by Marie Force

Driving away from the palatial home Mac had bought for them, Maddie looked back at it, her greedy gaze taking in every detail until they drove out of sight. She still couldn’t believe that incredible house was going to be her home. She’d started this day like all the others for the last two weeks, devastated by the loss of her relationship with Mac, as well as his love for her and Thomas, his entertaining personality, the nonstop laughter. She’d missed everything about him. And when she’d seen another woman wrapped around him, enthusiastically kissing him and Mac appearing to return her kisses, what’d been left of her heart had been shattered.

Despondent, she’d left work that afternoon and gone home to face the rest of her life without the only man she’d ever loved. And then he’d come flying into the driveway, leaving a cloud of dust in his wake, desperate to make things right with her. Now they were engaged, and the past two weeks of hell faded into the past, replaced by the kind of bone-deep happiness Maddie had never known before.

Mac McCarthy is going to be my husband. He’s going to adopt Thomas and raise him as his own. Someone please pinch me. This cannot be happening.

Mac reached across Thomas’s carseat for her hand. “What’re you thinking about over there?”

Maddie linked their fingers, and the feeling of rightness, of being exactly where she belonged, overwhelmed her. “I can’t believe everything that just happened. We’re engaged. You’re going to adopt Thomas. We’re going to live in that amazing house. It can’t all be true, can it?”

Smiling, he glanced over at her. “It’s happening, baby, and nothing has ever made me happier than you saying yes to me.” He returned his attention to the road but kept his hand wrapped tightly around hers the rest of the way back to her place.

Mac pulled into the driveway and parked in his usual spot, right where he belonged. “Let me get him,” he said when she would’ve carried Thomas and his carseat inside. He was always so attentive to her son, and Thomas adored him, kicking his pudgy legs in excitement when Mac lifted him into his arms.

Maddie went around the truck to help him with the seat and nearly ran smack into her sister, who appeared out of the darkness.

“What’s going on, Maddie?” Tiffany asked.

“Well, it appears I’ve gotten myself engaged.”

“To him?”

Out of the corner of her eye, she caught Mac’s amused expression. “Yes, Tiffany, to him.”

“But he broke your heart! You’ve been crying over him for weeks.”

“We’ve worked things out, and I hope you’ll find a way to be happy for me—and for Thomas. Mac is going to adopt him.”

“I’m going to take very good care of your sister and nephew, Tiffany,” Mac said. “You can count on that.”

“This is what you want, Maddie?” Tiffany asked.

“It’s what I want. He’s what I want.”

After a long pause, Tiffany stepped forward and hugged her sister. “I just want you to be happy.”

“I’m so happy,” Maddie whispered. “It’s all good. I promise.”

“You’d better be good to my sister or you’ll answer to me, Mac. I mean it.”

“I know you do, and you have nothing to worry about. I promise.”

“We need to get Thomas to bed,” Maddie said to her sister. “He’s up way past his bedtime. We’ll see you in the morning?”

Tiffany nodded and turned to go back to her house, her shoulders curving in, a sign of her sister’s deep discontent. Maddie hoped that one day Tiffany would know the kind of happiness Maddie was feeling at this moment.

“Whew,” Mac whispered. “I feel like I just passed an important test.”

“You did. She loves me and wants the best for me.”

“She and I have that in common.”

They went up the stairs and into the apartment that wouldn’t be their home for too much longer.

“Would it be okay if I gave him his bath?” Mac asked. “I’ve missed that so much.”

“Of course.” She’d been too despondent to bother with Thomas’s bath earlier, intending to take care of it in the morning. Now she wouldn’t have to.

Mac hooked his free arm around her neck and kissed her, lingering despite the squirming toddler he held in his other arm. “While you’re waiting for me, change into something sexy. We’ve got a lot of time to make up for.”

Maddie’s body heated from the inside at the promise of pleasure she heard in his words. She couldn’t wait to be alone with him.

Mac sat by the tub and watched over Thomas as he splashed and played with his toys, making a huge mess of the bathroom and soaking Mac’s T-shirt. As far as Mac was concerned, there was nothing the baby could do that wouldn’t be fine with him. He was so damned glad to be back with them, overseeing bath time the way he used to and looking forward to spending the night wrapped up in Maddie.

His cell phone rang, and he took the call from his mother.

“Mac, thank goodness you answered! We’re going crazy wondering if you found Maddie and—”

“Relax, Mom,” he said, chuckling. “It’s all good. I found her, I explained about Roseanne and I asked Maddie to marry me. She said yes.”

The shriek from the other end of the phone had him holding it away from his ear.

“They’re engaged!” Linda said, presumably to Big Mac. “Oh, Mac, I’m so happy for both of you. I’ve hated how sad you’ve been the last few weeks. I never want to see you that way again.”

