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SUBMIT

Santa's Plus-One Surprise

Written by Melissa Senate

Chapter Seventeen

Drake had insisted on moving Colt’s bassinet into his bedroom, so Felicity spent a quiet night in the guest room. She’d slept through, which meant Drake had woken up for the baby’s nighttime feeding and for any fussing.

She’d been so hyperaware of Drake before she’d fallen asleep. Right next door to her. She wondered if he slept naked.

She heard sounds and realized it was coming from downstairs. A baby gave a happy gurgle. And then Drake’s voice: “What a good eater you are!”

She smiled. She got out of bed and took a fast shower, glad she kept a toiletry kit in her tote bag. Twenty minutes later, she was downstairs.

“Morning, sleepyhead,” Drake said. Colt was in his bouncy swing on the kitchen table while Drake was at the counter, taking out the bagel slices that had just popped from the toaster. “Cream cheese?”

“Sure,” she said with a smile. “Wow, you’ve really got everything covered.”

“I’m trying,” he said. “So, what would be a good baby activity for the day?”

“How about we visit Santa on the town green?” She bit her lip. “I know Christmas has been hard for you, but this sure would be a great time to make new traditions. With Colt.”

He looked at Colt, then back at her. “You’re absolutely right. One hundred percent right.”

She smiled and took the cream-cheese-slathered bagel he handed her. “Thanks.”

“The least I could do,” he said, “is feed you.”

Ten minutes later, with Colt bundled up in his stroller, they headed to the town green on Main Street. A holiday shed had been erected and decorated to the nines. Because Wyoming was freezing in December, Santa was inside.

“Know what you want for Christmas?” Drake asked as they rang the little bell on the front door.

She looked at him, then at baby Colt, and her heart squeezed in her chest. I want you. I want a family. I want this, she thought, looking at the baby in his arms.

What she wanted for Christmas was for this arrangement to be real.

Drake was looking at her, waiting for her answer. She knew what he wanted for Christmas—his son—and she’d do everything to make his wish come true.

Hers, well…

“I do know,” she said as a very tall elf opened the door and welcomed them in. “But that’s for Santa’s ears only.”

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