The Unexpected Husband: Out Now!

Happy Release Day to The Unexpected Husband!

I'm so excited that this day has finally arrived! It took me longer than expected to finish this book, and I'm so grateful to my editor, Eliza Dee, and to my proofreader, Donna Rich, for working cheerfully with my tight schedule and helping ensure that Tristan and Paige's story is all polished and ready for today.

If you pre-ordered your copy, The Unexpected Husband should already be sitting in your devices. If not, here are the links to the stores, including Google Play:

Amazon.com |  Other Amazon StoresApple iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Google Play

I really love this story, and I'm sure you'll love it too.

Thanks again for your support. I'll be back very shortly with a fun giveaway relating to the cover for my next book! In the meantime, enjoy The Unexpected Husband!

Much love,
Miranda xo

The Unexpected Husband Book Description

Can Tristan afford to trust the woman he wants?
Tristan Grant's entertainment venues are now the most popular in the country, but his success has come at a price. Larry and Debbie Shipton, his main competitors, are resorting to sabotage to regain their number one position. But that's not the most shocking news. The woman he had a one-night stand with claims she's pregnant with his baby. The problem is, he can't afford to trust her–because her name is Paige Shipton, and she is Larry and Debbie's daughter. Too bad he didn't know that before he slept with Paige, but he's determined not to make any more mistakes when it comes to dealing with the devious Shiptons. If only he can find a way to stop being so attracted to Paige…

Can Paige save her heart from being irreparably broken?
Paige Shipton is going ahead with her pregnancy. It doesn't matter that the father is Tristan Grant–the man who accuses her of deception simply because of who her parents are. She wants the baby, and she's prepared to raise it alone. When she tells Tristan he doesn't need to be involved, his answer surprises her, and she soon finds herself falling deeply for the man determined to ruin the Shipton name. With the conflict between Tristan and her parents escalating to destructive heights, can Paige avoid getting her heart irreparably broken?

 

 

The Unexpected Husband: Chapter Two

How did you enjoy Chapter One of The Unexpected Husband?

Without further ado, here's Chapter Two. Happy reading!

The Unexpected Husband: Chapter Two

Tristan stared at Paige. She’d truly rattled his cage tonight. Curiously, though, his initial burst of anger at her news was gone. The exhaustion in her features was so palpable that she couldn’t possibility be faking it.

Not that he’d stopped suspecting she was in cahoots with her parents. He was merely observing that she was looking tired and down.

As for claiming he was the father of her baby, well, that was something so easily proven or refuted these days with accurate DNA testing that only a fool would try to lie about it. He’d still want that paternity test—he wouldn’t be so stupid as not to get one—but he was certain Paige was telling the truth about him having gotten her pregnant.

So he really was going to be a father. And he didn’t have a choice but to be ready. His sense of responsibility wouldn’t let him turn his back on Paige—no matter who she was—and the baby. His baby.

He was going to have a baby.

Damn it, it was as scary as hell, but he already knew he’d want to be a part of his child’s life and provide it with all he was capable of giving. He was an uncle to his older sister’s daughter as well as to his best friends’ babies. He loved those kids to bits and couldn’t imagine himself not embracing his very own flesh and blood.

He sighed, surprised at the excitement that started to grow within him.

He could well afford to have a child, and no doubt his family and friends would be happy to offer whatever help and assistance he’d need when it was his turn to look after it.

Yes, he’d be able to handle it.

But first things first. He had to straighten a few things out with Paige.

He smiled at her. “If the baby’s really mine, then I’m all in when it comes to helping you raise it. It’s not in me to turn my back on this kind of responsibility. I’m happy to work with you on this, if you’re willing to do the same. I know I can be a father to my child even though I’m in conflict with its grandparents. It will be messy but workable. The two of us just need to be in agreement. You and I don’t have to be at war with each other.”

Paige gaped at him hopefully, and the rumbling of her stomach had him springing up from his chair and calling the kitchen to check on their food.

“It should be here in five minutes,” he said.

“Thank you.”

He sat back down and regarded her. “What do you know about my dispute with your parents?”

Paige exhaled a drawn-out breath. “I didn’t know anything about it until Mum and Dad started to argue during dinner. My mum said that if they let the situation worsen, then you’d go ahead with your threat to sue them. It would then add to the cash flow woes that Shipton Enterprise was already suffering.”

