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Dr. Daddy's Perfect Christmas Jules Bennett 2022/8/5 16:55:43

“I know exactly how you’re feeling.” She framed his face with her hands, wiping the tears that had slid down his stubbled cheeks. “I don’t want to live without you, Eli. And if that means I need to move to Atlanta, then I will. Wherever you want to go, I’ll go. Are you sure you’re up to taking me and this baby? We’re a team and not many men would want to raise another man’s child.”

Eli’s hands slid down to cover her belly again. “Regardless of how Todd and I left things before he died, I loved him like one of my brothers. Raising his baby, your baby, is not even an issue with me. I’ll love this baby like my own and treat her as such. She’ll never question where I stand.”

He nipped at her lips and rested his forehead against hers. “And neither will you.”

Eli’s mouth covered hers once again, hotter and hungrier than before. She wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned into him as his hands traveled down to cup her behind.

“I want you,” he muttered against her lips. “What did the doctor say?”

“I’ve been given the green light for all activity.” Already her body started responding to his touch, his whispered declaration. “I’m healthy and so is my baby girl.”

When he scooped her up and started toward his bed, Nora laughed. “Your mother is going to know what we’re doing if I don’t come back down.”

“She’ll be thrilled when you don’t come back down because she wants you in this family just as much as I do.”

Eli sat Nora down on the edge of the bed. “Don’t move.”

Confused, she watched as he raced to the drawer in the coffee table and took out a small box. A velvet box.

Nora’s breath caught in her throat as he came back and knelt before her.

“I know it’s soon,” he said, cutting her off. “But hear me out. I’m not asking you to marry me. Yet. But I am asking you to wear my ring. I don’t care how long we’re engaged, I don’t care how long you need to get over Todd, to get past all this hurt. I will be here, Nora.”

She stared as he lifted the lid and a thick band of diamonds stared back at her.

“I wanted to keep the ring flat so you could still wear it to work and not scratch the baby.” He removed it from the box and she saw diamonds all the way around the band with a platinum setting. “Please say you’ll wear it.”

Her eyes met his as she smiled. “Of course I’ll wear it, Eli. And I don’t need to wait. I’ll marry you tomorrow if you want.”

He chuckled as he slid the ring in place. “Tomorrow is Christmas, honey.”

“Then the next day. I’ll marry you anytime.”

Leaning up, Eli kissed her softly. “We’ll marry soon, but my mother will want to make it a big deal because she never thought any of us St. John boys would actually settle down.”

“Oh, my gosh. I keep forgetting. I want to throw your parents a surprise anniversary party.” Nora studied his face. “What do you think? I’ve been meaning to ask since you came home, but…well, you kept sidetracking me.”

He nipped at her lips once more. “I think it’s a great idea. And, honey, you’re the one who sidetracked me.”

Nora stared down at the ring, loving how he’d taken such care in choosing one for her lifestyle and taken her baby into consideration.

“I don’t want to go to Atlanta,” he told her. “I want to stay here with you and run Dad’s practice.”

Her baby kicked, as if approving of that plan. “I think that’s the best idea I’ve heard,” she told him, looping her arms back around his neck and tugging him up onto the bed.

“I hope you don’t mind if your dinner is cold,” she muttered against his lips. “Because I plan on keeping you here for a while.”

His hands traveled up under her shirt. “Keep me here as long as you want. I’m yours forever.”

Forever. All she’d ever wanted wrapped in one simple word.