Limerick City, Ireland—June
The best feeling in the world had to be lying in a lover’s arms, completely exhausted after a night of lovemaking, totally and absolutely sated.
Elaine went with Ethan as he fell back onto the mattress and snuggled close to him, weaving her legs with his and grinning at how his leg hairs tickled her.
The warm, masculine scent of his body—the lingering hint of his cologne, the smell of his skin damp with fine perspiration, the heady aroma of sex—permeated her senses and made that place deep inside her long for him once more.
In a word, he smelled delicious. So much so, she had practically gobbled him up over the last several hours. Perhaps she would again, she thought, trailing her fingertips across the ridges of his broad chest and boldly circling his nipples.
His strong hand grasped hers and brought it to lips framed with dark stubble, kissing the backs of her fingers. “Please, love. I can barely move.”
Elaine glanced down the solid length of him to the twitch beneath the sheet just covering his hips. “Could have fooled me.”
Leaning over, he propped himself up on an elbow and looked down at her. He nestled her head in the crook of his arm.
“Isn’t it enough you kept me up all night,” winking at the double meaning, “but you want to make me late for work, as well?”
“You weren’t complaining an hour ago.”
His lips against hers echoed the passion they had shared through the night.
When he leaned away, his deep voice was soft, his blue-eyed gaze intense. “And I never will, Lany. I love you to the depths of my soul and will always be here for you.”
Tears welled and threatened to spill down her cheeks. “Will you?”
Nodding, he said, “Aye. Always.”
“You truly want this baby.” It wasn’t a question. She rubbed her belly without breaking her gaze with him. When he nodded again, his grin answering more than his voice could, she added, “Oh, Ethan! You make me so happy.” She slid her arms around his shoulders. He came to her instantly, burying his face in the curve of her neck, kissing her there. Familiar tingles shivered up her body and threatened to rekindle the passion she felt hovering just beneath the surface.
All too soon, he pulled away. “I still need to go to work. Now let me go or we’ll be raising our child on the Dole.” He winked again before placing a quick peck on her lips then rose from the bed.
Elaine laughed lightly. "As if you'd accept unemployment money."
When the sheet fell away as he left the bed, she leaned up on her elbow and watched his firm ass flex as he strode out of the room. Something inside her swelled with admiration. Yes, no matter how exhausted she was, she could eat him up over and over again.
A moment later she heard the shower go on then splashing and she imagined the water sluicing over him, wishing she could be in there with him.
She cocked her head at another sound. He was actually singing! He must be really happy. She considered joining him, but he was right. He had to get to work—so did she—or they would both be raising their baby on the Dole.
As she rose and threw on a robe, she laughed at her feelings of dread last night. She had been so afraid to tell Ethan she was pregnant. They had only been married a few short months and were trying to plan their future and keep to an agenda. That included birth control—at least for a while. But nothing was one hundred percent effective, as her current condition proved.
She could barely contain her joy at how Ethan welcomed the baby much sooner than they had planned that she felt she was floating down the stairs.
In the kitchen, Elaine put on the coffee then turned her gaze out the kitchen window to their back garden. She tried imagining a swing set, sand box, and a Wendy house rather than the clothesline, spotty lawn, and falling down tool shed. She wrapped her arms around her waist, wondering how they were going to give their child the life he or she deserved. If money was tight now, it would only get tighter once their child was born.
A moment later, strong arms encircled her, pulling her against a broad chest. Ethan kissed the curve of her neck and she melted against him.
“You okay?” He turned her to face him. “You’ve been standing there for a while just staring outside.”
His dark hair was damp and hanging over the dark brows and lashes framing his crystal blue eyes. His gaze was both concerned and sexy. She wanted to rip his shirt from his shoulders and . . .
Instead, she just finger-combed the curls back from his face. “Aye. I’m trying to imagine a swing set in the garden instead of the clothesline.”
Ethan chuckled. “Everything is going to be grand. We’ve a perfect life. Nothing’s going to change that.” He kissed her on the forehead before releasing her to pour himself a cup of coffee.
Even as she watched the man she loved more than anything move about the kitchen, she could not quell the feeling of dread suddenly eating at her.