And here he was, leaner than he’d been, tanned from long days in the sun, hair once again military short, eyes dark and filled with things that caught her breath.
“You’re a sight for sore eyes,” he said.
“You too. Jacob—” She broke off, nervous. He seemed content to wait for her to gather herself. He was excellent at that. God, she’d missed him. “Just so you know,” she murmured, her heart pounding hard. “I did as you suggested. I made myself at home.” She trailed off as…victory? satisfaction?…flickered across his face. Maybe both, but what caught her by the heart and wouldn’t let go was the intensity of his eyes and a smile that warmed her to the bone.
“You’ve made another choice,” he said.
“Yeah,” she breathed. “I’m home.”
He stood and strode straight for her, leaning over her to kiss her long and deep, one hand sliding up her spine to cradle the back of her head.
She gripped him tight, her fingers running up his arms, bared thanks to his T-shirt. His skin was chilled. “You’re cold,” she said. “Come in here. Let me warm you,” she whispered, and lifted the covers in invitation.
Holding her gaze, he stripped and climbed into the bed, pulling her into the circle of his arms. A low, rough, heartfelt groan escaped him as he pulled her naked body to him. “We’re both home now,” he said.
Six months later
Sophie had never been so happy and so miserably sick at the same time. Currently she was kneeling on the floor in the bar’s bathroom, trying to decide if she was done. She hadn’t had any alcohol, but upon reflection, the second order of hot wings might’ve been a serious error in judgment.
Kenna was helping to hold her hair back. “Honey, you should’ve canceled tonight if you were sick.”
“I’m not.” Pretty sure she was over this latest bout, she sat back and eyed the diamond wedding band on her finger. Jacob had put it there two months ago, on a weeklong vacay in Hawaii, where they’d stood together and exchanged vows. It still gave her a thrill to see the ring. “I’m okay now.”
“You’re not,” Kenna said. She brought Sophie some dampened paper towels while simultaneously speaking into her cell phone. “Sophie’s sick,” she said. “Yeah, she’s thrown up, like, four times.”
“Three,” Sophie corrected weakly, “and are you really tattling on me?” She rinsed her mouth in the sink. “What are we, twelve?”
Ten minutes later Jacob came barging through the women’s bathroom door looking very much like a warrior soldier ready to kick ass, making another woman squeak and rush out.
Jacob didn’t even glance at her. All he had eyes for was Sophie. He dropped to his knees next to her where she was sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall. He pulled her in, hugging her tight, and Sophie found herself laughing and crying at the same time as she clutched at him.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” he demanded incredulously.
“I didn’t know until this morning, I was going to tell you later tonight, after I warmed you up to the idea…”
“Babe…” He stroked her hair from her damp forehead. “Why would you need to warm me up to the idea of having a baby?”
“You don’t remember?” she asked on a low laugh. “Last week at the ball game, the woman next to us had a two-year-old who kept having a temper tantrum. And you said, ‘Let’s never do that.’”
“I meant because she had him dressed up in a mini Raiders uniform. No kid of mine is going to wear anything other than a Broncos jersey.”
Kenna dropped to her knees next to them. “Okay, someone needs to tell me right here, right now…We’re having a baby?”
Sophie felt her eyes fill again at the look on Jacob’s face—pure, radiant joy.
“Yeah,” he said, leaning in, pressing his forehead to Sophie’s, his own eyes suspiciously misty too. “We’re having a baby.”
“That’s why you wouldn’t drink!” Kenna grinned. “Even when I said vodka was made from potatoes and potatoes are a vegetable, which practically makes vodka a salad.”
Sophie smiled. “No alcohol for eight more months.”
“We’re having a baby,” Kenna repeated in marvel, a wide grin on her usually taciturn face.
“Well, I don’t know much about the ‘we’ part,” Sophie said wryly. “Seems to me most of the work is going to be mine.”