I’m so excited to share the bonus epilogue to Secret Montana Love with you! I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Hugs!
I woke to the soft murmur of Chase’s voice, and I wanted to tell him to shut up. To let me sleep another ten hours. I’d never felt so tired in all my life. All those books that said you got a burst of energy and felt like a new woman in the second trimester were full of shit. I’d never felt worse, and I hated being a bloated, tired, cranky woman.
I hated the fear eating away at me that Chase would get sick of me and want another woman who was elegant and graceful in pregnancy.
We’d just visited the doctor yesterday and been told we were having a boy. Chase was happy, although I knew he would have been just as delighted with a daughter. All he cared about was that our baby was healthy.
Coming more fully awake, I focused on Chase and his soft caresses to my belly. He kissed it reverently and continued to speak.
“Now, you know you are loved, baby, so start treating your mom better, ok?” A soft kiss. “Let her sleep, and stop making her so sick all the time.” A gentle caress as the baby kicked right where his hand was.
“Ah, I can tell you agree with that, my little angel. Now, let me tell you about your mom.” His big, callused hand continued to stroke over my belly bulge. “She’s kind, and with the biggest heart. Loyal, and loving and she’ll adore you.” He chuckled, his breath fanning over my skin and making me shiver. “But she’s part Italian so she has a bit of a temper, but that just makes me love her more. I think you will too, little one.”
He kissed my belly again and then groaned, rolling away to sit on the side of the bed.
I shivered again, this time with cold. Without his hands on me, I was so cold and oddly bereft. “Chase,” I whispered, unable to stop the tears leaking out of my eyes. Damn these hormones!
He spun around, his eyes lit with delight to see me awake before he frowned. “AllyCat, what’s the matter?” He crawled toward me, coming to rest on his stomach beside me as his hands swiped at my cheeks. “Are you still feeling sick? Do I need to call the doctor?”
I shook my head, realizing I felt better than I had in days. “No.” My hand shook as I reached out to brush away a strand of his red hair, loving how he turned into my touch. “No, my Chase.” I stuttered out a breath. “I heard you. Talking to our baby.”
He flushed and ducked his head. “Oh. I thought you were asleep.”
Running a finger down his chin, I waited for him to meet my gaze, confused by the embarrassment I saw in his gorgeous green eyes. “Chase?”
He leaned forward and brushed at the ratty mess of my hair before kissing my forehead and resting his head beside mine on my pillow. “I have little chats with our baby. Telling him how much we love him.” He grinned at me, and my breath caught at the amazed delight sparkling in his gaze. “I think our baby knows my voice. He always kicks when I’m whispering to him.”
More tears leaked out and I nodded, unable to speak. This moment was better than any I could have dreamed of. Chase, so in love with our baby and still with months to go. God, could I have had this with him all those years ago? “Chase,” I whispered, feeling my heart break a little.
He frowned, swiping at my cheeks. “What’s the matter, AllyCat?”
I kissed his hand, sniffling and fighting a sob. “I robbed you…”
“Shh,” he murmured, “none of that bullshit, Ally. We’re together. We’re happy. You’re both well.” His other hand traced over my belly, and I tried to calm my tears, but failed and he tugged me closer. “Ah, my beautiful wife,” he whispered, cradling me in his arms as I cried against him. “What else is it?”
“I’m fat and cranky and awful!” I sobbed.
Chuckling, he ran his hands over me, my curves accentuated by my pregnancy weight. “You’re curvy, AllyCat, and you know I love every one of them.” His voice had deepened and made me shiver. “You have every right to be cranky because you’re sick five times a day and can’t sleep well.” His voice soothed me. “But you’re far from awful. You’re perfect. I’d never want you any other way.”
I clung to him. “I worry you’ll grow tired of me. Want another.” His fingers tightened on me, and I knew they’d leave bruises. With a grunt, I was on my back with him looming over me.
“Want another?” His green eyes shone with incredulousness and anger. “Never. You’re my AllyCat. The woman I love and cherish. And I’m yours.”
I sniffled, gripping his shoulder. “I feel so vulnerable like this. I’m not a graceful, beautiful pregnant woman.”
The anger and hurt faded, his expression softening and brightening as though lit by the sun, and he stared at me with such tenderness my breath caught. “Oh, Ally, you couldn’t be more wrong.”
His nimble fingers slid under my pregnancy nightgown I’d begun to call my “moo-moo”, slipping it off me and tossing it aside until I was naked in bed with him stretched out beside me. His fingers traced soft caresses over my shoulder, to my collarbone and to the top part of my breasts, teasing me with what might come. “You don’t see what I do, and that’s a shame.”
“What do you see?” I gasped out, mesmerized by the adoration I saw in his eyes.
He leaned on one elbow, so he had one arm free as he traced it over my chest and down to my breast, making my breath catch. “How gorgeous you are. Radiant. Glowing.” One finger outlined the curve of my breast before teasing around my nipple. “Your breasts are larger, more sensitive, and more glorious than ever.”
He grinned at me as I gasped for breath at his soft touch. Rather than tease me as I wanted, his finger continued to move down my body, now on the gentle baby bump. “And here, each day, you’re a tiny bit bigger, giving our boy room to grow.” He leaned forward kissing my skin before tracing a stretch mark with his soft kisses.
“I love these marks. It means you were generous enough to carry our babies in your body, giving them the time and space to grow.” His hand cupped my ever-larger hip, giving it a gentle squeeze.
“Don’t get me started on your hips. Fuck, Ally,” he moaned as he moved down to kiss one. “So ripe and full and perfect for me to hold when I’m inside you.”
“Chase,” I gasped.
He rested his head on my baby bump, his eyes shining with devotion and love. “Don’t tell me you’re not gorgeous. Don’t try to convince me these changes have made you unattractive. If I had my way, you’d look like this forever. Sexy and lush.” He spread my legs, settling between them. “Never doubt me, Ally.”
“I love you, so much,” I whispered, my fingers tangling in his hair.
He kissed my palm, and smiled at me. “Any time you need reassuring, just ask. I’ll be happy to give you a refresher.” His green eyes sparkled with mischief as he lowered his head, burying his head between my legs and flicking his tongue against my clit, making my head arch back as I swallowed a scream of delight.
“Shh, AllyCat,” he teased when he came up for air. “I might have added soundproofing to this room, but Sera’s still home.” He winked at me, and got back to work, showing me again and again how much he treasured me and our life together.
Tears leaked out again, but this time from gratitude for my second chance with the man I’d always loved. When we laid a rumpled, exhausted, tangled mess together, I whispered, “Thank you for fighting for us. For loving us. For never giving up.”
His eyes deepened in that way I adored when he stared at me reverently, with a touch of awe, as though he still couldn’t believe I was here, in his arms. “I’ll always fight. I’ll never give you up.” He kissed me softly with one hand resting on my bulge. “And I’ll love you forever, AllyCat.”
With a sigh, I rested against him, breathing his vow back to him. There was nowhere else in the world I’d want to be but with him and Sera and our baby. With Chase by my side, I didn’t fear the future, but looked forward to it. Thank God for second chances.