Thank you so so much for reading Fight for Me. Second chance romance is really my favorite thing to write. The angst is built in and I can’t seem to get enough of it. I wrote this book at the very start of the pandemic and some days I’m still not even sure how I was able to get through it, as I’m sure you experienced in the beginning. The things that Declan and Sydney were experiencing with uncertainty, fear, and this shaky world were mirroring my own.
Thank you for coming on this journey with me and the last two books in this series are my favorites. Sean is beyond swoony and Jacob is freaking amazing. I hope you’ll see how these brothers find their way through their grief and tortured pasts.
“I’m not giving up,” I tell Deacon as I put him down in his crib. “You’re going to sleep the whole night tonight. And do you know why?” I whisper, my hand resting on his chest. “Because you love your mama, and you know we’re on month six of no sleep, and she’s starting to go completely insane.”
I really am. I don’t remember what sleep was, and I’m going back to trial tomorrow. I need to freaking sleep. Declan has been amazing about getting up as well, but since I’m the milk source, it’s really impossible to sleep at all.
I’ve been working remotely, talking to clients in my home office and doing my best to not have to be in court.
“Mommy really needs to not look like a hot mess, so you do your part, and I’ll do mine.”
A faint snore comes from him, and even in my lack of sleep, my heart swells ten times.
At Ellie’s urging, I have been pumping and have a stockpile of milk. Tonight is the test, Declan will get up, make him a bottle, and I will force myself not to micromanage him and inform him of all the ways he’s doing it wrong.
Even I don’t believe myself there.
“I love you, Deacon, and please, sleep all night.”
I hear a snort from the doorway. “He will be up at three, like always.”
“He’s difficult, like his father.”
Declan enters the room, his face softening when he sees our son sleeping peacefully. “I think he’s more like you.”
I’m pretty sure he’s calling me the pain in the ass, but I don’t even have the energy to care.
“I’m not sure about this,” I confess.
“What? Me feeding him?”
“That, but I meant me going back to trial. I’m not prepared, and I am going to lose the case. Not to mention, I look like shit still.”
“First of all, you have never—and I mean never—looked like shit. You are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Second, you’re an amazing lawyer, with a sexy as hell husband who adores you, and we both know you’re overprepared for this case.”
I don’t feel any of those things, but the conviction in his voice makes me almost believe it.
“And if I lose?”
“Then we’ll have loser sex.”
I roll my eyes. “Let me guess, if I win, you want winner sex?”
Declan pulls me into his arms. “I want you always, so I’m happy to have all the sex.”
I lift up to kiss his lips. “I love you.”
“Not half as much as I love you.”
“And I love my job. I miss being in court and breaking through glass ceilings.”
I miss the people and helping others. With the new people coming into this area, wanting to buy up the farms to develop into townhomes and other things this town doesn’t have the infrastructure for, I need to be there. No one is looking out for their interests the way I would. I took on this case because one of them is trying to harm a resident of Sugarloaf, and I’ll never be okay with that.
“And that’s what you’ll do, but Syd, if you’re really this torn up, you know that you don’t have to work. I have enough money saved, plus things are great with the company in New York. Financially, we don’t need your income.”
I lean against him, resting my hand over his heart. “It’s not about finances.”
“I’m just saying if you want to be a stay-at-home mother, you can. I support you either way.”
I love him. In the last six months we’ve settled into a comfortable life. The passion we’ve always had is there, but there’s an undercurrent of understanding and acceptance. We support each other, in a way we never did before. Things just aren’t as volatile. I don’t know if it’s because of Deacon or just because we’ve felt the sting of loss and never want to experience it again.
Declan leans down, giving me a soft kiss. “What was that for?”
“Because I could see you were thinking of me.”
I laugh at that. “How could you tell?”
“You got that starry-eyed look in your eyes, and you sighed.”
“I did not.”
He grins. “You did.”
“If I was thinking of you, I was seeing all those dollar signs you just promised.”
He pulls me to his chest. “Lies. You could care less about money.”
This is true. I just want to be happy and loved, like every other woman I know. “Fine, fine, but I was thinking more about how we don’t want to wring each other’s necks anymore.”
“We’ve gone soft in our old ages.”
“Who are you calling old?” I ask incredulously.
Declan yawns and then shakes his head. “Come on, let’s go to sleep now before he wakes wanting the boob.”
“He’s not getting the boob.”
“Poor little man, already being denied.”
I roll my eyes at that. “Come on, let’s go have another night of your deprivation.”
We go through our nightly rituals, brushing teeth beside each other, washing my face and doing my million skin care products, and then we climb into bed.
“Now, when he wakes, don’t go right away, the doctor said we should let him fuss for a few minutes to see if he falls back asleep. Also, when you lift him up, he likes to snuggle, so tuck him right under your chin. Oh, and when you change his diaper, don’t turn the light on right away.”
“Syd.” Declan’s gruff voice has an edge.
“Go to sleep. I can handle our son.”
I am never going to sleep through this.
However, I’m exhausted, and I don’t have the strength to argue. I’ll just get up with them, and then we’ll argue, and it’ll be super fun.
“Goodnight,” I say as I nestle against him, entwining our legs.
“Goodnight, my love.”
I close my eyes, and I’m out before I can count to fifteen. What I assume is an hour or two later, I yawn and roll over to see what time it is.
The clock reads five a.m.
Five a.m. What the hell?
I slept all night?
I quickly jump up, tossing my robe on and heading to check on Deacon, who must be a total mess. I didn’t get up to feed him or make sure Declan didn’t totally screw up.
When I get out of my room and to the nursery, I stop, and my eyes prick with tears.
Deacon is in his crib, passed out, but sitting up, leaning against the crib, is my husband, his hand through the little bars, holding Deacon’s hand. The two of them sleeping while staying connected.
I have no idea how long they’ve been like this, but it’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. For so long, I worried that Declan wouldn’t want this, me, us, a family. I wondered if he’d ever be happy giving up his New York City life and coming back to the town that caused him so much pain, but he has never looked back. He’s loved us, given us all we could want and need, and I love the life we’ve built together.
Moving into the room quietly, as not to wake the baby, I grab the blanket on the back of the rocker and sit beside Declan. Covering us both, I close my eyes and whisper the words I grew up hearing. “What’s one truth about an arrow?”
Declan doesn’t respond, and I answer for him. “You took your second shot, and this is our path.”
Thank you again for reading this book! I hope you’re ready to meet the next Arrowood Brother! However, if you fall in love with him, please know the boy is mine! Yes, I claimed my own hero …