Authors: Darby Briar
Copyright © 2015 Darby Briar.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, including electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, and locations is purely coincidental. Darby Briar is in no way affiliated with any songs, brands, musicians or artists mentioned in this book. This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it to the seller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.
Published by Darby Briar 2015
For Mature Audience 18+
Contains Adult Sexual Situations & Language
This is a biker romance story and as such it contains no princes, unicorns, or rainbows. Okay maybe there is a unicorn this time. But it’s a Christmas story, so there’s bound to be some of that gooey shit(:
HOC Insignia: Andrea Macedo
Cover Design: Romantic Book Affairs
Cover Picture: Perrywinkle Photography
Chris York and Megan RaNae Nall
Editing: Melissa Austin and Franci Neill
To my HOC Honeys. Tea, Franci, and the rest.
This small story is for you.
Merry Christmas and thank you for your patience while I work on book 2.
NOTE FROM AUTHOR
Please keep in mind while reading that this portion of Mav and Ember’s story is of their first Christmas together. It takes place after Chapter 47 in Burning Ember, and before Chapter 48.
Looking around at the presents filling the front room, I shake my head. This is too much. I turn to the sexy man standing next to me to tell him exactly that; however, I pause, taken back by the happiness radiating out of him. The way the corner of his mouth is inched up. How the glow coming from the tree brightens his golden skin, and puts a sparkle in his amber eyes.
I don’t know why it still shocks me every time. How handsome Mav is. I guess, I’m still blown away that he’s mine, and instead of being the asshole he was when we met, he’s everything I could have ever imagined wanting. And he’s given me everything I’ve dreamed about having. A beautiful home. A family. A loving father for Will.
I rub my hand over my small baby bump.
And one more child to love on the way.
My gaze sweeps over the magical sight that is our home and our first Christmas together.
This right here makes it all worth it. The trials I faced. The pain I endured. All those wrong turns that led me here. I’d do it all over again if I had to.
Weaving my arm under his, I wrap it around his back. “She’s not going to know what to play with first.”
Mav slides his hand around my waist until his fingers caress my hipbone, and dip beneath my pajama shorts. Giving me a coy smile he says, “My money’s on the bike over the doll house.”
“I think she’ll love them both.” Although I suspect the only reason Will asked for the doll house was because it’s what Medda wants to play with when she comes over.
After eyeing the new purple, black and white bike, with all its bells and whistles, I have to agree with Mav. The leather jacket he had made with her name on it isn’t going to go unnoticed either. Will is going to have stars in her eyes when she sees them both.
Ever since Mav gave her her first ride on his motorcycle, she’s been obsessed with anything that has two wheels, and she thinks her hoard of HOC uncles are the coolest thing since I started slicing her grilled cheese sandwiches into four squares. Her new love of bikes has more to do with her fixation with them, and the new main man in her life than anything else.
When Mav finally sneaked his way into her heart like he did with me, Will didn’t just come to adore him, she became his mini me, his shadow. They started to do everything together when he was home. They drew together, cooked together, worked out in the shop together.
Honestly I used to find myself of little jealous of how close they’d gotten. Especially because the closer they became it seemed the farther apart Mav and I drifted.
Or at least I felt that way until a couple of days ago.
See, there had always been a distance between Mav and I after what happened with Warner. Mav stayed away because he was giving me time to heal. I stayed away because I didn’t know where we stood. He’d gone from being a bachelor, and enjoying partying, sex, and alcohol every night, to becoming a nurse, cook, maid, and nanny. And I couldn’t tell day to day if he regretted his decision to bring us here. My fears only escalated when he started to spend more and more time away from us. I knew what went on in the clubhouse. I could only imagine the temptations thrown in his lap daily. Part of me even understood that a man had needs. Needs that for a long time I didn’t feel like I could handle without memories of Warner hijacking my mind. But still the idea of Mav with someone else ate at me. I tried to trust him. I tried to fight the awful thoughts filing my head every time he walked out the door. But that void between us grew each time he left, and my confidence in us faded with each passing day.