Tristan sat up straighter. Shipton Enterprise was having financial troubles? Hm. That might explain Larry and Debbie’s actions of late.

“I asked them to fill me in on the issue,” Paige said, “but they refused to let me get involved in any way. So I told them the news I’d just found out myself at that point—that I’m pregnant and you’re the father. They were shocked and furious, to say the least. They convinced me it’d be a mistake to tell you about it since they were sure you’d just reject the baby.”

“You thought about not telling me?” he asked sharply.

“Yes. You were livid that morning in your hotel, when you found out I was a Shipton. So, yes, I believed my parents when they said you wouldn’t want this baby. In fact, you made me believe the same just a few moments ago.”

Tristan smiled cheerlessly. Okay, he couldn’t blame Paige for making that judgement.

“Anyway,” Paige said with a sigh, “I was all set in keeping this news from you until I overheard my dad on the phone the other day. He said it could destroy Shipton Enterprise if you won your planned court case.”

Tristan leaned back on his chair and crossed his arms against his chest. “So you’re here to ask me not to go ahead with it.”

“Not ask, beg,” Paige said quietly.

“And you’d planned to use the baby to get the outcome you want.”

Paige blushed. “Yes, in a way. Frankly, I’ve been feeling sick in the stomach all day thinking about it. If your dispute with my mum and dad escalates, I don’t want my baby to end up as a pawn, so I thought I’d try to ask you to reconsider now, for the sake of your unborn child. Would you want our baby to grow up and find out that its family members have tried to destroy each other?”

“It goes both ways, then,” he countered. “Your parents have to be as mindful of the baby when they continue to slander its father.”

Paige gazed at him questioningly. “Slander? I got the impression it’s you who refuse to negotiate.”

He cocked his head.

“Like I said,” Paige said, “my parents don’t want me getting involved, so they haven’t shared anything with me apart from the fact that there’s this big dispute going on between you and them, and that you’re close to suing them.”

“Do you really want to know?”

“Of course!”

Tristan pressed his lips together. Paige certainly seemed genuine. Maybe she really only wanted to help bring a peaceful resolution to his conflict with her folks now that she was pregnant with his baby—and nothing else.

In any case, it shouldn’t hurt to tell Paige his side of the story. At least she’d hear only the truth from him.

“I heard about your parents wanting to offload one of their clubs in Melbourne,” he said. “I wanted to bid for it before it officially went on the market, so I called them and they agreed to meet with me in your father’s office. I made an offer, which they didn’t accept, saying it wasn’t high enough. I asked if they had a problem with me buying one of their clubs because I know they were dismayed that TG has overtaken Shipton Enterprise in terms of revenue and profitability. They denied that and, to supposedly prove their goodwill, they had a contract drawn up naming me as the buyer, but showing the higher purchase price they were willing to accept. They’d even signed the document, duly witnessed by Preston Pawlish, your company’s in-house lawyer, before they handed it to me so I could think about it.”

Paige nodded, indicating her attention to and interest in his explanation.

He repressed a sigh. She really did appear guileless when she gaped at him with eyes rounded and mouth opened.

“I decided to accept your parents’ counter-offer three days later, and I called Larry to tell him my news. He said there was another interested party, and that whoever returned a signed contract first would get the club. As you probably know, my office is five blocks away from the Shipton office, so I told your dad I’d be hopping in my car to see him right there and then. He’d even said okay, that he’d see me soon. But when I got there fifteen minutes later, I was told your parents had been called to an urgent meeting. So I saw Preston instead. I whipped out my copy of the contract and signed it in front of him. He even witnessed my signature. We shook hands and Preston congratulated me. Three days after I signed, my lawyer told me I wasn’t successful with the purchase. Apparently, I was too late. The first thought that came to my mind was I must have been late by a matter of minutes—that your parents must have been in a meeting with the other buyer when I was with Preston. But my lawyer said I was late by a day. That’s simply not possible with the sequence of events. I’ve been demanding an explanation, but your parents are repeatedly stonewalling me.”

Paige stared at him, speechless.

“I still want that club, and from where I’m sitting, it should be mine. I don’t understand what your parents’ problem is—apart from they don’t want TG to get further ahead of Shipton Enterprise. But even that doesn’t make sense. Why didn’t they refuse to negotiate with me from the very beginning? And now they’re badmouthing me to people, saying I’m a liar who doesn’t want to play fair when they’re the ones who constantly refuse to explain to me what happened. So in the absence of any other explanation, I suspect they meant to harm my reputation all along, possibly because they can’t afford for my company to keep on growing at the expense of Shipton Enterprise.”

