The final story in this sun-soaked series.

Written with Meredith Russell.

Feuding families, unearthed secrets, and a violent storm threatens the Cay. Will the idyllic island with her cast of characters make it through unscathed? It’s time for the circle to close on the story of Sapphire Cay, and on the men who have lived and found love on her beaches.

Join characters old and new as we celebrate Dylan and Lucas’s wedding and delve into the history of Sapphire Cay.

Connor and Shaun are directly related to Peter and Alfie, a couple whose clandestine lover affair was overshadowed by old prejudices and a world war. Shaun Jamieson is a writer, a romantic and needs to pen the story of the affair’s final secrets; Connor French’s family wants to stop Shaun.

When the two men step onto the sands of Sapphire Cay, they find more than just the secrets of an old love. They find hope and comfort in each other. But with the past hanging over them, can they ever have what Peter and Alfie could not? Or are they just as ill-fated as their ancestors?









The Sapphire Cay series


Written with Meredith Russell

Book 1 - Follow The Sun
Book 2 - Under The Sun
Book 3 - Chase The Sun
Book 4 - Christmas In The Sun
Book 5 - Capture The Sun
Book 6 - Forever In The Sun 

Buy Links - eBook


Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) Smashwords Kobo Barnes & Noble iTunes


Buy Links - Print Book


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Reviews


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Multi Tasking Mommas - 4/5 - "....Two stories, one that makes you laugh, the other makes us smile with tears in our eyes. Both are sweetly written. Both worth the while to sleep and dream over later...."

Sexy Erotic Xciting - 5/5 - "....Forever in the Sun is a sensual read with charismatic characters, beautiful words and an enchanting setting. Allow yourself the moment to relax with one of the most amorous series written, on an island paradise that will have you believing in true happily-ever-after’s...."

Love Bytes - 4/5 - "...If you have read the other books in the series, you have GOT to read this one to get the much awaited ending. It’s worth it. If you haven’t read the others, you need to before you read this one. If you are looking for a nice sweet series, low angst, based around a good group of men, try these Sapphire Cay books. You won’t be disappointed!"

Excerpt


Chapter 1

Lucas ducked out of the way and cursed as a paper plane curved back on itself and missed him by inches. Dylan was bored and he was showing his displeasure at having to wait in a myriad different ways. First off he’d read the two most recent magazines; one on home design, the other a gossip rag. Then he’d gone out and bought coffee, back out to buy muffins, before disappearing to find somewhere to recycle the cups.

Usually the most laid back person Lucas had ever met, Dylan hated being inside and this was the result. He was a kid with nothing to do, and he was restless.

“Sorry,” Dylan said. He wasn’t sorry given the fact he was now making a new plane out of a sheet from the home design magazine. Lucas placed a hand over his fiancé’s and stopped the making of said plane.

“He’ll be back in a minute,” Lucas reassured Dylan.

“You said that ten minutes ago,” Dylan grumped. He sighed noisily. “What if he’s back there looking at what we gave him and he thinks there is a problem?”

Lucas had heard all this before. To be honest he was just as anxious, but he couldn’t afford to let himself get antsy like Dylan—he didn’t think his ulcer would thank him very much for it. Instead, he was channeling his worries into being the exact opposite of how he really felt.

“Like what?” he asked in a calm, patient tone.

Dylan slumped a little and shook his head. “I don’t know.”

Lucas sat forward in his chair. “Oh my God,” he said abruptly.

Dylan reacted with panic and sat bolt upright. “What?”

Lucas looked at Dylan. “What if they find out about my previous marriages?”

Dylan’s mouth fell open and Lucas had to duck again as Dylan made to smack him upside the head. “Asshole,” he muttered.

“Well, what could be a problem? Neither of us has been married before, we’re both free to marry. We’ve done everything we need to do. This is the last thing, the license.”

The door to the interior of the large dusty building opened with a resounding smack against the wall and a portly man made his way to them with an envelope in his hand. “My apologies,” he began. “The photocopier jammed and I had to wait for the tech to clear it.”

