Book: Tough and Tender (Bad Boy Romance Box Set)





Six months later...

“What’s taking so damn long?” Sam asks. “Shouldn’t we have heard something by now?” He jumps up to pace the length of the maternity ward waiting room.

It has been over two hours since Flint last ran in to give us a quick update on Kendra’s labor. We’re all beginning to get a little worried. Kendra was adamant that she didn’t want a Caesarean delivery, but the longer the labor drags on, the more likely it seems.

“It takes a long time to birth a baby,” I patiently explain to Sam. “Don’t worry. She’ll be okay. Sit down before you wear holes in the floor.”

In the past few months, I’ve grown close to Sam. He’s like the brother that I always wanted and never had. Moving into the big house with both Jesse and Sam seemed a little awkward at first, but it didn’t take me long to feel right at home. Once Sam realized I knew how to cook, I became his new best friend.

So now, I have two men to spoil and I love every minute of it. Most evenings, the three of us all hang out together, either watching action movies or going for long rides through the countryside. Sometimes if they’re working late at the tattoo shop, I’ll pick up a pizza after my nursing classes and take it by to ‘my boys,’ as I like to call them now.

On weekends, the big house is filled with the rest of the Steel Infidels roaming in and out. Sometimes we’ll throw a barbeque or the crew will hang out in the front yard working on their bikes. A couple of the ‘old ladies’ in the club and Kendra have adopted me, taking me under their wing and showing me the ropes. 

For the first time in my life, I’m truly happy.

Life with Jesse is just about perfect. The only thing that will make it better is the pitter-patter of little feet someday. If my recent morning queasiness is any indication, it may be sooner than later. I haven’t told Jesse about my suspicions yet since I want to be absolutely sure first. 

Jesse removes his arm from around my shoulder and stands up to stretch. “Poor Flint,” he says. “I bet he’s going nuts in there seeing Kendra in pain and not being able to do anything about it.”

“Poor Flint?” I say. “You mean poor Kendra, don’t you? No matter how awful Flint feels, it can’t be as bad as what she’s experiencing.”

Jesse reaches down and squeezes my hand. “I know. I just can’t help thinking how I would feel if you were the one in there suffering. Not to be able to take the pain away would kill me. It must be the most helpless feeling in the world. I hope that when we have a baby, they’ll give you a shot to knock your ass out cold or something.”

I roll my eyes at him. “I’m pretty sure they don’t drug up pregnant women anymore. You need to be able to push.”

Sam stops pacing and looks back and forth between us. “Wait! Are you guys having a baby too?”

Jesse smiles down at me. “Not yet, but we’re working on it. Every day and every night.”

I playfully slap him on the arm. “Stop it! You’re embarrassing me. Sam doesn’t need to hear all this private stuff. The walls are thin in the house, you know.”

A nurse walks into the waiting room and we immediately stop talking. “The Mason family?” she asks.

We stand up together. “That’s us,” Jesse says.

“Come with me. You can all go in the room now, but only for a couple of minutes. Mama is very tired and needs her rest.”

“Are they both okay?” Jesse asks anxiously. “Mama and the baby?”

Jesse has been worried sick about the health of the baby ever since the shooting at the wedding. The gunshot grazed Kendra in the upper thigh and luckily didn’t hit anywhere near the baby. Even with the doctor’s continued reassurance, it’s been impossible to convince Jesse that the baby is okay. He won’t believe it until he sees it with his own eyes.

“Mama and the baby boy are both doing great,” she says with a big smile.

“A boy! Just what I wanted!” Sam reaches over to high five Jesse. “I can’t wait to teach him how to ride. I wonder if they make little motorcycles for toddlers.”

“I sure hope not,” I say with a frown.

When we reach the door to the room, I walk a couple more steps down the hallway. I suddenly feel like an intruder and don’t want to interrupt the family’s private time together. Jesse starts to go in and notices me hanging back.

“What’s wrong?” he asks. “You okay? I thought you would be all over this baby stuff. Jotting down notes and asking questions.”

“I’m fine. I just don’t want to intrude on this special time for all of you. The first baby in a family is a big deal.”

“It is a big deal,” he says. “That’s why I want you here with us.” He leans down and kisses my hair. “I love you, sweetheart. More than you’ll ever know. When are you going to accept this is your family too, Trish? You’re part of us now.” He takes my hand. “Come on now. Don’t be shy. Kendra will want to see you.” 

We walk into the birthing room where Kendra is lying in a hospital bed looking completely exhausted. Flint, in green hospital scrubs, doesn’t look much better. He gives us a tired smile and walks over carrying the baby.

“Meet your new nephew,” he says to Jesse and Sam. “Joshua Mason. Josh for short.”

Jesse takes one look at the big, healthy baby boy swaddled in a white blanket, and his blue eyes unexpectedly fill with tears. His strong emotion catches me by surprise, because in all this time, I’ve never seen him cry. It makes me tear up too. I know he is overwhelmed by relief since he hasn’t forgiven himself for what happened at the wedding.

“Here Jesse, why don’t you hold him for a minute?” Flint suggests, moving closer with the little bundle.

“Oh no,” Jesse says in a panic, holding up a hand to stop him. “I’m afraid I’ll drop him.”

“You’re not going to drop him,” Flint reassures him. “Here, put your arms up and keep his head supported.” He carefully transfers the baby over into Jesse’s tattooed arms.

“Hey Josh,” Jesse says softly. “I’m your uncle, Jesse, and this is your Aunt Trish. We’re going to spoil you rotten.”

Sam pulls out his cell phone and takes a quick photo. “The crew isn’t going to believe this,” he says. “Big, tough Jesse holding a baby.”

“Jesse needs all the practice he can get,” Kendra says weakly from the hospital bed. “Trish, I’m counting on you to babysit for us, too.”

“Anytime,” I say. “I would love to. Just say the word and I’m all yours.”

I reach over and gently touch little Joshua’s hand. He grasps my finger and holds on tight.

In a flash, I can see all of us together for years to come. On Christmas mornings and Easter egg hunts. Thanksgiving dinners and trick-or-treating with our kids.

Everything I ever wanted is in this room.

Jesse, and a family to love that will love me back.

I’m finally home.


The End

What’s coming up next? Sam, of course! Everyone’s favorite ladies’ man finally gets caught in “Thunderclap.” Releasing in late January! Sign up for my to be notified about new releases. Join me on Facebook at ""! I'm on Facebook every day and love hanging out with my readers.