Thank you for reading Holden and Sophie’s story. I absolutely love this book. Holden was so sweet and I literally fell incredibly hard for him, then when we got to the smexy times … oof. I was like, HELLO DR. JAMES!
Anyway, when I finished, I cried like the big baby I am, and then needed a little more time to love these two. I hope you enjoy this bonus scene!
“Love, did you finish putting the cot together yet?” Sophie calls out from the living room.
“I’m working on it!”
I’m about to pour myself a shot and just wrap it in duct tape. Seriously, I can put together a shattered femur, but a damn crib from Sweden? Nope.
Also, would it be that hard to include directions that aren’t images that all look alike, and you can’t tell what is right side up? I don’t feel like I’m asking for too much.
I grab the stupid directions and turn them again, hoping to make sense of this weird plate thing that attaches to a gate looking thing, and I pick up some 200 cm screws. You know, because I can eyeball that shit.
“Need help?” Sophie is leaning against the doorframe, her belly swollen.
“I am doing just fine.”
“When your friends asked me to video this, I wasn’t quite sure why, but now I see it.”
If she weren’t my very pregnant, very beautiful wife—I’d flip her off.
Instead, I smile as nicely as I can. “Do you want to help?”
“No. I’m quite all right.”
Of course she is. “I should be done before the baby comes.”
Sophie grins. “I should hope so!” Her hand moves to her stomach, and she groans. “Our son is unhappy today.”
“Oh?” I get up and place my hands on her belly. Just then, he kicks her hard. “All right, little man, easy in there.”
“He has been at it all day.”
“You’re nearing your due date.”
She looks at the unfinished nursery. “He can’t come yet, we aren’t ready.”
“We’re ready, Sophie. He’ll be in our room the first few months anyway. You got that thing to attach to our bed.” Much to my dismay.
“Yes, but I wanted his room done. I wanted him to have his place in our home.”
“He does,” I assure her. “His place is with us.”
“I know. I know.” She winces again. “Lord, that was uncomfortable.”
Okay, that’s two times where it seems to be more than just a kick. “Sophie, how often are you having these?”
“I’m not in labor, if that’s where you’re going. If anything, it’s false because the timing is all over the place.”
Well, that would’ve been one way to get out of this crib thing. “Just keep an eye on it.”
“I will, and you get the cot done.”
“You want the crib, but we have yet to agree on a name to hang above it. I think that’s more important.”
Sophie’s eyes fill with tears. “I know! I’m sorry.”
Oh Lord. These hormones are super fun. “Baby, don’t cry. I was kidding. I was just trying to build—or not build—the crib. It’s okay.”
“We need a name!” Sophie wails. “He’s going to come home as baby boy. That’s not even a name . . .”
I’m walking into this very carefully. We already decided we didn’t want his first name to be after someone else. So, no Isaac or Theo and definitely not after our parents. It’s been hard to find something that feels right and slips off the tongue.
“What’s your top choice?” I ask, wiping her tears.
“I still like Brody.”
I still don’t, but I like my life . . . and my wife . . . so I keep that part to myself. “Okay, Brody stays at the top.”
She sniffs. “And yours?”
“Archie.” I don’t know why, it’s just sort of regal, and it’s English. I want it to be a good mix of us both.
“I don’t hate Archie. Archie James.”
Wow, last time I said it she made a face and told me that I lost all naming privileges. Of course she told me she was sorry two seconds later and said I could pick any name I liked, but she might veto it.
Which she has.
“What if we did Archie Theodore James?” I suggest.
Her eyes widen. “You want Theo’s name in there?”
“He brought you to me after I lost you.”
“Holden . . .”
Here come the tears again. “Sophie.” I laugh a little. “Sweetheart, you don’t need to cry.”
“I hate this part of pregnancy. I am a bit too close to my feelings. I just . . . I didn’t think you’d want to put his name in our child’s.”
I lean in, kissing her nose. “If it weren’t for your best friend, my daughter wouldn’t have had a father for the first three years of her life, and we wouldn’t be here now. He was your best friend, Sophie, and regardless of the things we endured, he loved you. I think Theo did his best to protect you, and our son will be honored to know where his middle name comes from.”
She practically throws herself in my arms and peppers me with kisses. “I love you so much. I love you so, so, so, very much.”
“I love you most, sweetheart. Now, let’s get you back on the couch and relaxing.”
She laughs once. “Only because you said so.”
Sophie takes a step and then stops. “Uhh, darling?”