“No worries,” Lucas lied. He took the envelope, then he and Dylan exchanged the usual pleasantries with the officer who was very excited about their marriage and what it meant for gay men everywhere. Lucas wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to be an example to the world, but he nodded, agreed, and said all the right things. As they talked, Dylan edged toward the door, intent written on his features. He wanted outside, and Lucas was happy to follow.

Only when they were out in the sunshine did what they had just done finally sink in’. The license was the last piece of their jigsaw and now nothing was stopping Dylan and him from being married. Lucas pulled Dylan into a close hug and inhaled the outdoors that clung to his lover; sun and Dylan was the best scent and Lucas wondered how he had ever managed without it before.

“Nothing stopping us now,” he whispered.

Which was exactly the wrong thing to say. Dylan’s cell sounded and he answered the call immediately.

“Scott? Everything okay?”

Dylan kept walking and Lucas didn’t think anything of it. They were right at the start of the harbor that gave Marsh Harbor its name when abruptly Dylan stopped dead.

Shit, this can't be good. Lucas immediately went through every scenario that could involve Scott, and could stop the wedding, then quickly moved on to Adam, Scott’s lover and the chef at the Cay. Had there been another incident like the oven and fire? Was Adam ill? Was it Scott?

“How much?” Dylan said incredulously. “We agreed two less than that. I don’t understand how he can…damn…okay, we’ll go there now…” Dylan glanced at Lucas and seemed to reconsider. “No, fuck it, we’re coming home. I’ll deal with him later.”

Lucas waited until the call ended. Deal with whom? Talk of money implied this was about the new boat for Sapphire Cay, which Dylan was calling Liberty Two. The Cay needed two boats. Lucas wasn’t going to argue as it was mostly his idea to begin with. Transport to and from Sapphire Cay was Dylan’s responsibility, but Lucas was the one who worked on finance and logistics. His opinion was, having two boats was better than one.

“What happened?” he asked cautiously. Dylan looked halfway between angry and resigned.

“The seller upped his price by two thousand.”

Lucas’s mathematical mind quickly calculated where the hell they would get that money from at short notice. He identified a couple of places before speaking again. “Can he do that?”

Dylan curled a hand into his hair. “No. Yes. I don’t know.”

“Would you be happy to pay the extra two?”

“We’d have to if we want that boat. Or that is what Scott told me the seller said,” Dylan said immediately. “Doesn’t mean I want to. Typical this shit happens just before our wedding.” Dylan pressed fingers to his temples. “I don’t get why everything has to be so difficult at the moment, all I want is an easy life—“

“Dylan, stop.” Lucas could see Dylan winding himself up to a mini meltdown. What was wrong with his fiancé? Why was he so on edge with everything lately? Lucas was the stressy one normally. Was Dylan having second thoughts about the marriage? Dylan was the free spirit. It was Lucas who craved the forever to start with, but he knew Dylan had wanted marriage as much as he did.

“I can't,” Dylan ground out.

“Tell me what is difficult about this? We go to the seller and negotiate. We don’t have to have that particular boat.”

Dylan leaned back against the railing by the harbor coffee shop. “I like that boat.”

“Then we pay the extra.”

Dylan shook his head. “I don’t know if I like it that much. Two thousand.” He snorted a soft laugh and blew out a breath, like he was clearing away one of the problems running around in his head. “It’s fine I can look again after the wedding. Besides, we already need a new oven.”

“The oven and the fire are covered by insurance,” Lucas reminded him.

“And Ed sent the plans over for building the new reception area he came up with—“

“Which we budgeted for.” Lucas stepped up into Dylan’s space, bracketing him with his hands on the railings. “Dylan, what’s wrong? Are you having second thoughts?”

“No, you were right, we need a second boat.”

“Not about the boat, about us.”

Dylan looked horrified, a flash of something in his blue eyes, fear or wariness, Lucas couldn’t tell. “No. God, no. That’s about the one thing I am most sure about in my life.” Dylan cradled Lucas’s face with strong warm hands, and Lucas could swear there was moisture in Dylan’s eyes. “I just want everything to go right so that…”

Lucas hated the tone of Dylan’s voice. He sounded beaten and sad. “So that what?”

