We’ve got a #WritingChallenge for you!

Writing Challenge BubbleWe were blown away by the incredible response to our first #WritingChallenge – the imagination and variety of the motivations people put forward was breath-taking! It was so exciting to see that we’ve been counting down the days until this next challenge. And we’ve come up with a classic for you, if we do say so ourselves!

Your scenario to motivate, should you choose to accept it, is…

Your heroine has just discovered she’s pregnant…but she’s not going to tell the hero. Why not? And how can you make this decision sympathetic?

Answers below the line….!

We’ll be checking back in on Monday to give feedback, so Happy Writing 🙂


151 replies on “We’ve got a #WritingChallenge for you!”

Heroine perched on the edge of the cold bath – oblivious to the numbing pain at the top of her legs. She didn’t know how long she had been there – only that it had been lunchtime when she’d taken the test, but now dusk was casting long shadows in the dimly lit room.

She cast her hundredth disbelieving glance over the little stick again.

Still positive.

There was no doubt about it, she was pregnant. Eyes which had remained obstinately dry for hours finally began to prick and as a single, hot tear picked a path down her cheek, Heroine slid slowly off the ceramic edge and to the colder tiles below. She tucked her arms tightly around her knees and hugged them to her waist.

This should be the happiest of moment of her life. And of Hero’s life.

She shook her head incredulously. This *was* the happiest moment of her life.

But Hero? No. She could just hear his voice now, telling her she couldn’t go through with it. Reminding her that she’d been waiting for a transplant for years and now she was finally at the top of the list, *now* there was suddenly a very real chance of getting a healthy kidney.

He would tell her that if she continued with the pregnancy she could lose her only chance of being free of this disease. And the chances of then losing the foetus anyway – before it even got to 20 weeks – was so very high.

But there was a chance. It was slim, but it existed. Hadn’t she once read about a woman who had undergone six hours of dialysis every single day of her pregnancy, just to give her baby a fighting chance? Heroine dropped her knees and stroked her stomach ¬ *this was the baby she and Hero had always longed for*.

Yes, if there was a chance, then she was going to take it. Chronic cystinosis had ruled her life since she’d been four years old, she’d be damned if she was going to let it dictate to her anymore.

And neither was Hero. So since he would never let her risk her life for their baby’s, then she had no choice.

She simply couldn’t tell him.

Not yet. Not until it was too late. Not until there was no other choice to make.

Charlotte – What a great (as in a totally, emotionally awful choice) reason not to tell.

Charlotte, what an emotional but perfectly understandable reason! Nice job with the challenge.

Thanks so very much, much appreciated as I found this a particularly tricky challenge. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be honest I usually duck the M&B/Harlequins with the secret pregnancy/secret baby theme as they’re not my favourite cup of tea – doh!

Really great! What a brilliant way to motivate a really difficult decision. Even if Secret Baby stories aren’t your preferred reading, you certainly know how to write them! 🙂

Gosh, thank you so much for the unexpectedly wonderful comment! It really gives an extra boost the old motivation to keep reading, keep writing, and keep pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone! Thanks again.

She was going to be a mother. Kate rubbed her abdomen as beads of perspiration formed on her brow. Since the miscarriage, she hadn’t dared to dream of this day. The loss had devastated her, and led to the failure of her first marriage. Since then, she’d done everything she could to avoid another pregnancy…

Until that afternoon at Jarrod’s estate, when her heart overruled her head, and they’d created the new life that was
growing inside of her now.

Kate washed her hands and patted her forehead with a cool cloth, her thoughts centered on the irony of situation. She let out a sigh. She’d abandoned the hope she’d found gain with Jarrod because she didn’t want to steal him away from his unborn child with his ex-wife, Cynthia. Now, her own child would suffer the reality of not having their father in their life.

*That is, if I carry the child to full term.*

A stab of fear cut through her. What if she lost this child, too? Could her sanity, and her heart, survive another blow like that?

What an impossible situation to find yourself in! You evoke her stress and moral dilemma really effectively! To make this even more layered, it would be great to know more about why she feels his other unborn child is more important than hers. But an interesting and emotional scenario!

“The Soldier’s Surprise”
Layla shoved the last of the clothing into the duffel bag and gripped the canvas while another wave of nausea took hold. Ten months of deployment and because of the sensitivity of the mission, she won’t be allowed to talk to her husband even once. His worry for her well-being had him pacing the room late into the night.
“I can’t leave you. I can’t leave you alone, Layla.”
Knowing nothing could be done about it, she took his hand and led him to the bed. She wouldn’t be alone, not really. Would Track be able to feel the tiny life growing inside? With his mind on her, he never noticed.
One last tug on the cord and the duffel drew to close.
Ten months and a baby to go.

Oh the perils of being a soldier’s wife! We love this idea – lots of scope to explore in more depth why Layla feels she needs to keep their baby a secret. For example, will telling Track shatter the focus he needs for this new mission and put his life in danger? But Layla’s strength really shines out!

While at a friend’s island wedding long-time friends end up spending the night together. She thinks her unrequited love is finally returned, but he doesn’t remember a thing. By the time she realizes she’s pregnant she dithers over what to do. She finally decides to tell him, but he breaks the news that he’s moving across the country for his dream job, one he’s been waiting years to land.

“What about you Carrie?” He asked with one of his sweet smiles. “I mean are you satisfied? Isn’t there something you want more than anything else?”

“To be a mom,” rolled off her tongue before she could stop it. Nate froze and then slowly blinked. Carrie felt her stomach drop. This was not going to plan, not even close.

“Wow, okay, not what I expected,” he said with a shake of his head. “I thought you were in the club – no ties, no kids, no spouse. Weren’t we going to get t-shirts?” He nudged her arm and laughed, but Carrie felt a little piece of her die. “I wouldn’t be able to take this new gig if I had kids to think about. It’s risky as hell. That’s the good part of being single.” He paused and then added “Weird, I thought you felt the same.”

“No.” Carrie tried to sound like his words hadn’t just stabbed her in the heart. “I didn’t know how much I wanted to be a mom until…” She paused, making a split-second decision. “Until it seemed like time was running out to be one.” Big fat lie. The first time she’d heard that heart-beat she was hooked, enamored, in love with her little invader. She wanted this baby more than anything, but it seemed clear that Nate did not. He didn’t even remember the night when he’d pulled her into his arms, confessed how long he’d wanted to have her and then had her. He’d resent them for ruining his life. She couldn’t bear losing him like that.

Nate barked out a laugh. “I guess at thirty-five your time is running out. Better get on that then.” He gave her a half-hearted sort of smile before his face turned serious. “I’m going to miss you. I wish…” He began, but he left it there. Carrie wished she’d told him the moment she saw the plus sign on that stick.

