it in the future.
On the plus side, she’d already travelled over two-hundred miles. She’d been on the road for about three hours and knew she needed to stop. Her doctor had warned her that she shouldn’t travel once she passed the six-month mark. However, extreme times called for extreme measures. Surely if she took a break every few hours she’d be okay.
Pulling over at the next exit, she located a McDonald’s. As she parked the car, she turned off the engine and let her eyes rest for a moment. She was always tired these days. She only hoped that she could make it to Mt. Pleasant on what little money she had. If she had to stay in a hotel tonight, she could use her credit card, but Fi really wanted to avoid that if at all possible.
Sighing, she grabbed her purse and hauled herself out of the car. She shook her head in disgust as she eyed the poor excuse for a vehicle. It had been wrecked a few times, but Fi had been able to buy it cheap. It ran well so that’s all she could really ask for.
As she locked the doors, she dropped her keys in her purse and waddled to the front door of the restaurant. Inside, cool air greeted her. While it wasn’t quite summer yet, it was a balmy seventy-five degrees today… and for a pregnant woman that might as well be one-hundred-and-five degrees.
Fi made her way up to the counter and placed her order, getting the cheapest value meal she could find. It might not be quite what she wanted, but it would sustain her for another few hours. Paying for her meal, she picked up her tray and selected a table near the window.
Eating her food slowly, she enjoyed the air conditioning and the sounds of the birds chirping outside of the window. When she was finished, she threw her trash away and used the restroom.
Once she was back in the car, she started the engine and backed out of the parking space. In minutes she was back on the interstate, heading towards freedom.
As the sun rose higher and higher, Fi fought against sleep. She knew that she needed a nap, but she didn’t feel safe stopping at a rest area. Maybe she should have stopped in Amarillo, but she really didn’t want to make any more stops than she had to. Garrett would be getting home in another hour and she wanted to put as much distance between the two of them as she could.
Fi had been on the road for almost a full day. The sign she’d seen had said “Vernon.” She had no idea where that was in relation to Mt. Pleasant, but she had a feeling that she had another day’s worth of driving to do. Feeling resigned, she realized she would have to find a hotel soon and spend the night.
Reaching over to her glove compartment, she put her sunglasses up. When she glanced back at the road, she saw a dog run across the highway. Slamming on her breaks, Fi swerved to miss the dog. As her car came to rest on the side of the road, her vision started to dim. In horror, she realized that she was about to pass out. Having never fainted in her life, Fi was scared and somewhat embarrassed.
Before she had time to process another thought or reach for her cell phone, her head slumped forward on the steering wheel and she lost consciousness.