"Be still. I need to concentrate." Frowning as though he were creating important art, he placed the tip of the toothpick to rest in her belly button. "Almost . . ." He had it standing upright, but she started giggling and it fell over onto her stomach, where it jerked up and down.

"Kalen, what on earth?"

"I was making a shade for the baby."

"You're an idiot!" But she was still laughing. "We're already in the shade. I think you've had too many of those rum thingies."

He pouted. "Have not." Turning her attention back to her stomach, he studied the smooth skin, then ran his palm over it in fascination. "Do you think he can hear me?"

"I don't know." She buried her fingers in his hair and combed them through the strands, the way he loved. "I've heard that babies in the womb respond well to music and having books read to them. It sure can't hurt."

"Hello, baby," he murmured. "I'm your daddy. I promise I'm going to do my best to be the greatest daddy in the world, because that's what you deserve. I love you, sweetheart, and I can't wait to meet you."

His throat closed up and he couldn't go on. But he'd made the most important promise of all to his child, one that had never been made to him. And he'd follow through.

"Oh, honey. I love you."

"My God, I love you, too."

His mate rolled into his arms, and as they kissed, he vowed he'd never forget what a lucky man he was to have all his dreams come true.

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He'd made it out of the darkness and into the light. And that was where he planned to stay. Forever.



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