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Dr. Daddy's Perfect Christmas Jules Bennett 2022/8/5 16:55:40

The young boy with red curls poking out of his knit hat moved sheepishly through her house. “I’m sorry, Dr. Nora, but I started to wrap my mom’s Christmas present—I got her some lotion at the Secret Santa shop at school—but when I went into my bedroom, Eddie was eating the bottle.”

Nora patted his arm. “Puppies like to get into things. Is Eddie acting okay?”

Brody nodded. “He was sleeping on my bed when I left.”

“I’m sure he’ll be just fine. Why don’t you give him some bread when you get home? The bread will help absorb the lotion. If he starts throwing up, that might be a good thing because he’s getting it out of his system. But if he starts acting bad, like lying around and not being playful, call me.”

Tears pricked Brody’s eyes. “Will he be okay?”

Patting his sweet little face, Nora smiled. “With you watching over him, he’ll be himself in no time. And I bet he’ll really like getting bread instead of regular dog food.”

Brody nodded. “Thanks, Dr. Nora. I’m sorry I bothered you at home.”

“You can bother me anytime, Brody.”

Drake remained at the door and let the young boy out. When he crossed back over into the living room, he shook his head and laughed.

“Don’t say a word,” Nora scolded. “He’s the sweetest little boy. He came by a lot last year when his mom bought him a hamster. He was scared to death he’d hurt that thing. When it died, Brody brought him to me to see if there was anything I could do.”

Drake settled in next to her on the sofa. “You’re a bleeding heart, Doc.”

“I’m happy to help my clients and their critters in any way I can. I love all living creatures.”

Drake patted her leg. “Which is what will make you an amazing mother. You have this natural instinct to protect and nurture.”

Nora smiled and yawned.

“You need to go lie down.” He tilted his head and gestured toward the hall. “Go on. You might as well rest up now because when this baby comes, I’m guessing you’ll be too busy for naps.”

Nora laughed and swung her legs off the couch. “I’m just not good company.”

As she came to her feet, Drake stood, too, and took her into his arms. Nora loved the St. John boys—all of them in different ways. She loved Drake for always knowing what to say, what to do and when to just be a good friend. Cam was impossible not to love with his mysterious, quiet ways. And Eli…well, Eli had a very special place in her heart that seemed to just keep growing with each passing day.

“I’m sorry I’m skipping out on you,” she muttered into his chest.

“I didn’t come over to be entertained, Nora,” he told her as he rested his chin on her head. “I came over to be supportive. I’ll be right here if you need me. Be sure to take your phone and, if you need something, just text me.”

Nora pulled away and patted his stubbled face. “You’re going to make an awesome husband one day.”

A shadow passed through his eyes before he shot her a lopsided grin. “Let’s not get carried away. I only show my soft side to you.”

Nora headed to the downstairs spare bedroom because she just wasn’t comfortable doing all those stairs when she was supposed to be taking it easy.

When she crossed into the bedroom with its cozy cream curtains and matching bedspread with pale yellow pillows, her eyes zeroed in on the box that had been delivered shortly after Todd’s death.

Should she look at it now? She was on bed rest for three more days so she certainly had the time. And if she wanted to even try to move forward with Eli, putting her past behind her was something she couldn’t put off.

Nora sank onto the edge of her bed and sighed. Did she seriously think she could put the past behind her? That was a terrible, cruel saying.

Another cramp pulled at her abdomen. Nora eased down onto the bed and decided to rest for now. Worrying about the box and Eli’s intentions wouldn’t do this baby any good. But soon, very soon, she’d be tackling both.