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Sirens in Bliss

By:Sophie Oak
Chapter One:

Stef and Jen

Stef Talbot looked at his longtime housekeeper, shaking his head and wondering exactly where he’d gone wrong. It was only eight thirty in the morning. How had the day gone to shit already? “What do you mean there’s a child in my chandelier? I seem to recall that Jennifer ordered that chandelier to be completely child-free. Was she a gift with purchase?”

“Everything looks really cool from up here, Momma! It’s like a ride!”

Stef could hear the small ball of complete chaos screaming from two rooms away.

“Olivia Barnes-Fleetwood, you get down from there right now and you better just pray that I only ground you this time.” Abigail Barnes did not sound amused with her daughter.

Olivia’s reply was still at a screeching decibel, though a bit more tentative this time. “I think I’ll just live up here now. Momma’s scaring me. I think I want Daddy.”

His carefully run house had turned into a circus. Over the course of a mere two days, his whole life had become watching and waiting for the roof to fall in. He was sure it would happen any moment and that one of the Barnes-Fleetwood children would be responsible for it.

Mrs. Truss nodded her perfect helmet of gray hair and a small smile curled her lips up. “Miss Olivia is a vibrant child. It’s been a pleasure to have her around after so many years of quiet.”

His housekeeper was insane. Olivia was a ball of chaos. God, he was glad he was having a boy.

A baby. He was having a baby. Jennifer was pregnant—very pregnant. So very pregnant.

He hadn’t touched his wife in weeks. He barely slept beside her, terrified that he would screw up her sleep. He missed his wife. He missed the way their life had been. Peaceful. Quiet.

And this wedding was a pain in his ass. Why he’d thought he could handle a wedding right before Jennifer’s due date, he had no idea. When he’d been asked to house some friends over the week of the wedding, she hadn’t even looked pregnant. He’d thought it would all be a breeze. He’d been wrong about a lot of things. “Is someone going to get her off the chandelier before it falls and kills her?”

“Aww, she’s way more resilient than that.” Sam Fleetwood didn’t seem to be in a hurry. The blond cowboy walked through the hallway as though his daughter getting stuck in a chandelier was an everyday occurrence. “She fell off the roof a couple of months back. She managed to fall on top of Jack. Jack slipped a couple of discs, but Livie was perfectly fine. That girl is blessed, I tell you. Someone up there is watching out for her.”

The eternally calm cowboy walked into the dining room and the door closed behind him again.

“And when are our guests departing?” Stef asked quietly. The house would be peaceful again and he could go back to only worrying about Jennifer. All day. Every day. Until his stomach was in knots. But at least he could do it in silence.

Mrs. Truss shook her head and sighed. “I believe they depart the day after tomorrow.”

“What’s up, babe? You’re not enjoying the company?” His wife walked out of the hallway that led from their bedroom. She was so gorgeous in the early morning light, her skin practically glowing. He’d thought about painting her like that, with nothing at all on her body, just the sunlight and her skin, but it was selfish to ask her to sit for a portrait when her lower back hurt most of the time.

What the hell was he going to do if he lost her? She looked beautiful, but he knew the truth. She was fragile. Life was fragile.

“I just want to get back to normal.” He said the words but he wasn’t exactly sure what they meant anymore. He wasn’t sure what normal was now.

A brilliant smile crossed her face. “I would love that, too. Normal would be awesome. Maybe we should go to the guesthouse and talk about that.”

His dick twitched at the thought, hardening in an instant. It had been a month since he’d been inside his wife’s pussy. One month, two days, and ten hours since she’d passed out and Caleb had hooked her up to a sonogram to prove that the baby was all right.

But all Stef had seen was his wife laid out on a hospital bed, her skin pale and her hands shaking.

He’d done that to her. He should have waited, should have just been happy to have a wife. He didn’t need kids. He just needed her. God, she would hate him if she knew how much he resented the fact that the baby growing inside her could kill her. She was so excited about the entire event and Stef just wanted to get it over with.

He shook his head. “I don’t think we need to do that. It’s breakfast time. You need to eat.”

