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A Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift Jennifer Ashley 2022/8/3 13:48:26

"You didn't have to get me anything," Beth exclaimed, though her face softened in pleasure. "You did so much with that wondrous surprise for Jamie."

Beth undid the wrapping, which fell to the sheets, and drew a quick breath when she saw what lay inside. A locket of heavy silver rested in her hand. Beth pried open the locket, her eyes shining.

Inside were pictures, drawn and colored by Mac, of the two children, Jamie on the left, and Belle on the right. The pictures were tiny, yet Mac had executed them in fine detail.

"The locket was my mother's."

"Oh." Beth's expression went quiet. She closed the locket and held it close. "Then I'll treasure it all the more."

Ian had very little from his mother, but he'd always kept the locket safe. But Beth should have it. His mother would have liked that.

Beth laid it and the wrappings carefully on the bedside table. "Thank you, Ian."

"Mmm." Ian lowered his head back to her breast, licked around her satin areola, and drew it into his mouth.

"You didn't answer before," Beth said, her voice going soft. "Do you feel you've changed? Being a husband and a father?"

Of course he had. She knew that--why did she need to ask? "It's better now," Ian said. He licked her nipple until it stood up in a fine point. "Much better."

"I'm inclined to agree with you."

Ian's thoughts went back to the funeral they'd attended the day Beth had broken the bowl. Death, sorrow, the loss of something he treasured. Instead of sinking into darkness and despair, Ian had walked forward, moving to what had been important--Beth, Jamie, Belle.

Beth had let him do that. He'd never have been able to sort out his thoughts or focus on what was vital in his life without her.

"Much better," Ian repeated. He kissed between her br**sts and moved to her lips, sliding over her body to enter her again. "Thank you, my Beth," he said, echoing Hart's words to Eleanor.

Beth's beautiful smile spread over her face as Ian looked straight into her eyes. "You're welcome, Ian Mackenzie."