EPILOGUE

One year later...


MAC CAREFULLY LAID the baby in her crib. It was two a.m. and the rest of the town was sleeping. With a bit of luck, three-week-old Isobel Grace MacIntyre would follow suit.

‘Has she dropped off at last?’

‘Not yet.’

He turned, thinking that Bella had never looked more beautiful as she sat there propped against the pillows in their bed. They had married as soon as they had discovered that she was expecting the baby. He knew that they would have got married anyway but he had discovered that he was surprisingly old-fashioned in many ways and had wanted their child to be born in wedlock. The simple ceremony in the hospital’s chapel had been perfect too, the final seal on their happiness, not that they had needed to prove it. He loved Bella with every fibre of his being, just as she loved him, and anyone could see how they felt too!

‘I think she’s debating whether or not to give her poor mum and dad a break.’

He lay down on the bed and gathered Bella into his arms, inhaling the warm womanly smell of her. She had decided to feed Isobel herself and he loved watching her do so, loved how her face filled with adoration for their baby, loved how fulfilled she looked with the infant nursing at her breast. Love, as he had discovered, was infinite and expanded on a daily basis.

He kissed her gently on the lips, drawing back when he felt his body immediately stir. It was too soon for them to make love because Bella needed time to heal after the birth. Anyway, waiting only made his desire for her even stronger, not that it hadn’t been pretty strong to begin with!

‘Mmm. I think I can guess what’s on your mind,’ she said, pulling back so she could look into his eyes, and he chuckled.

‘Is it that obvious?’

‘Yes.’ She snuggled against him and sighed. ‘Not just on your mind either.’

‘Never mind. Just another couple of weeks and we can resume relations, as they say,’ he said comfortingly, pulling her back to him.

‘I can’t wait,’ she murmured against his chest. She suddenly drew back again. ‘Did I tell you that I spoke to Freya this morning? Apparently, the results of her mock A-levels were so good that she’s been offered a place at Lancaster. She will make a brilliant nurse, don’t you think?’

‘I do. I’m so glad that her parents saw sense in the end. She needs their support if she’s to make a success of uni,’ he said, pulling her back into his arms. He kissed the tip of her nose and smiled. ‘Another set of grandparents who’ve been won over.’

‘Like my parents, you mean.’ She burrowed against him. ‘Dad phoned as well this afternoon to let me know they’re coming up to visit us at the weekend.’

‘Again?’ Mac laughed softly. ‘That’s the third time in as many weeks. Why do I get the feeling that they’re going to turn into doting grandparents?’

‘Oh, I’ve no idea, but don’t knock it. Dad mentioned something about him and Mum babysitting if we wanted to go out for dinner. Sounds good to me.’

‘Me too. So long as Isobel is all right, of course,’ he added, glancing over at the crib.

‘She’ll be fine.’ Bella snuggled even closer. ‘Now, why don’t we take advantage of the fact that she seems to have dropped off at last?’

‘Mmm, sounds interesting. What do you suggest?’ he asked, leering comically at her.

‘I’m not sure. I shall leave that up to you.’

Mac laughed as he pulled her to him and kissed her hungrily. Maybe they couldn’t make love just yet but there were other ways to show how they felt about one another. They just needed to be creative...

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