Never Giving Up (Never #3) by Anie Michaels
To Kamryn and Noah,
Without you this book wouldn’t even exist.
“Ella, I swear to God, if you pick up that box you’re going to find yourself strapped to a chair and not in the sexy way.”
I huffed out a breath laced with frustration. This was a battle I’d been fighting for weeks unnecessarily. Every time I bent over, tried to lift anything, or Heaven forbid, I opened a door for myself, he barked at me. I tried to always remember that he was just being himself, just being Porter, the protective and possessive man I loved, but one can only take so much.
“And I swear to God, if you don’t lay off, I’m going to call your mother and tell her she’ll never get any grandchildren because I’ve sworn off men. You’ve got to cut me some slack here.” He must have picked up on the fact that I was one raised eyebrow away from losing my mind because he walked over to me and pulled me into his chest, his arms wrapping around my shoulders. We stood there for a moment, him trying to take my stress away and me letting him.
“Hey,” he said, pulling away from me enough so I could look up at him. “I’m sorry. You know I’m not trying to upset you. I’m just worried.”
“I know. But you have to understand that I’m not even pregnant–”
“Yet,” he interrupted. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at him.
“I’m not pregnant. There is no baby in my womb, ergo, no reason for you to put lifting restrictions on me.”
“You could be pregnant. You could be two weeks pregnant. There could be a little Porter right in here,” he said, laying a hand over the flat, soft part of my stomach. “You don’t know.”
“You don’t know either and there’s no such thing as two weeks pregnant. You have to be four weeks pregnant for it to count for anything, so please, lay off a little. It’s not like I’m over here trying to lift boulders. This is a box of scarves. I think I can manage. I’m not putting myself, or the baby you think could possibly be in my uterus, in jeopardy.” A smile danced across his beautiful face and it was hard not to smile back at him.
“I think there’s a baby in there, Ella. I think my boys managed a honeymoon baby.” His nose came down and nuzzled into my neck, his breath flitting across my skin making goose bumps appear. “I think that night we were on the beach, in that cabana, with only the moonlight surrounding us . . .” My mind wrapped around the words he was saying and I was transported back on the beaches of Bora Bora where we’d spent our honeymoon. He was talking about one night in particular and I remembered it well. I would always remember that night.
I had instructed him to wait in the cabana for me and told him I would be out in a minute. It was one of the bravest moments of my life when I walked out of our private bungalow and tried to casually yet seductively make it to him without tripping over sand. I had purchased a special piece of lingerie especially for this occasion, for my husband.
I felt the breeze swirl through the lace that flowed down from the tiny bow made from ribbon that was nestled between my breasts. The sheer lace covered my breasts, barely, then flowed out, open in the front, all leading down to the tiniest pair of white, lacey, thong underwear I’d ever seen. Obviously, the lace was just a pretense, because every part of me was on display. I took in a few deep breaths, trying to calm myself as I walked towards him.
The sand had cooled considerably since the sun was no longer beating down on the beach. The small particles slipped through my toes as I made my way towards the little hut that held my husband.
My heart fluttered at the thought of Porter being my husband. We’d known each other less than a year, been swept away in a sea of unimaginable love, faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and still managed to end up here, at the ocean, where everything had begun. He was my calm and steady surf when storms and winds had raged around me. When everything in my life had been confusing and tortuous, Porter had been the one who always brought me back around to my center. He was the only thing I had ever needed.