Anyone could empathize with Carrie not wanting tell Nate about their baby in the face of his pro-single attitude! Maybe a few more hints about why Nate is so determinedly single would ensure he remains heroic and relatable throughout this scene. But we really love this spin on a friends to lovers story!

‘Bloody Hell’ that was her first coherent thought, rapidly followed by
‘oh my god’.
‘How the hell did this happen?’ Followed shortly after.

Kneeling down on the bath room floor, she stared at the positive test clutched in her now sweaty palm.

‘Oh god’ she thought again but this time, she felt something else beyond the shock… Some unfurling of excitement in her chest… ‘A baby! Her baby!’
She laid her hand on her abdomen and she felt herself smile.
‘She was going to have a baby!’

But of course this made things a whole lot more complicated, that had not been the plan when she had met HIM…

Her mother had warned her about men like him, her friends had warned her about him, hell even his friends had warned her against him. But of course she hadn’t listened. She had been too flattered, too excited by his attention. She had always been the sensible one, the responsible one, the one who always did the right thing… suddenly she had been faced with forbidden fruit, the exotic taste of danger. He was the epitome of a bad boy. She hadn’t even tried to resist his dark charms. It had been her own personal rebellion… A vacation from her staid existence and from the weight of her family’s crushing ambition for her. A respite from the tedium of respectability. He had known it, she had known it. Just a brief taste of the wild side…. A dream to treasure, a happy memory of a passionate, transient affair. Well that was what it was meant to be.

But now, suddenly it wasn’t some romantic dream, a glorious adventure she had once had. It was now something far more real and a large part of her was very afraid.
Everyone knew about his family, in fact everyone was terrified of his family. To his family the law was something other people worried about- they had their own code.
Now this baby, this baby that she had known about for only moments but loved with an instinctive protectiveness, this baby was part of their family… A family with a dark heart.

But not if she could help it. She would not have her child brought up part of his family. He need not know about the baby, she could go away, far away.
It was not like he cared for her anyway. She had just been a bit of fun for him, nothing more.
Then for a fleeting moment, she remembered the fierce tenderness with which he had touched her and that look of longing she had seen in his eyes as she had walked away from him and she felt her heart tighten, they had both known at the end that there were deeper feelings between them than either cared to admit. No, it was not him that she was running from, but she would do anything to protect their child from his family even if it meant he could never know the truth.

Oh they are a truly bad lot, many a nefarious deed performed by them. All of them pretty much beyond redemption, except the hero of course!

We love the idea that this pregnancy is your heroine’s own private rebellion gone wrong and it’s really easy to understand why she fell so hard for the hero! We wonder whether the extra information about his family detracts from the amazing emotional conflict you’ve already set up within the heroine. It’s already so clear why she might be wary of telling the dad and why she might genuinely feel he won’t want to know. What do you think Karen?

Ooh now that has really made me think. Initially I suppose I chose that avenue as I felt a girl would need a really good reason not to tell a man he was going to be a father, one above fear of his reaction or it never meaning to be more than a bit of fun. Maybe on reflection I am imposing too many of my own moral beliefs of my heroine. Also because I have already practically written the story in my mind, I am trying to jump several steps ahead.
Alternatively it may all be to do with the fact that I am a total sucker for high drama, doomed romance and redemption of even the bleakest characters….

Haha, who isn’t?! You’re absolutely right, deciding not to tell a man he’s going to be a dad is a huge decision that needs watertight motivations. However, if the hero (who we’d hope has good taste and judgement!) is still close with his family, then it begs the question of how awful they can really be. And if he’s not close with them, then why would it matter what they were like? So those were the questions we were asking ourselves. And don’t underestimate your ability to create powerful emotional stumbling blocks for your heroine – her insecurities felt so well-drawn as it is that we were already 100% on her side 🙂

That is an excellent point re hero and his family, thank you… ok, reformulation of plot time I think! Thank you for the feedback!

After hearing her sister brag for an hour, Karen slammed down the phone. She rubbed her stomach and made the decision that obsessed her all day. Simon’s college place entailed long hours and he refused to stop working as a mechanic. He adored children so a baby would be ideal excuse to throw away his engineering books. A pang hit her as she imagined his excitement if she told him. No, it was best to defer telling him until he settled into his course. Her upwardly mobile family and their ambitious spouses sneered at Simon’s career unless they had car trouble. Well, not anymore. It took her four years to persuade him to return to college so she wasn’t giving him any excuse to drop out. Her sisters claimed you needed to make sacrifices to move up in the world. Unfortunately, Simon disagreed.

There’s nothing like an unpleasant family to get you on the heroine’s side! Simon sounds like a really dedicated, hard-working hero and we can empathize with Karen’s decision not to distract him, but we wonder whether this news might also be a fantastic motivation for him to succeed at college too? Either way, we know Simon will be a great dad! 🙂

Marriage of convenience…Hero and Heroine are in witness protection. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how realistic that is but it sounded like a fun idea! 🙂

Genevieve sat on the edge of the ceramic tub, her eyes fixed on the plastic stick in her hand. Two blue lines stared back up at her. How could she possibly be pregnant? She thought back to the night they’d finally given into temptation. A drunken, stupid mistake.

She stood and dropped the test in the small garbage can, cringing as it thudded against the bottom. She leaned on the counter and hung her head. A tiny part of her wanted to feel excited. A baby. Long ago she’d wanted to be a mother. But this life. This new life was obviously not conducive to children.

Her stomach lurched and she turned to the toilet to let the contents of her meager lunch back up. Her first clue was the missed period. Then her diminished appetite, but it was the consistent puking that persuaded her to buy the test.

The sour feeling in her gut subsided for the moment. She knew she should think about dinner but food was the last thing on her mind.

She heard the garage door surge open and panic filled her chest. She would have to tell him. But she just couldn’t, not yet.

Vesta – Personally, I love Witness Protection as a plot/conflict device. 🙂 This was great to read.

We think the witness protection angle adds a great element to this scene, no wonder she doesn’t want to tell anyone! To really bring this scenario to life we would have loved to have seen a bit more about their night of temptation – we are Romance Editors after all! 🙂

The wind caught the wide brim of Alyce’s hat, sending her hair flying as the pin dug into her scalp. She flattened the silly accessory against her head while wrestling with her coat and her bags. Her hands were full of everything unimportant. Tears blurred her vision. She couldn’t do this.

The train belched steam, its hiss startling her and sending her, gasping, into Bishop’s arms. As her bags thumped on the platform, she scowled over her shoulder at the fairy tale monster she’d come to believe in. Like the Big Bad Wolf, the train was there to blow her house of cards away.

Bishop wrapped her in his wool greatcoat, trapping her against him while he tucked her wayward hair behind her ear. The knot in his tie was at eye level, and his brass buttons pressed against her suit. One warm, sure hand braced the small of her back and his unique smell, bay and disinfectant, filled her lungs for the last time.

