Thursday, July 18, 2013

Natural Obsession

By Carol McPhee
Contemporary Romance, 453 pages
Cover art by Trisha FitzGerald

Laurel Jenkins has no dashing Prince in her life, but given her independent spirit, she manages well on her own...up to now. With the approach of her fortieth birthday, she faces the dilemma of proceeding through life as she is or adding a new dimension in the form of motherhood.
Shunning the prospect of male friends contributing to an involvement that might not work out, she decides to opt for medical technology. The appearance of two new gentlemen in her small world heaves a wrench in her plan.

Laurel Jenkins lifted the pages of her kitchen calendar and stared at the heavy black mark crisscrossing January twenty-seventh. Her three-month goal revved tingles up and down her spine. A soft paw on her ankle distracted her. “I know this isn’t a good time to proceed with my plan, Jake, but if I don’t try now, I might never find the nerve again. I’ve had enough childless birthdays.” The cat tapped her leg a second time, but the milestone of turning forty next year drew his mistress back to considering the obscure hormonal dysfunction that begged changing her destiny. “I don’t need a partner. There are other ways to become pregnant.”
Like how? Her inner voice prodded.
“Fertility clinic, anonymous sperm donation,” she murmured, noticing her heart skipped a beat with her answer. “Great strides have been made in fertility treatments.”
She had taken the first bold step yesterday and scheduled an appointment with a specialist. I’m glad a cancellation allows him to see me in two weeks, but with time on my hands, I still could chicken out.
Tired of such dithering, her inner pondering subsided. She lowered the pages to hide the disturbing date and sagged against the counter. For weeks she had waffled as she gauged her need to have unconditional love. Her birthday would indeed be a defining moment.
Laurel turned away from the reminder and scanned the interior of her Nova Scotia, harbor-side home. Although the cottage lacked the striking presence of many other village residences, her abode radiated cozy warmth with ample room for her and a baby.
She had moved to historic Clearwater Shores four years earlier and had lucked out by getting hired with a local real estate company. When the owners listed a grey shingle, white-shuttered cottage with her agency at an affordable price, she bought it as a stepping stone to owning one of the grand mansions facing seaward from the bluff.
A soft moan caressed her lips. The closest her cottage came to having historical influence was in the antique furniture that filled the knotty pine-paneled rooms and in the books on the area’s settlers lining her bookshelves.
The current reading material on her coffee table, a history of local eighteenth century pirates and privateers, set her heart galloping each time she settled down to read. Her knowledge of the folklore had helped sell many of the proud, older homes. It would do so again when the market improved. Laurel shook her head. She needed stable, full-time employment now. In the near future, vital expenses would drain her bank account.
The day’s heavy mood preying upon her, she picked up her mug and took a comforting sip of steaming coffee. Strolling to the patio doors, she slid one panel aside and slipped out onto the wood-railing encased deck. She pulled the screened section closed before Jake could dash for the fishermen’s paradise the feline so craved to explore. Danger lurked at Clearwater’s wharf across the harbor, especially for a curious tawny tomcat prowling for tasty herring tidbits.

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