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

“Your night to cook is tomorrow.”

He shifted out from under her feet and settled them back on the couch. “I think I can handle a can of soup or a sandwich for now.”

“Anything is fine. Surprise me.”

Before he walked from the room, Eli braced one hand on the back of the couch and touched the side of her face with the other. She had no choice but to look up at him, no choice but to see the love in his eyes. But how long would that last?

“We’ll get through all of this, Nora,” he whispered. “I won’t let you be alone.”

His lips slid over hers softly, gently, and then he was gone. Even the briefest of touches had her body responding and wanting more.

He promised he’d help her through “this,” but did he mean these next few days or life in general? Because as much as she knew he cared for her she also knew Stonerock wasn’t a place he wanted to stay. He had a fulfilling life in Atlanta.

No, she knew Eli well enough to know he was torn between the two places. But she couldn’t beg him to stay, and she didn’t want him to out of obligation. All she could do was offer support, to show him how much she loved him and let him make the decision that was best.

Nora rubbed her belly and feared the decision would be the same as the last time they were together. She’d told herself this time would be different. This time she’d be ready.

Truth was, she would never be ready to say goodbye to the man she loved.

“I promised, Nora. If I leave, Eli will not be happy and then he’ll just take off and come here himself, then Dad won’t be happy. You don’t want to upset Dad, do you?”

Nora rolled her eyes. “Drake, you don’t play fair.”

The sexy fireman shrugged and offered that killer smile that most women swooned over. But to Nora, Drake was more like a brother than anything.

“I’m not playing,” he told her as he took a seat in the oversize chair next to the sofa. “I plan on doing a little work while I’m here.”

Nora adjusted her laptop on her legs and crossed her arms over her belly. “Really? What are you working on?”

“I have a couple of schools that are waiting for an opening for a field trip, I need to look at switching some guys on the schedule who have conflicts and I need to talk to the mayor about funding.”

Guilt washed through Nora. “Drake, please, go into work. I am perfectly fine.”

Those dark blue eyes pierced her from across the room as he remained silent and raised one dark brow.

Nora held up her hands, silently admitting defeat. As she got back to her computer, where she was looking up baby name meanings, she barely heard him on the phone working.

So many names were beautiful, but Nora wanted that perfect one. There had to be one that would stand out above all the others, but so far nothing really pulled at her.

Since baby names weren’t cutting it, she opted to search for homes in the area for sale. She wasn’t making a rash decision, as she’d promised Eli, but she did want to know what was in her price range.

Lost in the house-hunting process, her ears perked up when Drake muttered Andrea’s name. Andrea was his fiancée who’d died a little over a year ago in a tragic car accident where Drake had been the driver. Whoever he was talking to must’ve brought up her name. Drake was getting much better at talking about the accident and he’d finally stopped blaming himself fully, though he was still justifiably upset.

When her doorbell rang, she jumped, a hand settling over her stomach.

“Expecting someone?” he asked.

She adjusted to look over her shoulder as Drake went to answer the door. Nora barely resisted the urge to groan when she saw Patty Morrow and her cat carrier.

“I need to see Dr. Nora.”

Drake stood in the doorway, blocking the woman from entering. “She’s on bed rest right now.”

“But Mr. Bojangles has the sniffles.”

“Who is Mr. Bojangles?” Drake asked.

Nora came to her feet. “It’s her cat. Let her in, Drake, it’s too cold out there.”

Drake stepped back and threw a narrowed glance at Nora. “My brother will not be happy about this.”