USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR
Reckless Abandon Bonus Epilogue
“Ok Harper, this is your big moment,” I prompted, smoothing my hands over my daughter’s brand new shirt, and gave her an encouraging smile. I’d had the tee-shirt made at the local specialty shop on Main Street and picked it up yesterday. Standing back, I took a look at her. “Perfect,” I praised, and she beamed up at me. “Now let’s go wake up Macon.”
My husband had worked late into the night getting the car ready for our road trip, so I was letting him sleep in. We were taking a long weekend to go to the beach for his birthday and boy did I have quite the surprise for him.
My whole body trembled with nervous excitement as I swiped my damp palms over my leggings. The door creaked open as Harper pushed inside mine and Macon’s bedroom. Slivers of light snaked through the cracks around the blinds, casting shadows across the well-honed muscles of his defined back. The comforter pooled around his waist and for a brief moment I panicked. I hoped he’d at least put boxers on after his shower last night. I’d already been in bed but stirred when I heard the water come on. Freshly showered, he’d slipped between the sheets and pulled me in close. He held me until I fell back to sleep, just like he did every night.
“Macon,” Harper whisper-shouted. “Wake up. We have a surprise for you.” She clutched the simple blue gift bag with white tissue paper spilling from the top in her little hands. When that didn’t work, she climbed on the bed, knees digging into the mattress and shook his shoulder. Well, tried to shake his shoulder. He was a big guy, and she was tiny. He didn’t budge.
“Macon,” she repeated, this time her voice a bit louder as she poked a slender finger into the space between his shoulder blades. I covered my mouth to stifle my snicker.
Finally, he turned and peeked at her over his shoulder. “Hey, Half Pint,” he greeted her affectionately. He loved Harper like she was his own. There was no denying that. If it hadn’t been for Sean’s return almost three years ago, he would’ve adopted her without hesitation when we got married.
“Happy birthday!” Harper squealed. Macon sat up and rubbed his eyes. I breathed a sigh of relief when the blanket fell away revealing the mesh shorts he sometimes slept in.
“Thank you,” he said, his voice scratchy and full of smoke. I nearly forgot why we were here and tackled him back onto the bed. Then again, Harper was standing right there so that wasn’t exactly an option. Damn hormones.
Harper pressed a kiss to his cheek and hopped off the bed. “Here, this is for you,” she offered, stretching out the hand holding the gift bag.
“For me?” He asked, playfully dramatic, and pressed his free hand to his chest. Harper nodded emphatically. “You shouldn’t have.” A huge grin spread over his lips as he pulled out the tissue paper.
“Open it!” Harper demanded hopping up and down, her little body vibrating with excitement. Macon chuckled and made a show of tossing the tissue paper into the air. Harper squealed with delight, batting away the paper as it floated down toward her head.
Macon pulled the folded-up garment from the bag and pinched the seams at the top, allowing it to fall open. He shook out the shirt and read what was written on it aloud. “World’s Greatest Dad.” He swallowed hard and for a moment I thought he might cry. Even before we got together, Macon was like a father figure to Harper and since we became husband and wife, he’d been the best stepfather a girl could ask for. I was certain that was all he thought the shirt meant. That we appreciated him as a bonus dad, but there was more to it than that.
Right on cue, Harper spoke up. “Look at my shirt,” she instructed, holding it by the hem and stretching it out for him to read.
“World’s Best Big Sister.” For a moment, he stared blankly at the writing. He blinked once. Twice. Then his gaze lifted to me. Mouth gaping in surprise, he looked at Harper again to confirm the reality that was finally taking shape in his mind. His eyes misted over as he looked at me with newfound awareness.
“Are you?” he asked, setting the shirt and bag aside. Tears filled my eyes as I nodded. “We’re having a baby?” I bobbed my head more vigorously as tears spilled over my cheeks. He shot from the bed and in two strides was in front of me. His arms snaked around my back and he pulled me in for a hug, cocooning me in his strong embrace.
“Oh shit,” he said, releasing me. His hands immediately went to my hips, and he stared down at my belly as though he could see through to the tiny life growing inside me. “I didn’t hurt it, did I?” His gaze lifted to mine, and I fought back a smile.
“No,” I assured him, shaking my head. “He or she is pretty safe in there.” His hand fell to my stomach and his long fingers gently grazed over the space below my belly button.
I nearly let out a yelp of surprise when he dropped to his knees in front of me, wonder filling his eyes. “I can’t believe it. I’m going to be a dad.” His voice cracked and he cleared his throat. Turning toward Harper, he snaked his arm around her and pulled her in for a hug. “Again,” he clarified, lovingly placing a kiss on her temple. My heart sang at the sight. He included the daughter he didn’t father but helped raise and I knew he would love them both equally.
It was part of the reason I loved him so much and how I knew I’d chosen the right man to spend my life with. It made all the pain and heartache worth it. I’d been devastated by Sean abandoning me in my time of need, but Macon had held me together. And through the heartache, I was able to find my true soulmate.
Macon returned his attention to me, his eyes settling on my lower belly. Leaning forward, he pressed a kiss to my stomach, holding it for long seconds, his eyes closed. I brought my hand to his hair and gently stroked the dark strands. Finally, he stood and captured my lips in a toe curling kiss. His tongue swept over mine and I clutched him harder to me. He pulled back breathlessly, a fire burning in his amber eyes.
“Please tell me we can still have sex,” he pleaded, whispering so Harper couldn’t hear. I nodded, a sensuous smile curving my lips. “Thank fuck,” he growled and dove in for another kiss.
Later that night as we lay in bed, our bags packed and ready for our trip, he gently undressed me, his lips following the path of his fingers as he divested me of my sleepwear. He paid special attention to my belly which was unchanged since I was only eight weeks along. Still, he pressed several kisses over the spot that would soon grow round with life. As he worked his way down, my body hummed with anticipation, every nerve ending extra sensitive from the pregnancy hormones. When his mouth finally dropped lower and his tongue grazed my clit, I nearly came off the bed. A devious chuckle rose up his throat.
“Hold on baby. I’m gonna take you for a ride.” I did as I was told,
snaking my fingers in his hair, and held on for dear life. True to his word, he took me on one hell of a ride.