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Dr. Daddy's Perfect Christmas Jules Bennett 2022/8/5 16:55:30

Eli laughed. “That’s something we were born with. But I’d say Drake and Cam have done well for themselves.”

Maddie put her hand on the door and turned to smile at him. “You’re all still single. You’re not doing too well if a woman can’t keep hold of you wild boys.”

Her laughter followed her down the hall and Eli stood there staring at the empty doorway. What the hell just happened? His first patient wasn’t really a patient and in the span of five minutes he’d been given a backhanded compliment, a scary homemade present, a warning and then he was educated on geriatric pole dancing.

Maybe being back in Stonerock wasn’t so bad, after all. It certainly wasn’t boring and for the past several minutes Nora had stayed out of his mind.

Heading toward home, Nora couldn’t help but replay her doctor’s appointment. Her BP had been elevated and she was still having some cramping. Thankfully the ultrasound looked good; the baby weighed what she should and her heartbeat was right on track.

A little girl. Nora smiled. Despite the chaos in her life, today she’d been told she would be having a baby girl. For some reason knowing the sex made everything seem so…real. As if the past five months of sickness, fluctuating weight and epic crying sprees hadn’t been real enough.

Now Nora would start thinking of names, decorating a nursery, buying cutesy little clothes. Granted, she had to sell her house and find a new one before she could decorate and before the baby came.

No, she needed to go ahead and prepare for the baby. Who knew if or when her house would sell?

Nora sighed. Just the thought of packing up everything and trying to move with a newborn sounded exhausting. But somehow she would trudge on; she had no other option.

If all of that wasn’t enough to send her rushing to her freezer for Rocky Road, she also needed to find a replacement vet to fill in for her while she was off.

Was it any wonder her BP had been high? Stress, anyone?

She’d indulged by going to the store and purchasing a ton of fruit…and whipped cream. A girl had to have some guilty pleasure and she really should cut back on the ice cream. But she did pick up another gallon. For emergencies.

Nora pulled into her driveway, resisting the urge to glance over to the St. John residence, all lit up with Christmas lights, wreaths hanging from each window. Their house had always been the picture of perfection. Some families presented only a facade of happiness and togetherness, but Nora knew from experience that even when those doors were closed, that family bond was rock solid.

That’s the family life she wanted to provide for her child. Maybe being a single mother wasn’t the way she’d envisioned life, but there was no reason she and her baby girl couldn’t have their own piece of family perfection.

Smiling, Nora realized she was still staring at the St. John house, daydreaming of the future. She didn’t see Eli’s truck in the drive, but he may have pulled around back into the garage. If Eli wasn’t around, he’d be there shortly if he kept his father’s usual office hours and left at six.

And speaking of the St. Johns, she still needed to pick up Christmas presents for her favorite family. With her lack of energy and motivation lately, more than likely she’d be ordering those gifts online.

Darkness had settled in for the night. Nora hated that about winter. It got dark so early, but at least the twinkling Christmas lights from the neighborhood lit up the street.

Of course, she hadn’t gotten around to putting up lights yet, but she had hung a pretty evergreen wreath with a bright red-and-white bow on her door and draped some garland over the railing that stretched across her porch. That would have to do for now.

The light snow they’d received the other day had all but melted, but the weatherman was calling for possibly an inch over the next couple days. Just enough to coat the ground and be pretty.

Because she was too tired to try to make multiple trips, Nora juggled her groceries toward the steps to her house.

“Seriously, Nora. Give me those.”

She turned to see Eli crossing her driveway. “Get your keys out and I’ll carry these in.”

“I’ve got them, Eli,” she argued. “I’ve been bringing in my own food for a while now.”