Book One in Baby Steps to MARRIAGE


Expecting twins + new man = triple trouble

After agreeing to be a surrogate mother for her best friends, Mattie Carey can't wait to give them the biggest gift of all. She's put aside her dreams of finding Mr. Right and has set her mind on her new role.


Moving to Sydney, the last person Mattie expects to meet is her perfect man. Jake Devlin, her temporary flatmate, is cheeky, charming, intriguing... But it's so not the right time for Mattie to fall in love...




- UNITED KINGDOM  September 2009 -



- NORTH AMERICA September  2009 -



- AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND October 2009 -





















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                                 Chapter One


 Mattie was grinning as she turned into the driveway at her new address. She couldn’t believe her good luck. The block of flats was so much nicer than she’d expected, with charming, white washed walls, Mediterranean blue doors and sunny balconies that overlooked the bay.

Her flat, No. 3, was on the ground floor, which meant she wouldn’t have to climb too many sets of stairs in the later months of her pregnancy, and Brutus would be able to run in and out to the garden to his heart’s content.

As she parked on the driveway, she saw a welcoming pot of bright pink geraniums beside the door mat and the garden was filled with sunshine. Mattie could already picture her life here. In the mornings, she would bring her laptop outside and watch the sun sparkle on the water while she worked. She could put Brutus on his lead and take him for walks along the path beside the bay.

The flat was close to the hospital and it had all the right vibes. If she stood on tiptoes, she could even see the tip of Sydney Harbour Bridge. She was going to love living here for a whole year.

Everything about her new venture felt good. She’d talked to the doctors at length and she’d thought about the project from every angle, and she knew she was doing the right thing.

It was green lights all the way and if all went well, by the end of the year, she would deliver to her best friends the precious baby they both longed for. All she needed now was a successful implantation and the surrogacy would begin.

Humming happily, Mattie reached for the door key in her handbag, scooped up Brutus from his basket and opened the car door. 


A blast of strident music burst like a machine gun from No. 3 and Mattie’s happy smile disintegrated. Stunned, she checked her key tag, but there was no mistake – No. 3 was definitely the right flat – her flat. Gina had assured her for the hundredth time when she handed over the keys this morning.

‘It’s yours for as long as you need it,’ she’d said.

Everything was arranged. Gina’s brother Will owned this flat, but he was working on a mine site in Mongolia, and as Mattie had refused any kind of monetary exchange for the surrogacy, Gina had settled on the use of the flat instead.

The last thing Mattie expected was to find another tenant here, playing music – heavy metal music that set her teeth on edge. She clutched Brutus more tightly as she stared at the blue door.

Had squatters moved in? Were they throwing a party?

She imagined bearded vagrants in black, with earrings and tattoos, and she almost returned to the safety of her car. But her sense of justice prevailed. She’d been assured many times that this was her flat. Gina and Tom were excessively grateful that she was willing to help them in their quest for a baby. Right was on her side.

Mentally gathering her courage, she marched up the path, up the two stone steps and knocked.

And knocked.

And then thumped with her fist.

At last the volume of the music was lowered and the door opened, and Mattie took a hasty step backwards.

The man who suddenly filled the doorway was not wearing black, and he didn’t have tattoos or earrings. Even so, he looked like a pirate.

At least, that was Mattie’s first thought, which was no doubt prompted by his rather wild, dark hair and his scruffy jaw – and the fact that his shirt was unbuttoned to reveal rather a great deal of dazzling, tanned chest. Mattie tried very hard not to look at his chest, but it was an incredibly eye-catching sample of male anatomy.

He propped a bulky shoulder against the door frame and studied her from beneath disconcerting, half-lowered lids, and he managed to look both annoyed and bored by her intrusion. ‘How can I help you?’

When he spoke, Mattie stopped thinking about pirates. For a moment, she stopped thinking altogether. His voice was rich, dark and smooth, like an extremely sinful chocolate dessert. Combined with his gaping white shirt, it sent her mind completely blank.

