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Worth It All(93)

By´╝ÜClaudia Connor



“What are you thinking about?” he whispered against her ear.

They’d only been married six weeks, and it was hard to imagine a time without being Jake’s wife. “You. Us.”

“Mmm. I like that.” He pressed a kiss to the side of her head and hugged her a little tighter.

“Where’s Casey?”

“Still in the basement with Stephen, setting up the trains. Knowing my brother, he’ll have to completely rework the entire model city before he comes up for air.”

“I can’t believe your brother got Matt’s and Andrew’s kids drum sets.”

“An ongoing feud. Beginning with Matt giving all the kids plastic wagons full to the brim with candy.”

She laid her head back against his chest and relished the moment. She’d almost closed herself off from this, trying to be what she thought she should be and never knowing what she could have and how full her heart could be. The love she felt from Jake swamped her, and her heart still did a little dance every time she watched him walk into a room.

He and Casey had their own thing going and it was almost more than her heart could take sometimes. Watching the two of them in the morning before school with their little rituals was sweetness overload. They already had a puppy and two kittens. She figured it wouldn’t be long before Jake brought home a pony.

“How long does the party last again?”

He nipped at her ear.

“I’m kidding. I love it.” She and Casey had been showered with McKinney love. The women were like sisters and best friends, while Jake’s brothers joked with her like the big brothers she never had. Cole had already taken on the role of protector when it came to his sister Caroline, and now he’d added Casey. She’d marched into class that first day with Cole on one side and Caroline on the other, ready to take Saint Sebastian by storm.

A burst of laughter sounded inside as someone broke into a terrible rendition of “White Christmas.” As much as she loved them all, she did want to get Jake home.

She turned in his arms, and he kissed her long and deep until she was seriously considering skipping the upcoming Pictionary battle in favor of a little naked bed battle.

But when Jake lifted his head, there was a seriousness that hadn’t been there a few seconds ago. “What?” She framed his face in her hands.

“I have something for you. I’m not sure how you’re going to feel about it.”

“A present? Jake, you’ve given me enough presents.”

“Well, this one is actually for me.” He looked away and took a minute before meeting her eyes again. It reminded her of that night he’d come back to the diner to offer his help for Casey.

“On my last trip to California, I took a detour to Texas.”

She barely had time to register her heart skipping before he went on.

“I tracked down Casey’s father. I know you said you’d do it or get a lawyer, but I just wanted it done, and I didn’t want you to have to worry about it. Casey’s already mine in every way that matters, but now it’ll be legal.”

The tears came without warning, so overwhelmed with joy and emotion. She had put it off, not wanting even the slightest smudge of her past to touch their happiness. But the real reason she hadn’t pursued it was because she was terrified Gary would say no and Jake wouldn’t be able to adopt Casey the way he so badly wanted to. “But how…”

“I gave him some choices. It wasn’t that hard.”

“You paid him.”

He kissed her forehead. “It wasn’t that hard and it doesn’t matter. It’s done, notarized. All you have to do is finish it.” He brushed the tears off her cheeks. “I thought this would make you happy.”

“It does,” she said, wrapping her arms around his neck. “You know it does. And I have something to tell you too.”

He took her face in his hands, stared deeply into her eyes with that way of his that felt like he saw everything she was and everything she could be. “We’re going to have a baby.”

The look in his eyes was something she’d never forget as long as she lived.

“A baby?”

“Yes.”

“We made a baby?” His voice shook, emotion choking him, and she was overwhelmed by what the two of them were together.

He brought their faces so close their foreheads touched and tears sprang to her eyes. “Yes,” she whispered, sliding her fingers into his hair, holding the man that meant everything to her.

“I love you, Paige, so much it frustrates me because I can’t find a way to say it.”

“I love you too. And you just did.”

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