Until I decided to confront him.
Discovering the real reason behind why Mav had stayed away was a huge turning point for us. That revelation changed everything.
Feeling his arm squeeze me tighter, I look at him.
“What are you thinking so hard about?”
I lay my hand on his stomach as he tucks me closer so I cuddled up against his side. “Just about how messed up things were before, and how perfect they are now.”
After sweeping my hair away from my forehead, he cups my face and lifts it. “Oh, yeah?” That grin of his nearly has my panties melting away. “You happy, baby?”
Nodding, I smile up at him. “I am. Not sure I could be happier.”
His eyes travel over my face, and his thumb strokes my jaw. “Yeah? Is that because I gave you multiple orgasms this morning, or because it’s Christmas tomorrow and you finally get to open that little present from your secret admirer?”
He teases, but his eyes waver from me to the present wrapped in gold paper, with a gold sheer bow, beneath the tree. It’s about the size of two large books, and it came with no return address. I’ll admit I’m a little anxious about opening it. After all, it could be some sick gift from Davis to remind us he’s out there, or something from Warner’s father, who’s been using all his contacts to put heat on the club and find out if they had anything to do with his son’s disappearance.
However, deep down I don’t think it’s from either of them, even though its post marked from San Diego. In my gut I have a feeling it’s from only one of two people. Either my mother that abandoned me or my father who tried to have me killed.
Mav plays it off like he’s not uneasy about it. But I can see how his eyes turn hard and his body coils with tension every time he eyes the present. Like he’s afraid the contents will somehow shatter the happiness we’ve found together.
Rising up on my toes, I place a peck on his lips. He groans and tries to deepen the kiss, but I pull back and rest my head against his chest as I watch the clock on the wall. I wait for the long hand to pass the twelve at the top.
Then I explain, “I’m happy because it’s Christmas and I finally get to give you your present.” Leaving his embrace, I bend down by the tree and pick up a box wrapped in red and white paper. “It goes with those.” I point to the red pajama pants he opened an hour ago. They look sinfully good on him. They hang off his hips and I can only picture how they’ll look once his white t-shirt comes off.
Gold skin. Smattering of dark hair between ropey abs that leads down to the lollipop I’ve wanted to lick for months, but have yet had a chance to. Something I plan to rectify very shortly.
“I thought maybe we could start another new tradition.”
Opening a present on Christmas Eve and getting a new set of pajamas is a family tradition Bethany has, and when I told Mav about it, he decided it was a good tradition to start with our own family. It got me thinking about other traditions we could start, and how I wanted my first Christmas with Mav to be special. So this is something just for me and him that I’ve been planning.
I can tell by the way his eyes lit up that he’s not accustomed to receiving many presents. Just the way he’s biting his lip, and fighting a smile gives me a glimpse of what he looked like as a child. The sight of it has little tingles shooting off in my stomach.
Then I imagine our baby, and what he or she will look like. Maybe black hair, and blue-green eyes.
For a moment a baby with blond hair and blue eyes flashes through my mind, and like it does every time I think of this baby not being Mav’s, my heartbeat stutters.
Stop it Ember. It’s Mav’s baby.
Warner used a condom.
Although, did he really? I was too out of it to know for sure.
In my heart its Mav’s baby. And Mav says he’ll love this baby whether it’s part of both of us or only a part of me. But still, until it’s confirmed, I think I’ll always have that sliver of doubt nagging away at me.
“Paul didn’t believe in buying a bunch of “junk” to celebrate the birth of Christ,” Mav murmurs as he slowly slides his finger under the edge to peel away the tape. “He made us do service on Christmas.” Glancing up at me he adds, “It wasn’t always bad, sometimes I actually liked it. It made me feel good about myself, you know?” Then his smile fades a bit. “Just once though it would have been nice to get a skateboard, or a Nintendo…or somethin’.”
The nerves in my stomach double as he starts to peel away the wrapping paper from the box.
Mav already knows I’m pregnant. After he asked me if I could be, Lily and I went to the store and bought a half a dozen home tests. Mav stood right outside the bathroom as I took as many as I could, which ended up being three.
