The Soul Mate Page 32

“I just don’t want to lose myself the way she—my mom—did.”

“You didn’t do that when your father died,” I offered.

She met my gaze wearily. “I did, though. I was a mess for an entire year.”

“But now?” I shook my head. “You’re not. You can’t live your life running from grief just like I can’t promise to never die. But if you avoid things that make you happy for fear of losing them, then you’ll never be truly happy to begin with.”

“I know.” She nodded. “It’s just really hard for me. To be near you and know that anything could happen. And when we didn’t have the baby, I just thought, well, I thought I’d lost something all over again. Even though I never had anything to lose. It felt like—”

“I know exactly what you mean,” I said. “But there will be other chances.”

“Maybe not,” she said, and the silent tears became a gasping sob.


“I’m thirty,” she choked, refusing to be consoled. “And with the unpredictable cycles—”

I hushed her, then looped my arm around her shoulder and guided her toward the couch. When we were settled, she rested her head on my shoulder and I stroked her hair, silent and waiting for her to find her voice again.

“What if I can’t have children?” she whispered.

“You won’t know until the tests come in, but even if you can’t? There are options. Lots and lots of options. This isn’t the end.”

“But I’d be letting you down,” she choked, and I tucked my hand under her chin, lifting her eyes to meet mine.

“The only way you’d ever let me down is if you run away from everything we could share without even trying to explore how beautiful it could be. I don’t need to have a baby. I don’t need to have anything except for you. You know that?”

She shook her head. “I didn’t.”

“I want you in my life. I want to spend every day with you, and what I said when I proposed? I meant it. You’re the best, most incredible thing that’s ever happened to me.”

“Then ask me again.”


“Ask me again.” She sniffled.

I laughed. “I don’t have your ring with me.” It was in my bedroom, tucked away in a box at the top of my closet.

“I don’t care. Just ask me.”

So I did. Bending onto one knee in the middle of the room, I took her left hand, stroking her naked ring finger. “Bren, I love every inch of you and I never want to leave your side for as long as I live. Become my wife, baby?”

She nodded, still sniffling, then took my hand. “Yes, of course. I want nothing more than to marry you.”

Grinning like an idiot, I swept my hand through Bren’s hair, pulling her toward me for a soft, heart-stopping kiss. Then, trailing kisses along her jaw, I paused near the shell of her ear and whispered, “From here on out, in sickness and in health, we live every day in the present. What may come, may come.”

She nodded. “What may come, may come.”

“Now come here. It’s been too long.” Taking her hand in mine, I dragged her down the hall, all too eager to make up for every lost moment we’d spent apart.

I led her to my bedroom and paused in the center of the room, turning her to face the large mirror that hung on the wall beside my dresser. Taking my time, I stripped Bren of every article of clothing she wore—today it was a knee-length skirt and cream silk blouse. I loved how sweet and feminine she was, yet tough at the same time. Once her clothes were on the floor at her feet, I dropped to my knees, worshipping her with soft kisses and teasing licks to all the spots that made her knees tremble.

“Mason,” she groaned, pushing a hand into my hair.

When I finally led her to bed, it was with the striking clarity that this was exactly where she belonged. I’d spent all those miserable weeks searching for her—and that was after just one night together. I didn’t want to tell her, but losing her scared me just as badly. Maybe even more. Because I’d already envisioned it all—our beautiful life, her by my side, maybe babies someday.

We made love with fiery passion the first time, my cock was eager to show my new fiancé how much he missed her. The second time was slower, tender, and perfect. And when we were done I made her stay put while I jogged naked to the closet, Bren laughing at my bare behind and shouting at me to come back to bed.

But when I returned moments later with her ring, Bren’s protests died on her lips, and with tears gathering in her eyes, I slid it onto her finger where it belonged.

Chapter Twenty-Five


“Shoes or no shoes?” I stared down at the glittery gold sandals that had seemed perfect at the department store, but now felt like overkill.

“Whatever you’ll be most comfortable in,” Mandy said. “It is the beach after all.”

“Barefoot it is.” I kicked the sandals to the side and grabbed my bouquet from the dresser.

The white lace dress was fitted all the way down to my thighs, where it then jutted out just slightly. I’d known it was the one from the first moment I saw it in the store. Mandy’s bridesmaid dress was seafoam green and looked beautiful on her.

“Are you ready?” she asked.

I nodded, suddenly more eager than excited. “Let’s do this.”

“You good if I go out for a minute and check if everything is ready?” Mandy asked.

I nodded, glancing in the mirror one last time. “I’m good.”

And I was. My heart was full and happy, and I felt incredibly blessed.

Mandy stepped out and I applied one last coat of lipstick, inspecting my reflection while trying to wait patiently, and failing miserably.

“Bren?” Mason’s deep voice called. He stepped through the door, looking delicious and handsome in his camel-colored linen suit and pale blue shirt. My heart throbbed with love for the man about to become my husband. If I allowed my mind to drift back to how we almost didn’t make it here…I shook my head. Not today. Today was going to be the best day of my life. No uncomfortable memories and no regrets. Well, maybe just one regret. My incredible dad wouldn’t be here to walk me down the aisle toward my future.

“What are you doing here? It’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding.”

He shook his head, a smile tugging up his lips. “You look so beautiful, Bren. And I told you, there’s no such thing as bad luck with us. Soul mates, right?”

He crossed the room toward me and drew me into his arms.

A happy smile overtook my mouth. He’d told me that when he proposed the second time. It was an overly romantic affair, one that had me crying and sobbing yes, over and over. Especially when he slid the stunning ring onto my finger.

“Well, what are you doing in here, darling soul mate? Did you need something?”

His eyes darkened. “Just wanted to see you before all the commotion started. Everyone says their wedding day goes by too fast. I don’t want to look back on this day and have it be a blur. I want to remember every second I can get with you.”

My heart jumped in my chest at his sweet words, and those stolen moments together took on new meaning. He didn’t have something important to tell me. He just wanted to see me.

“I can’t wait ’til everyone’s gone.” He chuckled, pulling me in close.

“That’s awful! They all just got here.” We’d rented the same house we had last time we were here on Grand Cayman, only this time we also rented the house next door.

“I know, and I’m already looking forward to them leaving in a few days so I can have you all to myself.”

I pressed a small kiss to his mouth. “I love you.”

“Love you more,” he murmured. It was his standard answer ever since we became so open with our declarations. And even though it still felt a little strange for me to be so forthcoming, it also felt…good. Right.

Mason had opened me up, and under his unending love and gentle pressure, I’d blossomed. I was no longer afraid to love, no longer afraid to live. We got only one shot at life, and I wasn’t going to waste it anymore. Our close call with the pregnancy really opened up my eyes to a lot of things.

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