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SAFE IN MY HEART
When the man that Katherine Whitman thought she would someday marry becomes engaged to another woman, Katherine is devastated. The blow is especially harsh because Travis works at the same home-security company that Katherine does, and the woman he’s to marry is Sherry Osborne, the sister of Katherine’s boss, Stephen Osborne, the president of the company. Despite her own strict rules for professional behavior, Katherine turns for comfort to Stephen, and ends up spending the night with him. The next day, convinced that he stayed with her mainly because he felt sorry for her, and feeling that nothing can preserve their professional relationship, she leaves the company and starts over.
A few weeks later, Katherine becomes ill. At first she blames heat and working conditions, but she soon realizes she’s having morning sickness.
She informs Stephen of her pregnancy, and is astonished when he suggests that they do what people have always done when there’s an unexpected baby on the way – get married. She agrees, though not without misgivings and distrust of Stephen’s motives, because she feels that the best thing for the baby will be for them to try to build a family.
But on their quiet weekend "honeymoon" Stephen makes clear that marriage does not include any further intimacy. Katherine is confused until she realizes that there are other reasons for his willingness to marry. A former girlfriend has been pressing him to marry her, but by marrying Katherine he establishes a family-man image that will actually leave him more free than being single, since Katherine owes him too much to make demands.
That understanding leaves her feeling trapped and she realizes that she loves him – indeed, has loved him for a long time, but hid the fat from herself because it was unprofessional to fall for one’s boss. Now she has few options – she can accept what she has been offered and make the best of it, or she can walk out and be in worse shape than she was before. She opts to stay, telling herself that nothing can keep her from loving him, and perhaps if love sneaked up on her, it could happen to him as well.
When Sherry discovers her errant fiancé with yet another woman, she responds to Katherine’s sympathy with accusations that Travis is actually the father of Katherine’s child. Worse, it’s immediately apparent to Katherine that Stephen believes the accusation, and has believed it all along.
If he thought she could lie to him about such a fundamental issue as the parentage of her baby, then the idea of building any kind of lifelong relationship is a farce. She begins to pack her belongings.
But she still needs the answer to one question: why did he not even ask her about the child? Why did he assume the worst? He answers that he was afraid of what she would tell him– that he knew it would be the truth, but because he loved her and wanted her so much, it honestly did not matter to him whether her child was his as well.
On the morning after their night together, when she gave up even her job in order to get away from him, he felt guilty about taking advantage of her pain. When he discovered her pregnancy, it seemed a chance to make up to her for the additional grief he had caused, as well as a chance to have her in his life– even if she could never love him. With the assurance of mutual love, they sort out the guilt that both have suffered and begin anew to create a family for their child.
SAFE IN MY HEART was published 1993 by Harlequin Books.
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This synopsis is copyright 2005 by Leigh Michaels.