Paige shook her head in disbelief. “I’m sure that’s not the case, Tristan.”

“Well, your parents don’t seem to have any desire to clarify the situation. But that’s not what infuriates me the most. Business partners I respect have been hearing their insinuations against me. I just can’t sit here and not protect my own reputation. So if there’s anyone you should be talking to so this dispute doesn’t go to the courts, it’s your parents.”

Paige rubbed her face. “I can see why you’re so angry. Like I said, I don’t know what their side of the story is because they don’t want me sticking my nose in this. But I’ll talk to them. This is ridiculous!”

Relief—glee, even—washed over Tristan, and he inhaled sharply at the strength of it.

Paige seemed to believe him. And, curiously, it meant a hell of lot.

He gave her a smile as tension left his body.

Paige’s stomach growled again. “Shh,” she said to her belly in embarrassment.

Tristan chuckled, wanting to touch her stomach and rub it himself. Even though he’d wondered at the time if the broken condom would give him problems later, he’d chosen to believe Paige when she’d said it wouldn’t result in a pregnancy. Well, they’d been very wrong, and a little person was now growing in Paige’s tummy. His child.

He was starting not to mind. He really wanted it.

And… wow… the realisation was mind-blowing.

A knock on the door startled him, and he went to answer it.

Jade Renner-Bilton, one of his close friends, poked her pretty head inside, with the sound of a crying toddler coming out of the phone in her hand. “Oh, sorry, guys. I was looking for an empty room to talk to Julian and was hoping this was one.”

“Are the others being used?” Tristan asked.

“Yes. Some people are having impromptu business meetings, and some are enjoying much-needed privacy,” Jade said with a laugh.

Tristan snorted, wondering who among his guests were having sex right now. Sexual activities in the main areas of his clubs were expressly forbidden in order for TG to maintain its clean, fun image, and anyone engaging in them would be banned for life. But private rooms were never monitored, and he’d always given his friends leeway during private parties such as this.

“Come on in, Jade. We’re having a meeting, but our food’s coming shortly, so we don’t mind taking a break.”

“Are you sure?” Jade asked with a curious look towards Paige.

“Yes, no problem,” Paige answered.

Tristan introduced the two women to each other.

“Thanks, guys,” Jade said. “I won’t be long. It’s just a bit noisy out there and I need to see if I can settle Julian a little bit. He doesn’t want to go to sleep. He’s looking for me and Lucas.”

“No worries,” Tristan said, going back to his seat.

Jade held the phone in front of her face to talk to her seventeen-month-old son via FaceTime. “It’s time for bed, bubba. Grandma and Granddad will read you a bedtime story.”

“Mammaaaaa!” Julian whined.

“I think I got him overexcited with too much playing,” Jade’s father’s voice said with a sigh.

“No,” Jade’s mother countered. “It was the chocolate you gave him behind my back.”

“Dad!” Jade chastised.

“That was a while ago now,” Jade’s father said defensively. “And it was only a little square.”

Jade shook her head good-naturedly. “Julian, honey, sleep now. It’s way past your bedtime.”

Julian said something unintelligible.

“No, bed,” Jade said softly but firmly, seemingly understanding what her toddler had uttered.

Julian let out another garbled sentence, as if reasoning with his mother. They all laughed, which made Julian cry again.

“Can I talk to him?” Tristan asked.

“Sure.” Jade sat down on the chair next to his. “Uncle Tristan wants to talk to you, bubba.”

“Hey, buddy. Why are you crying?” Tristan asked the adorable kid.

Julian’s cries instantly ceased and a big smile appeared on his face. “Kel Tan! Ball!”

Jade laughed. “Oh, no. Now he thinks you’re gonna play with him. He absolutely loves the ball you gave him a couple of weeks ago. It’s his favourite toy at the moment.”

Tristan grinned proudly.

“Kel Tan! Ball!” Julian repeated, pointing to something out of sight.

“Oh!” Paige said, chuckling. “Kel Tan means Uncle Tristan.”

“Yes, I’m his favourite playmate. Right, Julian? How about we play sleeping bunny?”

