Other symptoms had presented themselves from the very start. Fatigue, and her br**sts were so tender that at times it was unbearable to touch them. Something Dash had been extremely careful about when they made love.

She gave him the warmest smile possible, considering how sick she felt, and cupped his jaw after he’d kissed her palm.

“I’m feeling better,” she said truthfully. “Usually within an hour of me waking up the nausea mostly goes away and I’m fine the rest of the day. You taking such good care of me and ensuring I eat has gone a long way in helping me cope with this.”

“You never have to worry that I’m not going to be here every step of the way or that I won’t give you my utmost care,” he said in a low growl.

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Her smile broadened. “I love you. And I’m so excited, Dash. You can’t imagine how happy I am about our baby. It’s such a dream come true. You. Us. Our son or daughter. I never imagined being so happy again and you’ve given me so much.”

His eyes glowed with warmth—and love—as he stared tenderly back at her. “I’m so happy that I have to stop and remind myself to be grateful for the precious gift of you and our child,” he said gruffly. “I love you too, Joss. Always have, always will. As much as I want our baby to be born and as much as I can’t wait to grow our family and watch as our children grow up in front of our eyes, I plan to savor every moment of your pregnancy. Watch you swell with our baby. I’ll never forget these moments. Other than the day you told me you loved me, the day our child is born will be the most precious moment of my life. I hope you never doubt that.”

“Never,” she said with fervor. “I’ll never forget, Dash. Just as I hope you’ll never forget how much I love you.”

He stroked her cheek and then motioned toward her phone.

“No word from Chessy yet? I know how worried you and Kylie were. And well, I admit to having some major concerns myself. I have no idea what the hell is going on with Tate but I hope he pulls his head out of his ass soon.”

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Joss grimaced as she glanced toward her phone as well. “Not a word. Which could be good or bad. I’m hoping for good. I’m hoping they were able to work everything out and that Chessy finally confronted him with her unhappiness. I want so much for her, Dash. I know how hard it was for her when I told her I was pregnant. I almost didn’t tell her, but it would have only hurt her more and made her feel that much more conspicuous about her troubles with Tate.”

He rubbed his hand from her belly down the inside of one thigh before stopping to squeeze her knee.

“You did the right thing, Joss. Chessy would never want you to withhold such wonderful news out of worry over her. And you have the right to be happy. She’d never begrudge you that.”

“I know,” Joss said quietly. “I just love her and want so badly for her and Tate to resolve the issues in her marriage so she can be happy again. Just like Kylie and me.”

Dash smiled. “She will be. Just like her best friends. Now try to eat some toast, baby. You need something in your stomach before you get up and move around. I figured we’d take it easy today. Enjoy the weekend together. Maybe sit on the couch, you in my arms, and watch some movies. I’ll cook dinner for us tonight if you’re up to eating something more substantial by then.”

She sighed blissfully. “You take such good care of me, darling. I love you for that.”

He leaned in and kissed her on the nose and then patted the top of her thigh. “Eat up. I don’t want to leave you to take my shower until I know for certain you’re going to be able to keep down your toast.”

EIGHT

CHESSY awoke, the late afternoon sun filtering through the bay window of their bedroom. She was surrounded by warmth and strength. Tate’s body was wrapped around her, arms anchoring her to him, one leg thrown possessively over hers while her head was pillowed on his broad shoulder.

She let out an imperceptible sigh, not wanting to wake him and spoil the first moment of true contentment she’d felt in a very long time. All felt right with the world. She wasn’t a fool to think that everything had been miraculously fixed with Tate’s magic peen, but it was a start.

Their lovemaking had been a coming together of two lost souls. Or at least hers had been lost until now. She’d been bereft of his presence for so long and she couldn’t remember the last time she’d awakened in his arms, or that they’d spent the better part of a day in bed.

He was always hurrying out to work in the mornings with barely a kiss on her forehead and a gruff “hope my girl has a good day” before he was off, with her never even knowing when she’d see him again.

It was hard not to focus on those not so great times even when here and now the world seemed perfect. He’d certainly nailed it when he’d said that their relationship couldn’t be fixed in a single weekend, but the ever-optimistic side of her knew that it was something. That he was giving her something he hadn’t been giving her in over a year. Himself. His absolute priority and attention. His love that in her darker moments she’d thought she had lost. But he’d been utterly sincere last night and this morning, especially this morning when neither of them was so volatile and overly emotional. She knew Tate hadn’t liked going to bed the night before with things still unresolved between them but she also knew she was right for putting it off until a time when they both had the night to reflect and better think of how and what needed to be said.

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