If you're Derek Sloan you freak out as your perfectly organized world suddenly becomes filled with chaos. With his brother nowhere to be found and fatherhood is suddenly thrust upon him, Derek is desperate for any help he can get.What do you do when the man you've been crushing on suddenly has a need and you are the only one he wants to fill it?
You do a little happy dance and pinch yourself to make sure you're not dreaming! For five years Kayleigh Mitchell has longed for her boss to notice her and now that he has, she can only hope that he'll come to see her as more than a temporary solution to his problem, but someone that he wants around for the long haul.
A sweet and tender contemporary romance perfect for fans of Susan Mallery, Bella Andre, and Marie Force
The Life, Love and Babies Contemporary Romance Series:
The Baby Arrangement (Book 1)
Baby, I'm Yours (Book 2)
Baby, Me Mine (Book 3)
What readers are saying about The Baby Arrangement
"A wonderful story of love and family..."
"Another Samantha Chase Book that hits all the spots that make you feel warm inside. If you like happy endings this will be a good book for you to read."
"Enchanting story, tastefully written. More important it ends with happily ever after."
"A wonderful, heartwarming story of two totally opposite people, who unite together for the welfare of the baby"
"Two loving and kindhearted people coming together in a sweet romance with a beautiful baby girl that becomes the light of their lives. My heart is full of joy with this great read."
"A very sweet story about two people being brought together by a baby."
What readers are saying about Samantha Chase
"I love Samantha Chase books - I've read them all and can't wait for her to write more!"
"Samantha Chase has an amazing talent for writing and each new book that she writes makes that talent shine through even more."
"Samantha Chase is a master at writing sweet romances that you just want to curl up with."
"Samantha Chase has a way of drawing you in and holding you captive right to the very end."
"[Samantha Chase's] stories have a way of wrapping around the heart."
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The Baby Arrangement
By Samantha Chase
Sourcebooks, Inc.Copyright © 2014 Samantha Chase
All rights reserved.
There was a whirlwind of activity going past the customer service department. Kayleigh had looked up several times from her tiny cubicle at the raised voices and the fast-paced movement of people running by.
"I wonder what's going on," she quietly whispered to Carol, who was sitting in the adjoining cube.
"I bet Brian's done something wrong again," she replied with a snicker.
Kayleigh shrugged her shoulders, figuring Carol was right. The Sloan brothers' nationally recognized textile distributor, Sloan Design, catered to clientele that included some of the most exclusive hotels, resorts, and spas in North America and, soon, abroad. Their grandparents had started the company some thirty years earlier and had retired just five years ago, leaving their grandchildren in charge. Since then, the company had more than quadrupled in size.
Derek, the older brother, was the company president and the brains of the whole operation. He had come to work for the company while still in high school and Gerald Sloan had groomed him to take the helm one day. Brian, five years younger, held the title of vice president but had no real interest in the company. Everyone who worked for the Sloans knew Brian was a playboy who enjoyed the perks of the family's wealth and success but did nothing to contribute to it. Derek had to bail his little brother out of one predicament after another.
The sound of a baby wailing brought Kayleigh's head back up. She looked over at Carol. "Was that what I think it was?"
"If you thought it was a baby, then you'd be correct."
Kayleigh looked around the department to see if anyone else seemed as distracted by the goings-on as she was, but most of her coworkers appeared unfazed. The sounds coming from the executive end of the hall were most definitely of an infant crying. Loudly. After several moments, the others seemed to catch up with Kayleigh's initial reaction and looked at one another with raised eyebrows, nearly getting whiplash when Derek's normally reserved and in-control assistant Eileen came running by them — and away from her office.
Several moments passed before she ran back to her boss's executive suite and slammed the door.
"Well, that was odd," Carol commented while punching numbers into her computer, clearly still uninterested in what was going on.
Kayleigh said nothing but inwardly felt great distress. The infant's cries grew louder and more heartbreaking. "Why is that poor baby still crying?"