“Play!” Julian said excitedly.

“Yeah. Sleeping bunny. It goes like this.” Tristan placed his head on Jade’s shoulder and pretended to sleep, snoring loudly.

Laughter bubbled out of Julian.

“Come on. Do it with me,” he said to the toddler, snoring again.

“Kel Tan. Want ball.”

“No. Sleep.” Tristan made louder snoring noises, squinting his eyes.

“Want ball!” Julian said, followed by an intelligent-sounding sentence that nobody could understand.

The adults chuckled again, with Paige’s soft laughter sounding particularly thrilling to Tristan’s ears. He glanced at her, and his breath hitched with the meeting of their gazes. He found that he liked her looking like this—happy, relaxed and worry-free, just like she’d been when they’d first met, before the reality of who her parents were had whacked him in the face.

A short knock broke his train of thought, and a server came in with their food.

“I better go and let you guys eat,” Jade said. “This little one doesn’t look like he’s sleeping any time soon, anyway.”

Tristan leaned back towards Jade to show himself again on the video screen. “Hey, Julian. Next time I see you, I’ll bring you another toy, okay?”

“Toy?” Julian asked happily.

“Next time. I promise. But for now you have to go to sleep. Okay?”

Julian stared at him.

“Show me how you sleep.”

Julian squeezed his eyes shut for two seconds.

“That’s right. It’s sleep time now, okay? Goodnight, buddy!” He sent a flying kiss towards the screen.

Julian promptly returned it, then shut his eyes again for a couple of seconds.

See? He’d be a great dad.

Jade stood up, chuckling. “Thank you, Uncle Tristan. I’ll leave you guys alone now. Thanks for letting me interrupt. And it was great meeting you, Paige.”

“Same here, Jade,” Paige said with a smile. “Bye.”

“Bye!” they heard Julian say as Jade walked out the room and closed the door behind her.

Tristan looked at Paige and their gazes locked. They smiled at each other and a wordless connection seemed to zip between them. They’d be great parents.

He broke the contact and turned his attention to the food. Much as he found himself softening on Paige, he still couldn’t afford to fully let his guard down.

Paige’s belief in her parents didn’t make Larry and Debbie innocent of malicious intent. What concerned him even more was the fact that Paige’s parents hadn’t wanted Paige telling him about the baby. If the roles were reversed, he’d want the bastard who’d gotten his daughter pregnant to stand up to his responsibilities.

But the Shiptons preferred to deny their grandchild a relationship with its father, over what? A contract dispute? It simply didn’t make sense. That was why he believed something more had to be at play here. And his gut told him it could be sinister.

As for Paige, well, he could feel her sincerity. But whether he was simply being swayed by his strong attraction to her, he wasn’t sure.

He shook his head mentally. Paige could be easily influenced by her parents. Her allegiance towards them could be unshakeable.

And if he wasn’t careful, he might be letting himself be lured into a trap.

***End of Chapter Two***

Not long to go before Tristan and Paige's story releases! Mark your calendars. June 13th is the date. I'll be back then to give you the links to all the stores.

In the meantime, you can pre-order The Unexpected Husband from the following sites.

Amazon.com |  Other Amazon StoresApple iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

Thank you and take care!

Love,
Miranda xo

The Unexpected Husband: Chapter One

One week to go before The Unexpected Husband releases! Really can't wait for you to read Tristan and Paige's story. I so love those two together.

Today is the time to share Chapter One with you. So here it is. Enjoy!

The Unexpected Husband: Chapter One

Tristan Grant forced himself to take in air, filling his lungs to capacity. But his breath was in a hurry to leave him, rushing out in a big audible whoosh through his mouth. He tried to shake off his shock by peeling his gaze from the woman in front of him and glancing around.

Streams of people strutted here, there and everywhere, and it occurred to him that the bustle of a busy Saturday night in Sydney’s entertainment district matched the scrambled thoughts in his head.

“You’ll probably want a paternity test,” Paige Shipton said. “Of course I’d be happy to get one done, but I can also assure you that you’re undoubtedly the father because I haven’t been with anyone else since our night together.”

He blinked, his gaze returning to the beautiful long-haired brunette with the most incredible amber eyes. She’d just dropped a bomb on him, and his mind was still struggling to grasp the situation.