“All a–board!” the conductor called.

“I have to go,” she whispered, as much to convince herself as him. “Bish, I have to. He’s my h-husband.”

Her pilot husband, lost at sea while still a newlywed, then imprisoned by the Nazis, and now freed by Allied troops. Everyone was overjoyed. Except Ally, who wished he was as dead as she’d thought him to be. She’d feel guilty about that every day for the rest of her life, but the truth was simple. Bishop felt more like her husband than Clay ever had.

The stiff bill of Bishop’s hat brushed her ear as he kissed her cheek and whispered, “You belong with me.”

Her stomach lurched, and she prayed he didn’t feel anything through his heavy clothing. As her past ripped happiness from her grasp, she regretted the months they’d wasted, fighting their attraction as hard as they’d fought against the occupying Nazis. One month … if she’d gone into Bish’s room a month earlier there would be no way to hide her condition.

Fi-nal call!” the conductor shouted. Alyce would’ve sworn he was talking directly to her.

“Major Abernathy?” the driver spoke from behind Bish. “The Director is waiting.”

Bishop straightened, his smile sad as he touched his finger to her nose. “Stay out of trouble, darling.”

“You too,” Alyce managed the few words as she gulped her confession back into her lungs and stepped away. Another mission was waiting, and he didn’t need to be distracted by her – another man’s wife – carrying his child.

What a heartbreaking predicament and how beautifully you portrayed the characters. Very moving.

My heart is pounding, my mind is screaming, “tell him!, tell him!”
Well written, Harriet.

I *thoroughly* enjoyed this. As a huge Band of Brothers/Pacific/etc fan, I could just see this fitting right in. (ooh – And I LOVED that evocative “All a-*board*”!)

I really want to know what happens and how this is all sorted out! Loved the very atmospheric description too.

Thank you, Karen! These challenges seem to leave us all wanting to know how the story turns out. (Even the writers responsible for them.) 🙂

Totally agree with you there… quite an odd feeling to not know what happens in the end of one’s own story if you know what I mean?

I know exactly what you mean, Karen! And now I have all these plot bunnies playing in my head.

Harriet!!! I thought I had already commented on this one but looks like I didn’t. All I can say is I loved it and want more!

Harriet, we love this! You’ve done an amazing job of finding a way around the heroine being married to someone else and we can really feel her emotional turmoil as she says goodbye to the man she really loves! Great stuff 🙂

Sydney stared at the stick. Yup. Two double lines. Same as the last one. The manufacturer evidently packed two in a box for people like her. Pregnant. Forty-eight hours ago the news would have turned her into a grinning idiot. Now? Not so much. She tossed the stick into the trash with the first.
Taking a deep breath, she pulled her suitcase out of the closet. She laid it on the bed next to the newspaper, its blaring headline mocking her. ‘It’s A Miracle’ it proclaimed in bold black letters. She reached for the paper to throw it away, but couldn’t help one last look at the picture. A grim-faced Cash O’Connor had his hand under the elbow of a dark-haired woman, guiding her past a gauntlet of news media.
Sydney didn’t need to read the article. Cash had relayed every detail to her the day before. Cash’s wife, Veronica, had been cataloguing new plant species in the Amazon rainforest when she’d gone missing. After numerous exhaustive searches and six years and four months, Veronica O’Connor was presumed dead. Another eight months would make it official, legal.
Eight months. That’s how long it would take for Sydney’s baby to arrive. She traced her fingers over Cash’s stark face. He hated the publicity, but every news outlet in the country wanted a piece of this touching story…and him.
She flipped open the suitcase. Talk about history repeating itself. Sydney’s mother had been caught on the wrong side of a notorious marriage thirty years ago. The press had crucified her. No doubt Sydney would be treated the same. Like Mother, Like Daughter in sixty-point font. Years of running from the car to the door, trying to think of ways to defend something she’d not understood. There was no way she was doing that to her child.
After packing, Sydney called her mother to tell her to expect her.
“That’s wonderful, dear. When will you be here?”
“I’m catching a flight out today.” Sydney put the newspaper in the trash along with her future dreams. “Oh, and, Mom? Can you be sure to have lots of Chunky Monkey in the freezer?”

Carol – this is a great scene. Sydney’s a wonderful heroine already, and I can’t wait to meet Cash. Love that name, BTW!

Love the picture your words are painting for me. Can’t wait for the fireworks between Cash and Sydney when they meet again. Hopefully, you’ve got a book in mind for this scene.

I love the almost grim humour in this, from the in the very first lines, through to the in the last. I also loved the irony of time, with that echo of eight months.

For some reason this removed my quotes?!?! Think I used the arrows instead of quotation marks – doh!
Anyway, should have read:
I love the almost grim humour in this, from the “two in a box for people like her” through to the “Chunky Monkey” in the last…etc

Charlotte, thanks so much! Glad you liked it. I do sometimes have a tendency towards grim humor.

That opening was brilliant. Made me smile as both times I have been pregnant, one test has never been enough- always got to have the second to really prove it. For me that little touch really made the heroine feel real and made me instantly like her and I love her slightly wry tone too.

Thanks, Karen. Yeah, Sydney didn’t quite believe the first one and insisted on another. 🙂

Really like this Carol. You’ve such an easy style and you weave the complications and conflict so well.

What a dramatic scenario – we really love the small details about Cash too! Completely get where the heroine’s coming from, given her past, although it would have been nice to have seen more of her thoughts about leaving the man she loves (and we love!) as well. 🙂

Nice work, Editors, on merging this second #WritingChallenge with the “Black Moments” post. 🙂

Here’s my answer:

A one-night stand could destroy Vampire Nation.

Antihero’s mission was to mix with society and state silent claim with Heroine. Then report back to camp, so that plans could be made for vampire world domination.

But something went wrong.

Heroine’s bored with vampire life. Then her one-night stand with Hero (a local) results in pregnancy–something that she’d been led to believe was impossible. Telling Antihero of being with child would result in Heroine’s death. Keeping it from Hero would save his life.

Would Heroine’s one-night stand destroy the birth of Vampire Nation, or be one that saves another?

