Release date: 11 November 2013
Trish DeVign knows what she needs to be single, successful and satisfied. She needs a baby. With recent relationships falling short of her expectations, she’s single by choice. With a thriving interior design company, she’s got successful covered. It’s the satisfied part that eludes her, and that’s her mother’s fault—not her adopted mother, but the mother who gave her away, sentencing her to a privileged life with two good people who don’t share with her a single drop of DNA.
Tony Corcarelli has spent his adult life as the black sheep of his large Italian-American family ever since he turned his back on running the family carpentry business so he could live a more laidback life, forcing his sister to take the reins. Now, Tony’s grandmother has cancer, and he’s expected to join the family in making her wishes come true. Unfortunately, the two things Nonna wants most for Tony are two things he can’t fathom: a wife and kids or the priesthood. There has to be another way.
When Trish asks her best friend’s brother, Tony, to escort her to a wedding, a night of fun and flirtation turns serious, with Trish confessing she wants a baby. Could a calculated conception be the answer they’ve both been looking for?
by Elley Arden
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Elley Arden is a proud Pennsylvania girl who drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness. Learn more about her at www.elleyarden.com and on Twitter.
An excerpt from Baby by Design:
“My God, he cleans up nice.” Trish DeVign said the words around a mouthful of anise-flavored birthday cake while she stared at a suit-and-tie clad Tony Corcarelli. His colorful tattoos were covered by the sleeves of a fitted single-breasted jacket and navy dress shirt. His pitch-black hair was combed away from his face. And he’d shaved, leaving a slight contrast of color on his cheeks and chin, drawing her eyes straight to his unblemished lips.
“Too bad he’s such a screw up.”
Trish tore her gaze from Tony to level her best friend with the stink eye. “That’s not a nice thing to say about your brother.”
“It’s true. Look at him playing paper football with the kids while he’s dressed in an $800 suit. He should try spending less on clothes, keeping more of that money in the bank, and acting like a grown-up once in a while.”
Trish sighed as the sinfully handsome man flicked a white triangle across the table to the tune of children’s cackles. “I think it’s cute.”
“You would. Shoot. Aunt Helen’s got a slice of cake big enough to prompt diabetic shock. Where’s my mother?” Angie whipped her head in all directions and growled. “I’ll be back.”
Alone in the midst of familial chaos, Trish tapped her nails on the bottom of her plate and looked around the banquet room of Cestone’s Italian Restaurant. Four generations of Corcarellis were a sight to be seen; a sight that made her smile even though it made her heart hurt. In the corner of the room, middle-aged women fussed over the food tables, directing servers, corralling cookies, and spearing meatballs, while in the center of the room, middle-aged men ate until their belt buckles popped. All around, the older generation talked…and talked…and talked, punctuating every sentence with nodding heads and waving hands. She loved them all, but it was the children that tethered her heart, tugging her toward their joyful noises.
“Tony, me next. I’ll kick your as…”
Trish surmised the kid to be about twelve, and when he noticed her approaching, he bit off his last word amid oohs and ahhs from other kids around the table.
With sheepish eyes he looked from her to his cousin. “I’ll beat you is all. That’s what I was gonna say, Tony. Honestly.”
“Sure you were,” Tony said with a grin that tightened the tether on Trish’s heart. “Just gimme ten minutes to throw some cake down my throat and I’m all yours.” He stood, smoothed a hand down the button line of his suit coat, and blinded her with the full power of his male magnetism. All it took was a crooked smile, one that created a dark dip in his left cheek, not quite a dimple—no, dimples were too cute for a man this…edgy. “Hey, Boss Lady. I’d ask you to join me for cake, but I see you beat me to it.”
Trish looked down at her empty plate and swallowed the ridiculous butterflies that escaped their netting whenever Tony came around. “What can I say? It was delicious.”
He grinned again. “In that case, you should have another.”