Could Paige be telling the truth about being pregnant with his baby? Or was it a lie—a ploy to soften him up and get him to drop his planned court case against her parents?

Hah, it had to be the latter. He wouldn’t put it past the devious Larry and Debbie Shipton to create a ruse such as this. Paige’s parents were desperate enough to concoct anything that would restore Shipton Enterprise’s status as the number one provider of entertainment venues in Australia—a position Tristan’s TG Company now held.

Tristan had always played fair, but Paige’s parents didn’t know the meaning of the word. Now their twenty-eight-year-old daughter was here with shocking news, gazing at him with her captivating eyes.

His lips twisted mirthlessly. “Was this your plan all along? For me to get you pregnant when I was blissfully unaware that you were the daughter of the two people determined to make my life hell?”

Paige gasped indignantly, her hands going to her hips. “How dare you say that?”

“Wasn’t that why you went to my club in Brisbane three nights in succession?” he pressed, remembered anger pushing him on. “Come to think of it, it couldn’t have been a coincidence that you happened to visit when I was there.”

“I even admitted that I was there to compare your club to the Shipton one on the same street!”

“You said that flirtatiously while we were dirty-dancing, so I thought you were just another patron flirting with me. You didn’t tell me your surname was Shipton.”

“I honestly thought you knew who I was, Tristan,” Paige said, glaring at him with a hurt look. “We were both at the Safety in Nightclubs conference two days before I saw you at your club. I also gave a talk there as a last-minute stand-in for my dad, who was sick. How was I to know you’d left the event by the time I was up on stage?”

“You could’ve mentioned seeing me at Safety in Nightclubs when you introduced yourself to me, but you didn’t,” he said stubbornly.

“May I remind you that I was minding my own business when you approached me?” Paige challenged.

Tristan raked his hair, huffing. Yes, it had been him who’d introduced himself to Paige. She’d been dancing with a couple of girlfriends and she’d simply caught his eye. But he wouldn’t have noticed her if she hadn’t planted herself right in front of his table and moved so sultrily to the music. “You made eye contact with me a few times, ensuring I noticed you,” he said in an accusatory tone.

“I admitted I was attracted to you. That was why I was staring! Argh! How I wish I’d known what a heartless, suspicious person you are before I let myself get seduced by you.”

He ignored Paige’s apparent frustration. He wasn’t going to let her fool him again. “You came back for three straight nights, flirting with me each night, and never telling me you were a Shipton. Even when I invited you to my hotel room on the third night, you still didn’t tell me who you were. Isn’t it strange for the daughter of my toughest competitors to agree to sleep with me just like that?” he said sarcastically.

“Oh my God,” Paige said, putting both hands on her head. “Tristan, you kept inviting me back! I thought we were getting along really well. For the umpteenth time, I thought you knew who I was! I didn’t care that you were our competitor. I thought we were both adults who were attracted to each other and capable of separating our personal life from our professional life. I was happy not to talk about work so we could get to know each other on a personal level, and I thought it was the same for you!”

Tristan narrowed his eyes, hardening his heart that was starting to melt from Paige’s excellent acting. “If I’d known who you really were, I wouldn’t have taken you to my hotel room.”

Paige shot him dagger looks, arms crossing against her chest. “Are you also gonna blame me for one of the condoms breaking? What did you think I did? Pickpocketed your stash from you, compromised their quality so they’d be sure to break, rewrapped them so perfectly that they didn’t look tampered with, then put them back in your pocket—all without you knowing? And did I also make sure we had sex three times to increase the chances of me getting pregnant with faulty condoms?”

Tristan’s nose flared. He didn’t have a rebuttal for that. He had supplied all the condoms, one of which had failed to do its job.

Suddenly, the wind was knocked out of him again. If Paige was indeed telling the truth, then… he really was going to be a father. Sure, he’d thought about becoming one eventually, but not until sometime in the far-distant future.

He was only thirty-two, with no time for anything other than his demanding business, which was growing at a phenomenal rate. He most definitely didn’t envisage having a child with the daughter of the two people he was at war with—even though Paige was still the most attractive woman he’d ever met. Had it not been for the unalterable fact that she was Larry and Debbie Shipton’s daughter, he wouldn’t have minded continuing to go out with her.

Hell, even when he was this angry, he was still drawn to her. How fucking annoying!

