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The Texas Tycoon's Baby

By:Crystal Green

ace back up, he could do the same with himself.

Even with the positive thoughts, though, something niggled at Mina. What if she had only been there to cushion his fall that night, and she really didn’t mean any more to him than that? Chet was the type who would marry a woman he’d gotten pregnant purely out of honor. But honor wouldn’t be enough in a marriage.

And Mina didn’t want that from him. She wanted his love. Her child deserved that, too. Mina knew exactly what it was like to be a surprise baby—she’d been an “accidental child,” as well, except her own mom and dad had been very married.

She’d just been a “happy” accident for them during a hard financial time that they’d eventually recovered from. At least, that’s what she’d overheard from a drunk uncle talking about it during a barbecue years and years ago.

Even now the thought stung as she and Chet stood at that window. Both of them, accidents. She related more to him than he knew.

She wished she could just reach out and touch him. She was dying to.

But she didn’t.

While he surveyed the property, she could just about feel the pride radiating off of him. So many things in his life were messed up, but this resort wouldn’t be one of them.

“It’s going to be amazing,” she said, a catch in her voice, because she wasn’t just talking about the property.

“I aim to make it that way.” He glanced at her, and her pulse skipped. “I hear we’re scheduled to have the chef show off her menu tonight.”

“In your cabin. I arranged a tasting for you.”

“Just me?”

She hesitated. What did he mean?

“Please,” he said lightly, “tell me you won’t make me test that menu alone. I’m counting on your opinion about how everything is shaping up here.”

“I was going to get around to a tasting.”

“Get it over with tonight. We’ll catch up over dinner. We haven’t been able to have a real sit-down in a long time.”

There was a gleam in his eyes that she couldn’t quite translate. Was he finally ready to be with her one-on-one again? Not even necessarily in a romantic manner, but just as friends?

“I guess I could use a good meal and a break,” she said, determined to take charge of this relationship, to show him that she could always be there, along with a family who would love him through thick and thin.

“Good.” He smiled, almost to himself, as he hitched his thumbs in his jeans pockets. “I was also thinking that you might want to take a horseback tour of the property with me right now.”

When she’d been to the OB-GYN, she’d asked about exercising, as she did it regularly. Jogging, a calm horse ride, some light Pilates… But her doc wasn’t a fan of riding during pregnancy, and she wasn’t about to do anything to endanger her child.

“How about a walking tour instead?” she asked.

“Okay then.” He backed away from the window, and really, his blue gaze was clearer than she’d seen it in a while. Was it because he was out here…or because she was here?

She could only wish.

He moved toward the doorway, scooping his hat back up and putting it on—a rough and rugged man who would surprise anyone if they were to see him in a business suit, looking slightly out of place, yet dashing just the same.

Mina even jellied a bit in the knees at the thought of him dressed up.

“You ready?” he asked.

God, if he only knew just how ready she was. She wished he had even an inkling of how much she wanted him to stroll off into the sunset with her.

She thought she saw that spark in his gaze again as he glanced at her, and optimism wove its way under her skin. Was it possible that he would see how much she adored him before she told him about their child?

Would it make a difference if she could show him that she wanted more than just a night with him?

Only time would tell, she thought as she went to the door.

He ushered her out of the office as her heart stuck in her throat.

They sauntered side by side on a trail that headed toward the hills, cutting through the stillness of the late afternoon.

It was actually nice to get away from the office, even though staying busy was good, Chet thought.

Very good.

While passing the scrub and barrel cactus at the foot of some red-tinged hills, he did his best to keep his mind off of everything—including his assistant. Thank God they’d settled back into an amiable pattern, especially after that night when he’d overstepped his bounds with her.

What had he been thinking, coming on to Mina? He’d never been so unprofessional in his life. In fact, he imagined that taking advantage of an employee was something a womanizer like his biological father, Eli Barron, might’ve done in the past.

But that wasn’t Chet. Hell, no. He respected women, Mina more than most of them. And when he thought about what might happen if word about them ever got out around the Barron Group, he wanted to throttle himself.

She was ambitious, wanted to build a career. But was everyone going to think that she’d slept her way to the top?

Luckily, she’d been gracious and accepting of his errors, not holding Chet to any promises that his body might’ve made to her. Maybe he should’ve given her up, hired another personal assistant, but he wasn’t about to punish her for his lack of judgment that night.

And she was too damned good at her job for him to give her up, too.

Besides, they’d worked things out. Certainly, it involved him traveling a lot, but he was getting a lot done for the Group, buying up land and property then renovating and building on it to add the Group’s coffers. So it was a decent trade-off. He’d cleared his head quite a bit, and enough time had passed that they could go back to being…

What? What had they been to each other?

The wind carried a hint of Mina’s perfume past him, and it made him light-headed, reminding him of what it felt like when he’d held her against him.

When he’d first seen her as more than an assistant.

That night he’d filled himself up with th