When I came out of the bathroom holding them, the look on his face froze me where I stood.
It wasn’t riddled with fear like I thought it would be, but hope. So much hope that he could barely contain it. He’d been leaning against the wall, leg bouncing, fingers tapping against his thigh. His head was tilted back and his eyes were closed. But the second I stepped out and came toward him, all of that stopped.
In those milliseconds that passed, he read every nuance of my face and found the answer he’d been praying for. I didn’t have to tell him or show him the tests. He read it in my eyes and shouted his excitement as he scooped me up into his arms and squeezed me half to death. He kissed every spare inch of my neck and face, before grabbing my cheeks and smashing his mouth so hungrily on top of mine that I swear it was tender for two days straight.
I didn’t care though. He could kiss me like that anytime he wanted to. It showed me how happy he was, with me, with the news, and with where our future was headed.
Thankfully I’d asked Lily to watch Will for a few more hours. And I’m glad I did. Because there was no stopping Mav from carrying me into his bed, and reacquainting me with the side of him I hadn’t seen in weeks.
I snap out of my thoughts as Mav rips the top of the box away from the lower half. His chest rumbles with approval at what he’s been given. Using his pinky he lifts the red lace panties. “Jesus, baby. You tryin’ to kill me?” He licks his lips as he takes in the matching bra, nylons, and garter belt.
“Fuck, are you gonna go put this on?” His heated golden eyes draw up to mine. He reaches out to grab me.
Dodging his hands and smiling, I say, “Why don’t you open the card, while I go change?”
He looks reluctant, but hands over the box. His eyes track me as I back out of the room. I leave him with the card, and head upstairs to change. After I do, I step into my red heels that match, and make my way back downstairs.
I have a good idea of what I’ll find when I finally see him, but still it makes my heart swell. Mav is facing the Christmas tree. He’s sitting on the edge of the off-white suede couch and he’s wiping his tears from his eyes while he examines his baby in the ultrasound photo I gave him.
“I wanted to give you your first picture.” I say this as I come closer and run my hands through his dark hair. He pushes his head into my hand. His fingers slide up my calf, and circle my leg. His other hand does the same and together they move from the back of my knees up my thighs. As Mav raises his head, and his eyes meet mine, I straddle him, sitting on his lap.
While still combing my fingers through his hair, I admit, “I bought us a camera, too, so we can take more.”
Mav just stares at me, with so much emotion. I can’t tell if he’s pleased by the picture or maybe upset that I went to my first doctor’s appointment without him. I feel bad about not asking him to come to my special appointment yesterday that Doctor Alister set up for me. But I wanted it to be a surprise.
With a strength that I’ve only felt once before, he kneads his fingers into my skin. He holds me so tightly it’s as if he fears if he doesn’t, I’ll slip away. Then he shakes his head and his eyes leave mine.
“Hey.” I dip so I can lock my gaze with his. “What’s wrong? Are you mad that you didn’t get to come with me?”
He backs away a bit and his molten eyes meet mine, they sweep down my body. When they come back up, he exhales. “This is everything I dreamed about, and every day it just gets better and better.” He stares at me for a long time before he tells me the rest. “Sometimes the idea of losing this scares the shit outta me.” His gaze dances over my face. The emotion I see there freaks me out for a second.
I place my hand over the tattoo on his abs. “Shh…I’m right here, and I’m not going anywhere. This is us, right? Always.”
His grip tightens on my waist again. “I’m scared of screwing this up somehow. Like before. We spent how many weeks apart because I didn’t just come right out and tell you what was going on with me.”
“Mav, there isn’t a man out there that could love me more than you do. I know that. I’m not looking for you to be perfect. No one’s perfect. Not even me. Just be the best you can and I’ll love you for it. So will Will and this baby. That’s all you can do. Talk to me and tell me how you feel. I can’t read your mind, and that’s only ever been our issue. We can’t keep thinking we know what’s going on. We have to talk to each other.”