“What about after the baby is born?”
“Not then, either.”
His face softened. “I don’t want you to stop being you, Bella. If you’ve a need to help people, then by all mean, let me support you in that.”
“I can help people closer to home,” she said. “Besides, I think I’d like to go back to college.”
“I’ve been asked to lecture at St. Andrews,” he said with a wicked gleam in his eyes. “Wonder what their policy is on student/teacher fraternization?”
“I hope they encourage it, because I plan to be very franternazationy with you in your office, the janitor’s closet, and the—”
“Isabella Stewart, you are a hellion. I see very good grades in your future.”
She grinned. “I’m a woman in love with her very sexy husband.”
“Mo chroi,” he murmured. “My heart, I love you.”
Aiden William Bruce Stewart was born in the middle of springtime. He was healthy, happy, and huge, especially his head.
Bella had assured Liam that Aiden would grow into it.
Liam cradled his son in his arms, telling him stories of his ancestors and all the battles they’d fought. He left out the really messy parts of disembowelments and beheadings.
He loved spending time with Aiden like this, with his son staring up at him and hanging on to his every word. The baby blinked, his sleepy, blue eyes beginning to turn a golden shade of brown that he’d inherited from his mother.
He had the Stewart nose, at least. Too bad that was all he’d inherit from him.
Sebastian popped his head in the nursery. “Have a minute?”
“It’s your house. Of course I have a minute,” Liam replied.
Sebastian’s lips thinned. “I told you to stop referring to it like that.”
“Sorry. You’re right. It’s Daisy’s home.”
“God, you’re such a prat.” His friend handed over a manila envelope. “Trade you for my godson.”
Liam exhaled, giving Sebastian the precious bundle and taking the envelope. He opened it and began to scan the packet of papers. “You came all this way to give me work to do? What happened to our progressive—? Is this some kind of joke?”
“Have you met me?” Sebastian asked, cocking an eyebrow.
He had him there. “Then explain the meaning of this.”
“It’s a present for my godson.”
“It’s the bloody deed to Wintersea,” Liam shouted, shaking the papers at him. “I sold this to—oh, you conniving bast—”
“Careful. Wouldn’t want my godson’s first word to be an insult.”
Liam shook his head. “Did you ever think our lives would turn out like this?” He gazed out the window, into the back garden, where Bella and Daisy were sitting. Blonde hair bent to hair the color of every shade as they talked quietly. Bella held her godson, Rhys.
“Of course I did.”
Liam leveled his best mate with a look. “Bastian.”
“Not in my wildest dreams,” he said softly.
Bella rocked Rhys, blissfully happy to hold her dearest friend’s baby. If they didn’t live so far apart, she would do it more often. “He’s gorgeous, Daisy, and he’ll be a total heartbreaker when he grows up.”
Daisy shook her head. “He better not be.”
“I was just teasing—”
“Because I’m getting a signed contract from him stating that he’ll never leave his momma.”
Bella stared at her. “You’re kidding, right?”
Daisy laughed. “Totally.” Her face turned serious. “Not really. I don’t want to think of him all grown up and kissing other women besides me.”
“If I didn’t feel the exact same way about Aiden, I’d think you had a problem.”
Daisy snorted. “We do have a problem. We’ve turned into mothers.”
“Fine with me.” Bella tossed her head. “I’m a sexy mamacita.”
“Judging by the way your husband keeps staring at you, I’d say he agrees,” Daisy said, and she grabbed Bella’s hand. “I’m so happy for the two of you, and now that you’ll be closer—”
“Closer?” Were Daisy and Sebastian moving? “Like he’s buying another island off the coast of Greece closer?”
Daisy gave her a smug grin. “Nope.”
“It’s the bloody deed to Wintersea,” Liam shouted, and she gasped, tears flooding her eyes.
“Aiden’s birthday present, from us,” Daisy said, her cheeks turning pink. “I hope you don’t mind.”
“Mind you giving my husband and son the greatest gift ever? Yeah, totally hate it,” Bella joked. “I hate it when the people I love are so thoughtful and generous and do things that I have absolutely no way of paying them back.”
“That defeats the purpose of a gift, Bella.”
“I know,” she said, her throat all thick. “But you… I…”
Daisy hugged her, without jostling her son. “You have always been my very best friend. You were there for me when my parents died, when Glen left me, when I found out I was pregnant… you were the one to take me to doctor’s appointments and let me cry on your shoulder. This is the least I can do for you.”
Bella bit her lip, but the tears fell anyway. “Thank you.”
Daisy shrugged, but her eyes were shiny with tears. “It’s what we Holland Springs girls do.”
Epilogue Number Two
an Introduction to The Lawsons
(Because I can (hee!). And because I know you will love these brothers! I’m dying for you to meet some of them right now!)
Three years later
Caleb Lawson stood off to the side, sweet iced tea in one hand while the other itched to touch the hair of the dark-haired woman his mother had brought home.
But since Sofia Nogales was a guest in their house, all he could do was moon over her, like he’d never seen a woman before. That wasn’t far from the truth. He’d never seen someone so pretty, both inside and out.
However, there was a small part of him that tugged at his brain, at the reasonable side of him. Something wasn’t right about her showing up out of the blue, like she had. Now wasn’t the time to investigate, though, not with a family reunion going on. His parents would tan his hide—twenty-eight years old or not.