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Alaskan Nights, Baby Surprise

Written by Catherine Mann

Chapter Eight

Looking into Broderick’s eyes across the room, Glenna couldn’t help but think how restless she’d been, waiting for his return. She’d fidgeted with her hair, spritzed cologne in the air to walk through, then smoothed her sweater, eager to see Broderick and anxious about how things would go. She’d rehearsed her speech a dozen times in her head while putting together a meal to keep warm for him. She’d noticed he hadn’t eaten at the party.

She wanted to be alone with him. To show him she was putting effort into the marriage.

Ever since the conversation with Delaney, she’d been thinking of ways she could be a better partner, a better wife.

She’d paced and paced, her restless feet carrying her to the table, where she lifted the lids on the chafing dishes keeping dinner warm. A caribou chili in one. Berry cobbler in the other. Her taste buds watered over the latter, and her hand gravitated to her stomach where her child—their child—grew. This was everything she’d dreamed of having with Broderick, and she wouldn’t lose sight of that.

She’d checked on their daughter to make sure she slept, pressing a kiss to her forehead, love filling her heart. She had so much to be thankful for.

She wasn’t giving up.

Now on the sofa, her eyes locked with Broderick’s, Glenna closed her book, ready to start this stage of her life with her husband. Her love for life.

***

Broderick couldn’t pull his eyes away from his wife as she set aside the novel. He found it damn hard to speak, too.

“Did you have a good ride with Conrad?”

Her dog, Kota, padded over to bump his hand in a hello greeting. Her dog? Broderick scratched the Siberian husky’s ears. He’d hoped Kota had become their pup, their family pet. Then again, hadn’t he wanted to talk to her about putting her stamp on the place? Maybe he needed to focus more on trying to help her feel at home here.

“Sure did.” He rested his Stetson on the long narrow table by the door, then tucked his boots underneath before walking deeper into the room.

“That’s great you were able to get business done and a ride at the same time.” She swung her feet to the floor.

“Actually, we didn’t talk shop.” He searched for the right words to say and found himself nervous. The stakes were so high. “I should shower off some of this trail grime.”

Scrubbing a hand over his jaw, he started toward their bedroom…and noticed a table set for dinner.

Broderick skimmed his hand along the linen tablecloth. He’d been so busy ogling his wife—craving more with her—that he’d completely missed the savory scent in the air. “What’s this all about?”

He checked under the chafing dish lids, finding two of his family favorites—caribou stew and berry cobbler. Fluffy corn bread slices rested in a basket, wrapped in a cloth napkin. Two cut-crystal glasses waited beside a bottle of sparkling fruit juice.

The fusion of hearty smells filled the air. A tightness bobbed in his throat. Touched by her welcoming gesture, especially when she had to be as bone weary as he was.

“I noticed you didn’t have anything to eat during the party. We’ve been so busy taking care of other people, I thought we should find time to look out for each other.” Glenna walked toward him, her steps muffled by the plush carpet beneath her feet.

A warm smile, one that matched the heated intensity of the fire, decorated her pink lips. Damn. She was a helluva vision. And she was reaching out to him despite how irritable he’d been.

“That simple? You forgive me for not being as supportive as I should have been when you told me about the baby?”

“Yes, my love, that simple.” Reaching for his hand, Glenna leaned in and kissed the words onto his cheek. “I forgive you. I know that in spite of our differences, you are a man of honor. And those differences are part of why I love you so very much.”

The scent of almonds, of Glenna, filled him with familiarity and hope for their future.

Love for her swept over him, along with overwhelming gratitude that she was in his life, that they would be spending the rest of their lives together.

“I like the way you think.” He took her in his arms. “I’m sorry for offloading so much on you. You deserve a partner. I want to be that for you.”

Vibrant blue eyes turned serious and then soft with concern. Understanding. “I need to take responsibility for my part as well. I haven’t been good about voicing what I need. I’ve been so afraid of losing you, I bottle up my frustration until it explodes.”

Shaking her head, Glenna glanced down at their clasped hands, her hair falling in front of her face.

“We’re both type-A personalities who expect too much from ourselves. Our first instinct is always to work, to fix things.” Stroking her hair behind her ears, he tipped her face back up. “I need to slow down and listen. About work and home. Such as…did I assume too much in having you move in here?”

She tipped her head to the side. “I do like having the help around, and maybe we could both be better about letting them.”

“I’m sure they wouldn’t object.” He chuckled, then sobered. “But if you change your mind, just speak. I’m listening. And for the time being, maybe we could start with redecorating the place to fit us, as a couple.”

“I like that.” She smiled, so beautiful in her joy and hope. “It sounds like we’re both already heading in the right direction of talking and listening, of respecting our differences.”

He rested his forehead against hers. “It’s important to me that we get this right. I can’t imagine my life without you. I love you so damn much, and I truly am excited about this new baby. I hope that you are, too.”

“Oh, Broderick, of course I’m happy to be carrying your child,” she whispered, her breath warm on his skin, “And I love you, too, so much, and the family we’re building together. Always.”

He met her kiss with his. Glenna. His wife. His love. The woman he knew without question he would spend the rest of his life with.

As their kiss ended, she smiled against his mouth. “That chafing dish is lit to keep the food warm.”

Her words sent a bolt of desire through him.

“Well, what do you know? It sure is.”

Glenna traced a gentle pattern along his back, stoking the flames of desire higher, hotter. Yes, he had much to celebrate. With her. “Food can wait then. What do you say we shower, together?”

Sweeping her up into his arms, he strode toward their bedroom. “I do like the way you think, partner.”

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About the author

Writing military romances seemed like a natural fit for me - since I'm...

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Catherine Mann

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