Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris is the 10th book in the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries series (available September 26, 2017).
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Robin and Aurora have finally begun their adventure in parenting. With newborn Sophie proving to be quite a handful, Roe’s mother pays for a partially trained nurse, Virginia Mitchell, to come help the new parents for a few weeks. Virginia proves to be especially helpful when Robin has to leave town for work and Roe is struck with a bad case of the flu.
One particularly stormy night, Roe wakes to hear her daughter crying and Virginia nowhere to be found. Roe's brother Philip helps her search the house and they happen upon a body outside… but it isn’t Virginia’s. Now, not only does she have a newborn to care for and a vulnerable new marriage to nurture, Roe also has to contend with a new puzzle — who is this mystery woman dead in their backyard, and what happened to Virginia? This heart-pounding and exciting next installment of the Aurora Teagarden series will leave fans happy and hungry for more.
I was standing at the backyard fence, watching the Herman twins (a) play with their dog, and (b) water their flowers. It was early in the morning, the only time of day it was tolerable for me to go outside in July in Georgia, since I was approximately as big as a rhinoceros.
“Are you past your due date, Roe?” Peggy called, as she tossed a ball for Chaka for at least the twentieth time.
I sighed. “Yes, three days.” I’d put on my new cerise-framed glasses to cheer myself up. During my whole pregnancy, I hadn’t cared which pair I wore, because I’d been so absorbed in my changing body. I’d pretty much gotten over that by now.
Lena turned the hose off and came over. (I had learned to identify them by their hair. Lena parted hers on the right.) Both the sisters were in great shape. They took turns walking the dog and they played tennis. Peggy and Lena were very self-sufficient in the household-repair department, too. I found them admirable and daunting.
“I was early with my twins,” Lena said. “Three weeks. But they were fine.”
“Where do they live now?” I knew they weren’t local. “Cindy lives in Maine, and Mindy is in Spartanburg.” “Peggy has a son, right?” I thought I’d met him once. “Kevin. He’s in Atlanta, but he’s a doctor and a dad, so he doesn’t have much spare time.”
I nodded. It seemed like all I had now was time, but I could imagine being busy. Instead of waiting. And waiting. For the baby who would not arrive. I watched Peggy give Chaka a series of commands, all of which Chaka obeyed promptly.
“What kind of dog is he?” I said. He was clearly something. I’d never seen a dog like him.
“Rhodesian ridgeback.” Lena smiled. “We got him from a rescue group. We couldn’t have spent the money to buy a puppy. But he’d been . . .”
Suddenly, I felt a gush of warmth. Oh my God, I thought, embarrassed beyond belief. I can’t control my bladder. This is the rock bottom.
“Well,” Lena said calmly, her gaze following my own horrified stare. “This is the end of your wait, I think. Your water just broke.”
For just one moment, I was the only adult in the room. In my arms was the most important person in the world, Sophie Abigail Crusoe, two hours old. She’s perfect, I thought, marveling. I’m the luckiest woman in the world. My daughter had just been presented to me as a swaddled bundle. I’d barely caught a glimpse of her as she emerged from her nine-months residence. Yielding to an irresistible urge, I unwrapped her just to make sure every part of her was present and in order. She was perfect. And she didn’t like being unwrapped. Sophie made her dissatisfaction known in no uncertain terms, and I hastily (and clumsily) re-swaddled her. I felt guilty. I’d made Sophie cry, for the first time.
My husband, Robin, stuck his head around the door and eased inside, as if he weren’t sure he was welcome. “How are you?” he asked me for the twentieth time. “How is she?”
Robin might be feeling a little guilty, too, because I hadn’t had the easiest labor. In our childbirth class I’d met a second-time mother who’d told me she didn’t know what all the big fuss was about. She’d felt like she had indigestion for an hour; then her baby had popped out.
About midway during the twelve hours it had taken me to bring Sophie into the world—twelve very long hours—if that woman had walked in my room, and I’d had a gun, I’d have shot her dead.
But it had all been worth it.
“I’m fine,” I said. “Just tired. And she’s so great. All eight pounds.” I held her out to him, smiling. “And she has red hair.” Red-haired Robin took Sophie as carefully as if she were an ancient Ming vase. He looked down at the tiny face, and my heart clenched at his expression. He was totally smitten. “Can I put in a moat around our house, and build a ten-foot wall?” he asked.
“I don’t think the neighbors would approve,” I said. “We’ll just have to do the best we can to keep harm away from her.” I tried to stifle a yawn, but I couldn’t. “Honey, I’m going to sleep,” I said. “You’re on watch.”
Even as a mother of two hours’ experience, I was sure one of us should be on duty at all times.
As I drifted into sleep, feeling I deserved it for a job well done, I counted all the people who already loved Sophie: my mother, her husband, Robin’s mother, Robin’s siblings, my half brother, Phillip . . . and I felt so blessed that Sophie had been born into this protective circle.
Though the moat and fence seemed a wise precaution.
Copyright © 2017 Charlaine Harris.
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Charlaine Harris, a #1 New York Times bestselling author, was born and raised in the Mississippi River Delta area. She is the author of the Aurora Teagarden mysteries, which are the basis for the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Aurora Teagarden original movies; the Sookie Stackhouse urban fantasy series, which was the basis for the HBO show True Blood; the Shakespeare mysteries; the Harper Connelly mysteries; and the Cemetery Girl mysteries. Harris now lives in Texas with her husband.