What an imaginative, high-stakes predicament! To really make the most of the emotional issues at play, our suggestion would be to think about how to balance the drama with the romance, and how to keep that hero strong in the face of such an all-powerful anti-hero 🙂

It was one night. One night of hot sex. Sex so sheet-scorchingly hot that Rosie hadn’t wanted it to end. So she’d followed Jake into the shower. He hadn’t invited her but he didn’t protest either. He picked her up and took her again as water cascaded over their slippery bodies. That was the only time they hadn’t used protection. Just the one time, that was all, but one time was all it took.
‘But surely you want to be a father yourself one day?’ Rosie placed her hands over her abdomen as if protecting the foetus she had just found out about.
‘No, I’ll never have children of my own. I know nothing about family life, I’d make a rotten father.’
‘Jake, how can you say that?’
‘Because it’s true. Abandoned in an A&E Department at two weeks old, brought up in the care system. I have never known family life, Rosie, how could I ever be a father?’
‘What about Ben?’
‘Ben saved my life. If he hadn’t taken me off the streets I would probably be dead by now. He showed me how to look after myself but he was a friend, not a father. He made that perfectly clear.’
Rosie knew about Jake’s childhood but couldn’t believe that he wouldn’t make a wonderful father. He was kind and compassionate as well as strong and stubborn.
‘When I made my first million I made a vow. I promised myself that I would open a half-way house for kids like me. Teach them healthy eating, how to use a gym, get fit for life. That’s my forte. I’ll be their personal trainer and friend, but never their father. I’ve never had one and I don’t want to be one.’
‘But you’d learn Jake, everyone does.’ She was pushing too hard and wasn’t surprised when he looked at her with narrowed eyes.
‘I know why you think I should be a parent.’
Her mouth went dry and her heart skipped a beat. ‘You do?’
‘Because it’s what you want. The whole house in the suburbs, two kids and a Labrador thing. I wish you well I really do, but that’s your dream, not mine.’
‘Yours is the half-way house?’
‘Correct. I’m a rich man and have the means to help so many homeless kids and those who’ve been in care. I couldn’t justify bringing a child into the world when there are so many here already that I could help. It’s going to take all my spare time but it’s what I want. It’s all I want.’
Rosie wanted to tell him that he could do both. Jake could look after his waifs and strays and be a father. That the more love you give, the more you have to give, but when she glanced at him again, he had moved on. He had turned away and was whistling tunelessly, their conversation already forgotten.
If she told him she was pregnant, he would hate her. His dream would be over. He had his life planned out and his goal was in sight.
There was no room in his life or his heart for her or their baby.

Okkkkkay, I have no idea why that comment appeared there!! I was going to say I loved this motivation, Jacqueline. It’s impossible to see how they could get together now!

Poor Jake – how much he has to learn about the healing power of love! Something tells us Rosie and her baby will be just the people to teach him 🙂

Sarah watched David’s lips, trying to make sense out of the words he was saying. Surely she had heard him wrong, because her husband couldn’t possibly be telling her that he was in love with someone else. These things didn’t happen to people like her.

Not now. Not when she finally had such wonderful news to share with him.


She blinked. He had stopped talking and was looking at her as though waiting for her to speak.

“I don’t understand,” she said.

“I’m sorry,” he repeated. “I’m in love with Rachel. Don’t tell me you didn’t see this coming. We’ve both been so unhappy for so long that I thought you’d be a little relieved, to be perfectly honest.”

Sarah looked down at his strong, well-manicured hands holding both of hers and suddenly found that she couldn’t stand his touch for one more second. She pulled away from him and stalked toward the bedroom.

“Wait,” he called after her. “I’ve gone to my lawyer and asked him to draw up the papers. Under the pre-nup, you’ve got thirty days to find somewhere else to live. I’m not throwing you out on the street, Sarah.”

Thirty days. Her mind reeled. Thirty days to get out of the home they’d shared for almost five years? Thirty days to wrap up all the details of their life together, as though none of it had ever happened? She closed her eyes and pressed a hand against her abdomen, breathing deeply and fighting the sudden waves of nausea that coursed through her.

“Did you forget about the pre-nup?”

“Of course not,” she snapped. “How kind of you to remind me of it, though.”

“Look, the terms of my grandfather’s will were very clear. I don’t inherit a dime until I’m a father, and none of the fertility treatments are working. It’s time to face the fact that you can’t get pregnant, and I need to be married to someone who can.”

“Rachel,” she spat out her sister’s name. “You’re leaving me for Rachel because you think she’ll be able to have your baby?”

“I know she can. She’s already pregnant.”

Sarah clutched her hands together to keep from slapping his smug face. So am I, she wanted to say. She held her tongue and resisted the urge to wrap her arms around her belly to protect the life that grew within her. She wouldn’t use this baby to hold onto a man who no longer wanted her. She couldn’t tell him now, not when he saw a child as nothing more than a way to inherit his family’s millions.

“I hope the three of you will be very happy together,” she said through clenched teeth, and closed the door behind her with a firm click.

No wonder she doesn’t tell him in the face of such awful news! The only question that occurred to us is how/why they were still sleeping together, if their relationship was so on the rocks… But we love how feisty she is!

Thank you! That’s a really good question. I think I may have to play around with this idea a bit and see what happens.

There’d only been one kiss. That was all Maddie could remember about that night. One long, primal, please-don’t-let-it-ever-end kiss when he pressed her back against the doorframe and all the other noises, the music, the glasses clinking, the laughter, weren’t what she was hearing any more.
All there was was the sound of her breath, sharp and shallow and desperate. And his, deeper, insistent, the heat of it mingling with hers and caressing her cheeks, their blood pulsing together, rhythmic, throbbing, as his hand pushed hard up her body. Not soft and gentle and exploring as she’d always imagined these things happened. Wanted them to.
No, he was learning her, needing her, pulling her to him with that brutal hand.
Up from her hip, swooping into the curve of her waist, thumb spreading out over her ribcage, so that when he moved higher, it would run over her nipple and connect instantly with the core of her.
She knew that, waited for it.
And he knew it too, and withheld that last move.
Because he was focused on something else now. His lips found hers, and nothing was gentle, easy or tentative. He wanted the taste of her, hungered for her, his tongue forcing his way to hers.
She felt his arousal against her pelvis and the weight of his body pressing her against the wall as they moved like animals into the shadows of the corridor and she arced into him so that she could feel all of him, every ache, everything intimate and forbidden.
Her arms locked around his head, her fingers gripped the tight black curls of his hair, his free arm was around her shoulders but so tense and hard-packed that she knew his fist was clenched.
She couldn’t breathe…
Didn’t need to…
Didn’t care…
There was only one thing she needed.
And he knew that.