“So that you don’t change your mind about marrying a beach bum like me who drags nothing but crap around with him.”

For a second Lucas was speechless. Dylan was worried about that? “I love the man I found on the Cay,” he began. “And you’re not a beach bum. Like it or not, you have a business and responsibilities. Hell, we even have a dog.” He replayed the words. “And what exactly do you mean, crap follows you around?”

“My dad, my money, the boat, the fire in the kitchen, what else do you want me to add to the list?” Dylan stared right at Lucas, the emotion evident in his expression and filling his eyes.

“None of that is down to you, Dylan. And nothing that ever happened would scare me away.”

Dylan smiled. “And I love you, Lucas. I mean, whatever goes wrong, I will always love you.” Dylan pressed a kiss to Lucas’s lips and when he deepened the kiss it was like heaven.

“Break it up, boys,” Tasha called from behind them. Dylan and Lucas stood as they were for a second then separated and Lucas faced his sister. Twenty-one weeks pregnant, she was at that stage when she looked radiant, albeit a little flushed in the heat. She was in charge of a box of something that Ed had sent; cards or some such thing Ed deemed essential to the Lucas/Dylan wedding. Lucas didn’t ask what Ed had sent, he just went to her side and relieved her of the square, not so heavy, package.

“You should have stayed at the Cay,” Lucas admonished as she leaned against him briefly.

“Because I’m hot and waddling like a duck? I'm okay. Did you get the license?”

“Yes, and you’re not waddling. You look gorgeous.” Lucas hugged her briefly.

Tasha smiled up at him. “You say the nicest things, big brother, but I’m hot and tired and ready to go back now.”

Dylan jumped down into the Lady Liberty. He held out a hand and, between him and Lucas they assisted Tasha onto the boat. They helped to keep her steady and fussed until she was sitting as comfortably as she could under the small canopy. She’d demanded to come with them this afternoon, saying she needed to pick something up that she’d ordered herself. Lucas didn’t see another package, but she was carrying a large floral bag that, for all he knew, contained the kitchen sink, it was that voluminous. Liam hadn’t been overly happy with her going to Marsh Harbor but he’d backed off when his pregnant wife treated him to a discussion on why she should go and why he should stop fussing. Also, he was helping with some kind of project Jamie was working on. Lucas knew damn well Liam would be standing on the jetty waiting for them though, probably with water and fruit and an adoring expression. Lucas had never seen a man so much in love with his wife.

Now just over halfway through her pregnancy, Tasha had had her twenty-week scan. To everyone’s relief, everything was as it should be. Though Lucas knew she could most likely fly if they had waited until the season ended, he was glad they had picked March for the wedding. His and Dylan’s honeymoon might be the shortest honeymoon in history, with a wedding booked in only three days after theirs. But at least he didn’t have to worry about Tasha, heavily pregnant on planes and boats, or the predictably unpredictable weather of the summer season. He didn’t think he could have handled the stress or the worry. Slotting their wedding in the space between bookings had been the right thing to do, even if organizing it had sent Edward into some sort of wedding planner Terminator mode with such a tight deadline.

To make up for having no time after the wedding Dylan had suggested a late honeymoon to visit when she was due, but that had been nixed immediately. She was a different woman to the one who had announced she was pregnant at Christmas. She was confident and happy and said it made more sense for Lucas and his new husband to visit at the end of the Cay’s off-season after the baby was born. She insisted she had all the help she needed and any time Dylan and Lucas had before the birth would be better spent on a real honeymoon, just the two of them. Lucas wasn’t going to argue with his sister and Dylan talked him down off the ledge about missing the new baby’s birth. Still, nothing would stop him seeing the new arrival as soon as it all happened. For now he needed to enjoy having Tasha and Liam here for the wedding.