“As long as I have Maddie and Thomas,” he said, tapping one of the toy boats so it bounced off the baby’s foot, making him giggle, “I’ve got what I need.”

“I won’t keep you, honey. Congratulations.”

“Thank you. In case you were wondering, I won’t be home tonight.”

“I figured as much,” Linda said, laughing. “Talk to you tomorrow.”

“Bye, Mom.”

Maddie appeared in the doorway wearing the silk nightgown that made his mouth go dry when he looked at her. “You broke the news to your parents?”

“Uh-huh,” he said, staring.

“I take it they were happy?”


“Your mom offered me a new job today as the director of housekeeping.”

Mac forced himself to look up at her eyes, which were shining with amusement at the greedy way he’d looked at the rest of her. “That’s great, honey. You deserve the recognition after all your hard work. Are you going to take the job?”

“I haven’t decided yet. Let’s get Thomas out of there before he turns into a raisin.”

Mac took the baby-sized frog towel from her and wrapped Thomas up in it. Staring down at his adorable little face, tears burned Mac’s eyes. He was so damned grateful to have him back in his arms. Taking him into the apartment’s only bedroom, Mac laid the baby on the changing table and expertly diapered and dressed him, marveling at the things that now came so naturally to him. He’d never changed a diaper in his life until he met them.

He picked Thomas up and snuggled him into his chest, the baby nuzzling into the crook between Mac’s neck and shoulder the way he always did. Though he was desperate to be with Maddie, Mac wasn’t ready to put him down yet, so rubbed his back and held him close until the baby’s body went slack with sleep. Only then did Mac tuck him into his crib and pull a light blanket over him. “Love you so much, buddy, and I always will,” he whispered.

He was still staring down at the sleeping baby when Maddie came into the room and slid her arms around his waist.

“He missed you as much as I did,” Maddie whispered. “He’s been miserable without you.”

“He’ll never spend another day without me.”

Maddie took his hand and gave it a gentle tug, encouraging him to leave Thomas to sleep.

Mac ran his hand over the baby’s silky hair and adjusted the blanket one more time before he let her lead him from the room. While he’d been busy with the baby, she’d lit some candles and pulled out the sofa bed for them.

“I wish I had something better than that crappy bed for us tonight,” she said wistfully.

“All I need tonight is you and Thomas sleeping in the next room. I don’t care where we are or what we do as long as we’re together.”

“You don’t care what we do?” she asked, arching a brow. “Hmm, as I seem to recall you rather liked what we did, but if you don’t care—”

Grinning like a fool at the return of the playful, funny Maddie he loved so much, he kissed the rest of that sentence right off her lips. “I care,” he said, running his hands over her silk-covered curves. “I care desperately.” He couldn’t take his eyes off the abundant breasts that were the bane of her existence and the thing of fantasy for him.

“Don’t look at them,” she said, crossing her arms.

He took her hands, lowered her arms and kissed her. “I love to look at every part of you, because every inch of you is beautiful to me.”

She worked her hands free and wrapped her arms around his neck. Her mouth opened to his tongue, and like gas thrown on fire, the desire simmering between them for the last few hours exploded. They came down on the flimsy bed, arms and legs entangled, lips devouring, tongues plunging, both equally desperate to be reunited in every possible way.

Mac tried to slow himself down, to savor, to appreciate every sigh and moan, but it was too late for slow as they tore at clothes while never missing a beat in the most erotic kiss of his life.

“Mmm, wait,” he said. “Condom.”

“We’re getting married, right?”

“You bet your sexy ass we are.”

“Then maybe we could, you know… Risk it?”

“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”

She laughed at the face he made at her as she nodded.

“Hold on, baby. This is gonna be fast.” He thrust into her, gasping from the sweet relief, the tight squeeze, the heat, the overwhelming sense of rightness. “Maddie,” he whispered against her lips. “I never would’ve survived without you and Thomas. You can’t ever leave me again. Promise me.”

Wrapping her arms and legs around him, she made him her prisoner, which was totally fine with him. “I promise. I was so lonely for you.”

“You’ll never be lonely for me again. I’ll drive you so crazy, you’ll wish I’d go away and leave you alone.”


Fully seated in her, Mac raised himself up on his arms so he could look down on her face, which was rosy with the heat they generated together. Her beautiful honey-colored hair was spread out on the blanket, her lips swollen and her eyes filled with love for him. She was a miracle come to life, and her love made his life complete.

“You and me, Madeline,” he said, his lips brushing against hers as he began to move in her again, “we’re going to be epic together. Are you ready for that?”

“I’m ready, Mac. I’m ready for everything with you.”

“That’s all I need to hear to be happy for the rest of my life.”

Copyright HTJB, Inc. 2016

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