Five Years Later
“Avery, stop throwing your brother’s Legos into the toilet!”
Along with Murphy, their elderly chocolate lab, swimming Legos was the greeting Del received when he crossed the threshold of his front door. “Hey, Murph.” The large dog’s tail wagged as Del rubbed behind his ears.
Del dropped his carry-on to the hardwood and shut the heavy wood door behind him. A quick glance around told him the first level of their custom farmhouse was empty. His lips lifted into a smile when he spied the small tennis shoes lying haphazard on the floor in the foyer area. The smell of roast filled the air, and his stomach growled on cue, reminding him he’d skipped lunch.
“But Mama—” came the answering wail of his daughter from the second floor.
“No buts, Avery. We’ve had this conversation more than once. Today.” Addison’s voice was weary, but still held a hint of steel. It was the tone she used with him many times before. It was her trying to stand strong, even when she wanted to give in.
With a smile, Del took two steps at a time and followed the voices of his two favorite girls into Avery’s bedroom.
At four, Avery was going through a purple and butterfly phase. The walls were painted a beautiful hue of lavender, which reminded him of the scent of his beautiful wife’s shampoo, but it also looked like the paint can had exploded on every surface of the room.
He crossed the room and stopped in the doorway of the large Jack and Jill bathroom that Avery shared with her twin brother, Paul. Leaning against the doorjamb, he slid his hands into the front pockets of his jeans, his smile widening at the picture in front of him. The mood of the room was serious, but his heart swelled under his breastbone with love for his family, warts and all.
Addison’s mini-me lay on the bathroom rug—purple, naturally—in front of the tub. Avery’s little shoulders shook with quiet sobs, and hair the same strawberry blonde as her mother’s tangled around her face. Paul—he was all Reynolds with blonde hair and bright blue eyes—sat curled in front of a linen cabinet, rocking back against it. His legs were pulled into his chest, his forehead resting on his knees.
Avery’s forest-green eyes were trained on Addison, who was bent at the waist over the toilet. Addison muttered something under her breath and had a rubber-gloved hand in the bowl. Del stayed silent, taking a moment to admire Addie’s firm ass in the jeans she wore.
How long before the twins went to bed?
“Digging for treasure?” he asked.
Addison straightened and turned as Avery scrambled up off the floor. “Daddy!” He caught her against him as she jumped into his arms. She laid her head on his shoulder, her arms wrapped around his neck. “I missed you, Daddy.”
He closed his eyes and ran a large hand down her back, inhaling her little-girl scent. “I missed you too, bug.”
Addison walked out of the water closet, the yellow rubber-gloved hand out to her side. “As a matter of fact, I am.” She held up the two Lego men, victoriously. “Got ’em.”
Paul’s head lifted up, hope filling his blue eyes. “Really?”
Addison nodded, but she frowned. “Yeah, but I’m sorry, buddy. These are going to have to be cleaned up before you can play with them.”
Paul stood, a frown on his little face. “How long to clean ’em?”
Addison put them in a sandwich bag she had the forethought to bring with her and closed it up. “However long it takes the dishwasher to run, bud.” She yanked off the glove and dropped it into the small trash can. With tears on his face, Paul stood and started to stomp off, but Addison wrapped an arm around his waist and caught him handily.
Del crouched down and set Avery on her feet, Addison following suit with Paul. The twins faced each other with tear-stained faces and deep frowns.
“Okay,” Addison started, “what happened?”
A few minutes later, they learned that Paul had put molding clay in the hair of Avery’s favorite doll and when he couldn’t get it out, decided to play barber. In retaliation, Avery took her brother’s favorite Lego men and was in the middle of flushing them down the toilet when Addison got her. Apologies were exchanged and punishments doled out.
Crisis averted, they took off to the playroom down the hall, a cacophony reminiscent of a herd of elephants.
Hands on her hips, Addison turned to him with a huge smile. Her cheeks were flushed as she blew a wayward strand of hair out of her face. Even after five years, he wondered how he had managed to win her back after a ten-year absence. She took his breath away as she always had since high school. “Hi,” she said.
Del held her gaze for a long moment and moved closer to her, wrapping his arms around her waist. “Hi, yourself. I missed you.” He leaned forward to capture those full lips but froze when a thump came from down the hall.
