By: Amy J. Fetzer

She smiled, a smile that lifted his heart, and Alex crushed her in his arms and knew he'd found a home. A real home. And a place to belong, not in the structure surrounding him, but in the woman in his arms.

* * *



"We haven't decided on a name."

"Now is not the time, Alexander." Madison nodded to the obstetrician and rose up, pushing, panting, pushing, the obstetrician like a quarterback ready for the catch. Alexander, bless him, mopped her brow, held her upright and labored with her as she forced their child out. The poor man was going to rupture something vital.

"That's it, Mrs. Donahue, keep going, keep going," the doctor urged.

"I am."


"Only wins in horseshoes," she muttered, took a deep breath and pushed. She strained for what seemed like minutes, then let out a rebel yell of triumph and freedom, and sank onto the labor bed.

"You did it, baby."

"Not like I had a choice, huh?" she gasped.

"It's a boy!" the doctor said and Alex choked as his son's wail filled the delivery room. After measurements and tests, they placed the child in his arms and tended to Madison. Her eyes never left her husband as he held their child reverently and dropped a tender kiss to his forehead. Then Alex came to her, laying their son in her arms.

"He's beautiful. I never thought anyone fell in love at first sight," Alex whispered, unmindful of the tears streaking his lean cheeks.

"Gee, I thought that's what happened with you and me?"

He looked at her then, smiling. "Yeah, it was. Those legs got me." He crawled into the bed with her, snuggling his new family close as the nurses and doctor left the room. "Thank you, baby." From his pocket he withdrew a gold bracelet and clasped it over her wrist.

She stared at her son's birthstones encrusted in the gold. "Oh, Alexander."

He still loved the way she said his name, slow and sultry.

"I never forgot what you looked like holding Shannon, never forgot how much at that moment, I wished it was my baby you held."

She was astonished. "You never said."

"I was too scared to even dream then, Maddy."

"And now?"

"You are my dreams."

He could spend his life looking at her, and his throat tightened when he realized again just how lucky he was to be in love with this woman and to have her love him back. She'd awakened him, made him feel alive and hungry for life. Her very presence reminded him that love came to them in so many small, simple ways, and how easy it was to give, if he would just let it happen.

Alexander pressed a kiss to her soft, brown curls and silently thanked God that he'd bid on a wife for hire … and had come home with the real thing.