The SEAL's Surprise Baby by Leslie North




1





“What?” Anderson said, trying to keep his mouth from hanging open. He couldn’t have heard her correctly. Maybe the sound of the breeze moving through leaves was messing with his hearing. Had she just declared that the baby in her arms was his?

“You have a son,” Violet repeated, smoothing a hand over the boy’s hair. “His name is Nate.”

“Nate.” Anderson spoke the word slowly, waiting for his brain to catch up with Violet’s announcement.

“Nathan Anderson DiPaula,” she said. That was her last name. Instinct made him want to argue the point. If the kid was his, the boy’s name should be Nathan Park.

No. Wait a minute.

“He can’t be mine. I never…” Never what? Never let my swimmers out without a safety net? No SEAL worth his salt did, in Anderson’s opinion. He didn’t have unprotected sex—ever. But he looked at the boy with his dark hair and eyes and wondered. Was it possible?

“Do you mind if we come in?” Violet asked, glancing behind her. “I don’t want to talk about… certain things standing on your porch.”

“Yeah… sure,” Anderson muttered and stood aside to let her—and the baby—by. He’d been enjoying some time alone, recovering from his last mission, when Violet had unexpectedly knocked on his door. He walked ahead of her into the living room, gesturing to the couch he’d been napping on. Any sense of peace or relaxation he’d found had vanished the instant he saw her.

They’d parted fourteen months ago at Ramstein Air Base in Germany after an emergency extraction from the assignment they’d been on together in Moscow. When he’d thought of her since, it had been with a sense of irritation. Everything about her got under his skin. Her fearless attitude, her cool intelligence, her sexy body.

Having a baby hadn’t changed that much. Her slim-fitting jeans and pink tank top revealed the curves he’d been unable to resist that last night in Russia. A fateful night, if what she said was true and the kid was his. He focused on the boy. He had fine dark hair that fell over a high forehead and eyes darker than his mother’s. Hers always seemed to glow with a sort of inner light.

The baby’s chubby hands reached out and yanked on Violet’s chestnut hair.

“We talked about this, little man. No pulling Mama’s hair,” she said as she smiled at Nate and gently removed the locks from his fist. “Let me find you a toy.” With one hand, she dug in the bag she’d dropped at her feet. “How about this?” She offered the boy a book made from fabric.

“Does he like that?” Anderson asked, finding his voice.

“It’s a favorite. I think he’ll be a scholar.”

“Like his mother,” he said. She was one of the smartest people he knew. He hadn’t always liked her, but he’d respected her ability to analyze data and make projections. He was good at that, too, but her skill far surpassed his.

“And Daddy,” she added, shooting him a look.

Anderson’s scholarship was hard won, since he’d come from damn close to nothing. He’d risen above his beginnings, doing more than anyone expected from him, but shit, had he ended up just like his parents with an unplanned kid? He had to get his head around the idea of having a baby.

“How’d this happen?” he blurted out.

“The usual way, Anderson. We had sex.” She gave him a look that said, Try to deny it. “Do I have to explain the biology?”

“I get that part, but I also know there was a condom involved.” He wasn’t the type to take risks, ever. Not even back when he’d been a randy sixteen-year-old—and certainly not a year and change ago.

She lifted her shoulders an inch. “Ninety-eight percent effective when used correctly, according to the sources I checked. That leaves a two in one hundred chance.”

“Thanks, I can do the math,” Anderson said, working to keep the sharpness from his voice. “How old is he?”

“Five months. I just got confirmation a few days ago that you were back in the States,” she added, as if anticipating his next question.

“Right.” Anderson couldn’t stop studying the child, looking for signs of himself in the set of his mouth and his laugh as the baby turned the pages in the book.

“You were gone on a long deployment, from what I could find out,” she continued.

“You checked?” With her security clearance and connections in the intelligence world, she would have been able to find out that he was deployed. She might even have uncovered where he’d been, but she’d made no move to contact him. At least, not that he knew of.