But he couldn’t afford to trust her, so he better rein himself in and stop gawking at that beautiful face of hers. He looked away and cursed mentally, furious at this magnetism he couldn’t seem control.

“You said the timing was on our side, that you couldn’t possibly get pregnant at that time,” he said.

“Clearly I was wrong, and I’m sorry about that. But for the record,” Paige said icily, “I would never get knocked up for the sake of Shipton Enterprise or my parents. How dare you even suggest that?”

“But I bet they’re now happy they have something else they can use against me, huh? If you’re really pregnant, that is,” he said sarcastically.

“I am pregnant with your baby,” Paige said through gritted teeth, then she shivered visibly.

Tristan frowned. It was early spring in Australia, but tonight’s temperature was below average, and Paige was only wearing a light jacket. Shouldn’t a woman in her condition be taking precautions not to catch a cold? “Have you been out here long?” he asked.

“I arrived more than four hours ago.”

“You’ve been standing out here for four hours?”

“No. I’ve been going there to rest every once in a while.” She pointed her chin towards the fast-food burger joint across the road. “Tonight’s my chance to talk to you in person, and I didn’t want to lose the opportunity. I don’t have your direct number, and your office wouldn’t put me through to you. Even tonight, your doormen have constantly refused to even let you know I was here. Good thing that your friends Geri and Simon were helpful enough to call you for me. I was starting to think I’d have to leave without seeing you.”

Tristan sighed, hesitating, then gestured for Paige to go towards the entrance of his newest Sydney nightclub, where an invitation-only pre-opening party was happening. He was pleased security remained tight, because it had to. With A-listers and VIPs as guests, he didn’t want uninvited people crashing the event to hassle his popular friends. But some semblance of guilt was scratching at his chest at the thought that Paige had been waiting outside for hours.

Enthusiastic clapping and hooting were going on in the establishment as they walked in, with everybody facing the dance floor. Tristan spotted his cousin, Marilyn Grant, holding the mic and commanding attention. Joining her was their friend Derek McCarthy.

Tristan groaned mentally, guessing what the “show” was all about. He’d better escort Paige to one of the private rooms before Marilyn spotted him and dragged him into the spotlight with Derek.

“So congratulations to Lexie Donnelly, who bet on Simon,” Marilyn said to more applause. “You’ve won a few times already, Lex, but I’m sure your selected charity will again appreciate receiving the generous bets of the losers of our latest Captured by Love game.”

“They certainly will,” Lexie said. “Thanks to all the participants, to Simon for proposing to Geri, and to Geri for saying yes. And thank you, Marilyn, for not betting on Simon for this round, making me the sole winner. You usually put your money on him.”

“I know!” Marilyn said. “I was just so tired of losing. I can’t believe that when I stopped picking him to be the next bachelor to renounce the single life, he decided to fall in love and get engaged.”

“Who did you bet on, Marilyn?” someone in the crowd asked.

“My dear cousin Tristan,” Marilyn said with a sigh. “And since there’s only him and Derek left as bachelors in the original group, we need more contestants we can bet on for the next Captured by Love round. I know there are plenty of unattached guys in attendance tonight so, people, drag ’em up here so we can parade them!”

Laughing groans came from several male voices as a mini-commotion occurred, with guests cajoling and pushing their single friends towards the centre of the dance floor.

Tristan placed his hand on the small of Paige’s back, silently encouraging her to walk faster towards the corridor he pointed to.

“Hey, Tristan! You have to take your place here!” Marilyn called out.

Argh. Tristan glanced at Marilyn, ready to yell out an excuse. But he didn’t have to. Simon Alexander was whispering in Marilyn’s ear, and Tristan knew his friend had come to his rescue. They continued walking and, finally, he and Paige rounded the corner, where they could no longer be seen.

“Captured by love?” Paige asked, raising an eyebrow.

“With the current circumstances as they are, I bet I’m about to be captured for something else,” he said dryly.

Paige stopped to look at him. “It’s clear from your reaction tonight that you won’t want to be involved with the baby.”

He stayed silent. It wasn’t that he didn’t want the baby, it was just that he was still in shock—and strongly suspected he was being set up by the Shiptons.

Paige blinked repeatedly, seeming to ward off tears. “There’s nothing for you to worry about. I’m happy to raise it alone.”

Tristan frowned. “Let’s talk inside one of the rooms.”

So Paige was giving him an out? Was this part of the trick?

