Single father Seeks...(51)

By: Amy J. Fetzer

"You already did. You offered a rope to a drowning woman, a woman so isolated she'd forgotten how to really live and love."

"I can't give you all that intrigue."

Hope sprang through her. "I don't want it."

"All I can offer is me. Painfully normal. Is it enough for you?"

She nodded, unable to speak for the thick knot crowding her throat.

He touched her face, sliding his hands into her hair and drawing her close. "I love you, Ciara. I've missed you so much," he said. "I don't care what you did before. I don't care what name you used. I only want it to end with Ashland."

She covered his hand with her own. "I love you," she whispered fiercely.

"Then come home with me, baby," he murmured. "Come back to River Bend and marry me."

Bryce held his breath.

"Yes," Ciara said on a sigh and tipped her head. "Oh, yes."

He kissed her, drowning in her taste, her scent, and knowing for the rest of his life he'd never get enough of her. Before she walked into his life, he'd been lost, wandering, until she stepped in and gave him a second chance to do it right.

He couldn't wait to get started.

"Hey, someone wants her share," Kat said.

They parted, stealing another quick kiss before Ciara looked up as Katherine strolled in, Carolina in her arms. The baby took one look at her and shrieked, reaching for Ciara.

"Mama!" she cried and Kat set her to the floor. Carolina trotted up to her and Ciara scooped her in her arms, hugging their daughter.

Normal never looked so good, Ciara thought, pulling Bryce close, breathing in his scent, stroking the baby's hair. A glorious peace settled over her and Ciara held tight, thanking God for the chance.

For a life that was so normal, it was pure heaven.

* * *


« ^

Five years later

"Oh an agent would never enter a building like that," Ciara said, pointing to the TV screen and stuffing popcorn in her mouth.

"Really, mama?" Carolina said and Ciara looked down where her daughter was tucked to her side.

"Yes, honey. See," she pointed again. "He'd come in from the right side and—"

"You spoil it for us, you know."

She looked at Bryce, handing him the bowl of popcorn. "Oh, who spoiled In the Line Of Fire for us last week, huh?"

Smiling guiltily, he set the bowl aside and crawled into the bed, snuggling his wife into his arms, and running his hands over her rounded belly.

"That's what you get for being a secret agent," he whispered.

She tipped her head. "I'd rather be your plain old wife any day."

"Baby, there is nothing plain about you. Never will be." He kissed her tenderly, his warm hands riding over her belly. He couldn't wait to hold their baby, see Ciara in the child's features.

"I love you," she whispered.

He met her gaze. "I love you more." She smiled and settled back against him, Carolina drifting off to sleep beside her.

Bryce sighed back into the mound of pillows and didn't think his life could get any better. He tightened his hold around his family as he thought back, to that one fanciful night ten years ago.

When destiny collided.

And that the wild explosion of it was still showering him in a blanket of the sweetest love.