Dylan’s dad was slowly becoming another unneeded stress for Lucas. He wondered if, in part, it was the arrival of Dylan’s father two days ago, with his new wife in tow, that was contributing to Dylan getting all worked up and worried. After all, Dylan had included his dad on the list of crap he’d mentioned. The old man was happy with Rebecca and spent a lot of the time cornering Dylan and talking at him. Not to him. At him. About all kinds of things. Investments, the future, a family. No doubt he’d spoken of the wedding as well but one thing Dylan Senior didn’t do was talk to Lucas much at all. He wasn’t warm like he was with his new wife or Dylan.

Lucas guessed Dylan’s father had things to say to him, but couldn’t figure out how to say them, and so had been avoiding Lucas like the plague.

Also, the man was causing trouble here and there by wanting to be extra helpful. There had been some kind of run in yesterday between him and Adam. The upshot was that the main oven had burned circuits and the kitchen was soaked from the sprinklers. Something about Dylan’s dad messing with timers and melted cheese. Lucas had tried to stay out of it for Dylan’s sake, but it had taken a long time to calm Adam down, and for Scott to get Adam to rethink the wedding menu in the new parameters.

At least he could count on Edward to get the wedding under control, organizing everyone and everything. That way in four days time there would actually be a wedding. Lucas hoped that between now and then he didn’t thump Dylan’s dad, who seemed to think he knew a lot about a whole bunch of non-important things, beginning with the melting point of cheese.

“You okay?” Tasha asked. “You’re in your own world.”

Lucas squeezed his sister’s hand. “I’m good. Thinking about the wedding, and the island, and the baby.”

“Let me worry about the baby,” Tasha teased. “And you focus on the wedding. The Cay can look after itself.”

As the Liberty made her way toward Sapphire Cay, Lucas watched Dylan at the helm. Dylan was still the same person that Lucas fell in love with. Denim shorts and a scruffy tee, dark hair with the blond streaks just too long to be tamed, eyes so blue he could lose himself in them. Whatever obstacle they had to overcome, there were only four days to go until they were married.

Lucas was counting down the hours.



Chapter 2

“Okay, nobody panic.” Dylan stood very still and held out his hands indicating for everyone to do the same. He assessed the scene in the kitchen and felt the grip of foreshadowing in his chest. He tried to push the thought from his mind. This wasn’t any kind of omen. It was an accident. Today was going to be perfect. Well, almost perfect. “How did this happen? And for the love of God, please tell me Edward doesn’t know?”

Adam ran his hands back through his hair and cursed under his breath. “Edward’s going to kill us.”

“Bloody hell and bollocks.” Scott rested his hand on Adam’s shoulder and smirked.

Not impressed with Scott’s attempt to lighten the mood, Adam slapped away his hand. “Watch yourself or I’ll tell Edward this is your fault.” He pointed at the destroyed wedding cake.

Scott was quick to protest, “It’s not my fault.”

Adam didn’t look convinced.

“It’s nobody’s fault.” Dylan chewed on his lip. Or maybe it was his. Crap. He glanced at the cake, then at Adam and Scott. They could figure something out between them, right? Scott shrugged his shoulders and Adam looked flustered.

Bollocks, indeed.

There was no time to deal with this. He was getting married in less than three hours.

“Scott, can you grab Mutt, please?”

Mutt lifted his head at the sound of his name. The dog’s face was covered in white frosting, and he twisted his head as he tried to lick the sugary goodness from his snout. Shaking his head, Mutt looked up at Dylan with wide innocent eyes, a trick Dylan was sure Lucas had a hand in teaching him for getting away with, in this case, cake murder. Scott reached for Mutt, grabbing the animal by his collar and pulling him away from what was quite the massacre.

“Can we save anything?”

“Half the bottom tier. Maybe,” Adam said. He nodded to what was left of the three tier cake sitting on the trolley. From the trail of evidence, Mutt had jumped up and started on the bottom layer of the cake before knocking the pillars, collapsing the top two tiers on top of himself.

Dylan eyed the square cake. They could totally cut off the section covered in dog drool, right? Nobody would know, and it wasn’t like they needed all three layers. They didn’t have that many guests, not really. “Okay. I guess we could try saving it.” Could they? Really? He eyed Mutt. Maybe it was best they scrapped the whole thing. If anyone was going to find a dog hair in their slice, it would be Edward. “Maybe we could...”

