Thank you so much reading Not Until You. These girls and their quad are everything to me and I hope you love them as much as I do. As a token of my appreciation for loving them as much as I do, here’s an exclusive bonus scene of Nicole and Callum only available to my newsletter subscribers. Love, Corinne
“Granny!” Colin yells as he rushes toward his grandmother. The one who—even after five years—doesn’t think I’m worthy of her son.
“Colin, my beautiful boy!”
Sure, she loves him.
“Mum.” Callum spreads his arms wide and embraces her. “You look lovely as ever.”
“Oh, you’re too good to me.” She looks at me with her smile that looks more like a scowl. “Nicole.”
“Hello, Mum,” I say and kiss her cheek. She hates that I’ve decided to call her Mum. If she had her way, I’d be calling her my ex-mother-in-law.
No such luck. I’m here to stay.
“How was your flight?” she asks me but then turns to the boys for the answer.
“It was great! Dad let us fly in the pods, and we had so much junk food.”
“Really? Well, that sounds like you have quite the father.”
“And his mother is pretty wonderful too,” Callum tacks on.
I don’t know why he tries. There’s no winning over the old bat. I’m the bad seed who hasn’t allowed the prodigal son to return to London.
Not like he has a freaking empire that he runs in the States. Not like he’s really freaking happy there or that he doesn’t visit her pretty much every two months, but . . . it’s all my fault.
“Yes, well, what is on the agenda for this holiday?” she asks.
Callum’s kisses the side of my head and wraps his arm around my shoulders. I stopped letting it bother me a long time ago. It’s really funny most of the time. I like to rile her up because she makes it so easy.
“Colin wants to go out and see more of England. I thought we’d stay in London for a day or two and then head out, maybe go to Bath or even Brighton. Then we’ll head back and spend a few more days with you.”
She smiles. “I love that Colin is so interested in his homeland.”
Oh, look, another dig at Nicole.
Callum smiles softly. “Mum, he’s very well aware he’s British.”
“That’s my point.”
“Yes, it was.”
I look to Callum, a little shocked he actually went back at her. He’s a wonderful man. A fantastic husband, father, and provider. I couldn’t be any luckier than to have found him, but dear God does he cater to his mother somedays.
Maybe it’s because I thrive on pissing mine off so much that it drives me crazy, but she is his weakness—and she knows it.
“Daddy,” Colin says as he yawns, “I’m so tired.”
Jet lag is the worst parts of these trips. It’s so hard to get Colin adjusted, but we try. Five-year-old kids aren’t exactly known for their patience, but put extreme exhaustion on top of it, and he becomes the Devil’s child.
“I’ll take him up,” I offer, trying to lift him.
Seriously, this kid is so freaking heavy. I don’t know what the hell we’re feeding him, but dear Lord.
“I want Daddy.” He whines, and I almost drop him.
“Daddy will be up in a second.” There’s no way I’m staying down here by myself. No freaking way. I’ll strap the kid to my back if I have to. Pain is temporary, even if I throw my back out, it’ll be better than staying down here with Mommy Dearest.
“Here,” Callum says as he takes Colin into his arms. “I’ll take him up and you stay with him.”
My husband is amazing.
“Take your time, dear,” his mum says as we climb the stairs.
When we get up there, I swear my mouth is filled with blood from biting down so hard.
Callum puts Colin on his bed and then grabs his iPad. “Watch as much as you can, the longer you can stay awake, the better, remember?”
“I’ll try, Dad.”
“Good lad.” We walk to the door so we are out of earshot from Colin. “I’m sorry,” he says.
“It’s fine. I’m used to it.”
“Still, you’re the best thing in my life.”
I smile. “Liar.”
“Not even a little bit. You”—he kisses my lips—“are my whole heart.
Well, that makes me feel better. “One day, she’ll see I’m not half as bad as she thinks.”
He laughs. “I think she sees herself in you.”
“Yeah, okay.” I roll my eyes.
There’s nothing remotely similar about us.
“I’m serious. She was a bit of a wild child when she was young and broke a few hearts. I’m sure she’s worried you’re going to break mine.”
“What about you breaking mine?” I counter.
I’ve spent years with him going back and forth to London, and I’ve endured the loneliness. In all our years together, I’ve been a pretty good wife. I’m understanding of his job, family, travel, and everything that comes with it. When he’s gone, our home feels empty, my heart less full, and then when he returns, I can breathe again. Callum is the other half of my world. There are days when there’s so much love inside me that I could burst.
He is my weakness in life.
One that makes me stronger.
“Doubtful.” He smirks. “I’m the good one.”
I slap his chest playfully. “Ass.”
“One night here and then we’ll be gone.”
“And Milo is away so I can’t even have him as my shield.”
My brother-in-law is me in male form. I love him. He’s hilarious, smart, and loves to make his mother crazy. He takes the heat off me most of the time, but this trip, Callum made him go back to the States while we were away.
Callum laughs. “Well, you’ll just have to behave.”
“Like that’ll ever happen.”
He tilts his head to the side. “Try.”
“For you . . . maybe.”
Callum takes a box out of coat pocket and holds it toward me.
“What’s this?” I ask.
“Look at it.”
He’s always doing these things. I get flowers because it’s Monday, cards because he thought of me, text messages during the day because I’m on his mind, and gifts because he can’t stop himself.
By no means am I complaining, but sometimes, I don’t know how to handle being treated so well.
“Callum, you didn’t have to get me anything.”
“But I did.”
“Because that’s what you do for someone you love. You give until you have nothing left. You love until your heart is empty and then you fill it back up again. You show them—not tell them—all the things they are to you. I promised you a long time ago that I would never let you feel small.”
A tear falls down my face and he wipes it away. “I love you, Callum Huxley.”
He kisses my forehead. “I love you, Nicole Huxley.”
I open the box and find a New York Yankees replica ring and laugh. “You really do know the way to my heart.”
“Yes, love, Yankees and hot dogs.”
I grin. “And you. Always you.”
He gives me a brief kiss. “Always us. The three of us.”
I look over at my son with my husband’s arms around me, realizing just how freaking lucky I am.