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Unexpected -- Jana Richards

Unexpected

Single dad Ben Greyson wants only to retain custody of his two stepdaughters. A dysfunctional childhood has made family the most important thing in his life. When his late wife's parents sue for custody, a desperate Ben is left with two choices – run away with his girls or marry his next-door neighbor.

Jamie Garven wants to be a mother. She's intrigued by her handsome new neighbor and falls in love with his little girls. Then Ben is faced with losing his children, and Jamie agrees to marry him for a chance at motherhood. They're determined to show the world, and the girls' grandparents, two loving parents.
Their marriage of convenience turns into unexpected love. But Ben interprets Jamie's efforts to save their family as betrayal—they could lose everything, including each other.

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Heat Level: Smoking Hot

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"Is there anything I can say to make you change your mind?"

"Say you'll marry me."

The words were out of his mouth before he knew he was going to say them. Jamie stared at him, eyes wide.

"What?"

"Marry me. You're the only woman I'd trust with my girls."

It suddenly made sense. If Jamie married him, he could keep his kids.
She jumped to her feet, waking one of the dogs who'd been sleeping on the couch next to her. "What kind of marriage do you want, Ben? Are you proposing something for show?"

"No! I don't know!" He stood and grasped her arms. "If you're asking me if we'll sleep together as man and wife, I don't know."

Her mouth twisted as if she was holding back tears. "You know I love the girls, but please don't ask me to pretend. The last few months of my marriage, all I did was pretend. I pretended I had a husband who loved me. I swore I'd never do that again."

Ben wanted to take her in his arms and hold her. He hated doing this to her, hated making her relive unhappy memories. He was asking too much of her, and he didn't blame her for saying no.

"Please, forget I said anything."

He'd stick to his original plan. He and the girls would disappear. He'd change their names, go someplace where no one knew them. A life on the run wasn't what he wanted for his children, but he'd do whatever he needed to do to keep them.