"Who knows?" her friend replied casually, still not looking up from her work.
After looking at her clock and seeing that the cries, along with raised voices, had been coming from Derek Sloan's office for nearly thirty minutes, Kayleigh could no longer remain in her seat. She strode purposefully down the wide, carpeted hallway toward the one office she had never been invited into.
She knocked and waited for a reply. The raised voices made it impossible for her to be heard. Gently turning the knob and opening the door a mere slit, she was assaulted by the argument going on inside.
"I am not a babysitter, Derek! If that's what you need, then you better find one fast because that is not in my job description. And so help me, if you don't do something about this situation right now, I'll quit!"
Kayleigh admired Eileen's ability to stand up to her boss, but under the current circumstances, while an innocent baby was so obviously in distress, she didn't think it was right that the woman would stand there and yell.
"What is it you'd like me to do, Eileen?" Derek asked. His booming voice caused Kayleigh to jump and retreat slightly from the partially opened door. At thirty-five, he was the handsomest man Kayleigh had ever seen. His six-foot-two frame towered over most people in the office and he was built like a linebacker. His impeccable appearance and commanding presence made him an entity unto himself.
Most Sloan employees rarely saw the man in person because he was either holed up in his office or traveling on company business — a problem that plagued Kayleigh daily. After being with the company for a short time, she had found herself coming into the office earlier than necessary just so she could catch a glimpse of Derek's raven-black hair and smell his distinctive cologne.
Breaking out of her fantasies, she opened the door farther and stepped tentatively inside. The boss and his assistant were still arguing and the baby continued to cry. Kayleigh spotted a wicker basket on the floor and noticed a tiny red fist flailing around.
"I suggest you remove this child from the building and go find your brother," Eileen snapped, clearly at the end of her rope. "It's probably his responsibility anyway."
Kayleigh nearly gasped at the woman's harsh words. Who knew that a woman who looked like a saintly grandmother could have such a hard heart? Kayleigh was about to comment, but the sight of the tiny child screaming and squirming in what could only be described as a lunch basket grabbed her attention once again.
No longer caring what anyone thought at this point, Kayleigh entered the room and swiftly went to the child and picked her up. Her motions went undetected until the child instantly quieted.
"I have no idea where ..." Derek stopped speaking midsentence when he noticed how loud his voice was and how quiet the room had become. He looked across the room with confusion and noticed a pretty, self-assured young woman holding the baby who had been dropped off in the lobby of his building earlier that morning.
Eileen started to speak again, but he held up a hand abruptly to silence her. Derek had a feeling the woman in question was probably an employee of his, but he couldn't be sure if he'd ever seen her before. She was humming softly, and the child had calmed down considerably. The woman's voice was like that of an angel, and for the briefest of moments, she looked like one. The light streaming in from his wide window hit her just right and gave her a kind of celestial glow.
Derek walked over to her. She looked up at him with the bluest eyes he had ever seen. They were so wide, so round, and showed such emotion, Derek felt like he wanted to dive right in and see into her very soul. His stomach clenched and he suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to take care of the lovely woman standing before him.
Long, chestnut hair pulled back in a tortoiseshell clip framed her heart-shaped face and she smiled shyly at him with a full, sensual mouth. He wondered what that mouth would feel like on his bare skin.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Sloan," Kayleigh said in a soft voice, careful to keep her tone soothing for the infant in her arms. "I just couldn't bear to hear the baby cry anymore."
Derek stood transfixed. That this woman was bold enough to come into his office without being asked or invited should have irritated him, but he was bothered more by the implication that he wasn't handling this situation well.
"I think she may be hungry," Kayleigh said softly as the child attempted to latch herself to Kayleigh's breast. She looked up to see Derek staring at the same spot the baby so desperately wanted to be.
He certainly couldn't blame the child.
"Look, Miss ... um," he prompted.