“What?” Adam asked.

He had no idea. “You’ll think of something.”

Enthusiastically, Scott suggested, “Cupcakes. We have time for those, right?”

Disbelief creased Adam’s brow. “I’m going to start with B, whereby to cook, cool, and frost, what? Fifty plus cupcakes? Is not as quick and easy as you think, not when I have everything else to organize.” Adam screwed his hands into fists as he spoke. “And let’s go back to A, more importantly, I still don’t have an oven.” He raised his voice.

Scott caught his balance as Mutt lurched forward. The man wore the reprimanded school boy look pretty damn well. “Can you not stick them in the microwave?”

Adam opened his mouth and quickly shut it. He tilted his head as if considering the option. “No. We’re not making microwave cakes.” He shuddered at the sacrilegious idea Scott had put forward.

“What about Dominiq?” someone said from behind Dylan.

Dylan looked over his shoulder at Jamie. Panic gripped his chest as he searched past Jamie for any sign of Edward. “Where’s Ed?”

“Checking strings of lights.” Jamie eyed the cake on the floor. “And no, I’m not telling him about this.”

Not even the super-calming effect of Edward’s boyfriend would stop the wedding planner going nuclear if he found out what had happened to his beautifully designed cake.

“So what about Dominiq?” Jamie suggested again. “He wouldn’t have left Marsh Harbor yet. If he hasn’t time to bake, he could probably buy something as a stand in.”

“Yeah, yeah. That could work.” Dylan nodded with each word. They had roughly three hours to the ceremony. The ride from Marsh Harbor to the Cay was around fifty minutes. There was still time to fix all this, somehow. “Okay, marine, you’re in charge of Operation Cake.” He looked firmly at Jamie. “I want you to get on the phone to Dominiq and fix this mess. Whatever it takes, whatever it ends up costing me. Once you’ve done that, you’re on Edward watch. Under no circumstances does he enter this kitchen.”

Jamie nodded, turned on his heel, and headed for the office to make the call.

“Adam, you do whatever the hell it is you do. Is there anything you need? Any more staff need sending through?”

With a smile, Adam assured him everything was fine, apart from the obvious. “Everything is running to plan. Well, everything else.” His gaze briefly fell to the destroyed cake. “I am so sorry.”

“We can all be sorry later.” Dylan flashed a smile and tried to ignore the nagging doubt he had over who was to blame. Was he supposed to have been watching Mutt?

“What about me?” Scott asked.

“You’re on cleanup. Mutt, then the kitchen. I don’t want Lucas finding out, so be sneaky, yeah?”

“Well, I’ll try. But you know what he’s like. He’s almost as bad as Edward when it comes to checking on things.”

That was true, and also scary. During the whole wedding organization, it was like Dylan had been seeing double and hearing everything in stereo. Dylan would happily have turned up in board shorts on the day, married on the beach, just the two of them, and lived happily ever after. But as Edward and Lucas had reminded him, they were only going to be doing this once. Lucas deserved to have the wedding he wanted, surrounded by people who loved him.

Lucas couldn’t find out about this. Not yet. He’d think it was some kind omen of doom for the rest of their day, for their future. No, today was going to be amazing and perfect and a day to remember only for good reasons. He knew what he had to do.

“It’s okay. I’ll just have to bring in the reinforcements,” he said.

Scott quirked an eyebrow.

“Tasha.”



* * * * *



There was a gentle knock, and Lucas smiled as Tasha slowly pushed open the door.

“Are you decent?” she asked and pushed the door a little farther. “Wow.” She stopped in the doorway and looked her brother up and down. “You look amazing.”

Lucas took a deep breath and turned to look in the full-length mirror. “You’ve seen me in suits before.” He had worn plenty during his years at Morgan Municipal.

“Never one on your wedding day.” A smile lit her face as she moved behind him, reaching around to straighten his tie.