Admittedly, Paige didn’t have the countenance of a woman who was trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. She looked too exhausted and dejected for that. Quite frankly, though, he didn’t trust his judgement when it came to her.

But if Paige was truly being genuine… what if he took her up on her offer? Then his world wouldn’t have to go through an unexpected upheaval from something he wasn’t at all ready for, right? Not that he’d withhold financial support if the baby really was his, but he could leave it to Paige to raise the child.

A strong emotion roared within him, in total opposition to his thoughts.

* * *

Paige followed Tristan along a wide corridor, sadness squeezing her heart. She surreptitiously placed a hand on her stomach. Don’t worry, darling. I already love you with all my heart, and I’ll look after you with everything I have.

She’d already expected Tristan to reject the baby, but being confronted with the truth had still been like a slap in the face. It stung big time.

But it was a relief, in a way. Her parents were so against her telling Tristan about the baby that she’d originally agreed with them. She’d rather raise her child alone than have the constant stress and heartache of dealing with the man who wouldn’t even have touched her with the tip of his finger, much less have had sex with her, had he known who her parents were.

Since the baby didn’t mean anything to Tristan, was there even a point to using her pregnancy to negotiate with him regarding his dispute with her parents?

She should switch to plan B. Unfortunately, that wasn’t really a plan but a plea. Would he even listen? Should she even continue with this conversation?

Well, she had to try, now that she here. The future of Shipton Enterprise depended on her appealing to Tristan’s sense of fairness—if he had any at all.

Tristan opened the door at the end of the hallway and motioned for her to go in first.

Her jaw dropped. This was the first time she’d been in one of TG’s private rooms, and it was more impressive than any of the Shipton ones. The elegantly decorated space had an eight-seater dining table on one side and a leather lounge set on the other. There was a bar area and even a recliner couch in one corner. A huge TV hung on a wall.

Paige heard the glamorous woman called Marilyn rattle off the good traits of a bachelor named Derek before Tristan closed the door behind him, shutting out the noise. Clearly, the decor in this room wasn’t the only thing that was exceptional. The soundproofing was too.

“So you think I won’t want to get involved with the baby,” Tristan said as he made a beeline for the bar fridge and took out a tall bottle of water.

She smiled mirthlessly. “It’s clear you don’t.”

“I expressed doubts about your pregnancy, Paige. But if that’s really my child, then you’re not keeping it away from me.”

Paige’s breath hitched at the certainty in Tristan’s tone. She stared at him, trying to read his real meaning. His green eyes sparkled with determination even as he raked his fingers through his light brown hair.

Gosh, why did he have to be as handsome as she remembered?

And how could she feel attracted to this man again, especially at a time like this?

She shut her eyes to steady herself. When she opened them, Tristan was pacing the room, clearly agitated.

“I know this is a shock for you, Tristan. I actually don’t mind raising the baby alone. So I mean it when I say you don’t have to worry. I’m not even going to ask you for any child support.”

Tristan whirled around to face her. “You turn up here out of the blue to tell me you’re pregnant with my child, then you want me to wash my hands of it? Why the hell did you come in the first place? Why tell me at all if you don’t want me to have anything to do with it?”

Heat rushed to her face. “You don’t want the baby, so I’m not going to force it on you. I don’t want to complicate things any further than necessary.”

Tristan narrowed his eyes. “I don’t believe you,” he said with deadly quiet.

She frowned at him. “What do you mean?”

“Are you really pregnant?”

“Yes!” She placed both hands on her tummy protectively.

“Is it really mine?”

“Yes!”

“Then what plans have your parents concocted?” Tristan asked, his countenance immovable. “They do plan to use your pregnancy against me, don’t they?”

Paige exhaled in a gush, suddenly weary. “Mind if we sit?” She walked to the nearest dining chair, just as her stomach rumbled with embarrassing loudness.

“Haven’t you eaten?” Tristan asked, his brows furrowed.

Ahh, food. Yes, that was what she needed. She’d hardly had anything all day from her stress and worry about this meeting with Tristan. “I only had snacks. I can order a meal from here, right?”

“What would you like?”

“A spaghetti bolognese?” She’d thoroughly enjoyed the same dish at the Brisbane location of TG, where they’d first met. “And a banana smoothie.”