She forced her gaze up and away from his chest and looked him bravely in the eye. ‘I… um… think… there’s been a mistake.’

A dark eyebrow lifted lazily. ‘I beg your pardon?’

Mattie tried again. ‘There seems to have been some kind of mix up.’ She waved her door key. ‘This is my flat. No. 3. I’m supposed to be moving in here today.’

He cast a quick, assessing glance that took in Brutus, curled in her arms and her little car, crammed to the roof with her worldly possessions. Then he glanced back over his shoulder into the living room and for the first time, Mattie saw his companion – a long legged blonde, reclining on the sofa with a glass of wine in her hand.

‘What’s she want?’ the woman called.

Ignoring her, the fellow narrowed his eyes at Mattie. ‘Did the real estate office send you here?’

‘No.’ She straightened her shoulders. ‘I have a – a private arrangement – with the owner. He knows all about it.’

‘Does he now? And would you mind telling me the owner’s name?’

‘Excuse me?’ Mattie was incensed. ‘What right have you to ask that? I can assure you, my claim on this flat is legitimate. Is yours?’

To her annoyance, he chuckled. Mattie almost stamped her foot and Brutus, sensing her distress, licked her hand. And then the woman on the sofa uncurled her long legs, set down her wine glass and joined the fellow in the doorway. She draped an arm around the man’s massive shoulders. ‘What’s going on, Jake?’

        ‘Just a minor border incursion.’ The man whose name, apparently, was Jake watched Mattie with a look of faint amusement.

‘A what?’

‘A territorial battle,’ he told the blonde, without taking his dark, diamond bright gaze from Mattie.

An unwelcome ripple of heat fluttered over Mattie’s skin. She glared at Jake for causing it, and deliberately turned her attention to his sulky companion, rattled the keys again. ‘There’s been an unfortunate mistake about the flat. I’m supposed to be moving in here.’

‘When?’ asked the other woman in a tone as unhelpful as her boyfriend’s.

‘Today. Now. This afternoon.’ Mattie pointed to the No. 3 tag. ‘I have a key.’ Again, she glared at Jake. ‘Do you have a key? Or did you break in?’

His response was to fold his arms and favour her with a withering look.

In desperation, Mattie said, ‘Look, I told you I have an arrangement with Will Carruthers.’

‘Will Carruthers sent you here?’ Jake’s eyes widened with surprise. ‘Why didn’t you tell me that in the first place?’

Mattie was surprised too. ‘Do you know Will?’

‘Of course I know him. I work with him in Mongolia. He’s my best mate.’

‘Oh.’ She gulped unhappily. ‘So, I suppose he knows you’re here?’

‘Absolutely. I’m on leave. I had a week in Japan and now I’m in Sydney for a week and Will insisted I use his flat.’

Mattie clung to the faint hope that Jake’s week was almost up. ‘When did your week start?’

‘Day before yesterday.’

Deflated, she dropped her gaze to Brutus, and he made sympathetic doggy noises and tried to lick her chin. ‘There’s obviously been a mix up with the times.’

She tried not to sound too disappointed, but if she and this Jake fellow both had a claim on the flat, and if he was here first, she supposed she had no choice but to find somewhere else to stay for the rest of this week.

She wondered despondently where she should start her search for accommodation. It would have to be somewhere cheap and she didn’t know Sydney very well.

‘Rotten luck for you,’ chirped the girlfriend and she grinned smugly at Mattie as she rested her chin possessively on Jake’s shoulder.

Mattie thought of pirates again – pirates with smug parrots on their shoulders.



From “Expecting Miracle Twins"
By: Barbara Hannay
Mills and Boon Romance
September 2009
ISBN: 13-978-0-373-17609-0
Copyright: © Barbara Hannay
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher. The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A. For more romance information surf to: http://www.eHarlequin.com






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