New Beginnings (The Billionaire's Baby #4)

by Helen Cooper


Sophie saw the envelope and her heart stilled. Another letter had arrived to bring her out of her detached numbness. The handwriting looked straight and neat. It was as if he had hoped that his apparent calmness would soothe her broken heart and wounded soul. She picked up the letter lifelessly. She didn’t want to read the words that would crush her all over again. She didn’t know if she was strong enough to withstand the gamut of emotions that were sure to pass through her as she read his letter. She preferred the silence of her numbness to the burning screeches of her pain. But she couldn’t resist the magnetic pull of the letter. She ran to her bedroom and ripped open the envelope, falling to her bed in sobs as she finished reading the poetic words of the man she loved.

My Dearest Sophie,

I hope this letter does not meet you with too much grief. By now you should have received one other letter from me. I remember how you loved to receive letters as a child. I hope that you are beginning to understand my actions. That’s all I dare ask of you now, Sophie. Remember me as the man you loved and not the man I became.

Please kiss Winter and Jacob every night and give them an extra long hug from me. Tell them that their father loves them dearly and I hope that one day they will see that I was trying to protect them. Thank you for being the kind of mother that welcomes everyone into your heart. My love for you has tripled in these last few weeks as I have witnessed the magnanimity of your devotion.

Sophie, you know that it pains me to say this but Nicholas is a good man. Know that you have my blessing.

Always yours, in sickness and in health, in life and in death,


Chapter 1


Sophie looked at the wedding magazines in front of her and sighed. There was so much that went into planning a wedding. So much that she wasn’t really interested in, flowers, catering, decorations, music, gifts, invitations; the list just seemed to go on and on. Maxwell had offered to get her a wedding planner but she hadn’t wanted one. She had thought she could handle it all herself; she’d thought it would be fun. But boy had she been wrong. She looked at her phone and picked it up, checking her text messages again to see if Ella had returned any of her messages yet. But there were no new messages. It seemed like another day was going to go by with no contact from Ella. She ran through her contact list and tried calling her again. “Hey Ella, it’s me, Sophie. Just calling to make sure you are okay. Call me when you can.” She tried to keep her voice happy but she found it hard to keep the stress and desperation out of her voice. She was worried about Ella; she just hadn’t seemed the same since she and Maxwell had picked her up from Joseph’s apartment.

The phone rang and Sophie grabbed it up eagerly. “Hello.” Her voice was excited.

“Hey, honey.” Maxwell’s smooth drawl came down the line.

“Oh it’s you.”

“Well nice to see you missed me.” Maxwell’s voice held mirth.

“Sorry. I was just hoping Ella would call.”             

“Oh no, she’s still giving us the silent treatment?” Maxwell sighed. “Should I go and see her?”

“No. No.” Sophie knew that would only aggravate matters. “She’ll come around eventually.”

“I wish I would never have hired Joseph. It’s my fault.”

“No, Max.” Sophie’s voice was soft. “It’s not your fault.”

“For once.” He laughed. “In all seriousness, let’s talk about this tonight and see what we can come up with.”

“Okay.” Sophie smiled into the phone. “I love you, you know.”

“You do?”

“I do, Mr. Van Harkel.” She grinned.

“As much as the sky?”

“Only if you include all the clouds.”

“I think I can do that.”

“What about you?” Her voice was low, almost embarrassed.

“What about me?” He paused. “I love me too.” He laughed.

“You know what I mean.” She giggled nervously. Their relationship was so new and their love too recent for her to believe that it was true.

“Oh, I love you more than the galaxy. More than ten trips to the moon.”

“Okay, as long as you love me more than nine trips.” She laughed happy and then gasped. “Ooh.”

“What happened, Sophie?” Max’s voice was worried. “Are you okay?”

“The baby just kicked me.” Her voice was full of wonder. “I think she’s happy to hear we love each other.”

“You mean he?” His voice was dry. “I told you I wanted a Maxwell, Jr.”

“I think it will be a Maxina then.” She laughed.

“We’ll see.” She heard him talking to someone in his office and she sat back on the couch and picked up one of the wedding magazines she was looking at. “Hey sorry about that.” Max came back to the phone. “What were we talking about?”

“How would you feel about a wedding on the beach?” She stared at the photos in the magazine and thought she could go for a wedding in Hawaii. “Somewhere like Hawaii?”

“If that’s what you want, my love.” His voice was sweet and pleasant and Sophie could hardly believe that this was the same Maxwell that had been so hot and cold with her in the past. “Can you have it arranged by next week?”

“No.” She laughed and then sighed. “You know I have to plan the wedding around my school schedule. I really want to finish before the baby comes.”

“I know. But maybe we can just go to Vegas and elope and have Elvis marry us?”

“Are you serious?” Sophie’s voice was excited.

“I wasn’t but it seems like you are really interested in the idea.” Max’s voice was incredulous. “Go figure. You have millions of dollars at your disposal to plan the wedding of your dreams and you want to go to Vegas for a quickie wedding.” He laughed. “Well, I know I’m not marrying a gold-digger.”

“Was there ever any doubt?” Sophie mocked an offended voice.

“No, my dear. Anyway I have to go. I’ll see you for dinner. Oh and by the way, I think we’re going to have a girl as well. I love you.” And with that, he hung up. Sophie smiled at the phone, still unable to believe that all of her dreams were coming true. Soon she would be Mrs. Maxwell Van Harkel. She flipped back to the wedding magazine and sighed. She just wasn’t interested in reading about weddings right now. She got up and walked to the window and looked out at the park. She wouldn’t admit it to Maxwell but she was beginning to love his apartment and its view of Central Park. She loved being able to leave the apartment and do just about anything her heart desired. She could go to the movie theater, Trader Joe’s or the park in under five minutes; and she could catch the subway and be on campus at Columbia in less than ten minutes. Some days she even walked up to 116 Street. She never told Maxwell that though, she knew that he would be upset to hear that she was walking that far by herself. He was very overprotective; something that she loved, when she didn’t feel like she was being cloistered.

As Sophie watched the Upper West Side mothers walking their dogs along with their babies she realized that she wanted a dog. She’d have to ask Max if they could get one. She went and sat back on the couch and turned on the TV. She flickered through the channels and sighed. There was nothing good to watch and she was bored. She wanted to do something but she had no one to hang out with. Ella was her only real friend and she had cut her off. Sophie checked the wall clock and grabbed her bag before running out of the apartment. She was going to go over to the apartment she had shared with Ella until very recently and wait for her until she got home. She was fed up of Ella treating her like this. She needed Ella and Ella needed her; they had been friends for too long to let an affair with a married man come between them. Sophie bit her lip as she hailed a cab. She hoped that the only problem Ella had concerned Joseph because if she was upset that Sophie was dating her brother, then that would make things a lot more complicated.