Tristan walked to a small corner table and picked up the phone sitting there. She listened while he asked someone to bring what she’d just requested, along with some cakes and fresh fruit.

Now she was salivating! She rubbed her tummy. Mummy’s eating soon, darling.

Tristan placed their water on the table and took the seat opposite her. “Back to our topic…”

She held Tristan’s gaze. “You’ve made it clear you’d never have slept with me in the first place had you known I’m a Shipton. That’s such a blatant rejection of who I am, so I’m saying you don’t have to deal with the consequences of the condom breaking. I don’t need the aggravation.”

“My issue with you and your parents doesn’t mean I don’t want the baby,” Tristan said, his tone suddenly softer.

She raised her eyebrows in surprise.

“Look, you took me by surprise. Hell, you shocked me, so I’m sorry if I was nasty. I’m still processing this whole thing. But if that’s my baby, then I’m more than happy to give you whatever support you need. Just level with me, please?”

What? Was he messing with her mind?

“Paige,” Tristan said, voice still gentle. “Just because I’m at war with the baby’s grandparents doesn’t mean I’m going to turn my back on it. And, forgetting about how we met in Brisbane, my conflict is against your parents only. So I’m sure the two of us can work together regarding the baby.”

Paige stared at Tristan. He wanted the baby she was carrying? She blinked away tears that suddenly pooled in her eyes. Damn it, she was touched more than she cared to admit.

And with Tristan’s unexpected declaration, should she revert to plan A?

***End of Chapter One***

You can now pre-order The Unexpected Husband from the following stores:

Amazon.com |  Other Amazon StoresApple iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

Links to Google Play and other stores will be available on release day.

That's all for today. Chapter Two will follow tomorrow.

Till then, enjoy your day/night.

Love,
Miranda xoxo

 

Pre-order The Unexpected Husband + Join Contest

The Unexpected Husband is releasing on the 13th of June! If you were expecting it to be released in May, I apologise. Life happened, so it's been delayed a bit, but it's almost here!

I loved writing Tristan and Paige's story and was thrilled when I finished it so I can share it with you. Right now, you can pre-order it from the following stores:

Amazon.com |  Other Amazon StoresApple iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

It will be available on Google Play and other stores on  release day.

Love to Read? Enter this amazing contest!

I'm also so excited to share this amazing contest with you!

Right now is your chance to enter to win 105 PAPERBACK novels, featuring your favourite best-selling romance authors of all genres (including me)!

The grand prize winner will receive a Read and Relax Prize Pack (worth $150) and a copy of all 105 books. One additional winner will also receive all 105 books!

The contest will run until the 31st of May. To enter, simply click the link below. Good luck!!!

Enter to Win 105 Romance Paperbacks.

Thanks, everyone! I'll be sharing Chapters One and Two of The Unexpected Husband with you soon.
Love,
Miranda xo

Book Sale and Closed Facebook Reader Group

Hi! Just wanted to let you know that Lifestyle by Design: The Complete Series, is currently on sale for US$0.99 only! This sale will only last for a handful of days so now's the time to grab it.

You might already have noticed that every new series I've written is either a spin-off of, or features characters who've appeared in, a previous series. Well, it all started with Will to Love (my debut novel), Heart Robber and Ray of Love.

Having just re-edited these three books in time for the sale, I've been reminded of how much I've fallen in love with the couples in this series. I'm sure you'll love them too.

Here are the links:

Amazon.com | Other Amazon Stores | Apple iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

Hope you enjoy Lifestyle by Design: The Complete Series!

Miranda's Mermaids: The Official Reader Group for Miranda P. Charles

The votes are in and it's a yes! A good number of you are interested in a closed Facebook reader group. I'm excited!

What I've done is convert my existing Facebook street team to a reader group. In the past, the street team was focused on helping me promote my books. But with the team now being a reader group, the main focus will be me interacting more closely with you, my readers. I want it to be a place where you can relax and have fun with me as we chat about my books and play games (like, maybe, name the actors who should play my characters if ever my books get made into movies, he he).

From time to time, I'd also ask for suggestions on character names and feedback on covers and ad images. I'd post teasers, book news, and also run contests and giveaways.

Everyone is welcome and I'd love to see you there! Click on the banner below to join the group. (All new members need to be approved. Please be patient as it might take a few hours before I get to accept requests to join.)

Thanks again and enjoy the rest of the week!

Love,
Miranda xoxo