April of the following year,

after getting married and all that good stuff


“This stick says pregnant.”

I didn’t open my eyes. Didn’t even breathe. “No, it doesn’t.”

“Actually, yes, it does. I can read, Cal. It says pregnant.”

“I don’t think so. It can’t be. We’ve been trying for months, and nothing.”

“You know what they say about returning to the scene of the crime. With the way you two go at it, you’re sure you don’t have a couple muffins in that incubator?”

“You’re mixing your metaphors,” I told my sister as I faced the mirror and pulled my ordinary yellow top in tighter to my stomach. “I haven’t gained any weight. My boobs aren’t even bigger.”

“First, she’s pregnant by a smokin’ hot Irish rockstar. Then I’m supposed to be sad for her that she’s gonna squeeze out his offspring and isn’t even gaining any weight for her trouble? Nope, sorry.” Ava came up behind me and dropped her chin to my shoulder, a wide grin wreathing her face. “Congratulations, mama.”

I met my sister’s bright green eyes in the mirror and started to smile. The corners of my mouth lifted, prepared for liftoff, and then, without warning, water gushed from my eyes.

“Oh my God. Really? Is this really happening?” I whirled around to hug my sister and she laughed and hugged me back, dancing and sniffling and laughing with me.

We babbled incoherently at one another for probably three minutes before the front door of our apartment slammed. “Calliope, where are you?”

The weepy, giggly dancefest ended abruptly in the bathroom.

Ava held a finger up to her mouth. “Shh. Maybe he won’t know we’re here.”

Playfully, I shoved her and passed a hand over my hair. There was no making myself presentable. I had makeup smeared around my eyes and my nose was as red as the famous reindeer’s. I sounded as if I had a severe cold.

This so wasn’t the way I wanted to tell Owen we were having a baby—finally. It seemed like it had taken forever, but in actuality, we’d only tried for a few months.

Memorable ones at that. We’d worked our way through some positions that even my highly deviant mind couldn’t come up with on its own, never mind figure out how to re-enact without help.

He’d had a rough day in the studio from the sounds of things. Maybe I should wait until a better time to tell him. Maybe—

Maybe he was standing in the doorway, a snarl on his normally easygoing face as his sexy gray eyes zeroed in on what Ava still held in her hand.

“What is that?” he demanded.

My sister shoved it behind her back, and then shoved me in front of her. “Nothing. How was your day, honey bunch?”

He didn’t so much as blink. In the almost six months we’d being married, he’d swiftly learned my sister spoke fluent sarcasm. “Calliope, what is your sister holding in her hand?” he asked, looming over me until my nipples waved hi and my throat grew dry.

Hey there, kid in utero. This bossy Irish dude is your daddy. Don’t let his bluster scare you. Normally, he’s a kitten with a monster penis.

“What’s up with the full name treatment suddenly?” I cleared my throat and attempted to steer my thoughts away from Owen’s accent, Owen’s accent’s effect on my nipples, and Owen’s monster cock which had nothing to do with his heritage and everything to do with why I’d so enjoyed the process of getting knocked up.

“I come home and call out for my wife, and she doesn’t reply to me. Instead she’s huddling in here. Now I know why.” He angled his head. “You’ve been crying.”

“Not exactly,” I hedged.

“We agreed you weren’t going to take any more tests for a while, because they upset you too much. And after the day I’ve had, we don’t need any more of that.”

“What was wrong with your day?” I followed him from the bathroom into our bedroom, well aware that my sister was left holding my pee stick for a little longer.

I hoped she didn’t throw it out. Didn’t think it’d fit in the kid’s baby book, but maybe I could make a memento box.

Ugh, gross, no one needs your pee stick as a memento. Least of all your unborn child.

“Just the usual. Squabbling bandmates, overbearing managers, endless takes of one bloody song.” He yanked out a drawer and dug through it, looking for who knows what. Then he raked a hand through his overlong dark hair and glanced over his shoulder, narrowing his eyes as footsteps sounded behind me. “Seriously, you can dispose of that thing. Not sure it’s necessary you wave it in our faces anymore.”

Ava lifted her eyebrows pointedly at me.

“Can we, ah, have some privacy?” I said to my sister.

“Sure. I’ll just—”

Owen shut the dresser drawer and stomped over to Ava, plucking the stick out of her hand before she could make a peep. “Let’s just get rid of this, shall we?”

“I don’t think you should. Well, maybe you should, because kinda disgusting, but better get used to it, because your whole life is going to be disgusting from now on. Dirty diapers, two a.m. feedings, vomit on your shoes—” At my astonished glance, Ava fell silent. “So how about those Raiders?”

Owen was staring at the stick and saying nothing. Absolutely nothing.

“Ava,” I said through clenched teeth.

“Okay, I’m going. It’s been real. Congrats again. And sorry. And congrats. K. Bye.” She fled down the hall and the front door shut behind her a moment later.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you first. I mean, I’m sorry I didn’t take the test with you. I just got a wild hair, and Ava was here, and she pushed me into doing it right then— No, that’s a lie, I wanted to do it right then, and I didn’t want to get your hopes up, but then again, I didn’t know you’d come home in a cranky pants mood.”

“Are you quite finished?”

I flipped through my jumbled thoughts. “Yes. For now.”

“You’re pregnant.” His gray eyes, so like the windswept water of his beloved country during a storm, roamed over my face and down to my belly. His gaze lingered there, as if he was trying to see through my clothes.

I could help him with that, as the longer he looked at me with those sex eyes, the closer I came to getting naked.

Hell, I was pregnant. Might as well fuck like a bunny while I still had good range of motion.


He frowned and brought his gaze back up to mine. “Yes? Question mark on the end?”

“No, it’s pretty definitive, I’d say.”

“If you’ve taken only one test—”

“That was the second.” I smoothed a hand over my stomach and tried not to shiver as he tracked the movement. “I’d say it’s pretty definite.”

Also, that expression of yours? All broody, thinky, and intense? Equally capable of making a woman sprout a child. Just saying.

Still holding the stick, he stepped up to me and cupped my cheek in his broad, warm hand. “Are you ill?”

“Right now? A little, waiting for your response. Killing me, Blackbeard. Just tell a girl if you’re happy or…whatever. But if you’re not happy, there’s no sending it back. This isn’t like a toy you ended up not liking when you got it home. Once you put one of these suckers on layaway, you’re pretty much—”

“Bunny.” His minty breath wafted over my lips.


“Shut up.” Then he crushed his mouth to mine.