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Dr. Daddy's Perfect Christmas Jules Bennett 2022/8/5 16:55:39

She honestly wanted to sit and cry into her bowl of Rocky Road, but she didn’t even have the energy for that right now. As she stared at the groceries lying in the driveway, Nora started laughing. Shaking her head, she stared up at the darkened sky. Sometimes you just had to laugh at all the obstacles life threw at you.

The tightening in her stomach had Nora leaving her groceries and heading inside. Her toilet paper and canned soup weren’t going anywhere and there was no way she was going to bend over and haul those sacks inside. Nothing was worth putting her baby at risk for.

As soon as she let herself inside, Kerfluffle darted to the back room. Apparently Nora wasn’t getting any sympathy from her spoiled cat. Fine.

After hanging her coat and scarf up by the door, Nora pulled off her boots and padded over the cool hardwood floor into her living room. She’d just sat on the sofa and pulled a throw off the back when her front door flew open, letting in another blast of cold air.

Eli’s eyes locked on hers as he stared into the living area. “Are you okay?” he asked, closing the gap between them in about two strides. His eyes raked over her, his brows drawn down in worry.

“You have groceries in the driveway and I thought something happened to you.”

He had to be worried; he’d used the front door and everything. Nora rested her head against the back of the cushions. “At ease, soldier. I’m fine. I slipped in the driveway and had a little discomfort in my stomach so I left my stuff out there.”

“Define discomfort,” he told her, easing down onto the coffee table in front of her sofa.

Nora shrugged. “Some cramping and such.”

Eli sighed, glanced up to the ceiling and shook his head. “I’m going to get your groceries. Anything in your car you need?”

Great. They’d entered awkward territory.

Nora settled farther into the corner of the couch and wrapped the blanket up around her shoulders. The cramping slid around into her back and Nora knew this was what her doctor had referred to as Braxton-Hicks contractions—more like the mother of all period cramps.

As she breathed through the pain, Eli shuffled back in the house. She heard him putting things away in the kitchen, then the bathroom, and by the time he’d come back into the living room her pain was under control.

He stood above her, staring down as if he wanted her to say something. She merely quirked a brow. “Yes?” she asked.

“Am I invited to stay?”

He picked up her feet and took a seat on the end of the couch, resting them on his lap. “Do you want to talk about your doctor’s appointment and the meeting with your Realtor or do you want to discuss last night?”

She held his gaze, refusing to be embarrassed about last night and the fact it was the best of her life. And she wasn’t quite ready to tell him about the whole bed rest thing or he’d turn all mother hen on her.

“I’d prefer to discuss last night, considering you left without telling me goodbye somewhere around midnight.”

His eyes widened. “I thought you were sleeping.”

“Would you have said anything had you known I was awake?”

Eli shifted his body so his hand rested on her shins. “Of course, Nora. I meant everything I said last night.”

The intensity of his stare had her shifting herself. How could he have so much power over her? He consumed her in so many ways and she feared she’d start down this path to unknown territory with him only to be stranded in the end again.

“Are you sorry last night happened?” he asked, still studying her.

“No.” She answered without hesitation because that was certainly one thing she was absolutely sure of. “I wanted you, Eli. I don’t regret it.”

“I’m sorry if you thought I just abandoned you, but I decided to head home so we could both sleep and be rested for work.” His hand massaged her leg through the blanket. “Had I stayed, I only would’ve wanted you again.”

Thrills shot through her at the fact he wanted her still. Before she could respond, another cramp settled like a band wrapping around her entire abdomen. She gasped and closed her eyes, waiting for the moment to pass quickly like all the others.