Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Excerpt from Lynnette Austin's Must Love Babies

Must Love Babies, a heartwarming new contemporary romance series, features the Wylder brothers, bachelors who find themselves with unexpected bundles of joy...

Boutique owner Molly Stiles has no time for relationships, but when Brant Wylder is left to care for his sister’s baby, Molly can’t resist helping him. 


Enjoy this excerpt from Must Love Babies

On her way to the store, Molly drove past Annabelle’s Inn. Slowly. No Brant. No black Camaro. She told herself she wasn’t disappointed, that the feeling in the pit of her stomach was relief.

As she walked into the grocer’s, she admitted he was a temptation she’d find hard to resist. And speaking of temptations, Molly tossed a package of Oreos into her grocery cart. Rounding the corner, still working to convince herself she was glad Brant was gone, she almost ran over him.

He hadn’t left town!

Mortified, her hand instinctively flew to her hair. Why hadn’t she taken time to do more than run a brush through it? Or to change into something other than purple leggings and her favorite faded blue sweatshirt?

Brant, on the other hand? Seeing him last night in that black tux, a girl could have melted simply catching sight of him. Today in worn jeans that hugged his hips and butt and a forest-green, long-sleeved T-shirt, he looked rugged, badass, and every bit as delicious. Tux or jeans? How did a girl decide?

A high-pitched squeal caught her attention, and her eyes darted to the grinning baby.

Molly’s shocked gaze flicked to Brant and met his incredible eyes, the color of grass after a summer rain and fringed with the long, thick eyelashes women are never lucky enough to be born with. The baby in his cart shared both.

Her forehead creased in a frown, then her stomach hit the floor as dread filled her.

His sister. Did Brant have the baby because she’d—deep breath—because she’d died?

“Brant? Your sister. Is she okay?”

He nodded, and her world righted itself.

“Molly, meet my nephew, the unpredictable, unrivaled champion sucker of the pacifier, Jax Wylder.”

“Is Lainey doing better this morning?”

“She made it through surgery. While she heals, Jax and I are spending some quality time together, aren’t we, kid?”

Jax’s grin widened.

“Don’t let that smile fool you. The little bugger’s a tyrant,” Brant warned before he shifted his attention back to the baby food section. “Look at this. How can there be so many things to feed a toothless kid? Shouldn’t they just drink milk from a bottle…or from their mama?”

A whimper erupted from the baby, and Molly watched as Brant spun, wild-eyed, to his nephew.

“Oh no, champ, not now. You don’t want to look like a wuss in front of this beautiful lady. Remember what Frankie Valli said. Walk like a man.”

Molly watched, mesmerized, as the five-o’clock-shadowed male picked up the small baby. When he held him close, swaying and patting his back, singing the Four Seasons song, she went all tingly.

Jax quieted, his tiny fingers finding the pocket on Brant’s T-shirt.

Over the baby’s head, Brant shot Molly a look. “Frightening that somebody would trust me with this little guy, isn’t it?”

“Looks like you’re doing fine.”

“Looks can be very deceiving. I’m flying by the seat of my pants—and YouTube videos. Aren’t I, Jax?” He disentangled the baby’s fingers from his pocket and kissed each one.

Molly sighed.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” She blushed. “Nothing at all.”

Brant kissed the top of his nephew’s head. “Right here?” He pointed. “The consequence of sex.”

“Sex?” Her mind blew a fuse.

“Makes a guy think.”

It was making her think, too. And they weren’t thoughts she should be having.

“You can’t leave me alone with all this.” He swept a hand, indicating the mile-long aisle of baby foods and supplies.

Palming a jar of food, he gave it the evil eye. “The label says number two is for a six-month-old. Jax is seven. Do I still buy him a two? Or do I bump up to a three?”

“Brant, I don’t know any more about this than you do.”

“Isn’t it genetic or something? Part of a woman’s DNA?”

She smiled ruefully. “No. I don’t have younger siblings, no nieces or nephews. And before you ask, I never babysat. I have no experience whatsoever.”

“But you must love babies. I mean, who doesn’t?”

Jax let out a loud burp.

She laughed. “I do. Even burping male ones.”

“Quinoa and kale? Seriously? That’s like sending the kid off to some sissy spa. Real men don’t eat this stuff.” Shaking his head, he dropped it into the shopping cart along with a bag of organic pears and spinach mix.

They moved to the diaper section, and Brant groaned. “So does Jax need supersoft swaddlers or sensitive swaddlers?” He moved on to the next box. “Or maybe this twelve-hour protection that promises to keep him snug and dry for that long? That would cut down on the diaper changes.”

He glanced at Jax, who had found a piece of lint on his blanket that fascinated him. “I don’t think so. These must be for older kids with more bladder control.”

“Actually,” Molly said, looking closer at the boxes, “I think they’re sized by weight.”

“Okay, that makes it easier.”

“Do you know how much he weighs?”

“A little less than a car tire, so I’d say about seventeen, eighteen pounds.”

“Seriously? That’s how you figure weight?”

“Hey, I’m a car man. It’s what I do.” His shoulders slouched. “Give me a rusted-out car, and I can make the thing sing. Yet standing here in the baby aisle, I’m practically paralyzed for fear of screwing up.” He tipped his head and scanned the ceiling. “If somebody’s watching this on camera, you have my permission to laugh your butt off.”

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