She was dressed in blue. A deep shade to match that of his and Dylan’s ties. The short strapless dress hugged her high on her waist accentuating her full bust, then hung loose over her baby bump. Gently, she rested her hands on Lucas’s shoulders and met his eyes in the mirror.

“I’m so proud of you.”

Resting his hand on hers, Lucas turned around. “I can’t believe this is really happening.”

She squeezed her hand around his. “I never doubted it. Dylan would do anything for you. Even settle down and stay in one place.”

Lucas laughed and shook his head. “I didn’t mean him.”

Tasha gazed up at him. She studied his face as if looking for an answer to her unvoiced question.

“Just… a few years ago I never imagined any of this could be possible. I mean, I was working every hour of the day. That was my life. Not this.” He looked down onto the beach through the open window. A warm breeze caused the light material of the drapes to blow up and carried with it the smell of ocean. Something Lucas would always associate with all the best bits of Dylan; his strong arms, his warm embrace, his smile, and his kiss. How could he have ever imagined this life? It was so far away from anything he had been living back then.

“But you’re happy, right?”

With a smile, he said, “So happy.” He’d been in an office working late every night, barely had any time for himself, let alone for Tasha, or to think about dating, marriage, making a real home with someone. He hadn’t been living, not actually. Money and contracts had been his life, making other people rich. He had done it for Tasha and nearly worked himself into an early grave just to see her happy and financially secure. She had been his world, his everything, after their parents died. But now, she was starting her own family, had a husband who would give her the world if she asked for it. She didn’t need him, not the way she used to. Lucas would never stop worrying about his baby sister. Nor would he regret the years he put into Morgan Municipal to see her through school and into a job she loved. Anyway, now it was his turn to be looked after, by a man who loved him.

“I’m hungry.” Tasha rubbed her hand over her rounded stomach. She glanced at Lucas, clearly aware she had disturbed thoughts deeper than hers of food.

It wasn’t just the scent of the ocean riding in on the breeze. Every now and then the smoky scent of cooking meat permeated up to the hotel as fat hit heat. With the oven out of action, Edward had suggested a hog roast on the beach—pork, rolls, potato salad. If Lucas was honest, he preferred the roast to the four-course menu Edward had worked with Adam to create. Informal was better, more them, more Dylan.

What was going through Dylan’s head right then? Did he have the same butterflies in his stomach as Lucas?

In ninety minutes, he would be Mr. Madison-Gray. Or maybe Gray-Madison. Were they even doing that? The whole double-barrel thing? Or were they staying as they were? Maybe they should pick one surname. Lucas Gray. He chewed on his lip. Dylan Madison.

“Are you okay?”

Lucas nodded. He had to stop finding things to obsess over. He’d been banned from stalking staff around and checking in with Edward every five minutes. Apparently, today was his day and it wasn’t his job to worry about anything. Despite having been threatened with being locked inside his room, Lucas had snuck out to help set up the fire pit to cook the pig, then liaised with Scott over picking up guests coming into Marsh Harbor that morning. Guests including Dylan’s ex Mitch and his (Lucas thought they were official) boyfriend Isaac. Others like Dominiq and his family, and various people Dylan knew off the main island, who owned boats, were making their own way to Sapphire Cay throughout the day.

Everybody he had spoken to, before being shooed to his room to relax with a breakfast of fruits and a glass of champagne, had assured him everything was going like clockwork. He just couldn’t help but think that it was inevitable one of the cogs in said clock was going to wriggle itself free and cause chaos.

“Maybe I should go and make sure everyone’s okay.”

“Why?”

“Well, you know, they might need help with something.”

“Who?” Tasha stared at him.

Lucas shrugged. “Just, people.” He took her hand in his. “I want it to be perfect. I want everybody to have a good day.”

“And that’s what your lovely staff is here for.” She smiled encouragingly. “This isn’t just another wedding on the Cay. This is your wedding.”

“I guess.” He eyed the door. “It wouldn’t hurt to check though.” He pulled his hands from hers and headed for the door.

“Oh.” Tasha grabbed his elbow and nursed her stomach.

