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The sweet scent of tropical flowers carried in the Hawaiian evening breeze. I took it in, clasping Kate’s hand in mine as we walked on the beach.
We’d been here a week, and she already glowed with a golden tan. I’d traced her tan lines with my fingertips this morning after we woke to the sound of waves crashing on the beach. And that led to lovemaking that made me glad my mom was around to get up with our kids, Melody and AJ. My parents were staying for the first two weeks of our vacation, and it was nice seeing them connect with our children.
Even though it was Mother’s Day, Mom had insisted that giving AJ a bath and cooking breakfast for her grandchildren was a perfect start to her day. Dad and I had cooked dinner tonight – steak, fish and vegetables on the grill – and we’d done damned good.
“Everything about this place reminds me of our wedding,” Kate said. The wind was blowing strands of her long blonde hair across her face and she brushed them away and smiled at me.
“This is like our second honeymoon,” I said, winking at her. “Except with our two kids and my parents in tow.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Even in the dim moonlight, she was so beautiful. Her long, lean legs were bare beneath the long, baggy sweatshirt with my team logo she wore over her bikini. Her red toenails sank into the wet sand as she splashed her feet in the shallow water.
She’d always been gorgeous, but the way she loved Mel and AJ had deepened my feelings for her. Having a family had given me a new appreciation for how fragile life was. I’d fight any battle for them, but it was the things outside my control that really scared me. Kate and I had gone head to head over my desire to hire a bodyguard to drive her and the kids wherever they needed to go. I’d dropped it for now, but I was still hoping to convince her.
Kate and I had both known loss. The deaths of my first wife and Kate’s first baby had been the reason we met. And as much as I worried about something happening to Kate or our kids, I knew life was better with someone worth worrying about.
“I love getting to be with you every day,” she said, pulling my hand so I’d join her in the shallow water. I stepped in and leaned my forehead down to rest against hers.
“Me too. This trip would be a good time for me to knock you up again.”
Her face clouded for a second before she broke into a smile. Her pregnancy with AJ had been rough on her, and we hadn’t talked about having more.
“AJ’s only six months old,” she reminded me.
I dipped down, swept an arm behind her legs and picked her up.
“Ryke!” she cried as I moved further into the water. “Don’t throw me in!”
“I won’t, baby.” I kissed her softly and she wrapped her arms around my neck. “Did you have a good first Mother’s Day?”
“You didn’t think it was strange that I didn’t give you a gift?”
Her brown eyes sparkled with laughter in the moonlight. “We’re at a lavish beach house in Hawaii on an amazing vacation with our family. This is a perfect gift.”
I carried her to the shore and set her back on her feet. “Well, I got you something.”
I reached into my pocket and pulled out the small box. I’d considered giving it to her at home this morning, but it felt right to be alone for this.
She flipped the lid up and reached inside, pulling out a silver necklace with three jewels and three engraved charms. Each birthstone represented one of the kids, whose initials – H, M and A, were etched into silver discs.
Her eyes pooled with tears and I wondered if I’d been right to include Harlow. She was as much Kate’s child as our other two kids, but memories of her baby who hadn’t made it sometimes made her sad.
“It’s beautiful,” she said, tears sliding from the corners of her eyes. “Thank you for this. I love that all three of my kids are together here. It means . . . more than I can say.”
“I’m glad you like it. You’re an amazing mom. I don’t tell you that enough.”
“So you want more kids? Our life isn’t overwhelming you?”
“I’ve never been happier. I think we should hire some help, but you already know that.”
“Our mothers managed without help.”
I shrugged and looked out at the dark, glistening waves. “It’s up to you, baby. You’re the boss.”
She rolled her eyes and laughed. “Don’t I wish.”
“Everywhere but the bedroom, you own me.” I pulled her against me.
“Another baby would be nice,” she murmured into my chest.
“Yeah. If you’re up for surging hormones, morning sickness and Harmony Moonstone, I am, too.”
“Hell yeah. You’re sexy pregnant. You about wore my dick out last time.”
“We need to wait until I’m taking vitamins. And I want to see the doctor first, just to be safe.”
I nodded, unable to keep the smile from my face. “But we could always practice.”
“We could.” She returned my grin.
“I want you on the beach.”
Her eyes widened. “But we’ll be covered in sand. Your parents will know.”
“So we’ll take a quick swim after. If we walk down to the other end, we’ll have complete privacy.”
The perks of a private beach. She nibbled her lower lip and let me lead the way. And even though we weren’t in the bedroom, I planned to give her a thorough lesson on who was boss for at least the next hour.
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