Christmas Surprises

Christmas Surprises by Jenn Faulk Read Free Book Online

Book: Christmas Surprises by Jenn Faulk Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jenn Faulk
aside for her because it's good for the baby.
    What vile, disgusting thing had he created for her now that she'd have to pretend to like?  Oh, I see what you did there with the kale and quinoa, Grant.  Mmmm.  Delicious.
    But that wasn't it.
    "I made you tiramisu," he said softly.
    She looked at him with surprise.  He'd made that for her every day back when they'd been falling in love...
    "A whole pan of tiramisu?," Mia squealed, even as they all began making their way to the front door.
    "I want some!," Zoe trilled.
    "You two are just like your mother," Grant muttered, his arm around Maddie, his flour covered fingers swiping war paint onto his nieces' faces.  "And where is your mother?"
    "Who knows," the two girls sighed together.
    Grant raised his eyebrows at Maddie.  Freaky.   She could hear him say it.  Because he usually said it at least once every time they were around the girls.
    They understood each other on some things, at least.  Maybe that was enough.
    Maybe.  She managed a soft laugh as he continued to shake his head at his nieces, and he looked over at her, a smile on his lips.
    You have the greatest laugh.
    He'd said that more than once, but her mind went back to the last time she could remember him saying it, a few years ago when the debt was nowhere near being paid off, she was still hopeful that her writing career in her new genre would take off, and they'd been newlyweds.
    She'd helped him in the restaurant until closing, like she'd done until the pregnancy and the morning sickness, afternoon sickness, evening sickness, all the time sickness started in, and like he had been helping her with her writing, like he always had, much later on back in their room.
    "Okay, read that new part to me," she'd said, her hands in his hair, his head in her lap, both of their eyes on her laptop and the story she'd been working on.
    "You love my voice that much?," he'd asked, kissing her knee even as his hand trailed up her thigh.
    "I do, but any voice will do.  Besides my own, that is.  I've got to hear this little section of dialogue outside of my own head."
    "Where do I need to start?," he'd asked.
    "Right here," she'd pointed.
    He'd taken a breath and begun.  " He put his hand to her face, looking down at her.  'I was intending forever.'  Oh, the very thought.  Amazing.  He was just as eager as she was.  And just as certain ."  Then, in a different voice, a higher falsetto, " 'I'm going to be happy with you,' she said softly, rising up on her toes to kiss him again.  'Happier than I thought I could be .'"
    And her heroine, sounding like a screechy Grant while delivering (she could admit it) cheesy lines had been enough to make her begin to giggle.
    " 'Mmm,' he murmured, bringing her even closer, kissing her -- "  Grant had stopped reading and looked up at her.  "Will you stop laughing?  Good grief, Maddie, you keep jostling my head around with your giggling --"
    This had made her laugh outright, loud and clear, a sound that even then was so strange to her, given how little she'd had to laugh about and love before Grant had come into her life.
    He'd just smiled at her, turning over onto his back so that he could look up at her, even as she'd held his face in her hands and leaned forward to kiss his lips.
    "You make a great hero, Grant," she'd said.  "Even the cheesy lines sound good coming from you.  But the heroine's voice?"
    "I don't sound pretty enough, do I?," he'd asked. 
    "No," she'd laughed again.
    "You have the greatest laugh," he'd murmured.  "It's my favorite sound."
    "More than the credit card machine downstairs?," she'd asked, joking with him.  "Or the sound of the door from the kitchen to the dining room opening up again and again?  More even than the sound of the plates being put onto tables?"
    He'd loved those sounds, too.  She could tell when he was at work,

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