"Mitchell. Kayleigh Mitchell. I work in customer service," she supplied, feeling a little dejected that indeed he had no idea who she was. It was no more than she should have expected and yet it still stung.
Derek ran his hand through his hair in frustration. "Miss Mitchell, what I am about to say is to be held in the strictest confidence, okay?" Kayleigh nodded. "This baby was left here this morning with nothing more than a note telling us her name and age and that she's my responsibility now."
Eileen chose that moment to chime in. "Well, it didn't say you specifically. I still think this has Brian written all over it."
Derek glared at his assistant. "That may very well be the case, Eileen," he growled with irritation, "but I can't reach him at the moment. He's apparently gone off on an African safari trip and will be incommunicado for at least two weeks! For the time being, this child is my responsibility!"
At the sound of his angry voice, the baby began to cry again. Kayleigh snuggled the child against her, turning her back on Derek and Eileen as she began to rock and sing softly to the baby. Looking over her shoulder, she quietly asked the child's name.
"Emery," Eileen answered stiffly. "Her name is Emery, and she is two weeks old. Now you know as much as we do."
Kayleigh did not like this woman's tone for a minute and couldn't understand why Eileen had an attitude toward her. She at least had the good sense to try to comfort the child while these two had argued and ignored her!
Poor little thing. She looked down at one very tiny, very angry, red face. "What kind of woman leaves her newborn?" Kayleigh regretted asking the question as soon as it left her lips. Two irritated sets of eyes turned to her.
"I ... I'm sorry," Kayleigh stammered.
Derek sighed with frustration and sat down behind his desk. "Don't be. You haven't said anything we haven't been saying all morning."
"Did the mother leave any supplies for her?"
"I have no idea," Eileen snapped, glancing over at Derek.
Rolling her eyes, Kayleigh walked over to the basket and found one small bottle, along with some diapers and a change of clothes. Taking the cover off the top of the bottle, she offered the nipple to Emery. The child eagerly latched on and suckled with gusto. Sighing with relief, Kayleigh went to sit on the black leather sofa against one wall of Derek's spacious office.
"If I'm no longer needed, Derek," Eileen stated, "I'm going to lunch." Without waiting for a response, the woman left the room, the door slamming behind her, leaving Kayleigh and Derek alone.
Kayleigh kept her focus on baby Emery, but she could feel Derek's eyes on her. When she carefully pulled the bottle out of the baby's mouth so she could burp her, she looked up at him.
"Do you have any children, Katie?" he asked in a weary tone.
"It's Kayleigh, sir," she carefully pronounced, "and no, I don't have any children."
"You're good with them." He nodded toward Emery. "You knew exactly what to do."
"Well, I've been babysitting since I was twelve years old, and I am the youngest of four children. All of my siblings have kids of their own now, and I babysit for all of them as well."
"I see." The silence returned and stayed until Emery gave a hearty little belch and Kayleigh leaned back to feed her the remainder of her bottle.
"She's so tiny," she said with wonder as she examined the little fingers and then stroked the baby's cheek. "How could anyone not want you?" she cooed to the baby.
Derek's head ached as he watched Kayleigh. She was exactly what he needed right now. He had to have someone to help him with this child and there was no time to go through an agency. If she worked for his company, then she had already been vetted. It made perfect sense!
"Would you consider helping me out with Emery?" Derek asked suddenly.
Kayleigh's eyes shot up at his words. Derek Sloan wanted her — no, he needed her. Her, little Kayleigh Mitchell from customer service! It was like a dream come true! "You mean for today?" she asked casually, not wanting to seem too anxious. "Sure, I'll just let them know out in customer service I'll be in here today."
"That's not what I meant. Not fully," he said awkwardly. How was he supposed to ask this woman to help him for an indefinite period of time? She had a life of her own, maybe even a husband to go home to.
Damn, but that thought bothered him.