“So you’re leaving with no notice?”
“That’s right.”
She couldn’t look up at him. She stood and threw the last of her pens and pencils into the cardboard box. Her chair teetered back, rocked, but didn’t fall.
“Sacrificing three months’ pay.”
“Obviously, Human Resources will have filled you in.”
So don’t talk to me!
“They told me you wouldn’t give a reason. But Maddie, you and I both know you wouldn’t – couldn’t – give up this job unless something serious had happened. Plus, you’re only half-way through this design.”
She threw her mug in to the box too. The handle broke into three pieces. Her favourite mug. Her hands trembled and she gripped the edge of the box to stop them.
She wasn’t wavering. Not in front of Matt.
“Someone else can finish the building. You know that. There are lots of talented people in here just dying for the chance.”
“You fought for that tender. You got my company one of the world’s most exciting architectural projects – and now you’re just walking out on it? I don’t believe you. Talk to me.”
It didn’t matter what he said.
Last night, when she’d stared at the evidence, when she’d known where that kiss had ended, it was the very first thought that had come into her head.
Be strong against him.
And then the second and the third and the fourth thoughts had arrived and she’d slumped against the beautiful marble walls of her bathroom and wept.
But now it was morning. And in a minute, she’d be gone. Away from him. She’d be safe from herself. Her weakness.
Alone, she could rear this baby. Care for it, love it, keep it stable and secure. Shielded, the way a child had the right to be.
Alone, she had her career and her success and nothing – no one – would ever threaten that.
Not even the man she’d been staring mesmerised at over the low walls of her cubicle all these months.
Not even her boss.
The father of her baby.

Sexy and really intense – great stuff! Would have loved to know a bit more about what’s keeping them apart emotionally – yes, he’s her boss, but why else doesn’t she want to tell him? But really great writing 🙂

Thank you, Sold Team – you are SO the best!
Hmmm, got carried away and forgot that motivation thing!
So she’s all about her career. Strictly that. She’s grafted and she’s succeeded. She didn’t just want that success – she needed it.
Knowing she’s pregnant is the first chink in that armour.
Or maybe the second – because looking at him, lusting after him, wanting him for months is a weakness she sees in herself. And she gave in to it. She, the on-track-minded career woman! She slept with the boss. But she can’t let this go any further.
Pity she no longer has that choice, then.
Would that work, do you think?

Durrr that might be one-track-minded career woman.
Time, I think, for Poldark!
Thanks so much for the Challenge and the comments, Flo/Sold Team – learning a lot here.

If you can really convince the reader why she’s so desperate for that success, why she needs it so bad, it all sounds good to us!

Oh, thank you for popping back into that! I only realised the Challenge was closed after I posted it, so really appreciated the feedback. And, yes, since sending that, I think I do have reasons – so that means I might have a new story I HAVE to write!

Ooops! That’s rather a lot! I’m coffee-fuelled and can’t sleep lol. Love all the great characters so far on here! Right, off to write what I should be writing! But thanks for the fun challenge!

Thanks so much, Jacqueline! Isn’t this challenge just great at getting writing flowing again

Wow. One night. Reed must be in possession of some robust swimmers. So strong, they broke through the condom and had attacked her innocent little eggs. The stick didn’t lie.

The newspaper in her hand confirmed his potency if she needed a second opinion.

Reed was getting married. The grainy photo showed him and his soon-to-be-wife, noticeably very pregnant, smiling at each other. Not even six weeks after their night together. It had meant the world to Charlotte, but, apparently, Reed was only interested in having a fling before he tied himself down.

She’d crushed on him as a teenager…her larger-than-life hero as he’d sworn to protect her from the bullies at school. She’d loved him. Giving herself to him wasn’t something she regretted.

Putting the paper aside, Charlotte made the decision not to tell Reed about this baby. Her hero could only save so many damsels in distress, and she wasn’t going to be one of them.

Caressing her still flat belly, Charlotte promised her unborn child it wouldn’t ever need a daddy.

What a man – sexy and super-fertile 🙂

Her hurt and upset at realising how little she really knows about her teenage crush is completely understandable, no wonder she wouldn’t tell him. But we can’t wait to see him prove her wrong!

One innocent interview and an unexpected moment of passion had led to this. Vanessa dumped the positive pregnancy test in the garbage, her heart wrenching once more. It was supposed to be a positive time, a moment in her fantasies where she was overjoyed to be sharing this news with the love of her life.

Except she was single, and dating renowned surfer Cody Baker had been far from her mind. She stared out the window to the view of the ragged, foam laced ocean, the sky draped with clouds darkened from the weight of oncoming rain. She remembered how Cody had coaxed her to stand amongst the waves, soaking her pants in the process, but that flash of a wide, sexy smile had made her temporarily lose all sense of judgment. She’d given in to him so intensely, and her face now burned from the memory.

She closed her eyes, willing tears not to fall. It had been one night, she’d interviewed him for the local paper, and they’d parted ways. She could still remember their time together as clear as day, those brilliant blue eyes set in a sculpted, tanned face with a hint of dark stubble. He wouldn’t deal with this pregnancy well.

But something like this would bring them back together. How could she tell him? From what she’d heard, he was off to California for six months. He never stayed in one town for long.

A knock on the door jolted her from her thoughts. She wiped at her face and answered. The porch lights illuminated the face of Cody.

Her mouth dropped open. “What are you doing here?”

He ran a hand through tousled dark hair. “I’ve been thinking about you the past few days. Weeks, actually. I’m hoping you’re still single, because I’d like to see you again. And see where this goes.”

Not only am I single, but pregnant with your baby, she thought, clasping her hands together. Now wasn’t the time to tell him the truth, but this was just what she needed. If dating Cody worked out, she’d be happy to tell him. If it went badly, though, she’d abandon her hopes and raise the baby without him.

Recalling her parents divorce, she knew how much a child suffered seeing the love of a united family break apart overnight. She was determined for her child to never go through that, even if it meant risking being a single parent.

She looked into Cody’s eyes, knowing he had no idea of the inner torment going through her right now.

“Sure,” she answered. “Let’s spend some time together. I’m just about to watch a movie. Come join me.”

Yay for sexy surfer heroes! Her backstory makes her lack of trust in Cody really understandable. We hope she plucks up the courage to tell him soon, and then they can start working through the internal emotional issues keeping them from their HEA 🙂

From end of Challenge #1: …‘Lucas Cavendish, my old school buddy, do you want to save face and get married, then conveniently divorce in twelve months time?…

Nina loved that Lucas thought her ‘sweet’. If only that were true. How sweet would he think her sudden decision to marry his brother had been one of convenience for both?
Silence spread it’s cold tentacles, squeezing her conscience, forcing her away from his grasp.
Yes, Lucas had rough edges and scars and he’d already known great pain and suffering, but no way in the world could she do anything to make matters worse.
Nina stared out at the bright Vegas lights flashing temptation to the weak and vulnerable. Too late. She’d already grabbed temptation with both hands. Taken advantage of Lucas while he was in a drunken stupor three months ago after celebrating his return from Afghanistan. Of course, he had no memory of what happened.
Now she ached to tell him that one night of wild abandonment had resulted in giving her nearly everything she wanted in the world. His baby.
To an orphan, having her own family, was a dream come true. Wanting Lucas to love her back would be a miracle. But she couldn’t trap him, even for a miracle.
Rock and hard place.
‘You know I’m joking about us getting married, don’t you?’ she said, crying inside. ‘I know that’s the last thing you need after what just happened.’
‘Yeah, thanks for asking, Nina. I can always rely on you to make me feel better.’ Lucas opened his arms and she automatically walked into his deep, warm hug, hiding her face in his chest.
Breathing him in, committing the sweet, intoxicating moment to eternal memory.
‘When I get back from my next tour of duty, you can help me find the right girl. Deal?’