When no one screamed, Addison rolled her eyes but grinned. “Are you sure you missed all this insanity?” She twined her arms around his neck and pressed her body against him.
Del growled. “Hell, yeah. I missed all of it.” He captured her mouth with his, and that warmth of feeling like he was home spread from his chest and throughout his body. He tilted his head to take the kiss deeper, walking her backwards toward the vanity.
When her lower back hit the counter, Del broke off the kiss and dropped love nips down her long, soft neck. “I missed you too.” Addison moaned and dropped her head back, long rose gold hair falling down her back.
His hands skimmed over her full breasts and down the curve of her hips. After having the twins, she’d acquired more curves that drove Del crazy in all the best ways on a daily basis.
She gripped at the fabric of his gray Henley and pressed her core against his already hard as steel cock. It had only been two days since he’d touched her, but Del was ready to tear her clothes off and spend the rest of the night making her scream his name.
“Mommy! Paul took my toy!”
Another thump and this time a screech. “When do they go to bed?” Del muttered against her skin. With a deep sigh, they broke apart and fixed their clothes.
Addison smoothed down her hair. “Not soon enough. Let me go see what’s going on,” she muttered. Their eyes met and she smiled, dropping a quick kiss on his lips. “Dinner will be ready soon. I’m glad you’re home.”
She started to move away, but he caught her wrist. Bringing her hand up to his lips, he pressed a hot kiss in the center of her palm. “I love you, Starshine.”
Her face softened and she laid her hand on his cheek. “I love you, Ace.”
Dinner was a noisy affair, full of love, chaos, silly jokes, and rambling stories from the twins. While Addison cleaned up dinner and took Murphy for a slow walk, Del bathed the twins, read them stories, and wrangled them into bed. When he walked into their large master suite on the opposite end of the house, the sound of running water came from the bathroom. His lips curved into a wicked grin. He locked the bedroom door and crossed to the bathroom, stripping out of his clothes as he went.
He was down to his underwear when a tiny knock came from the door. “Daddy?”
Del stopped and dropped his head. He changed direction away from the bathroom. “Yeah, buddy? You okay?”
“Can I have some water?” Paul asked, his voice small from the other side of the door.
Del leaned his forehead on the wood and closed his eyes. He loved his children, heart and soul. But he needed his wife too. He had a feeling it was mutual. He thanked his lucky stars that his mother was available tomorrow to babysit.
“Yeah, give me one second.” After retrieving his pants, he opened the door to find his son waiting for him. Wonder and love filled his chest, and he picked Paul up, cuddling his little spitting image close.
Two cups of water, a pee break, and a final tucking in later, Del walked into the bedroom to find Addison pulling back the sheets on their king size bed. She was bathed in the soft light of a nearby lamp, her creamy skin dewy from the shower. Her damp hair fell in golden ropes around her shoulders.
The pale pink camisole nightgown she wore did nothing to hide her nipples that seemed to be welcoming him home. The hem hit the middle of her trim thighs, and he grew hard watching her.
He closed the door and locked it again before sauntering over to her. She glanced up, and her gaze ran down to his shirtless chest and back up. Desire set her green eyes aflame, and his skin burned from her stare. She licked her lips and walked around the bed, meeting him halfway. When she was close enough, she jumped up, wrapping her long legs around his waist. He caught her, his hands squeezing her firm ass. Their gazes locked. “I missed you so much, Del.”
His heart turned over in his chest at the almost desperate way she said it. Before he could ponder on it, she pulled him to her, crushing her mouth to his. Their tongues tangled, and he drank her in, devouring her mouth like a man finding an oasis in the desert.
Del walked them to the bed, lowering Addison onto it before covering her with his body. Her hands slid down his back and into his jeans, gripping his ass and pulling him closer. He laid his hands on the sides of her head and looked down into her beautiful face. Her eyes were glassy with lust, and he grinned. “I missed you too.”
“Del, I need you.” She gripped his hard length through the denim. He groaned and laid his forehead on hers.
