Birth of a Baby Daddy
by Piper Rayne
Book 3 in The Bailey's Series
If you're having fun living your bachelor life in your Alaskan hometown and out of nowhere a woman shows up holding a baby she insists is yours, you need a plan-a birth plan.
BP Step #1 - Lift your jaw off the floor.
BP Step #2 - Figure out the baby's age-do the math.
BP Step #3 - Try to remember the woman and with any luck, her name.
BP Step #4 - Double check that she's not confusing you with your twin brother.
BP Step #5 - Ignore your five sister's scowls as your entire family watches the drama unfold.
There's only one thing you shouldn't do.
BP Step #6 - Don't assume she's there because she wants your daughter to call you Daddy. You'll only end up disappointed.
Time to figure out a new plan-one that changes her mind.
I've been excited for this one!
You see, I read the first book in this series' spin off series first, The Problem With Second Chances, which actually features Rome's daughter from this book, Birth of a Baby Daddy. I loved The Problem With Second Chances, and of course, there were lots of easter eggs of this series within it, which is what led me to this series'.
So, needless to say, I couldn't wait to get to Rome's story.
It did not disappoint.
I haven't made it a secret around here that I don't love a pregnancy trope, or a secret child trope. Actually, I don't like children being in romances much at all.
I really liked this one.
Rome is such a fun hero. A bit of a playboy. Funny. Sweet. I couldn't help but love his character in the past two books, and I loved him even more now. But I also liked Harley. A strong woman who does what is right by her child, no matter how difficult it is for herself. Her personality felt well matched to Rome's - Rome being carefree, and Harley a bit more serious. A good balancing act.
And little Calista was a cutie too.
Honestly, if you can get over the terrible cover and title, you will love this book ... and series!
I’m a plan guy. Not like life plan, but when I’m thrown an off-speed pitch, I know how to react. Excuse the baseball analogy, but when you grow up playing the sport, you relate everything to that play when you have half a second to decide if you’re swinging or not. I wasn’t as good as my brother Austin, but I had an eye for the ball. Off-speed, lay off until it crosses the plate. Curveball, look to take it on the inside. This is like a wild fucking pitch I didn’t see coming that hits me right in the helmet. Now I’m lying in the dirt, trying to figure out if I’m still that guy who can take a pitch. Liam: “I don’t understand. Why did she track you down if she’s going to run off?”
Savannah: “Because she wants money,”
Liam rolls his eyes at her.
Liam: “You’re way too cynical.”
Savannah: “I’m a realist. She got wind that Denver was some hero, and since doofus here used Denver’s name, she probably thought Griffin Thorne gave Denver loads of money for saving his life. Or she found out about Bailey Timber and is under the impression that we’ve got millions.”
Liam: “What must it be like to be in your head.” Harley: “Calista,”
Harley says, not giving her any more food as she gestures to me,
Harley: “this is Rome.”
Harley squares her shoulders.
I smile and inflect my voice with happiness. Harley gives up.
Harley: “She doesn’t even understand the meaning of the word.”
Rome: “Doesn’t matter. I’m her daddy.” Harley: “Let’s go wee.”
Rome: “Your baby talk is impressive. For future reference, I’m not much of a baby talk kind of guy in the bedroom.”
Why is it so fun to get a rise out of this woman?
Harley: “The kind of talk you like in the bedroom should never be spoken in front of those little ears.”
She follows me out the door, shutting it behind her. Calista: “Wa wa.”
Calista points at the lake.
Rome: “Water. Yeah. You’re so smart.”
I poke her stomach and she giggles. Is she this welcoming to everyone or am I doing something right here?
Harley: “I bet most women would beg you to sleep with them after watching you with her.”
My head snaps to Harley, who raises her hand and covers her mouth, eyes wide.
Harley: “Shit. Did I just say that out loud?”
Rome: “You did.”
I laugh, which makes Calista laugh, which makes it appear as though we’re both laughing at Harley.
Harley: “That was an internal thought, and for the record, I’m not one of those women.”
She speeds up and walks in front of us on the path.
Rome: “I think Mommy finds Daddy attractive,”
Harley: “I do not,”
she says over her shoulder.
Rome: “Do too,”
I say right to Calista and tickle her tummy, which spurs another round of the most adorable giggles. We couldn’t have picked a worse moment because G’Ma D is walking directly toward us.
Harley blows out a breath.
Harley: “Nice. Literally, like what? Ten minutes?”
Rome: “Oh, believe me, you’ll be saying it in a second too.” Dori: “I’m Dori Bailey. Your soon-to-be grandma-in-law, but I hate that whole in-law thing, so let’s just stick to grandma.”
Rome: “We’re not getting married. Mind leaving us to our business since this is my first day with my daughter?”
Dori waves him off.
Dori: “You’ll have many more years than me. I’m old and could be dead tomorrow.”
She moves her gaze to me.
Dori: “I’m the sweetest. Mother of this one’s dad and grandma to all nine of the Bailey kids. I’m a card-carrying American Red Cross CPR-certified member. Let’s see what else.”
She looks at Rome.
Dori: “You should be boosting me up here. You know I don’t like to brag.”
Rome rolls his eyes and she hits him in the stomach.
Calista’s eyes are wide, watching it all unfold.
Rome: “Abusing me in front of my daughter. Great example you are.”
Dori turns her back on him.
