But Alex had been there for her every step of the way. She didn’t think she could have made it through those months with her sanity intact; his wildly overprotective instincts had been in overdrive.
But if ever she became impatient with him when he wrapped her in cotton wool, Angel had reminded herself of that look.
Appearing at her elbow, Alex twitched aside a fold of blue blanket to reveal his son’s face. ‘His first trip out.’
‘Are you sure he’ll be warm enough?’
Alex’s rich warm laughter rang out. ‘In that lot he’s more likely to suffer heat exhaustion.’
It still didn’t seem real to Alex that he had a son, and, while he loved little Theo more than life itself, the pregnancy itself had been the worst months of his entire life.
The fear of losing Angel had never left him for a single instant. He had felt as though he were walking around with a stone in his chest. He had tried to hide his fears, for Jasmine’s sake he had struggled to maintain an illusion at least of a normal family life, but the strain had been immense.
Angel had been amazing. She had sailed through the pregnancy serenely; despite two stays in hospital and intense monitoring she had never once complained.
His wife was truly amazing. He kissed her, a long and lingering kiss that brought a flush to her lovely cheeks.
‘What was that for?’
‘A man has to take what he can when he can.’
The reminder of the previous afternoon when they had not used the time to catch up with lost sleep but with lost lovemaking brought a deepened flush to her cheeks and a sparkle to her eyes.
‘Can I push Theo?’ Jasmine asked. ‘I’ll be very, very careful.’
‘We’ll take turns,’ Alex decided as he took control of the pram and zipped up the protective covering, then in a soft aside to his wife added, ‘My turn on top later, I think.’
‘Marriage is all about give and take.’
And she had married a man who gave a whole lot more than he ever took!
* * * * *
Keep reading for an excerpt from SEDUCTION NEVER LIES by Sara Craven.
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OCTAVIA DENISON FED the last newsletter through the final letter box in the row of cottages and, with a sigh of relief, remounted her bicycle and began the long hot ride back to the Vicarage.
There were times, and this was one of them, when she wished the Reverend Lloyd Denison would email his monthly message to his parishioners instead.
‘After all,’ as Patrick had commented more than once, ‘Everyone in the village must have a computer these days.’
But her father preferred the personal touch, and when Tavy came across someone like old Mrs Lewis longing for a chat over a cup of tea because her niece was away on holiday, and who certainly had no computer or even a mobile phone, she supposed wryly that Dad had a point.
All the same, this was not an ideal day for a cycle tour of the village on an old boneshaker.
For once, late May had produced a mini-heatwave with cloudless skies and temperatures up in the Seventies, which had also managed to coincide with Greenbrook School’s half-term holiday.
Nice for the kids, thought Tavy as she pedalled but, for her, it would be business as usual tomorrow.
Her employer, Eunice Wilding, paid her what she considered was the appropriate rate for a young and unqualified school secretary, but she expected, according to the local saying, ‘her cake for her ha’penny’.
But at the time the job had seemed a lifeline in spite of the poor pay. One small ray of light in the encircling darkness of the stunned grief she shared with her father at her mother’s sudden death from a totally unsuspected heart condition.
He’d protested, of course, when she’d announced she was giving up her university course to come home and keep house for him, but she’d read the relief in his eyes, swallowed her regrets, and set herself to rebuilding both their lives, cautiously tackling the parish tasks that her mother had fulfilled with such warmth and good humour, while discovering that, in Mrs Wilding’s vocabulary, ‘assistant’ was another word for ‘dogsbody’.