The Billionaire's Christmas Baby

By: Victoria James

“Sorry about the… cookies,” he said awkwardly.

“Whatever. You’re not exactly the milk and cookies type of guy anyway. You’re more of the nails and arsenic type.”

He had to stifle his urge to smile at her insult. The cookies had been for him. The fact that he had hurt her feelings was oddly unsettling. Added to that was the fact that she had baked for him. No one baked for him, unless of course they were paid to. He wasn’t about to analyze his sudden sentimental reaction to a box of cookies. Besides, he wanted to get inside.

“Hannah, you can spend the night here.”

She frowned up at him. “I’d rather sleep in my car.”

Jackson gritted his teeth. It was damned irritating dealing with someone more mule-headed than he was always accused of being. Cookies or not, this was supposed to be his time away from stress…from civilization. This cabin was his anti-Christmas sanctuary, a place where there was no talk of family. No talk of Christmas. The only evergreens were outside and not one of them had a single damn light on them, just the way he liked it. But now he was being forced to harbor some strange woman who knew a hell of a lot about him and who had something to do with his sister.

He watched as she continued to brush the snow off her pants with one hand and hold that tin with the other. “Look, I’m not going to let you sleep in your car during a blizzard.”

She stopped her swiping and cocked her head to the side. “Well, I guess you should have thought of that when you slammed the door in my face. It’s not exactly the best way to make a guest feel welcome.”

Jackson opened his mouth and then shut it, not knowing what to say. He was not a man used to being argued with. He had gotten used to the quick “yes, sirs” that he received from his employees.

She shot him a dirty look as she walked past him. He caught her arm. For a moment nothing happened and then she turned into steel beneath his grasp. Her eyes widened and she stared at him. He was trying to decipher the expression when she jerked her arm from his grasp. He noticed her breathing was shallow and rapid. That confidence she had shown only seconds before was gone. This woman felt threatened by him. His exes could say a lot about him, but violent was not an adjective used to describe him. He abhorred physical violence, and he’d never touched a woman in anger.

“I can’t let you stay out here. I have a guest room,” he said, trying his best to sound patient and calm.

She stared at him for another minute, then raised her eyebrows as she spoke. “Are you going to yell at me again?”

He shook his head sheepishly. He felt like he was being reprimanded like a small boy. Her face relaxed and she gave him a slight nod. “Fine. I’ve met crazier people than you and I know how to handle myself. I’ll stay.”

He stared at her incredulously. She’d called him crazy.

“On one condition,” she said raising her chin and folding her arms.

“Condition?” She had barged in on his vacation and now she was negotiating terms of her stay?

She nodded once, the pom-pom bopping with the motion.

He gave a brief nod, why the hell not, it seemed he had very little control of the night anyway.

“No yelling in front of the baby,” she said over her shoulder as she opened the back door of her car. Her head disappeared into the car and he stared numbly after her. Maybe he hadn’t heard right, but then he heard an odd noise.

“Baby?” he finally managed to choke out through a throat that seemed to be filled with tar as she emerged from the car holding a baby seat.

Chapter Two

Hannah put on her best poker face as the wind whipped strands of her hair around her head while Jackson stared at her. She knew her knees were shaking and it was only partly due to the cold. Jackson Pierce had a stare that could send a man running. She saw his eyes shift to Emily’s car seat. He couldn’t see the baby because she had a pink blanket covering the opening.

“I don’t yell at babies,” he growled and shoved his hands in his pockets.

She shut her eyes briefly. She had done it. She had been given a second chance and she wasn’t about to leave here tomorrow morning without some kind of a promise from Jackson.

“Do you have a bag or something?”

“Just my purse, diaper bag, and two cases of baby formula,” Hannah called out over her shoulder, trying to sound pleasant. “Can you hold this a sec?” Hannah shoved the car seat towards his chest. He grabbed it with a grunt. The sooner he got himself acquainted with Emily the better.

Hannah poked around in her car, feeling Jackson watching her. She retrieved her vintage holly and berry embroidered purse, quickly stuffing in a few of the books that had fallen out. She ignored his exaggerated sigh as she swung the loaded diaper bag over one shoulder. Then she walked around to the trunk, hauling out a box of baby formula.

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