Today, we welcome Katie Ashley who is stopping by our blog as she promotes her new book The Proposal.
Denise read and reviewed the book a couple of weeks ago and loved it! You can read her 5 STAR review HERE.
At the shrill sounds of feminine squealing, Aidan grabbed his beer and tipped up the bottle. With two long pulls, he downed the foamy liquid. A loud burp escaped his lips. As a practicing Catholic, he was well acquainted with the idea of Purgatory. However, he never imagined he would have to experience it while on earth, nor could he imagine he would be hiding out in his sister, Becky’s, bonus room from the gaggle of females attending Noah’s baby shower.
One thing was certain about his son. He was already attracting hoards of female love and attention, and he wasn’t even born yet. Almost fifty women had converged on Becky’s house. They had arrived with ornately wrapped packages and bulging gift-bags coupled with non-stop conversation. Once the crowd had gathered, he had slunk away to seek out refuge with the other men.
When Aidan went to grab another beer out of the mini-fridge, his father shook his head. “You better watch it. Emma will have your hide if you go out there drunk,” Patrick warned.
Aidan grimaced. “How else am I supposed to endure this?”
His brother-in-law, Tate, snorted. “I feel for ya, man. But if you don’t shape up and act right, you’ll incur the wrath of not only Emma, but all the Fitzgerald girls.”
A shudder went through Aidan at the thought of five angry females. Emma’s fury was enough to scare the hell out of him, but if you combined that with all his older sisters, it was an estrogen shit-storm of epic proportions. “Fine, fine,” he grumbled, putting the beer back.
For the last half hour while inane shower games were played and the feast of food was consumed, Aidan had stationed himself in the bonus room with Patrick and Tate along with his other brothers-in-law, Tim, Jack, and Barry. A play-off game on the big screen captivated the other men, along with John and Percy, but Aidan was too anxious to unwind.
He knew when it came time to start opening the overflowing table of gifts, Emma would want him at her side, and he really, really didn’t want to do that. All of the oohing and ahhing and giggling…it was a nightmare.
Georgie came running into the room. “Come on, Uncle Aidan! It’s time to open presents!” he cried.
Aidan couldn’t help grinning at Georgie’s excitement. He had refused to leave Emma’s side the entire day and couldn’t wait to see what Baby Noah was getting for his “pre-birthday”. Aidan was glad that in Emma’s thoughtfulness she had brought gifts for all of the boys since the shower was being hosted at their home and uprooting them for an afternoon. But deep down, he knew she was mainly looking out for Georgie.
He bounced up and down as Aidan remained rooted on the bar stool. “Whaddya waitin’ for?” Georgie questioned impatiently.
Aidan drew in a deep breath. Glancing over at Patrick, he said, “Wish me luck.”
Patrick thumped Aidan on the back. “Come on, son. I’ll go out there with you.”
“For Emma’s sake, not yours,” Patrick replied, with a wink.
“Figures,” Aidan grumbled.
Georgie grabbed Aidan’s hand and jerked him off the stool. With a tug, he pulled Aidan out the door and down the hallway. As Georgie led him around the corner, Aidan saw an empty chair waiting on one side of Emma while on the other side was a mountain of wrapped boxes and gift bags.
When she met his gaze, her pleased smile warmed his heart. He knew she had waited all her life to get to have a baby shower, and from the flush on her alabaster cheeks, he knew how thrilled and excited she was. And for him, there was nothing better than seeing Emma truly happy.
Impulsively, he leaned over and kissed her tenderly on the lips. “Have I told you how beautiful you look today?”
He wasn’t just flattering her either. The emerald maternity dress, cream colored leggings, and brown knee boots made her absolutely stunning. He loved how she could appear both trendy, graceful, and sexy as hell in what she wore, even eight months pregnant.
Pink tinged her cheeks at his compliments. “Thank you.” Her hand came up to cup his cheek. “Baby, are you sure you don’t mind helping me open gifts?”
He furrowed his brows and held his breath. This had to be some sort of trick question, right? She couldn’t possibly be giving him an out from Baby Shower Hell. And just like that, he saw the flicker in her eyes, and he knew how much she wanted him beside her.
“Of course I’m sure.”
At her wide smile, he reluctantly plopped down in his chair. Gazing out at the sea of faces, he recognized a few friendly ones. Casey and Connor were both in attendance along with Virginia, Emma’s grandmother. Although he couldn’t name them all, there were a bunch of Emma’s female cousins who had come down for the day from the mountains. If he survived this baby shower, he had to make it through another one the following weekend with all of Emma’s relatives.
“Okay, let’s get started,” Becky said, handing a large box to Aidan.
He glanced from Becky to Emma. “You want me to open it?”
“Sure, go ahead,” Emma said.
Sucking in a breath, Aidan tore into the pastel blue wrapping paper. He peered down at the box. “What the hell…”
Emma giggled at his side. “It’s a breast pump, babe.”
“It’s so I can pump my milk for Noah to take while I’m at work or when I can’t breastfeed him.”
He jerked his gaze over to hers. “You mean, you’re actually going to hook yourself up to that?” he asked incredulously.
Women’s laughter rang in his ears, and it was his turn to blush. “It looks painful,” he muttered.
“It’ll be fine,” Emma reassured him.
With one last skeptical look, he passed the box back to Becky. After a few minutes, he felt like a robot on an assembly line. A box or bag was given to him to open. Emma and others would ooh and ahh over it—sometimes Emma would even get teary like with the quilt Virginia presented her with—and then the process would be repeated all over again.
He rubbed his temples at the sight of so many clothes, blankets, bibs, pacifiers, and toys. It made his head swim, especially the thoughts of getting it all back to their house. He couldn’t imagine they would need to buy anything else for Noah for a long, long time.
When the last gift was unwrapped and Emma, through her tears, had thanked everyone profusely, she eased her chair closer to his. “Thank you for helping me.” She slung one arm over his shoulder and leaned in to nuzzle his neck. “I know you how much you hated doing this, but I really appreciate it.”
“Are you kidding? I just had the time of my life,” he argued.
Emma pulled away to grin at him. “You’re such a liar.”
“Okay, so that was a little bit of hell on earth for me.”
“I thought as much.” She took his hand in hers—the one that now glittered with her platinum engagement ring along with her wedding band— and brought it to her belly. “Noah says thanks to.”
At his son’s movements beneath his hand, Aidan smiled. “He likes having his old man around, huh?”
Emma gazed up at him with a dreamy smile. “Yes, he does. And so does his mom.” Her lips hovered close to his. “I love you, Aidan. I love you for giving me today and every day that we’re together.”
His chest welled with emotion, and his only response was to kiss Emma passionately. He didn’t care that they were in a room full of other women or surrounded by breast pumps and diaper genies. He just wanted to show her how much he loved her.
And he did.