Panic gripped Lucas. “What? What is it? Are you okay? Is the baby okay?” When Tasha chuckled, his fears were allayed. “What?” He held her arm until she was seated comfortably at the end of the bed. He looked her up and down. She didn’t seem worried, but he stood in front of her, waiting to hear her say the words.

“I think it’s just gas.” She teased her lower lip between her teeth. “Come and sit down.” She patted space on the bed beside her.

Lucas glanced over his shoulder at the door, his chance for escape slipping away. With a sigh, he sat next to her. Warmth filled him as she bumped her shoulder against his, then lifted his hand into her lap.

“The last time we sat in this room together was on my wedding day. The day a certain gorgeous sun-kissed boat guy strolled into the room with a camera and stole your heart.”

That day felt so long ago, but he still remembered that first sight of Dylan at the pier herding Tasha’s wedding party from the airport and onto the Lady Liberty. “You looked beautiful.” The same pride he had felt then surged within him. He leaned in and kissed her cheek. “Still do.”

Tasha grinned. “Even with swollen ankles and bags under my eyes?”

“Especially the swollen ankles.” He glanced down, light catching the diamanté jewels on the straps of her sandals.

“Not sure Liam thinks the same.” She massaged her bump. “He’s been amazing, listening to me complain all the time. Too hot, too cold, too fat, too swollen, too stiff. And God, the cravings.”

She looked at him. Love lit her eyes. Liam was a good husband, and they were happy. Idly, she ran her hand over her plaited hair, and gently straightened the large blue flower she wore in her hair. “I actually have something for you,” she said.

Lucas smiled in encouragement. She looked a little nervous.

“I was thinking about Mom and Dad and what today could have meant to them as well.” She reached into a bag he hadn’t spotted her bringing in and pulled out a wrapped rectangle.

He opened the wrapping gently and saw the smiling faces of his parents in a photo that was familiar to him; it had hung in his hallway as a kid for the longest time.

“Oh,” he said. “Where did you find that?”

“In a box of their stuff. I was looking for that soft blanket.” She smoothed a hand over her belly. “For the little one.”

Lucas pulled her close in an awkward sideways hug. “Thank you.”

“Do you think about them much?”

Lucas blinked, surprised by the question. “Sometimes.” Most recently when Dylan was in contact with his own father. Lucas was glad the two men had managed to reach some understanding. There were still some bridges to build between father and son, but things were better.

She pressed fingers against their dad’s face. “Do you think Dad would have walked you down the aisle?” Tasha pursed her lips thoughtfully. “I think he would have.” She stroked her other hand over the material of her dress. “Wish they’d have gotten to meet this little dude.”

“Dude?”

“Or dudette,” she added. “We want it to be a surprise.”

Lucas wasn’t sure he could have resisted the urge to peek. “I suppose at your age you don’t get many surprises anymore.” He grinned when Tasha tapped his arm.

“You’re such a dick.”

Lucas wrapped his arm around her as she rested her chin against his shoulder. He hugged her close, narrowing his eyes as he stared at the back of the closed door. “So, are you going to tell me what’s going on?”

“With what?” Tasha breathed in as she sat upright. She smiled sweetly at him.

“Gas? That was just an excuse to keep me in the room, right?”

There was no mistaking the guilt that flashed over her face.

“You are so busted.” He went to stand, but Tasha held onto his hand.

“Please. Dylan told me to make sure you stayed in your room. He didn’t want you worrying about anything. Not today.”

As sweet as that was of Dylan, now all Lucas could imagine was worst case scenarios, most involved the Lady Liberty sitting on the bottom of the ocean with their guests still on board.

“I had one job. God I suck.” She pouted.

“So are you going to tell me, or shall I go and ask Dylan?”

Tasha worried her lower lip. Eventually, she released his hand. “Fine. Sit down. You have to promise you won’t freak out.”

He wished he could. “I’ll promise I’ll try not to freak out.”

With a huffed breath, she agreed. “Fine.”

“Well?”

“Well.” She faced him. “It’s about your cake.”

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