"I need someone to care for Emery full-time until I can get all of this settled. She may be my child. I don't know. I can't think who her mother could be — well, that's my personal problem and besides, as Eileen pointed out earlier, she could very well belong to my brother. He's gone for at least two weeks, and in the meantime, she needs to be cared for."
"You could call an agency —"
"No," he said firmly. "I don't have time for that, Kayleigh. You saw what it was like in here earlier. I have no clue what I'm doing where a baby is concerned, and finding someone reputable could take some time. I'll pay you double what you're making out in customer service, and I can guarantee your position will be waiting for you when you return."
It was quite an offer. One she couldn't take lightly. Kayleigh was a smart career woman, even if her job right now wasn't giving her any real challenge or motivation. She had graduated from college at the top of her class in interior design, but jobs in the field were hard to come by, and starting out on her own required financial backing she didn't have.
Five years ago, she had come to Sloan Design with the idea that she would work there temporarily until she found a "real" job. Now she was ashamed to admit that once she had seen Derek Sloan, she had all but stopped looking for work elsewhere. No one in her department had a clue she harbored a crush on their company president and that was the way Kayleigh preferred it. They'd tell her she was crazy to be wasting her time and talent at a dead-end job just because she liked to look at a man who didn't even know she existed.
"Oh, sorry. My mind wandered for a minute." She took the empty bottle from Emery's still pursed mouth, draped a cloth over her shoulder, and positioned the baby so she could burp her again.
Standing up, Kayleigh began to pace around the office nervously. "Oh, I don't know, Mr. Sloan. I've never been a nanny before."
"You've been taking care of children for most of your life; you said so yourself just a few minutes ago."
He had her there. "I suppose I could do it," she said. "I mean, I can get to your house before you leave for work and we can work out a schedule so I have Emery settled in before I leave at night. Then —"
Derek cut her off. "No, I need a live-in nanny. Babies don't have regular schedules. That much I do know. I need someone to be there around the clock to take care of her. Besides, I don't keep banker's hours. I never know when I'll get out of here most nights. It would be easier for you to move in and take care of Emery."
"You want me to move in with you?" Kayleigh croaked out the words, forcing a lump down in her throat. Could this day get any better?
"Yes." His gaze met hers.
In her wildest fantasies, she never could have imagined this — living with Derek Sloan, caring for sweet baby Emery. It was insane!
Emery let out another unladylike belch, and Kayleigh chuckled. "I just don't know ..."
Derek couldn't afford to have her refuse. He had to act quickly to ensure Kayleigh moved in with him today. "Please, Kayleigh. You obviously know what you're doing and Emery seems to like you. Please." He reached out and grabbed one of her hands and gave it a gentle squeeze. She looked up at him, her large eyes filled with pure wonder. "Will you help me, Kayleigh? It will only be for two weeks, maybe three tops. I promise." At her hesitation, he added, "I'll triple your pay."
Kayleigh looked at him and studied his pleading expression. She longed to promise him she'd stay as long as he wanted her, but in the end, she held on to her composure.
Taking a deep breath, she replied, "Okay."
Derek sagged with relief. "Oh, thank God," he murmured. Giving Kayleigh a pleased grin, he stepped back, looking as if a great weight had been lifted off his shoulders. As he turned to walk back over to his desk, Kayleigh stopped him.
"Babies need a lot of things, Mr. Sloan. Do you have anything at home for her?"
"Like I said, she showed up here this morning, and before that, I had no idea she even existed." He sat back behind his desk and grabbed a legal pad and a pen. "I suppose we should make a list of what she'll need and then hit the stores to get it all."
"May I make a suggestion?" Kayleigh began cautiously.
"I don't mean to sound like a nervous Nellie or anything, but ... if the mother was cold enough to desert her own infant, it makes me wonder what kind of care Emery has gotten so far."
"I'm not sure I'm following you."
"I think you should have her checked out by a pediatrician to make sure she's healthy."
Excerpted from The Baby Arrangement by Samantha Chase. Copyright © 2014 Samantha Chase. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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