Dori: “Anyway, I’m Dori and you are?”
Dori: “I’m sorry for my grandson’s manners with the whole knocking you up and leaving town thing.”
Rome: “I didn’t know she was pregnant,”
Rome says with exasperation. Dori puts her hand up in his face.
Dori: “He’s a bad seed. Well, they’re both bad seeds. Him and his brother Denver. Those two never grew up. I’d tell you to run for your life if I didn’t love him so much.”
She turns around and pinches his cheek.
Dori: “Other than his commitment-phobia, he’s fun. Which I’m sure you know, hence this little one.”
Rome: “G’Ma D?”
Rome mouths “sorry” to me from behind her. Dori: “Once you get his DNA, you’re heading back to Seattle?”
I put my finger under Calista’s open hand on Dori’s shoulder, staring at my daughter.
Harley: “Yeah, but Rome asked that I stay for one week. Then he’ll take the test.”
Dori: “Rome is my smartest grandchild, did you know that?”
She winks. Calista: “Doodoo.”
Calista pats Dori’s head.
Dori: “No Doodoo,”
Dori says. I bite my lip to keep from smiling. Calista lays her head on Dori’s shoulder.
Dori: “Why is she saying that? Did she go to the bathroom?”
Dori peeks into the back of her diaper.
Calista says, more excited now.
Dori: “No Doodoo!”
Dori says, looking baffled.
Harley: “I think she’s calling you Doodoo because she can’t pronounce Dori?”
Her mouth opens, and she stares at me.
Dori: “Oh, no. I already have people comparing me to that damn fish. I will not let my first great-grandchild call me Doodoo.”
She points at herself.
Dori: “We’re changing gears. Nana.”
Dori points at herself again.
Calista wiggles in Dori’s arms, ready to get down. Rome: “It’s not forever and you have the room. The apartment above Terra and Mare is a hazard for Calista right now. Austin and Holly are newly engaged and fuck nonstop. I really don’t want my daughter repeating panting and moaning sounds.” Rome looks at me with a cocky expression as if he wants to say, “See? I got this.”
And he so does.
And it’s so damn sexy. Austin: “Memory lane ride on the Ferris wheel?”
Holly bites her lower lip and nods. Jesus, these two. Remind me never to go on the Ferris wheel again.
God knows what they’re doing. Rome: “I run,”
I say, trying to match her honesty.
Harley: “I hide,”
Rome: “As soon as I get close, I pull away.”
Harley: “I bottle up.”
Rome: “I disappear.”
Harley: “I stay, but I’m not really invested. Anything’s better than being alone.”
Well, shit, aren’t we a pair. She leans over the edge of the table and whisper-hisses,
Harley: “What are you doing?”
Rome: “Marry me. Forget him and marry me. Stay here in Lake Starlight. I know I can’t offer you what he can—the money, the big house, and I don’t even have a ring.”
I shake my head.
Rome: “But I’ll be good to you and Calista and I’ll make you laugh every day. Even if it’s just because I’m making a fool of myself.”
Harley: “Like you’re doing right now?” Harley: “Do me a favor and don’t ever propose to a girl again if you don’t love her. The love part is the sticky stuff that binds a marriage together. Without it, there’s no chance for a happily ever after.” Dori: “Go you two. I have to lock up. Ethel is nosey and the one time I forgot to lock the door, I came home to her watching my Netflix account. She watches the stupidest stuff, so now my recommendations all suggest I watch Our Planet. Hello, I’m going to be dead soon. Who has time for that?” Harley: “Well, this is interesting,”
she says, shutting her book. I stumble across the floor and fall into the couch with my head in her lap.
Rome: “I missed you.”.
She turns away from me and looks at the other two.
Harley: “Alcohol does make the heart grow fonder.” Rome: “This wise woman once told me not to propose to a woman unless I loved her because love is the sticky stuff that keeps a marriage together.”
She shakes her head as though she’s annoyed, but I know she loves that I remember her words.
Harley: “Sounds like a pretty intelligent woman.”
Rome: “The smartest I’ve ever met. Except for her decision to let me father her children.”
Her hand slides forward and she caresses my cheek.
Harley: “I bet you’re a great father.”
Rome: “I love you, and if that’s the sticky stuff we need, then I feel confident we got this marriage thing in the bag.”
she asks, a smile tipping up the corners of her lips.
Rome: “Yep. Because I love you so damn much, our sticky stuff is overflowing.”
Harley: “Good thing I love you the same amount.”
Rome: “Then we have the sticky stuff in droves.”
Another laugh spills from her mouth.
Harley: “I guess so.” Harley looks at the two of us and smiles.
Harley: “Hey, sweetie, want to see your brother?”
Calista stares at her with disgust.
Calista: “What is he doing?”
Harley: “He’s eating.”
Calista: “Your boobie?”
I pick Calista up to bring her closer to the bed. This isn’t the Hallmark moment we thought we were going to have with her. I set her on the bed, and she crawls down to the end.
Harley: “He gets milk from me.”
Calista: “Like cows?”
Harley: “Yeah, like cows,”
Harley says, sneaking peeks at me with a “what the fuck” look.
Calista: “How does he get milk?”
She gets up on her knees and stares down but still keeps her distance.
Harley: “My body makes it,”
Calista: “How come I have fridge milk?”
Calista asks. Harley laughs and looks at me. Yeah, moment over.