ROYAL(92)

By: Winter Renshaw



We expected her to come out with tufts of dark hair, like Beckett did, but it’s looking like she just might be a blonde, like her Aunt Daphne and her cousin, Haven.

“Your parents are on their way,” my husband says. “And I’ve called your sisters. They would like you to FaceTime them as soon as you’re feeling up to it.”

“Have you sent pictures?”

“Of course. About fifty so far.”

I laugh. “And Derek? When’s he coming?”

“He was going to drop Haven off at school and head over. He should be here in a couple of hours.”

“How’s everyone doing?” Our nurse comes in, beaming from ear to ear. She’s definitely a morning person who loves her job, and I can’t complain about that.

“Doing well,” I say. “Doing very well.”

Beckett reaches gingerly for the top of his sister’s head, petting her with soft, slow strokes. Royal and I exchange looks and my eyes water. It’s moments like these that I wish I had my camera ready. Instead, I’ll have to capture this and store the memory in my heart for a nostalgic rainy day.

Or a day when they’re tearing each other’s hair out and driving Royal and me crazy.

We’ll always have this moment.

“I’m going to love her forever,” Beckett says, placing his chubby cheek against her forehead. He stares up at me with Royal’s dark blue eyes, and I blink away the wetness that clouds my vision of my sweet angels.

Tomorrow morning, Campbell and I will get to go home. Royal will pick us up, and I’m sure he’ll drive ten miles per hour under the speed limit the entire way, with his hands at ten and two.

And when we get inside, we’ll introduce Campbell to our yellow lab, which Beckett named Marfa last year. He was trying to say Martha, like his favorite cartoon dog, but he couldn’t pronounce the ‘th,’ and it was too cute to fix.

After she meets her four-legged friend, we’ll show her to her yellow room. Royal insisted on a neutral nursery, just like he did with Beckett. We never knew what we were having either time, which killed the planner part of me, but I did it for him, because life rarely offers opportunities for good surprises.

“Mama, I’m hungry.” Beckett rubs his tummy and gives me sad eyes.

“I’ll take him to the food court. Come on, buddy.” Royal helps him off the bed and takes his little hand. “We’ll be back soon. Let’s let the girls get their beauty rest.”

My husband brings his hand to his mouth and blows me a kiss. Beckett copies. I blow one back to the boys I love more than anything in this whole wide world, and then I glance down at my daughter one more time.

I can’t decide who she looks like yet. Sometimes she looks like me, sometimes like Royal. And at the same time, she looks nothing like her brother. Genetics are funny that way.

Campbell is already fast asleep again. I adjust her swaddling and place her back in the bassinette, and I just watch.

I could watch her for hours.

All day, every day.

She’s the sweetest.

And me? I’m the luckiest.

Life may not always be a fairytale, but it doesn’t mean we can’t make our own happily-ever-after.

THE END



Page ahead for a preview of Delilah’s book – BACHELOR – Coming late March 2016!





ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS




Thank you, thank you to everyone who made this book possible! To my readers, bloggers, ARC reviewers, and constant supporters – I can never thank you enough. I write for you!

Thank you to Valorie Clifton, editor, and proofreaders Janice Owen and Carey Sullivan, for the impeccable edits! Your willingness to flex to my schedule and fit me in at the last minute is immensely appreciated!

Thank you to Louisa Maggio of LM Creations, for whipping up one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever laid eyes on (if I do say so myself)! The cover couldn’t be more perfect for this story and captured the essence of everything I wanted this story to represent. Working with you is always an absolute joy!

To Morgan Terry and Ashley Cestra – thank you for beta’ing Royal for me!! Your notes were tremendously helpful. If it weren’t for Morgan, Beckett would’ve been named Brookson. WHOOPS.

To my author friends – Sosie, Cora, Vanessa, DG, and so many others – thank you for the camaraderie and procrastinating FB chats. ;-)

Last, but not least, thank you to my husband, who assisted in my research and never once complained when I asked him the same questions over and over. You’re the best parole officer (and most patient husband) this side of the Pacific! Love.





ABOUT THE AUTHOR




Winter Renshaw recently celebrated her third 29th birthday. By day, she wrangles kids and dogs, and by night, she wrangles words. She loves peonies, lipstick, and balmy summer days. Chips and salsa are her jam, and so is cruising down the highway with the windows down and the air blasting while 80s rock blares from the speakers of her Mom-UV.

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