“Well, until the baby is old enough to go to a sitter.”

“Wait, what?” I ask, unhooking Gryff’s leash. “Why would the baby need a sitter?”

“For when I go to work,” she states, leaving me speechless. “I don’t want to waste my degree.”

“It’s not wasting your degree, Viola. You’ll always have it, but don’t you want to be the one to raise the baby? I just figured—”

“That I’d be one of those stay-at-home moms that live in yoga pants, dirty t-shirts, and unwashed hair?”

“Well, I wasn’t necessarily talking about the uniform…”

“Whatever. I don’t want to be left alone all day long while you’re at work.”

“But I want to be the one to provide for you, for us. I left my corporate job with you in mind, Viola. I wanted to make sure our future was planned out.”

“So, we’re just going to make a dozen babies, and I’ll stay home and cook and clean and then we’ll be the next TLC spotlight family?”

I swallow, watching her steam into overdrive, and wondering how the hell I’m supposed to handle this situation when her hormones get the best of her. We probably should’ve discussed this before I made assumptions, but now I don’t know how to get myself out of it without pissing her off even more.

“Okay, we can do whatever makes you happy.” I take a step toward her, watching her chest rise and fall as she takes deep breaths. “Calm down, princess. We’ll make this work; I promise you. We don’t have to make any definite plans right now. Nothing is set in stone.”

“Except for the fact that I have to pop this baby out of my vag.”

“Well, yeah. Unfortunately, I can’t fix that little detail.” I watch as she fidgets. “Deep breaths, princess. Everything is going to be fine.”

“I don’t know why I get like this. One second I’m fine, and the next, I’m freaking out, overthinking everything and questioning if we’re ready for this, and what if something goes wrong or what if I’m not strong enough to go through labor or—”

“Viola,” I say firmly, grabbing her attention. “You are going to drive yourself insane, overanalyzing every little thing that might or might not go wrong. I’m here for you, okay? I’m not going anywhere, and whatever happens, we’ll figure it out together. Got it?”

“Okay,” she says softly. I bring her lips to mine and kiss her, reminding her exactly how much I love her. “Are you sure you still love this train wreck?”

“More and more every single day.”

After Viola takes a shower, she ends up falling asleep on the couch with Gryff. I don’t dare disturb her because I know how tired she gets. My parents are driving down to meet us for dinner tonight, which will be Viola’s first time seeing them in years. I told my mom over the phone that Viola was pregnant, and she’s been ecstatic over the news.

My father is sicker than before, and my mom is still doing everything she can to keep him alive. I know she loves him, and I admire her strength. I don’t openly talk about it unless she gives me the impression she wants to, but tonight will be about new beginnings and the next chapter in our lives. As much as I look forward to this next year of our lives, I’m also enjoying every step of the journey along the way.

I peek at Viola once more before I step outside, needing to make sure she’s still asleep. I dial Courtney and make sure to keep my voice low just in case her enhanced hearing takes effect again.

“What’s up, boss?” She answers on the first ring.

“Viola’s asleep, so I wanted to go through the events for tonight one more time,” I say, pacing on the driveway.

“We’ve been over it five times!”

“Just humor me, Courtney!”

She laughs and lets out a loud sigh. “Fine. If that’s what will get me a raise…”

“A raise? We haven’t even opened the doors yet!”

“What can I say? My daddy taught me how to play hardball at a young age.”

I brush a nervous hand through my hair and mutter a few curse words. “Fine,” I agree through gritted teeth. “I’ll have Drew come twice a week to deliver lunch. Happy now?”

I can tell she’s smiling on the other end just by the high-pitched tone in her voice. “Yes, very. Now was that so hard?”

“I knew I’d regret calling you that day,” I mutter, knowing damn well she’ll hear me.

“And now you’re stuck with me forever. Get used to it, King.”

“Can we please just go through the plan one more time now?” I’m losing my patience, and she knows it, too.

“Of course. Whatever you say, boss.”



I wake up to Gryff licking my face. He’s pressing on my bladder, and I’m two seconds away from peeing myself.

Tags: Kennedy Fox The Checkmate Duet Erotic
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