Sorry, sorry, sorry. Hate seeing stuff I can’t correct-

1)Third sentence left out 4 words between brother and had … if he’d known it…
2)Fourth sentence. its (no apostrophe)

Poor Nina – there’s nothing worse than unrequited love! Did wonder how, if Lucas was so drunk that he can’t remember it, their night of passion actually happened! Another twist to consider would be that he DOES remember it vividly, but isn’t ready to tell her yet… what do you think?

YES-totally agree. Nina thinks he couldn’t have remembered because of his behaviour the next day! Lots of lovely conflict. And later we learn the reason Lucas became a soldier is linked to why he thinks he never wants children.
Will try and work in both POV’s next challenge.

Thanks, Editors. These challenges have certainly stretched my brain- I’ve learnt a lot! xx ms

Lots of lovely conflict indeed! So glad you’re enjoying the challenges, Margie!

Kit stared at her thumb hovering over the send button on the phone. Only two words in the text message and they would change things forever. “I’m pregnant.”
Above it were all the other messages, asking, then begging him to contact her. This one Liam wouldn’t ignore. Family meant everything to a man who had none. It wasn’t the way she wanted to tell him, but halfway across the world, she didn’t have many options.
He would come back. Back into the web that was her brother’s hold on him. The poisonous relationship that had sent him grief-stricken into her arms for one unforgettable night and then as far away as his job would take him, to South America.
She shivered at the thought of Adam’s reaction. He’d always been jealous of Kit’s rapport with Liam. He would never forgive them for the betrayal. Never accept that Liam wanted to escape from the relationship. It would tear the family apart. It would tear Liam apart.
Sucking in a breath, Kit pressed down, then again, and again. She watched the letters vanish backwards, one by one. One last push and the screen blinked back at her. “Remove contact? Yes or No.”
Blinking back tears, Kit pressed “Yes.” Flinging the phone onto the bed she picked up her suitcase and began to pack.

Love it, Fiona! Really tight, powerful writing – and I wanted to say “Noooooooo!” at the end!

Fiona, what a clever mechanism using the text and deleting it. It’s so now. It also gives a real sense of severing ties. Well done. Carrie

Thanks. Although I see too much blinking;). Such great snippets on here. I’m Enjoying reading them all. Like mini stories

We love that your heroine is trying to do the right thing – by both the man she love, her family and her baby. To get that internal emotional focus, do think about how and why Kit has internalised all those family dramas, so we can really understand the rock and hard place she’s stuck between!

Two. Pink. Stripes.
Two pink stripes. That was all it took to galvanized her world into a plummeting downfall. Her legs shook as she clutched the plastic stick with all her might. If anyone in the past had told her that a piece of plastic stick would seal her fate for the rest of her life, she would have laughed out loud.
She slummed back down on the toilet seat, resting her heated forehead against the cool marble tiles of the bathroom wall. Oh Lord, she thought, what had she done to deserve such bad karma on her doorstep. She placed a hand beneath her stomach where her womb lies, still too small, she could hardly feel it.
It seems surreal that her tiny womb had been embedded with life. A life that would be nurtured inside her body for the next nine months. Aryan’s wish would finally come true; she would finally be eternally bonded with him.
Revulsion coursed through her body at the thought, and before she could move, a torrid pour of bile and stomach content pooled beneath her feet. Once her body had drained the content of her stomach, her burning skin once again sought the comfort of the cool marble tiles.
It wasn’t that she found Aryan disgusting, quite the opposite really. He was alluring, predatorial and sleek as a jungle cat. The proof lies deep within her womb currently. It was the thought of matrimony, of marriage, of being tied down to a person for the rest of her life, for the sake of her unborn child that repulse her.
She lived in a country that despite of the fast pace development of the twenty first century, still considers an illegitimate child as a bastard and a stigma to society. A cruel price for her innocent child to pay for her one night recklessness. The simple solution would be to tell Aryan. She knew how thrilled he would be to know that he would be a father; she had no doubt about that. However there was a part of her that couldn’t bring herself to tell him.
Selfish really. But she didn’t love him, and no matter how many times Aryan had tried to convince her, that one day she would grow to love him like he did her. She knew it would never happen. Despite of his good looks and solicitous manner, he was far too strait-laced and a traditionalist. He was her father all over again. He would suffocate her, drown her again in misery and worst of all wrecked down her kingdom of freedom, which she had painstakingly built over the years to proof her worth even though she was a woman.
And what if her baby turns out to be a girl?
Will her baby suffers the same fate as her? Bound and dictate by ancient traditions and cultures that doesn’t appeal to the rational mind. That even before her baby was born; her baby’s fate had been sealed and set in stone. All for the sake of preserving the past.
Her baby will not suffer! Boy or girl, her baby deserves a chance to live his or her life freely, without any paved path or set stone fate. Aryan doesn’t need to know. Yes, she thought, she could leave this place and start a new with her baby. A new place where she and her baby would not be judge or cast aside. A new place where neither Aryan’s nor her parents’ influence could overshadow their life.
Steadying herself against the bathroom wall, she rose. She felt much stronger now that she had a plan. She slipped the pregnancy kit inside the pocket of her jean skirt and marched out of the bathroom.

Your heroine’s quest for independence is really strongly evoked. However, we’re romantics at heart (obviously!) – if they’re sleeping together, it would be great to know more about the positive feelings Aryan inspires in her too 🙂

