The Soul Mate Page 27

“Okay.” I nodded, then followed her out onto the deck, taking a seat beside her on the swinging bench.

“This was romantic of you, you know that?”

“I’m glad you like it,” I told her, and as I looked at her in the fading evening light, I felt like she still deserved more. Everything I could give her would never be enough. Baby or no, the warm swell I felt in my chest when I looked at Bren made me understand one thing—I was going to do my damnedest to make this work.

Come hell or high water.

Chapter Twenty-One


“What an amazing day.” I let out a groan and dropped onto the bed, my muscles sore and legs trembling.

“You killed it on that hike. I was impressed.” Mason sat down on the mattress beside me, smiling down at me.

We’d just spent the day hiking in the beautiful Crystal Caves, and then followed it up with paddle-boarding in the Caribbean.

It had been exhilarating, and I’d been amazed to see how well our personalities meshed. From the moment we’d arrived in paradise, Mason and I had been on the same page with every decision. Skip breakfast and grab coffee to go or sit down for a leisurely brunch? Nap or go for a walk on the beach? It was nice to see how well we got along, how easy he was to be with.

I also got to see how he handled challenges. Like when we got to the rental car counter and found that they’d messed up his reservation, and didn’t have any available cars for the next three hours. For a moment there, my heart had sunk. He’d tried to pull together the perfect weekend and we’d only just landed when already something was going wrong. I took a deep breath, turning to watch how Mason would react. But rather than blowing his cool, he rolled with it. He arranged for us to get a ride to our rental house and negotiated for an upgraded car to be dropped off to us later. The memory made me smile.

“What’s next on the agenda?” I asked, almost afraid to hear what he might say. All this touring paradise and I was exhausted.

“Hmm.” Mason reached out, rubbing my shoulders. “You look a little flushed from all that activity today. Do you want a nap?”

I shook my head. I wasn’t sleepy. “Maybe just something low-key.”

“I’m thinking we go cool off in the pool with a frozen drink. You in?”

My mouth lifted in a smile. “It’s like you can read my mind.”

He leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to my mouth. “You’re perfect.”

He’d told me that so many times, I was starting to believe him. Wrapping my hands around his neck, I pulled him in for another kiss. “Thank you for all of this.”

He met my gaze, and his eyes softened. “It’s not just me—you’re feeling this, right?”

“This?” I challenged, smirking at him. Wasn’t it the common joke that men couldn’t talk about their feelings? For Mason and me, that was reversed. He was so open and loving, and I was the guarded one.

He took my hand and pressed it over his heart. “Yes. This. Everything that’s developing between us.”

The steady thump of his heart under my palm sped up. I nodded. “It’s been fast, but yes, I’m very much feeling this.”

In that moment, I sensed that he wanted to say more, maybe even the L-word. His eyes already revealed what his lips held back. But the only thing that scared me was how badly I wanted to say it back to him.

With one last kiss pressed to my forehead, Mason rose to his feet. “Go get changed into your swimsuit and I’ll make a batch of piña coladas.”

“You’re perfect,” I murmured.

“Careful now, Bren. Don’t you go falling in love with me.” He shot a wide grin over his shoulder.

“Why, Dr. Bentley. Would that be a problem for you?” Part of me couldn’t believe the boldness of my words, but the other part of me? The one that wanted to be rash and brazen and emotional? She had already fallen for him. That day when he delivered prenatal vitamins to me. Even more so when he stuck by me even after finding out I wasn’t pregnant. Most guys would have cut and run, relieved at the idea of not being tied down with a kid. But not Mason.

His expression turned more serious, his eyes blazing on mine. “Not for me. Just be ready to give me forever.”

Then his tight ass was retreating toward the kitchen, and I lay there, my heart pounding.

We might not have been brave enough to say those three little words yet, but I knew in my heart what I felt—overwhelming love—like I never thought I’d experience.

The man was gifted in the bedroom, he cooked, and was even-tempered, sweet, romantic, and passionate about his work delivering babies. Plus he got my love for animals. Not only that, he accepted my crazy fear of commitment, giving me the space I needed to close the gap between us all on my own.

I was falling hard and fast, and I didn’t want to stop.

Heaving myself up off the bed moments later, I snatched my swimsuit from the open suitcase at the foot of the bed and headed for the bathroom.

When I got into the bathroom to change, my smile fell. Just perfect. I’d started my period. Of all the days for this to happen? On vacation…really, universe? I felt like giving my uterus the middle finger, but little good it would do me now. After changing, I grabbed my purse from the table and darted back inside the bathroom. I always kept an emergency stash of supplies in my purse, but that wouldn’t be enough to get me through. I’d need to find a store later.

As I took a moment to compose myself, the reality of the situation suddenly hit me. I was thirty years old, soon to be thirty-one, having irregular, spotty periods. My doctor had once mentioned that a women’s fertility past age thirty wasn’t something to trifle with.

I couldn’t help noticing that my hands shook as I washed them. Something I’d never given much thought to—the desire to have a baby, to give a baby to this perfect man who I was falling in love with—suddenly felt very important. Mason wanted kids one day. What if I couldn’t…? Would he still want me? I would never want to make him feel like he had to be with me if I couldn’t be a mother.

I had to make the best of our remaining days, and then I needed to get myself to the doctor and pray everything would be okay.

Forcing a deep breath into my lungs, I tied on my swimsuit and fastened my hair into a ponytail.

“Mace?” I called, stepping out into the hallway. “Change of plans.”

Chapter Twenty-Two


The convenience store was about the same size as a supply closet, though it offered even less selection than one. I walked inside and looked at the overpriced toiletries, then hastily grabbed what I needed and made my way to the counter in short order.

Behind the register, a young guy fiddled with his phone and he looked up as I approached.

“What’s up, bro?” he said with a smile.

“Just needed to grab something,” I told him, then set the box of tampons on the counter.

“Lady troubles, huh?” he asked, scanning the bright pink box.

I gritted a tight smile and the fool laughed.

“You must really love her if you’re coming out here to buy her these,” the kid joked. I just stared at him, waiting for him to hand me my bag. When he did, I forked over my cash, then headed back outside, suddenly all too aware of the guy’s voice still playing in my head.

“You must really love her.”

I, of course, was doing what any grown man should do in my situation, but the words still seemed to ring true. It wasn’t a pipe dream or bullshit based on my parents’ relationship. Not anymore.

I loved Bren.

I really did.

I loved the way she smiled and the way she laughed. I loved the way her face went blank when she was surprised. I even liked how she made me work to get beneath her hard outer-shell. The way she made a person feel like, if she was telling you something, it was because she’d decided you were one of the few people worthy of her trust. She was sensual and her body responded to my touch like no other. She was gorgeous, too. But then even that didn’t matter to me much.

Without the baby, without the rest of the world, still all I wanted was her.

I rushed to the villa, determined not to scare her away with my big announcement but just as determined to show her how I felt. When I got there, I found her lounging on the beach in nothing but her bikini. The smooth, flat plane of her white stomach practically shone in the sun, and I dropped off the bag on the patio before making my way toward her.

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