The Surprise Holiday Dad

By: Jacqueline Diamond

Father, Meet Son

Safe Harbor obstetrician Adrienne Cavill couldn’t love her nephew more if he were her own child. And no deadbeat dad is going to claim the little boy she practically raised.

Detective-turned-P.I. Wade Hunter has missed five years of his son’s life and nothing’s chasing him away this time. That includes the pretty doctor who’s giving his child everything—except the father he needs.

Now that she knows the reasons why he left, how can Adrienne keep Wade from his son, who’s over the moon about having his dad in his life? The rugged ex-cop’s having a similar effect on her. Will Christmas bring Adrienne the family she never thought she could have?

“We’ll never be perfect. We can only do our best, take each day as it comes, and forgive ourselves for honest mistakes.”

Inside Wade, a hard knot dissolved. Hearing the words in Adrienne’s soft voice gave them power.

The power to heal. And the power to bring the two of them together.

Impulsively, Wade reached for her hands and rose, drawing her up. “I need you,” he said, gathering her against him. With her hair flowing around him and her mouth inches from his, they were lost in a private, precious world.

“I need you, too,” she whispered.

After that, there was no more place for words.

Dear Reader,

Readers often ask where writers get our ideas. Sometimes, we can’t give a good answer, because we don’t know. However, I can trace Adrienne and Wade’s story to an article in my local newspaper.

A family attorney cited an influx of nurses from a hospital, eager to terminate the paternal rights of absentee biological fathers. The reason? At the hospital a woman had died, leaving a ten-year-old daughter who’d never known her father. This total stranger showed up, claimed his daughter and moved out of state, away from all her friends and other relatives. Because he’d never signed away his rights, he was able to do that. The horrified nurses hurried to the lawyer to protect their own children.

Adrienne, an obstetrician who works the night shift in Labor and Delivery, believes her late sister was abandoned by the father of her little boy, whom Adrienne plans to adopt. But Wade Hunter has a very different story, and he can prove it. Now who’s going to raise little Reggie?

If you’ve read previous Safe Harbor Medical books, you’ll recognize many of the characters. But if you’re new to the series, don’t worry. Each book stands alone.

Welcome to Adrienne and Wade’s new world!


Jacqueline Diamond

Chapter One

Wade Hunter trudged up the rickety stairs of the rent-by-the-week apartment hotel. As he climbed to his second-floor unit in the fading October daylight, he repeated the words that had kept him going in the months since the Northern California town of Pine Tree had laid off half its police force: “Today something will change my life for the better.”

He didn’t bother glancing at the handful of mail he’d pulled from his locked mailbox. That could wait until he sat down. His feet hurt from his part-time job providing private security for a cluster of warehouses, his cheek still smarted from the punch he’d taken at his second job as a bar bouncer and his heart ached from losing the close-knit group of fellow officers who’d been like a family.

Quit feeling sorry for yourself. You’ll turn this around.

Inside, Wade tossed the envelopes and advertisements on a chipped end table. After hanging his jacket over the back of a chair, he kicked off his shoes and sank onto the creaky couch. With a sense of homecoming, he picked up his lovingly polished guitar and flexed his hands.

For a few indulgent moments, he fingered chords and hummed a country-and-western song. Not loudly, though. Downstairs neighbors had complained the last time he sang full-out.

What were they complaining about? It had been a reasonable hour, and he’d won prizes in karaoke contests.

Too tired to get up and stick a frozen dinner in the microwave, Wade reached for the mail. Most of it had been forwarded several times—there’d been an interim month when he stayed at a more expensive motel—but there was one address he’d kept current. And here it was, the envelope he’d been waiting for, from the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services.

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