Ali folded the divorce papers as the print blurred. She swiped at the stupid tears stinging her cheeks and heaved in a breath. As with everything else about her soon to be ex-husband, his timing was perfect. With fumbling fingers she stuffed the documents back into the envelope.
She couldn’t turn around. She couldn’t risk him seeing anything in her pale face that might hint at the truth.
The papers were no surprise. Ramon Barrientos, world renowned playboy, had been off the market for one year – the length of their arranged marriage. Once she signed those papers he was free to return to the life he’d put on hold to fulfil the condition of his grandfather’s will.
‘I thought it only polite to bring the papers myself, Alison.’ His deep voice had no right to caress her skin like a silken kiss as he strode around the apartment she’d just moved into. His tall, powerful presence had no right to pull every nerve-ending into sensuous arousal and she had no right to hope this could be any other way.
He pushed his hands into the trouser pockets of his dark, superbly cut charcoal business suit. ‘After all, you have done me a great favour. We are now both free to return to our own lives and pursue our own goals. Are we not?’
Free? Of course he wanted to be free of their agreement, free of her. Ali could hardly bare to dart a glance at him for fear of blurting out what she’d found out that morning. That once, during their on-paper marriage, when she’d pretended he was hers and pushed reality into a tiny dark corner of her mind and had gone to him, she had conceived his child.
Her stomach cramped and she stilled. After a long moment, she smoothed a hand over her still deceptively flat tummy. She thanked God for small mercies.
‘Are you all right, Alison?’ His voice was close behind her, concerned. His heat and scent surrounded her, mocked her. He wasn’t hers to savour, never had been. She leaned against the kitchen counter. A sob almost escaped and she clamped it down, clogging it painfully in her chest. She nodded with a determined jerk of her head.
She couldn’t complain. Ali had known exactly what she was getting into when her to-die-for boss had asked her to help him retain the multi-billion euro empire he’d built up from nothing more than his grandfather’s name. In return she now had enough money to start the business she’d been working towards. What she hadn’t known was how foolishly, hopelessly and entirely she’d fall for her pretend husband –but maybe she had known – maybe she’d always known. Idiot.
She grabbed the envelope and whipped the papers out. A lean, olive-skinned hand moved around her to offer a slim, gold pen. Ali tensed and took it, careful not to touch his long fingers. She scribbled her name and swivelled round. Her gaze met an espresso dark speculative one.
‘Here,’ Ali shot her hand out. ‘Now you’re free.’

Love this, very Presents! Love the intensity, could feel the heat and passion in every line!

Carrie, this is wonderful. Ali’s so tense, but there’s this sort of prowling nature about Ramon that makes me think he’s not particularly happy about his whole thing. Well done!

Love the intensity and emotion in Ali’s POV – he sounds gorgeous too! Great stuff 🙂

Thanks everyone who dropped by and left a comment and well done to everyone – so much emotion and intricacy in these scenes. And thanks Sold editors – great to get feedback from you. Carrie

“Did you think I wouldn’t find out?”

Karen looked away, fixed her eyes on the stacks of boxes cluttering her small studio apartment. Anything to keep from looking at Gabriel, to steel herself against the anger, and…yes, that was hurt in his voice. Undeniably.

The anger she had anticipated. But she’d never meant to hurt him. Never even known she could.

“I…” Karen started, but her voice faltered. She swallowed and tried again. “I…I didn’t think you would care.”

“Of course I care,” Gabriel said. “You’re carrying my child. Unless there’s something else you need to tell me.”

She scoffed, surprised at how offended she felt at what was, by all intents and purposes, a completely legitimate question. From Gabriel’s perspective, at least.

“No, there’s nothing else,” she said.

“Are you sure?”

Color flooded her cheeks as offended morphed into full-on insulted. “Completely sure.”

Because there had been no one else. Ever. That night Gabriel’s Manhattan penthouse had been her first time. And her last. Which made the issue of paternity irrefutable.

He said nothing. Silence lapsed between them, painting the air thick with tension. It wrapped itself around her throat and squeezed, making it hard to breathe. She wrapped her arms around herself, shielding herself from it, willing it to end.

“How long have you known?” he asked finally.

She gave a small shrug. “A couple of months.”

“A couple of months.” Gabriel’s tone turned hard. “You knew about the baby. When you left.”

“I had my suspicions,” Karen said quietly.

Though they had been more than suspicions. Her cycle was like clockwork. In the ten years she’d been getting her period, she’d been late a grand total of one time. And she’d known immediately what it meant.

“And you didn’t tell me.”

She snapped her head up, locked her eyes onto his. “And what would you have done?” she asked. “You were getting married. To someone else. And I…”

And she couldn’t compete. Not with Amelia. Perfect, put-together Amelia, who was everything a man like Gabriel would want in a wife. Sophisticated. Educated. Successful.

And beautiful, of course. With long legs and sleek blond hair, a sharp contrast to Karen’s petite frame and frizzy red locks. Not that she had ever compared herself to her boss’s fiancée, or anything.

Except she had. Every time she’d seen the two of them together. Every time she’d seen Amelia’s name on Gabriel’s calendar app, heard her voice calling in on his direct line.

And every time she’d fallen short.

Gabriel’s sudden engagement to Amelia, though a shock, had made sense. More sense than the silly schoolgirl fantasies Karen had indulged in. Fantasies in which he’d taken her in his arms and kissed her, made love to her, confessed his undying love for her.

Which is why she’d been floored when Gabriel confided in her that his engagement to Amelia had been for show, just another of the many hoops he’d had to jump through to prove to his grandfather that he was ready to take over Mercer Industries, the family business. A confession he’d made after having one too many glasses of red wine.

Then he had kissed her, more passionately and deeply than she’d ever known was possible. Also thanks to the wine.

And she had let him, encouraged him to take things further, helped him out of his clothes and invited him to touch her, take her, fulfill her every fantasy.

Because she hadn’t been able to resist herself. Hadn’t wanted to. Men like Gabriel Mercer did not fall for women like Karen Cummings. She knew this. But still she wanted to know what it was like to be with him, even if it was just once. Even if they had no future together. Even if he had promised himself to someone else.

A selfish decision she’d since repeated when she’d decided not to tell him about the baby.

She’d thought about it. Several times, in fact. Because there was no one else she could tell. When she’d moved back home to Kansas, she’d told her parents it was because of corporate downsizing. There had been cutbacks, she’d said, and they had made her internship redundant. Anything to buy her some time. To think. To formulate a plan. To figure out what she was going to do, how she was going to raise a baby on her own.

How she was going to get over Gabriel Mercer.

She couldn’t count the number of times she’d punched his number into her mobile, only to chicken out at the last minute. Because how could she tell him?

His engagement to Amelia might not have been a love match, but there was much more that hung in the balance. Without a wife—a suitable wife—he’d never gain control of Mercer Industries. She knew how important it was to him, just as she knew he’d give it all up to do the right thing by her, by their baby.

“You were getting married,” she said. “You were getting married, and I didn’t want to complicate things.”

“You expect me to believe you did this for me?”

“If I had told you, would it have made a difference?” Karen asked. “Would you have left her? Married me instead?” She gave a small, humorless laugh. “I’m sure your grandfather would have loved that.”

“My grandfather does not get a vote in this.”

“Maybe not, but I do,” she said. “And that’s not the life I want.”

She felt small just having this conversation. Having to explain herself, why she’d done what she’d done. As though the child wasn’t growing in her body. As though she didn’t get an equal say in the matter.

After their night together, she’d had moments of regret. Not about the act itself, or even about the consequences. But she’d lost herself somehow. Made herself lesser in order to be with him. She refused to do that to herself again. Not for one night, and certainly not ‘til death do us part. She couldn’t imagine a worse hell than being forced into a marriage where she was constantly reminded she was the consolation prize.

