Bringing Emma Home(2)

By: Stella MacLean


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This book is dedicated to those in a marriage who have faced challenges in their relationship and found the courage and determination to work through those challenges to a deeper, more committed relationship. You are the real heroes.





CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN





CHAPTER ONE

GRACE FELLOWES REMEMBERED the exact moment her life changed forever. She’d been sitting in her high-school math class trying to work on a calculus problem when Aidan Fellowes slid into the desk next to her and smiled that smile of his that made her heart lift and turn over in her chest. She remembered feeling light-headed and dizzy, his smile fueling her breathlessness.

She tried not to blush—not a cool thing to do. Yet every bone in her body, every part of her being was alive to him, to the way his eyes focused on her and the way her body warmed, despite the fact he hadn’t touched her.

She remembered when their eyes met, when he took the pencil from her fingers and showed her how to solve the problem. She remembered the fall leaves raining down around them, offering a crackling melody under their feet as they crossed the school parking lot to his Jeep. As they reached his vehicle, he took her hand, and from that moment, there was no one else for her but him.

Now, sitting in their bedroom in a solitary wingback chair, with the beginning tendrils of early light slipping around the bedroom drapes, her love for her husband was even stronger than it had been eighteen years ago when they first met. Glancing across the room to where Aidan lay sprawled on the bed, her gaze followed the line of his cheek as he slept, the easy movement of his chest as he breathed deeply, and she considered climbing back into bed with him.

Her fingers trembled as they traced the edge of her wedding band and diamond solitaire while the anxious ache brought on by the past held her in the chair, unable to go to him. They had been married for ten years and really focused on getting pregnant for nearly seven years, which meant that Aidan had left a lot of the out-of-town travel to visit clients to her brother, Lucas Barton. They were partners in a computer engineering firm they’d started when they’d both graduated from university.

Yet despite the sacrifices, despite how hard she and Aidan had tried, how much testing they’d gone through, she had to face the fact that she would not give birth to a baby she could hold and love with all her heart.

As their last failed chance to have a baby of their own crushed her dream of becoming pregnant, she finally decided to broach the topic of adopting a baby. Last night she’d cooked Aidan’s favorite meal—shrimp and grits—and made his favorite dessert, chocolate cake. She’d spent days preparing the meal and rehearsing what she’d say.

She’d been so excited after dinner, unable to stop repeating the story of Cecilia and Dave, her friends, and their new baby boy, James Patrick Adair. When she mentioned that she’d put a call in to the same adoption lawyer their friends used, she’d waited for Aidan to respond, to say anything that gave her hope he might be willing to adopt. He hadn’t.

Later, when they’d gone to bed, Aidan had turned away from her, leaving her disappointed and feeling completely alone. More than anything, she’d wanted him to hold her, to tell her that they would see the lawyer about an adoption as soon as his schedule allowed. She would have gladly accepted his need to put off that appointment for a bit because of his busy work life. She would even have accepted his asking to think about it awhile, plan for the changes adoption might mean. Anything to feel that there was still a chance for a baby to complete their life together.

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