She was wearing a long flowing dress that accentuated the curve of her belly. She was so close to giving birth, her belly so big and round that he wondered how on earth she could ever have a child so large. Caleb had assured him that the baby was a normal size, but he couldn’t imagine it. In his head, the baby was at least ten pounds. She frowned a little his way. “I can think of some things you haven’t eaten enough of lately. But it kind of feels like you’re never hungry anymore, so I should just stop asking.”

She turned and started down the hallway.

“Maybe you should wait, sweetheart. They’re trying to get Olivia out of the chandelier.” Someone was going to have to get a ladder, and it could be dangerous. She could get hit by a flying chaos ball. “Maybe you should go back to bed and I’ll bring you a tray.”

He would prefer her to just stay in bed and let him take care of her.

Her gorgeous eyes lit up, but that joy wasn’t for him. “No way. I’m going to go cheer on baby girl. I have to see this. How the hell did she get up there?”

“I’m pretty sure she pole vaulted.” Jack Barnes jogged through carrying the ladder. “I shouldn’t have let her watch the Olympics. Damn. I’m really sorry about this, Stefan. Maybe we should try going to that motel at the edge of town. There’s so much here they can destroy. I’m afraid we put off buying a lot of nice things because of the kids. They’re kind of chaotic.”

Kind of? In the two days the Barnes-Fleetwood clan had been here, Olivia had tried to ride a snowmobile in the middle of spring, jumped into the Rio Grande because she liked to swim, and little Josh had found his way into Stef’s studio and painted a mustache on his latest portrait.

What the hell had he and Jen been thinking?

“You’re not going anywhere. We love having you and the kids here. They’re awesome,” Jen said with a laugh. “I mean it. I love your kids, Jack. I haven’t laughed so much in years. And Josh is going to be an artist.”

Sometimes she made him feel like a grumpy old man, but he couldn’t help but pointing out a few truths. “Jennifer, it took me days to fix that portrait.”

Her gorgeous green eyes rolled. “I don’t think you should have fixed it. That dude looks way better with a purple ’stache. Josh was totally right.”

“I am so sorry,” Barnes said with a sad sigh. “Any damage they do we will absolutely pay for.”

Jen shook her head. “They’re adorable and the senator will survive not having a Talbot original for a couple of days. Stefan is doing this as a favor. Don’t worry about it. Come on, let’s get your baby girl down and feed her some waffles. I can smell them from here.” She patted her belly. “My boy is hungry. I have to enjoy this while I can. After baby Logan’s here, I’ll have to worry about my figure.”

“I am really sorry,” Barnes was saying as they walked through the double doors that led to the dining hall. Having children seemed to have put Jack Barnes into a perpetual state of apology. Stef could remember a time when every sub in The Club had feared and wanted Jack Barnes. So why couldn’t he handle one small female child?

“It’s perfectly fine,” Jennifer said with a sassy nod. “The senator has a stick up his ass and I’m starting to think his portraitist does, too.”

Stef stared after her. She was asking for a spanking. Little brat. She was practically begging for him to turn her over his knee and slap that gorgeous ass until she couldn’t sit down for a week and he had to carry her around everywhere.

“I’ll go make sure the guesthouse is cleaned and ready for use.” Mrs. Truss sighed as though something had fallen blissfully into place.

“Why would you do that?” he asked, staring after his wife.

“Well, Master Stefan, that is the look you have on your face before you carry the mistress off for a session.”

Yeah, he used to do that. He was being a bastard for even thinking about it now. “No. I’m not going to punish her. She’s just a little cranky. I would be if I was carrying around another human being twenty-four hours a day.”

Mrs. Truss crossed her arms over her chest, staring him down. “I think the mistress wouldn’t mind visiting the guesthouse. It’s been a very long time.”

Stef shook his head. He couldn’t go there. She was so close to her due date and he couldn’t help but remember how she’d bled in those early months. Caleb had called it light spotting, but Jennifer had been so afraid she would lose their boy. She’d cried and clung to him and there had been absolutely nothing he could do, no one he could intimidate into giving him what he wanted.