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  • Home > Katie Ashley > Runaway Train > Beat of the Heart (Page 97)     
  • Beat of the Heart(Runaway Train #2)(97) by Katie Ashley
  • “I’m fine,” he murmured.

    “But remember how the baby books all said that we’ll spoil her if we hold her too much?”

    “Yeah, well, fuck Dr. Spock and those other asshats.”

    “AJ!”

    “Sorry. I know I need to watch my language around her.” His blazing black eyes met mine. “Besides, I thought we both agreed not to listen to those books and raise her in our own way.”

    “Yes, I know, but—”

    He exhaled a painful sigh. “I just want to do this as long as I can, Mia. I mean, we’ll be leaving for the East Coast tour in two weeks.” He bit his bottom lip like he was trying not to cry, but the tears welled in his eyes anyway. “I already feel this choking panic that I need to memorize every detail of her face, her hands, and body before I have to go so long without seeing her.”

    “We’ll Skype together every night, and I’ll text you pictures every day,” I protested, softly.

    He gave a quick jerk of his head. “It isn’t the same thing as holding her in my arms, cuddling her close to my heart, and smelling her sweet, little baby scent.” He pinned me with a glare. “And don’t you dare say something to lighten the mood like ‘well, you won’t be thinking she smells so sweet at the next diaper change’!”

    “I wasn’t going to,” I murmured. After all the issues we’d had, the only argument AJ and I had experienced in our last five months together was my decision not to come out on the road with him once Bella was born. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be with him—I just wanted Bella to have the comfort and safety of a nursery not on wheels. There was also my job to contend with, which even though AJ thought it was absurd, I wanted to go back to nursing in a few months. It wasn’t about the fact we didn’t need the money—it was the need within me to help and heal people.

    But as I watched the tears drip off of AJ’s cheeks and onto Bella’s blanket, some of Mama Sofia’s words echoed through my mind. “Marriage is all about compromise, Emiliana. It’s give and take, but in the end, it’s always going to be the woman giving more because she’s the soul and heart of her man and her family. And when it comes to being a mother, there is nothing that you won’t sacrifice to ensure the happiness and health of your child.” The more those words rolled through my mind, the more I realized what I had to do. “AJ,” I said.

    “Yeah?” he questioned, not taking his eyes off of Bella.

    “I don’t want you to have to be separated from Bella or from me.”

    He jerked his gaze over to mine. “What are you saying?”

    “I’m saying I’ll go on the road with you—if you’d still like that.”

    “Like it? I’d fucking love it!” He leapt out of the rocking chair and came to my side. With Bella nestled in one arm, he leaned over the rails of the bed with the other. He gave me a lingering kiss that warmed my heart. When he pulled away, his brows furrowed. “You’re really willing to quit your job and live a chaotic life on a cramped bus just for me?”

    “Not just for you.” I kissed the top of Bella’s capped head. “For her, too.” I smiled at AJ. “Like her mom, she’s blessed with an amazingly, loving father, and she shouldn’t be deprived of one second with him.”

    “Oh God, you make me so happy,” he said, bringing his lips back to mine.

    “I feel the same way about you.” And in the middle of a very idyllic, very romantic kiss, Bella let out a wail that I could only classify, as ‘I want milk, and I want it now!’ Pulling away, I rubbed AJ’s cheek tenderly before taking Bella in my arms. I didn’t know how I became so blessed, but I was certainly grateful.

    After all, a year ago during the darkest times of my life, I would have never thought it was possible to be experiencing the happiness I was now. I wouldn’t have dreamed there could be a man like AJ—one who was so wonderful, so sweet and caring, so generous both in and outside of the bedroom. Most of all, one who was my true soul-mate that Mama Sofia had always said would one day come along. Instead, I would still be believing the many lies my ex’s from my battered and broken past had told me.

    But when I least deserved it and after being so stubborn, I had found acceptance of myself, the love of a lifetime, and a family of my own.

    Epilogue

    As I stood at the doorway leading to the altar of Christ the King cathedral, I fidgeted nervously back and forth on my feet. At the same time, my fingers tapped out a beat on the black pants of my tux. The intensely sweet aroma from all the floral arrangements stung my nose, while my ears rung from the sound of the enormous pipe organ blasting out the pre-wedding ceremony music.

    Wrapping an arm around my shoulder, Jake said, “You know, we can still run if you want?”

    I snorted. “Yeah right. You want a mob of angry Sicilians after us?”

    Jake laughed. “Nah, I’m good.”

    “Besides, there’s nothing more I want to do than marry Mia.”

    “I know, man. I just had to tease you.” He glanced down at the platinum band on his left hand and shook his head. “Who would have thought you and I would be shackled with balls and chains at the ripe old age of twenty-six?”

    “Not me. That’s for damn sure,” I replied, with a smile. I jerked my chin up towards Rhys. “Now we just gotta get him someone, and we’ll all be old married dudes.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire