Authors: Amy Andrews
Finn sat, his heart beating like a bongo drum as he raked his hands through his hair. She picked up his plate and handed it to him and he took it, eating automatically as his thoughts whizzed around and collided with each other like atoms on speed.
‘What do you want to know?’ he asked eventually after half his meal had been demolished and he couldn’t stand the silence any longer.
‘It’s okay,’ Evie said. ‘We don’t have to talk tonight. Just … tell me about your day.’
He frowned. ‘My day?’
Evie gave a half-laugh at his bewildered expression. ‘Yes. Your day. You know, the stuff married people talk about all the time.’
It was awkward at first but they were soon chatting about safe hospital topics—his theatre list tomorrow, how Prince Khalid was going, some new whizz-bang monitor he wanted for the cath lab and the new salads on the canteen menu. And before Evie knew it, two hours had passed and Finn was on his second cup of coffee.
Even he looked surprised when he checked his watch as he drained the dregs from his mug. ‘I guess I’d better get going,’ he said, looking at her, curiously not wanting to leave.
Evie nodded. It would be the easiest thing in the world to ask him to stay. He’d actually been acting like a human being for once and he looked tired and stubbly and masculine and it had been so long that she wanted to reach across the gap and sink into his arms. But she didn’t want to mess with what she was trying to establish now.
Sex would just distract them.
Suddenly the baby gave a swift kick that stole her breath and she gasped involuntarily and soothed her hand over the action.
Finn followed the intimate action, struck by the notion that he’d put the baby inside her. That it was his son, his flesh and blood that blossomed in her belly. ‘Baby awake?’ he said, feeling awkward again.
Evie looked up, a grimace on her face, which died quickly. Finn was staring at her belly, or rather at the circular motion of her palm, and he seemed so alone and isolated, so untouchable,
, way over the other side of the cushion, that it almost tore her breath from her lungs.
‘Do you …?’ She hesitated, unsure of how to broach the subject. ‘Would you like to feel him moving?’ she asked.
Finn mentally recoiled from her quiet suggestion even as his fingers tingled at the possibility. His pulse kicked up a notch. His breath thickened in his throat.
Lay his hands on her? Feel his son moving inside her?
He was used to touching women. Used to touching this woman. But as a prelude to something else. Not like this. Not in a way that bound them beyond just a physical need for release.
He would know his son soon enough. He didn’t need to feel his presence to understand his responsibilities.
‘Ah, no,’ he said, standing, gathering his jacket and his tie and taking a pace back for good measure. ‘I’m good.’
Evie tried not to take his rejection personally. They’d taken a big step tonight—she didn’t want to scare him away by going all militant mummy on him. ‘That’s fine,’ she said, plastering a smile on her face as she also stood.
They looked at each other, Finn avoiding her belly, Evie fixing on his collar. Finn cursed the sudden uncomfortable silence. The night had gone well—considering.
He cast around for something to say. It seemed only fair, given that he’d been the one to ruin the atmosphere. ‘Do you want to have dinner with me tomorrow night?’
Evie blinked. She suddenly felt like a teenager being asked on her first date. ‘Ah … yes.’
He nodded. ‘I’ll pick you up at seven.’
And that set the pattern for the next couple of weeks. Going out or staying in, keeping things light, getting used to just being together without arguing or tearing each other’s clothes off. One night Evie pushed a little and asked Finn about his life as a trauma surgeon in the army, and for the longest moment as he hesitated she thought he was going to shut her down, but he didn’t and she found herself asking a bit more about it each night. About the places he’d been and the people he’d met.
He was more close-lipped about the specifics, about the horrors he must have seen, but each time he gave away a little more and a little more, even mentioning Isaac’s name a couple of times before he realised and then stopped awkwardly and changed the subject.
But for every backward step Evie felt as if they were inching forward and they had plenty of time. She was determined not to push him too far too fast.
Evie was almost twenty-eight weeks when Finn called one night to say he’d been delayed at the hospital and would miss their restaurant booking. ‘How does a spot of telly and a takeaway sound?’
Like an old married couple
, she almost said, but, already exhausted from her own full-on shift, she readily agreed.
‘I could be a while yet,’ he warned.
‘Whenever you get here will be fine,’ she assured him. She took great delight in kicking off her pregnancy jeans, which she hated, and her bra, which felt like a straitjacket around breasts that seemed to get bigger by the day, and getting into her sloppy pyjamas. The shirt had a tendency to fall off her shoulder and the legs were loose and light. One day soon it wasn’t going to meet in the middle but for the moment the ensemble was holding its own.
That was one of the advantages of their unconventional relationship. There was no need to dress to impress. The man had already seen everything she had. She could sloth around in her daggy pyjamas with no bra and no real shape and he was prepared to marry her anyway.
Besides, she didn’t think he found her pregnant body much of a turn-on. He’d studiously avoided looking, touching or getting too near her belly. He didn’t refer to it, he never remarked about how big she was getting or comment when she rubbed it.
She knew that was partly to do with his issues but she had to face facts—she’d put on some weight, her breasts had doubled in size and her belly had well and truly popped out.
Hardly a sex kitten.
So there seemed very little point making an effort and there was something very comforting about a man who was a sure thing so she threw herself down in front of the telly, her feet up on the coffee table, and waited.
It was nine o’clock when Finn finally knocked and Evie was almost asleep on the couch, but her belly rumbled as she admitted him and she realised she was ravenous. For food and for him. There was something very sexy about the total disregard with which Finn wore a suit. The way he never bothered to do up the jacket so it flapped open all the time or how he couldn’t care less about doing up the collar buttons on his shirt and how his tie was always just a little skew. The whole look said, I’d much rather be in scrubs.
Which pretty much summed him up.
He’d brought beer and pizza and they ate it out of the box while he told her about the emergency thoracotomy he’d had to perform on an MVA that had come in after her shift had ended and they watched TV re-runs.
Finn shook his head as Evie laughed at some ridiculous antic. ‘I can’t believe we’re watching this.’
‘Hey, I love this show,’ Evie protested. ‘The nanny used to let us watch it if Lexi and I had done our homework.’
‘What about Bella? Didn’t she watch it?’
‘Of course, but none of them made Bella do anything because of her CF.’
‘Poor Bella,’ he mused. ‘How did she feel about that?’
Evie opened her mouth to give him a flippant reply but it suddenly struck her that Finn was asking
life, seemed interested in
life. After two weeks of gently pushing his boundaries back with a feather, he was actually taking an interest in her past.
It was beyond thrilling. She smiled at him. ‘She played on it for all she was worth.’
An hour later, with Evie having fallen asleep on his shoulder and snuggled into his side, Finn decided it was time to leave. His arm was numb, which was the stuff his nightmares were made of, and frankly with a large expanse of her cleavage exposed to his view she was just too tempting.
He’d tried not to notice how her body had burgeoned over the last weeks. Tried to concentrate on her, on sticking to his side of the bargain, but her athletic body was developing some fascinating curves, which he’d need to be blind not to notice, given how much time they were spending together.
It was taking all his self-control not to reach for her. To remember she was pregnant. As her bump was getting bigger, it shouldn’t have been that difficult but here, now, with her all warm and cosy and smelling fresh and soapy with her hair all loose and her shirt half falling off, exposing the creamy rise of most of one breast and the light from the TV flickering over her skin, it was very difficult.
Finn liked sex. And he was good at it. Even when he’d been practically crippled with pain and numbness in his arm, he’d been good at it.
He and Evie were especially good at it. He reached a plane with her that he’d never reached with anyone else. There’d always been something more than physical. Kind of like what they’d been sharing these last few weeks.
But she was pregnant and they were trying to build a relationship beyond what they already had so making a move on her right now, when things were going so well, was just plain stupid.
He tried to slowly ease away from her but she shifted and murmured and seemed to cling to him even more firmly, pushing her soft breasts into his side.
He prayed for patience, or deliverance.
Whichever came first.
‘Evie,’ he whispered, and shook her gently, trying really hard not to watch everything jiggling nicely. ‘Evie.’
She stirred a little and murmured sleepily. ‘Hmm?’
‘I’m going to go,’ he whispered, trying to ease away again.
Evie dragged herself back from the dark abyss of sleep towards the lure of Finn’s whisper. Her eyes fluttered open and her gaze slowly fixed on his face as awareness filtered in. She’d crashed on his shoulder and was smooshed up against him like some crazy stalker.
She removed her hand from his biceps and sat back a little, snuggling her head against the couch instead of his shoulder. She gave him a sleepy, apologetic smile. ‘Sorry,’ she murmured. ‘I’m perpetually tired these days.’
Finn felt the low note of her voice hum along his veins like a tuning fork. ‘It’s fine,’ he said, also keeping his voice low and his gaze firmly trained on her face and not the view straight down her loose top.
‘Thanks for the pizza.’ She rubbed her belly. ‘It was delicious.’ The action pulled her shirt down a little more and Evie was surprised to see Finn’s eyes widen slightly.
Finn looked. He couldn’t help himself. Her breasts were so lush and so … right there. He grimaced as he looked back at her. ‘I should … definitely go,’ he murmured.
Evie felt her insides dissolve to mush at the look of naked lust she saw heating his gaze to a blue flame. Her hormones, suddenly not sleepy, roared to life. ‘You don’t have to go,’ she said.
Finn sucked in a breath at the shimmer in her soft hazel eyes. ‘Evie …’
Evie leaned forward, her breasts tight, her internal muscles quivering in anticipation. ‘Stay,’ she murmured, and pressed her mouth lightly to his. The beer on his breath was sweet and heady.
Finn, everything north of his groin burning up, groaned the second her lips touched his, ploughing his hands into her hair and deepening the kiss. He pulled back, pressing his forehead against hers as he sucked in air. He felt his control unravelling, as the urge to push her back against the lounge and ravage her pounded through his system. ‘I want this too much,’ he said on a husky whisper.
‘Good,’ she breathed, picking up his hand, placing it on her breast and muttering, ‘So do I,’ as she sought his mouth again.
Finn held her back. ‘Wait,’ he muttered. ‘Not here.’ Too many times they’d had rushed sex, hastily parted clothes and a dash to the finish line. Not tonight. Not in her state. He stood and held out his hand. ‘Your bedroom.’
Evie would have been perfectly happy with the lounge or the wall or the floor but she was touched by his consideration. But once they hit the bedroom he swept her up and she felt his control shatter on a guttural groan as he kissed her deep and hard.
And then they were pulling at each other’s clothes. Shirts and buttons and pants and zippers seemed to melt away as their hands sought bare flesh. And then they were standing before each other naked, his erection jutting between them. His hands brushed against her belly and he pulled away from her, looking down at it, looking down at where his baby was growing. He reached for it again, slid his hands over its rounded contours then slowly up over her breasts, fuller than he remembered, the nipples bigger.
He looked back at her face. ‘You’re beautiful,’ he whispered.
Evie felt beautiful when he looked at her like that. When he touched her so reverently. ‘So are you,’ she murmured, pressing a kiss to both flat broad pecs.
She trailed her fingers where her mouth had been, trekking up to his shoulders, tracing the scars on his right shoulder before moving down to his biceps. Then slowly shifting, moving around his body until she was standing behind him, her fingers trailing over his back, finding the shrapnel scars she’d only ever felt before, each one breaking her heart a little more.
‘Did you get these the day Isaac died?’ she asked, dropping a kiss on each one, rubbing her cheek against the puckered skin of his back.