I’m scared about the guy being free, but I have a feeling he isn’t going to be for long, and if he does happen to come after me again, I know Wes will find a way to keep me safe. But I was never going to go back to not living.

“Love you, baby.”

“Love you too.” I smile then lean up, kissing him and trying to make him understand that as long as we have each other, we’re going to be okay.



6 Years later

“Hey, little man,” I say, lifting my son to my chest and kissing his head. “Mama’s sleeping, so you’re going to have to hang with your old man until she wakes up,” I tell him, taking him over to his changing table, where I lie him down and change his diaper before sitting in the rocking chair near the window so I can give him his bottle.

After four years of trying and two years of fertility treatments, I told July no more. I hated seeing her breakdown after each try, each negative test killing her slowly. It got to the point that when friends and family would share their happy news, she would have to battle her mind, knowing she was happy for them, but sad for herself. I hated what it was doing to her, so I talked to a buddy of mine and he got me hooked up with an adoption agency.

After our last fertility treatment was a fail, I came home and handed her the paperwork. She cried…she cried for a full day, and then my beautiful, strong woman pulled it together, and we sat down and filled out the paperwork. We had no idea of how long it would take to go through. That was seven months ago.

The adoption process happened a lot faster for us than it did for other families. The family that had been planning on adopting James decided they weren’t ready for a baby. I have to say the day we went to meet our son I wasn’t sure we were either, but then I held my boy in my arms and knew right then that it didn’t matter to me how James came to be with us; he is my son.

I look down at him, pull the bottle from his lips, and a small pout forms at the loss. I lift him to my shoulder with a smile on my face.

“I thought I heard you in here,” July says, and my eyes go to her at the door of the nursery. She is even more beautiful than she was when we first started dating. She still makes me question my luck.

“You needed to sleep,” I tell her gently. Since the moment James came home, she has been on edge, trying to make sure to do everything perfectly.

“I’m okay.” She smiles, walking into the room and bending over, kissing me then the top of James’ fuzzy head. I take her hand and pull her down onto my lap, and she lays her head on my shoulder, tucking her forehead into my neck, placing one hand on James. Even after all these years, knowing this could have been taken from me causes a buzz of anger to sizzle through me.

“Thank you for letting me sleep,” she whispers, moving her hand from James to settle on my jaw.

“Anytime, baby.” I turn my head, kissing her palm.

“I love this chair,” she says, making me chuckle. Two months before James came home, July had her dad go into the attic and bring over the rocker that had been in her family for generations. She and her sisters argued for days over who got what, and July finally pulled the ‘I’m the oldest’ card and got the chair.

“It’s a nice chair,” I agree, rocking the three of us until I feel her body relax and James’ little body sink into mine.



I look at the pregnancy test in my hand and cannot believe what I’m seeing. Since we brought James home, I have been feeling ill. I honestly didn’t think much of it until this morning, when I walked into the kitchen, where Wes was standing shirtless, flipping bacon, the smell touched my nose and I got sick. That had never happened before, not ever. They say it’s possible when you adopt that sometimes something clicks into place, and voila—you end up pregnant.

“Holy cow,” I breathe then look at myself in the mirror, bursting into tears. I never believed I would take a pregnancy test and have it come out positive. After so many attempts of IUI then IVF, I gave up. Now, I have James, and we’re pregnant.

“Babe, you good?” Wes asks, knocking on the door, and I toss the test in a drawer quickly.

“Yeah, sorry, I spaced out,” I say. I mouth, I spaced out? in the mirror to myself, shaking my head, then splash some water on my face to conceal my tears and open the door.

“James is sleeping. Why don’t you lay down for a bit?” he asks, and I nod absently as he kisses my hair then tilts my head back to get my eyes. “You sure you’re good?” he questions, making that panic from a few minutes ago disappear.

“I’m sure,” I tell him, and he kisses me briefly then takes off down the hall. I head to the bedroom then pick up my phone and call my doctor, setting up an appointment for later in the afternoon.

“I’ve got to head out,” I tell Wes, walking into the living room, where he and James are sitting and watching TV.

“Where are you going?” he asks, looking concerned.

“I need to meet Kayan,” I say the first lie that comes to mind.

“Come kiss me,” he demands, and I go to him, kissing him then James, trying to avoid the look in his eyes as I make it out of the house.

When I get to my Jeep, I start it up and head into town. We sold our house in town a couple years ago, and Wes bought a piece of property from my dad and built a house on it. I love our house, but I loved it more, knowing Wes and my family had built it.

“You’re pregnant,” Dr. Marks says, then I turn my head when there is a pounding on the door of the exam room.

“Are you sure this isn’t a fluke?” I whisper in shock. Dr. Marks has been with us since the beginning. He knows how much we have struggled with getting pregnant.

“I’m sure,” he says, and the pounding gets louder.

“July,” Wes says from the other side, and I feel my eyes grow wide in shock then look at Dr. Marks as he opens the door.

“Congratulations, Wes,” he says as Wes steps into the room.

“You lied,” he says to me, then looks at Dr. Marks and growls, “Congratulations on what?”

“You’re going to be a dad, and actually, we can do an ultrasound today if you like, since you’re both here.”

“What?” Wes says, looking at me then stumbling over to one of the chairs sitting down. “Pregnant?” he asks then shakes his head. “How is that possible?”

“Sometimes, it just happens,” Dr. Marks says, looking proud, like it was his doing. “I’m going to give you guys a few minutes and go get the ultrasound set up.”

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