Love it! Karen’s emotional insecurities are really well explored, and we particularly love how mixed-up she feels about her decision not to tell him.

The last place in the world Delilah Winters wanted to be was at her cousin’s engagement party, especially since Veronica has hated her for some unknown reason since childhood. And the last thing she wanted to be eating were these rubbery shrimp that threatened to send her running for the toilet again, but she was starving after having skipped breakfast and lunch. Should she even be eating shrimp? Was it safe? There was so much to learn about pregnancy it was overwhelming. She placed a hand on her slightly-rounded belly, already feeling protective of the child she discovered only this morning she was carrying.

Most importantly, the last person in the world she wanted to see was her baby’s father, whom her despised cousin was now introducing to Delilah as her fiance.
She fixed her brightest, most sincere fake smile on her face. “It’s nice to meet you—Callan, was it?” Delilah was surprised she could keep the tremor out of her voice. Callan’s own smile withered for a moment before he propped it back up.

“Cal, for short,” he said, his gravelly voice reverberating through her body the way it did that night they met on the island.

“Delilah, I’m so happy you were able to make it,” Veronica said, the corner of her mouth tugging into a smirk. Sure she was happy; how else could she flaunt her gorgeous fiance in the face of her perpetually-single cousin. “Did you bring someone? Your mother said you’ve been seeing someone.”

Oh, right. That would be the guy she made up to get her mother off her back. “No, he couldn’t make it.” Delilah bit the head off another revolting shrimp, barely choking it down.

“Will we have a chance to meet him at the wedding?” Cal asked, taking a sip of champagne, the movement—and the question—anything but casual. But if Veronica noticed his voice was unnaturally taut, she didn’t give any indication. Delilah could tell. They’d only had two weeks together two months ago, but Delilah felt she knew him better than her own self. Right up until he disappeared that last morning.

“Maybe,” she said, holding Cal’s gaze as his indigo eyes bore through her. “Did you set a date?”

Veronica beamed. “July 17th. That was the soonest mommy and daddy could book the country club.”

Perfect. Delilah would have to endure watching her cousin get married before her in the middle of July in Maryland, all while eight-months pregnant with the groom’s baby. If she went, that is, and she’d be absolutely crazy to go. What would her gift be for the happy couple? A paternity test? Tickets to Maury? Though, after seeing that pink plus sign this morning, she thought she’d be crazy to even consider raising a child by herself, a child conceived with a man she barely knew and who, for all intents and purposes, had vanished from the face of the earth. But by the time she left for the party, she’d made her decision to keep this baby, father or no father.

Now he was here, practically dropped right in front of her, and Delilah could finally have all her questions answered. She might not have to raise this child on her own if she told him the truth, and didn’t that make the prospect of impending motherhood a little less scary. Of course, then Veronica would have actual cause to hate her, no matter that she had no idea her Cal would end up being Veronica’s Cal. Veronica would be humiliated, devastated, and as much as Delilah didn’t care for her cousin, she could never intentionally inflict that kind of pain on her. Not to mention the nuclear fallout from such an admission, the toxic cloud that would hang over not only her, but Cal and their baby. No, it would be crazy of her to say anything. But she absolutely, positively could not attend that wedding.

“Our mothers insist you be a bridesmaid,” Veronica said in a honeyed voice. Clearly, it wasn’t her idea that Delilah be in the wedding party. But whatever their mothers wanted, their mothers got—or else. No one, not even their fathers, defied them.

She swallowed the lump in her throat and gave a brief, mournful look at Cal before turning back to her cousin with a perky smile. “Well, then of course I’ll be there.”

What a nightmare, poor pregnant Delilah with her awful cousin – and she has to be her bridesmaid?! We can’t wait for the moment where Cal gets Delilah to himself and she can really grill him about his mysterious disappearance!

8 weeks later…

All I need is a few weeks to finalize my plans.

Maya figured a job promotion came up at the right time. Her boss gave her time to pack up her things and put her house on the market.

She has always known that Collin didn’t want children. That night should have never happened. A shoulder to lean was all that she would ever be.

Maya stroked her still flat belly and found herself talking to her baby. Remind Momma never to drink again. Well at least for the next 7 months.

A knock at the door startled her. Looking out through the peephole to see who it could be at this late hour Maya covered her eyes and groaned when she realized it’s the man who has been the source of her dreams since she was a girl. Unfortunately, he never saw her as anything other than his best friend.

“Not now, I’m not ready to deal with him right now.”
“Maya open this door!”Colin yelled, either you let me in or I will give your neighbors something to see.

“Go away,” Maya shouted, I’m not feeling well, come back in a couple of days.

“Open the door, we need to talk.”

Maya crossed the room and opened the door. Fighting for composure so that she wouldn’t launch herself into his arms or throw up the late lunch she forced down. Collin filled the doorway with his massive frame that came from playing football until a knee injury sidelined him.

“Why haven’t you returned my calls?”

“I caught a virus from someone at work.”

“I need to apologize for my behavior the other night.”

Maya focused on the wall behind Collin. If she gazed into his eyes the truth would come tumbling out. She knew that if that happened she would lose her best friend. He would never forgive her.

“No, were good,”Maya muttered.

Collin turned his back to Maya in order to gather his thoughts. He knew Maya would listen like she always did. She has always been there for him. He never wanted to lose her.

“I need to explain why this year was different. I saw a kid today that reminded me of my little brother and then I lost it.”

Running his fingers through his hair Collin tried to continue. The anniversary of his Mother’s and brother’s death ate away at his heart and mind. His selfishness took away the two people that loved him the most.

“I understand, Maya whispered.”

“I had one thing to do that day and I failed my mother and my little brother,Collin replied.

Maya wanted to take Collin’s pain away. She ached to put her arms around him and tell him that he would be okay. She wanted to tell him about the baby. But she couldn’t do either of those things because Collin wouldn’t accept comfort or welcome a baby.

“Stop, you can’t keep doing this to yourself. You didn’tknow your father would get behind the wheel drunk with your Mother and brother in the car. It’s not your fault their dead.”

“Don’t!” Collin screamed, I’m no better than my old man.

Maya couldn’t watch him torture himself. She crossed the room to touch him. Collin stepped back as if he had been burned. Maya dropped her hand and forced herself to sit on her couch to take the sting out of his rejection.

Collin, mocked himself. “I just needed to know I didn’t do anything stupid. I can’t lose you too, you are all the family I will ever have. Besides can you imagine me passing my old man’s gene on to a kid?”

What a burden Collin’s carrying around! There’s obviously a huge amount of emotion at play but we’d have loved to see more of the chemistry between Maya and Collin too. After all, that’s what got them into this fix in the first place!

Thank you all for your amazing scenarios, we’ve had such a great time reading them! This #WritingChallenge is now closed, but check back in on Friday 24th April for the next. Happy Writing!

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