Secrets of the Playboy's Bride(57)

By: Leanne Banks


“Rafe is going to end up with twelve kids. He’s a natural father,” Damien said with a knowing glance.

Nicole shot him a look of horror. “I think twelve is tipping the scales. He’ll be happy to enjoy some nieces and nephews.” She smiled at Damien’s wife, Emma, who was six months pregnant. “Just make sure you get them started changing diapers early on.”

Damien looked at Emma with a skeptical raised eyebrow. “Do you really think you can talk me into changing diapers?”

Emma lifted his hand to her baby bump. “You tell me.”

Damien’s hard gaze softened and anyone could see he would do anything for his wife, including changing diapers.

Michael, sitting next to Leo, lifted a beer. “Cheers to Damien and Rafe for taking on father duty. I’ll let you take the lead.” He patted his wife’s leg. “Bella and I are in no rush at all. Right?”

Bella shot him a pained look. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.”

Michael looked at her in confusion. “What?” he asked.

Silence fell over the tiled porch.

Michael’s lovely wife shot him a nervous look. “You know how we were afraid I’d gotten a stomach flu?”

Michael set down his beer. “Yes, are you okay? Is it something more serious?”

“Well, my condition lasts about nine months and you might need to bone up on changing diapers, too. I’m pregnant. Is that okay?”

Michael’s color drained from his face. “You’re pregnant. How did that happen?”

“The usual way, sweetie. You remember that time in the limo when we left the opera early….”

“Oh, yeah,” he said, realization crossing his face. Still stunned, he stared at her. “We’re gonna have a baby?”

She nodded. “Are you upset?”

He shook his head and pulled her into his arms. “How could I be? You and I made this together.”

Damien chuckled. “To Michael, uncle and father-to-be,” he said, lifting his beer.

Everyone lifted their drinks. “Hear, hear,” they chorused.

Lifting her own glass of lemonade, Calista felt a twist in her stomach. She wondered when she should tell Leo.

“Looks like it’s in the water,” Leo muttered to her as the group began to chatter with excitement. “We’d better be careful.”

Calista mustered her courage. “I think it may be a little late for that,” she whispered.

Leo swung his head around to stare at her. “Excuse me?”

“I wasn’t really sure until day before yesterday,” she said.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked in a low voice.

“I couldn’t figure out the best time.”

“Are you sure?”

Calista was feeling more nervous with each passing moment. “I took three at-home pregnancy tests and was also tested at the doctor.”

“Do you want this?” he asked, his gaze intent and so focused on her they may as well have been the only ones around for miles.

“I do,” she confessed. “I can’t think of anything better than making a new life with the amazing man I love more than anything.”

He took her hand and this time his hand trembled. “You keep making me happier than I’ve ever dreamed I could be.”

Her heart expanded in her chest so much it hurt. “You keep doing the same to me.” She leaned forward and pressed her lips against his. “Don’t stop.”

“Never,” he promised.

“Hey, Leo, take a break from your lovefest with your wife,” Rafe said. “Do you shoot pool?”

“Yeah, I do,” he said. “But I think we may need another round of drinks. Calista and I are going to have a baby.” He shot Michael a stunned look. “Looks like you and I may be on the same daddy schedule.”

Michael gave a half smile and moved toward him, extending his hand. Leo rose and shook his brother’s hand. “This is one trip we can finally take together.”

“To Leo and Calista,” Damien said.

“Hear, hear,” the families chorused.

“And to Aunt Emilia for pictures and encouragement,” Michael said.

Leo toasted the aunt he’d met through his brothers’ letters and photographs then pulled Calista against him. “Thank you for giving me all this,” he said. “But mostly for giving me you.”

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