She looks down at the floor where there’s a puddle. “I think my water just broke.”
Looks like we’re having this baby, and I don’t have to build the crib.
“He’s darling!” Mama James coos over Archie.
“He looks just like you as a baby.”
I stare at my son, who is really adorable, but I don’t see any resemblance. He’s got a thick head of light hair, which he gets from his mother, and his face is a bit squished.
“I think you’re blind,” I tell her.
She slaps my arm. “You’re ridiculous. Look at him, that face is all yours.”
“If you say so.”
“Sophie did well?” she asks, concern in her voice.
Sophie had a moment where we were all extremely concerned. The baby’s heart rate had dropped, but so had hers. Thankfully the medical staff was already prepared, and they quickly rushed her to the OR before it became serious.
“She did. She’s resting now, and after her twelve hours of labor ending in the c-section, she’s exhausted.”
“Is Eden with the boys?”
“Yeah, Spencer and Brielle are bringing her over now. It worked out that she was spending the day with them, so Sophie could relax before the baby came.”
She smiles. “She loves her uncles.”
“They spoil the hell out of her, so of course she does.”
“Let them. There is nothing more precious in the world than being the aunt or uncle. You get to be part parent without the discipline . . .”
I raise a brow at that. “I would beg to differ.”
Mama James scowls at me. “I only did it because your own parents wouldn’t. My point is, it’s the best part of parenting. You get the love, the friendship, and the fun.”
I kiss her cheek. “I love that you were my aunt.”
“I loved it too.”
“And I know I was your favorite.”
“You were something,” she jokes.
We talk a bit about the birth and how hard it was for me to not be in charge. She laughs when I explain that I had to be informed four times to go back to my spot. It’s like telling a mechanic they can’t look under the hood when another person is trying to adjust something. I know what the right tools are, and she’s my wife.
“So the nurse threatened to make you wait outside?” Mama James is laughing uncontrollably.
“I would’ve never left Sophie.”
“I believe that, but you really need to trust other doctors.”
I don’t think so. Not when it comes to my family. However, before I can argue my point, Eden comes running down the hall.
Instantly I smile, love filling my chest to the brim. I scoop her up, hugging her tight. “Did you have fun, bug?”
“I did. Uncle Spencer took me to the park!”
“Good. I’m glad he did.”
“Some kids were making fun of him, though.”
Spencer grimaces. “I hate those kids.”
“Still being trolled by them, huh?”
When Spencer and Brielle went on a date, they ended up at a park where they met these kids, and since then, it’s been comedy. They make fun of Spencer all the time, and it eats at him.
“Uncle Spencer, that’s a bad word!” Eden scolds him.
“You’re right, munchkin. I’m sorry.”
She smiles. “It’s okay. Daddy says them all the time.”
Kids, man, they dime you out without trying.
“Anyway,” I break in. “Want to see your brother?”
Eden’s eyes brighten. “He’s really here?”
“He’s really here.”
“Can I see Mummy too?”
Not a chance Sophie would want to miss this. “Of course. I’ll bring you to her first and then bring Archie in.”
We walk to Sophie’s room, where she’s resting, and Eden tiptoes in. She reaches the bed and takes Sophie’s hand.
My wife wakes, and it’s like the sun has just risen. “Eden! My darling.”
“Careful with your mum, she had surgery.”
“To get Archie out?”
Sophie smiles. “Yes, love. Where is he?”
“The nurse is bringing him now.”
A few seconds later, the nurse rolls the bassinet in with our son swaddled and sleeping.
Eden, forgetting her mother exists, runs over, fingers gripping the side, and her nose just reaching the top as she’s on her toes. She gasps. “He’s so beautiful!”
I laugh. “He is.”
“Can we keep him forever?”
I lift her up so she can get a better view and kiss her cheek. “Forever. All four of us.”
Exactly as it should be.
Thank you again for reading Keep This Promise! I hope you’re ready for the next series where we head to Sugarloaf and meet the Whitlock family and Addison finally gets her story!
Forbidden Hearts is the first book and it’s a small-town, age-gap, nanny/single dad story! GUYS!!!!!!! BE READY!!!
While you’re waiting for my next release, I have a treat for you! If you enjoyed getting to know Zach Barrett, be sure to pick up Tempt by Melanie Harlow. We had so much fun crossing into each other’s worlds and you are absolutely going to love his story. Plus, you get some other Corinne Michaels Easter Eggs there!