“I’m here, baby.” He shifted away, his hand ghosting over the curves until he reached the promised land. A moan escaped his chest when he realized she was commando under that sorry excuse for a nightgown. She was wet and slick, ready for him. “Damn, you’re soaked.”
She arched against his hand. “Always for you, Del.”
Heartbeats later, they were freed of their clothes, and he settled between her thighs, guiding his cock into her. They found the rhythm that was uniquely theirs—adjusting it a bit so that the headboard wouldn’t bang against the wall—until they chased each over the edge and into oblivion.
When they’d caught their breath, Addison laid her head on his chest, and Del played with the ends of her hair. “How are you feeling?” she asked him. “Any vision issues?”
Del stroked a finger down her arm, enjoying the goosebumps rising on her warm skin. “No, nothing lately. Not since earlier this year.” They decided long ago that they wouldn’t let his battle with myasthenia gravis stop them from living life the way they wanted. He took the precautions he needed and medications prescribed. So far, he’d been damn lucky that the disease seemed to be progressing slowly.
Her body relaxed against his. “That’s good. How did the meeting go?” she asked him. “I’m sorry I couldn’t get out of the city chamber duties.”
“It’s fine, babe. The deal is done. They’ll start developing the land in the next year, and we will officially be expanding into Florida.”
Addison sat up with a huge grin on her face. “Really? Ace, that’s amazing! I have a million other questions, but I’m too tired to ask them right now.”
Del pushed himself up into a sitting position and leaned back against the headboard. “I have another development.”
Addison tilted her head. “What’s up?”
“Teri called me. The network wants to talk to us about doing a spring special for sweeps week.” A couple of times a year, Del and Addison would do a Property Ace special, but it was on their terms and always together.
He nodded. “I don’t have details yet, but she wanted to give us a heads-up.”
She pressed her lips together, a pensive expression on her pretty features. “That could be fun. How is Teri?”
Del smiled. “She’s finally decided to make an honest woman of Sharon. They’re getting married next month. We’ve been invited to the wedding in California.”
“Yay!” Addison’s smile fell and she bit her lip. “Um, when is this wedding?”
Del raised an eyebrow. “Early December. Sharon wants a Christmas wedding. Why?”
Addison straddled his lap, one hand holding the sheet in place that barely covered her breasts. His hands landed on her hips. “Hmmm…wedding talk make you horny, Starshine?” He started to lean forward, but she laid a hand on his chest.
“I have a development as well.” She paused and looked down at his chest, her fingertip running in figure eights over his heart. “I went to the doctor today.”
His blood ran cold. Addison’s expression was serious, and there was a sheen of tears in her eyes. He reached up and stilled her hand in his. With a finger under her chin, he lifted her face so that he could look into her eyes. “Addie, what is it?”
Tears fell from her eyes, but then a smile that rivaled the white-hot sun lit up her face. “I’m pregnant.”
Del’s mouth dropped open. “What?”
“I missed the signs this time. We’ve been so busy, and dealing with the twins can be so exhausting at times.” She shrugged a slim shoulder. “So far, the nausea hasn’t been all that bad. But when I was working on a contract last week and realized what the date was, it dawned on me I haven’t had a cycle in a while.” She paused, holding his stare. “You’re going to be a daddy again, Ace. June of next year.”
He blinked a couple of times and then his head fell back on the headboard. “Oh my God.” Del swore his heart exploded with elation when he lowered his head and met her gaze again.
“Is that a good ‘oh my God’ or a bad ‘oh my God’?”
Del cupped her face in his hands and kissed her softly. “It’s not just good, Starshine, it’s amazing. I’m going to be a daddy again!” He whooped, and she shushed him with a giggle.
“Don’t wake the kids,” she pleaded, laying her hand over his mouth.
His next whoop was muffled. He wrapped her in his arms and rolled them over until he was settled between her legs and looking down into her bright green eyes. “I couldn’t love you any more than I do right now, Addison Reynolds.”
“I love you too, Delaney Reynolds.”
He kissed his way down her body until he reached her lower belly. His hand caressed her still flat stomach. “I can’t wait to see you pregnant again. It turns me on.”
“You know this means we’re going to be outnumbered.”
He grinned as he lowered his head to lay a kiss just above her belly button. “Another Reynolds adventure awaits.”