“God, you make it sound like I work on a construction site.” He smiled down at her, indicating his disheveled gray suit.
“Hmm, I’d like that,” she murmured as she eyed his tall, broad form critically. “It’d certainly help with all the flab.”
“Flab?” He pretended to be outraged but was completely confident that he sported no flab or excess weight of any kind. She laughed again and wrapped her arms around his waist before stretching up to drop a sweet kiss on his mouth.
“I love you,” she told him, and he smiled back. He loved it when she said those words to him, and he felt such overwhelming tenderness in return that it nearly brought him to his knees. He brushed her silky brown hair from her forehead and planted a kiss on her soft skin.
“My Bronwyn,” he whispered against her forehead, tugging at the ponytail she had secured in the nape of her neck and dragging her head back for a proper kiss. When it ended he was aching with desire, and she looked a little dazed.
“Get dinner done, woman, before I head straight for dessert,” he growled as his eyes dipped to the small breasts straining at her light-blue T-shirt so that she could not mistake his meaning. She wasn’t wearing a bra—she hardly ever did when she was at home—her breasts didn’t need the support, and he could see her nipples tenting the soft fabric. The sight made him hotter than hell, and he had to force himself to move away from her. After two years of marriage, he was constantly surprised by how much he still wanted her.
He eagerly rushed through his shower, and by the time he entered the conservatory, she had laid out a picnic beside one of the floor-to-ceiling plate-glass windows, the one with the ocean view. He’d never seen her look more beautiful, and again his stomach tightened with that feeling of tenderness. She was sitting on a blanket that she had spread out on the floor, and he dropped down next to her. He reached for the bottle of red wine that she’d placed within easy reach and frowned when he noticed that there was only one glass.
“You’re not having any wine?” he asked, and she shook her head. Her beautiful eyes tangled with his, and he frowned as he tried to read the emotion in them. He could usually read her pretty easily, but her eyes were a mystery tonight and it unsettled him a bit.
“I’m having water tonight.”
“Are you still worried about your reaction to that glass of wine at Pierre’s party last week?” he asked in concern, referring to her dizzy spell. He’d attributed it to overwork and a bad vintage.
“That’s not it.” She smiled cryptically while her small fingers worried the edge of the blanket. Bryce tried to puzzle through her odd behavior as he poured his own drink.
“So tell me this news that you’re so excited about,” he prompted, referring to her giddy phone call to his office that afternoon.
“After we’ve eaten,” she said quietly, and his eyes dipped to the Mediterranean feast that she had laid out before them. She had prepared seed loaf, feta cheese, and black olives as appetizers, along with fresh vegetables and dolmades with hummus, complemented by aubergine and tzatziki dips and falafels in pita. She lifted an olive to his lips, and he opened up, sucking at the tips of her fingers as he accepted the tangy fruit into his mouth. He returned the favor, and they had the rest of their meal in a similar fashion, laughing and murmuring intimacies as they fed each other. By the end of the meal, she was leaning back against his chest, with her head nestled in the nook between his jaw and collarbone. They quietly watched the sun drop into the ocean and turn the horizon into a painter’s palette of red, orange, crimson, and scarlet.
He had his arm draped over her shoulder and across her breasts, and she was toying with his long and capable fingers. Bryce reveled in the closeness, wondering, not for the first time, how the hell he had gotten so lucky. He felt utterly at peace; they belonged together. They were like two halves of a whole. God knows he had never believed that such an utterly clichéd thought would ever cross his mind, but there it was; she was his other half and he could spend the rest of his life with just her by his side. They were a perfect unit. He shut his eyes to the sunset and tightened his arm around her slender frame. She lifted his hand to her lips and pressed a kiss into his broad palm.
“Bryce,” she murmured quietly, and he made a slight sound to let her know that she had his attention. “I’m pregnant.”
Their new living arrangements were not as bad as Bronwyn had feared they would be. Bryce pretty much kept his word, and she hardly ever saw him around the house and would have sworn that she and Kayla were alone in the house if not for the little girl’s constant references to her daddy and what fun they had while Mummy was at work or at school. She had been back at university for nearly a month; luckily her late enrollment for the first semester in March had been easily accepted, and she had been allowed to resume her studies with very little fuss. It was about six weeks since she and Bryce had made their deal, and Bronwyn was starting to relax and enjoy the freedom of movement that she now had. She worked part-time in a bookshop. It was a job that Lisa, a bookshop proprietor herself, had told her about. Most of Bronwyn’s lectures were over by one in the afternoon, so she worked from about two to six every day, leaving her with enough time to enjoy her evenings with Kayla. It was so quiet in the esoteric bookshop that she often had time to study. She also had weekends off because the shop’s owner was older and didn’t like having the business open on weekends. The pay was good, the work was easy, and the hours were ideal; she could have kissed Lisa when the other woman told her about it. Bronwyn also loved the challenge of studying again; she hadn’t even known how much she missed it until she had gone back. Exercising and expanding her brain after such an extended period of nothing but “mummy duty” felt wonderful!