Rick puffed up in defense of Allison, though he barely contained a smirk. “I happen to like my food with a little extra carbon.”

Devon shrugged. “Since Logan’s smoke alarms are attached to his security system, the fire department will become regulars at Allison’s Kitchen.”

Allison folded her arms. “Do you two have nothing better to do on a Monday morning than harass me?”

“Hey, you’re part of the family now,” Rick said. “Get used to it.”

Allison’s heart swelled. “I am?”

“Yes,” Rick and Devon replied simultaneously.

Allison beamed. Her insides went squishy and soft. Their acceptance meant more to her than words could say.

“So if your kid is a boy, you’ll name him after me.” Rick nodded as if it were a foregone conclusion.

Devon piped in. “No way. My name is much better. It’s gender-neutral. Boy or girl, I’ve got you covered.”

Allison arched an eyebrow. This was so like family. Already fighting over baby names. She loved it. “Maybe I’ll flip a coin.”

“Heads!” Devon called.

“Let’s roll dice,” Rick suggested. “More interested odds.”

Allison wondered, “Which one of you is going to explain to my child that his or her name was decided by a bet?”

Devon’s lips pulled to the side. “I guess Rick will do the honors. He can explain why women’s betting skills are far superior to men’s.”

Rick frowned. “Hey, I resemble that remark.”

Allison laughed.

Approaching the desk, Devon grabbed Allison’s hand, wiggling the huge diamond on her left ring finger. “I’ve kept my mouth shut. But now that we’re all in this together, I’m dying for the scoop on your ring. Are you and Logan official?”

Withdrawing her hand, Allison folded her fingers tightly. “It was an impromptu thing. Logan hasn’t asked me to marry him.”

“What the hell is he waiting for?” Rick looked annoyed.

Devon groaned. “What are we in high school? He gave you a ‘pre-engagement’ ring?”

“The timing hasn’t been right.” Allison was surprised by her own defensiveness.

Rick spread his arms. “Is he going to wait until you’ve popped out the kid before he pops the question?”

“In case you haven’t noticed, Rick, he’s been a little busy with his international contracts.” Which Allison was thrilled to have helped Logan obtain during their DC trip. Logan’s success was about to reach the pinnacle he’d spent his career striving to achieve.

“Too busy to ask the mother of his child and love of his life to marry him?”

Allison stopped breathing. Love of his life ? Logan hadn’t told her he loved her. Did Rick know something she didn’t? Her pulse started racing. Was she ready for the all-in commitment those words entailed?

Her heart and her fears went to war. She knew which side she wanted to win. Maybe with a little more time, her fears would fade and her heart would vanquish the dark cloud of doubt still haunting her.

Allison’s email alert dinged. The sound pierced the silence in her office. “There will be plenty of time to figure out the details. In the meantime, I need to get some work done.”

Devon sighed. “Okay, but keep me posted on those sexy firemen that arrive at your house. I want the names of the best-looking ones.” She licked her lips. “I have a fire that a hot-muscled man can put out for me any day of the week.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Allison grinned and shooed them away.

As Devon and Rick exited, they continued their amusing debate over the future name of Allison and Logan’s baby.

Glowing warmth spread through her, as if an angel had descended from heaven and enfolded her in its majestic wings. She’d never believed her life would become this rich and fulfilling. The path she traveled now was bright and lush, the horizon brimming with beautiful possibilities.

She rested her hand on her abdomen, caressing gently. “Thank you,” she whispered to her baby. “You are my precious miracle. You may not know it yet, but I love you with all my heart.” Logan and their child were the best things that had ever happened to her.

A ring from her inbox alerted her to another new email. The first one she’d missed was a company-wide announcement from Logan. The contract between Stone Security and the Brazilian government was a go. Logan expressed his appreciation to everyone for their hard work and commitment to excellence. Also, Logan had been contacted by several European nations and more contract negotiations were in the pipeline. He’d keep everyone posted on the success coming their way.

Logan was an amazing boss, an amazing man. Allison was so proud of him as a successful businessman, her lover, the father of her child. She’d never felt such soul-deep happiness. Such genuine contentment. Ever.

She wanted to hang on to the feeling with both hands and never let go.

Glancing at the most recent email, she clicked it open. It came from an address she didn’t recognize. It might’ve been sent from a cell phone.

It read: Your car lights are on. Thought you’d want to know .

Probably one of the security guards. Her car was older. She didn’t have the fancy turn-off-by-themselves beacons Logan boasted on his Escalade. She sighed, recalling their argument about her driving separately when they came to work. She’d demanded to keep driving her own car, preserving her independence. It was her small claim to freedom. Besides, Logan had evenings when he needed to stay late. She’d go home and practice cooking, open a bottle of wine for him to let it breathe, looking forward to him walking in the door…and the sexy night in store.

Grabbing her keys, she left her office. She grinned at the memory of how persuasive he could be in the bedroom. She’d arrived late this morning. As usual, Logan had kept her in bed far longer than she’d anticipated. Although, she’d gladly succumb to Logan’s sexual whims any and every morning.

When she pushed through the back door to the underground garage, she recoiled at the scent of garbage. She frowned. There were no collection containers in the enclosed area.

Over-sensitivity? As Stephanie mentioned at Thanksgiving, women’s hormones and senses were out of control during pregnancy.

Scanning the rows of cars, she almost forgot where she’d parked. Her late arrival relegated her to the farthest spot from the door. It seemed darker than usual down here, she noticed, passing under the burned-out light behind her car. She’d let Logan know right away.


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