Dec 28 2016 12:01pm
Karen Booth Excerpt: The Best Man’s Baby
It's a second-chance baby!
Julia Keys has everything going for her—beauty, brains and a Hollywood career. So why does she keep ending up in Logan Brandt's bed? The sexy former pro baseball player has wreaked havoc on her heart for years. But when their latest fling ends with a plus sign on the pregnancy test, Logan makes the case for marriage.
Julia knows the only wedding in their future is the one they're both attending, no matter how hot the chemistry between them still burns. Can two high school sweethearts who've made a mess of love finally get it right…even if the baby isn't Logan's?
Get a sneak peek at Karen Booth's The Best Man's Baby (available January 3, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.
In The Best Man’s Baby, former pro baseball player, Logan Brandt, and Hollywood starlet Julia Keys, are high school sweethearts brought together as best man and maid of honor in her sister’s wedding, set against the backdrop of a media firestorm with paparazzi in hot pursuit. Julia and Logan have a long history of trying to be together, most recently at their high school reunion. Now they’re both in a truly tough spot—Julia is pregnant, and the baby might be Logan’s, but he broke it off three months ago and Julia is done with having her heart broken.
Logan had been a royal jerk last night—selfishly worrying how he’d survive the next six months of uncertainty, informing Julia that he expected her to marry him. That was not happening. She could do this all on her own. She didn’t need help from Logan.
Although she didn’t mind the view.
“Oh. Hey. Good morning.” He flashed a sheepish smile, standing in the doorway of his room, nothing more than a towel wrapped around his waist, beads of water dotting his shoulder. “I was just getting the paper.” Bending over to pick it up, he showed off his perfectly defined back.
Julia stood stuck. His velvety voice delivered a too-sexy memory of their last morning in this hotel—Logan’s long, warm naked body pressed against her back in the wee hours, his giving lips on her neck as he slid his hand between her knees, lifted her leg and rocked her world with the most memorable wake-up call, well, ever.
“Jules? You okay?”
“Morning,” she sputtered, pushing a room service cart out of her room and into the hall. “I ordered bacon with breakfast, but the smell was making me queasy. If you want the leftovers.” Sexy, Jules. Real sexy.
He looked both ways, flipped the latch on his door and crossed the hall. He raised the stainless cloche from the plate, grabbing some bacon. “Just two. The camera adds ten pounds.”
“You’re fine.” She stole a glimpse of his stomach, just as hard and muscled as ever. He might not be paid to be an elite athlete anymore, but he maintained his body like one. And to think she’d reaped the benefits—those strapping arms wrapped around her, keeping her close, making her feel for two whole days that she belonged nowhere else. The price of admission had been far more than she’d been willing to pay—every shred of her heart. A big chunk of her pride, too.
“Ready in fifteen?” She braced herself against her door. Being around nearly-naked Logan was making it impossible to stand up straight.
“Definitely. I called down to the valet. We can go out the side entrance. They’ll have the car waiting for us.”
“You don’t think the press will be tipped off by the eighty-thousand-dollar gleaming black sports car you just had to rent?”
He shrugged. “I’m not about to drive anything less. You’ll have to suffer through it, babe.”
Babe. As if.
Julia retreated to her room and tried not to obsess over her makeup or hair, but it was hard not to, knowing she’d be spending her day with Logan. He deserved to be tortured by what he’d so solidly rejected. It would likely be her only measure of revenge. She dressed in a swishy navy blue skirt that showed off her legs, black ballet flats and a white sleeveless top with a cut that left her expanding bustline on full display. Boobs. At least she was getting something out of this whole single-and-pregnant thing, other than a baby, of course.
She met Logan in the hall, and he just had to be stunning. So effortlessly hot in jeans and a white button-down, sleeves rolled up just far enough to again mesmerize her with his inexplicably alluring forearms. He led her out through the side exit and to his rental car. His plan to remain incognito was working perfectly until he peeled out of the parking lot.
“Why did you do that?” Her vision darted back to the hotel entrance. Sure enough, reporters were racing to their cars. “They’re following us now.” She shook her head. He always had to have his manly moment.
“Don’t worry. I’ll lose them.”
He tried to shake the media as he had the day before, but they got stuck at a red light and he was left to lead a dysfunctional caravan to the florist, with his fancy car front and center. They found their destination a few minutes later, and Julia dashed for the door while Logan took his chance to reprimand the reporters yet again and tell them to stay outside.
Julia swept her hair from her face as a red-haired woman came out of the back with an enormous bucket of flowers blocking her view. “Can I help you?” she asked in a lovely singsong British accent. She plopped her armful onto the checkout counter. “Blimey. You’re…her.”
Her. Yep.Julia smiled warmly. It was the only way to put people at ease and get them off the subject of who she was. “Hi. You’re doing the flowers for my sister Tracy’s wedding on Saturday. She asked me to come by and look over everything. She’s more than a little picky and I want everything to be perfect for her.”
The woman nodded. “Yes. I’m Bryony. And I remember your sister. Very well. Come with me.”
The bell on the door jingled as Logan walked inside. With a nod, Julia motioned for him to follow her, and he trailed behind her into a back room. While Bryony pulled buckets of blooms from a cooler, Logan assumed what Julia called his jock-in-command stance—feet nearly shoulder-width apart, hands clasped behind his back, shoulders straight, chest out proud. This was his way of taking in the world. She’d first noticed him doing it their junior year of high school, eyeing him when they played softball in gym class. What a joke that had been—like sending in an Olympic broad jumper to play hopscotch. No one had ever beaned a softball as hard as Logan.
He’d been so far out of her league in school that it took her nearly a year to get up the guts to talk to him, and only after he accidentally showed up at a party at her parents’ beach house. Imagine the horror when it dawned on her during that first conversation, as she drank in the mesmerizing beauty of his eyes up close, that he didn’t actually know her name. She must have done something right, though…he was her boyfriend a week later.
And when it came to part a year after that, as they both went off to college at far-flung schools, she’d taken the initiative and broken up with him. It had been a bit of a preemptive strike and her attempt to be mature about something. She was terrified to leave home, but she was even more scared of how badly it would hurt when Logan called her from UCLA and said he’d met another girl. Or more likely, another fifty girls. It wouldn’t have taken long. In the end, Logan became the guy in her past she couldn’t have. That was all there was to it. Circumstances, fate or other women—there was always something standing between them.
Copyright © 2017 by Karen Booth.
Learn more about or order a copy of The Best Man's Baby by Karen Booth, available January 3, 2017:
Karen Booth is a Midwestern girl transplanted in the South, raised on 80s music, Judy Blume, and the films of John Hughes. She loves to write big city love stories. When she takes a break from the art of romance, she's teaching her kids about good music, honing her Southern cooking skills, or sweet-talking her super-supportive husband into mixing up a cocktail.