Four years ago, my dreams were shattered in an instant.
I tried to pick up the pieces and glue them back together the best I knew how, but something was always missing.
A father for my two girls.
But then, Brody Murphy landed on my doorstep, literally. He was a carefree, playful hockey player who barged into my life and messed with my head. He left me more confused than I had ever been.
What if the one thing I thought I needed was the only thing holding me back?
Cutting it a little close, Murphy. Don’t blow it.
I rang the doorbell. Sophia opened the door, her face contorted with confusion.
“Hi, Ms. Jensen. I’m here to pick up Kacie.”
She giggled and stepped back. “Oh, you’re adorable. Come in, Brody.”
“These are for you.” I handed her a small bouquet of tulips.
“They are beautiful, thank you.” She furrowed her brow at me, still trying to figure everything out. “Hang on, I’ll get Kacie.”
She disappeared around the corner and I stayed in the foyer, waiting for my … friend. Lucy and Piper came tearing toward me from the back family room.
“Brody, are you sick?” asked Piper.
“Yeah, do you have a fever?” Lucy asked, tugging on my shirt.
I bent down to her level as she felt my forehead. “Nope, not sick. Why?”
They looked at each other and shrugged.
“Mom was on the phone with Auntie Alexa and she said you were hot. If you’re hot, you have a fever. Do you need medicine?” Lucy continued the inquest.
“She said I was hot, huh? Interesting. I promise you, kiddo, I’m not sick, but thanks for checking on me.”
I held my hand up and they each high-fived me before they ran off.
Kacie came around the corner and my mouth started salivating. She had on a white, lacy tank top and khaki shorts that showed off more of her legs than I had seen before. Her hair was pulled up in a messy bun with a few random pieces falling onto her collarbone. The closer she got, the more her green eyes sparkled. She looked simple, yet incredibly sexy. I was going to need a fucking straight jacket to keep my hands off of her all night
Four years ago, my dreams were shattered in an instant.
Three months ago, I found something I haven’t had in years.
That hope came in the form of a sexy, carefree hockey player named Brody Murphy. He swooped in and won me over with his big heart and the way he cared for me…and my girls. When they look at him, they see the father they've never had.
Now, my past and present are colliding and the outcome might just be too much for me to bear. Can I make the right decision when I’ve spent my whole life making the wrong ones?
“Why not? Do you ever want to be a stay-at-home mom?” Brody asked.
“I don’t know. After him, I swore to myself that I would never depend on a man again. It was embarrassing to move back home and rely on my mom to feed and take care of us.”
spun to face him, nearly dropping the eggs that were in my hand. “What?”
“Down the road, when there are dozens of little Brodys running around the house, do you want to be home with us?”
“Dozens of little Brodys?” I chuckled.
“Why not?” He grinned.
“Uh, I can think of a few reasons. My poor uterus for one.” I poked him in the chest.
“Okay, fine. Not a dozen, but at least like… six.” He wiggled his eyebrows. “After that, we can just practice—a lot.”
“I’m definitely down for the practicing.” I batted my eyes at him. “And what do you mean at home with us? You’ll be traveling most of the time.”
“Yeah, but not forever. Eventually I’ll retire and do the full-time dad thing.”
Crossing my arms over my chest, I cocked my head to the side and looked at him skeptically. “Since when does staying home with kids all day interest you?”
He looked over at the girls, who were watching a movie in the living room, and shrugged. “Since them.”
Five years ago, my dreams were shattered in an instant.
One year ago, a horrible rainstorm flooded a bridge in town, leaving us with an Inn full of stranded travelers. Turns out one of those travelers would give me a whole new set of dreams, ones I never thought possible. Brody Murphy spent the last year teaching me what it was like to live, and more importantly love, again.
Two days ago, he asked me to marry him, and if I’d said yes any faster, I would have interrupted the most romantic proposal ever offered. I can’t wait to marry him and spend the rest of our lives spoiling our Twinkies.
One year from now I’ll be Mrs. Kacie Murphy, assuming everything goes nice and smooth.
“Oh, I know and it’s okay. I couldn’t care less what the public or whoever thinks of our wedding. It’s for us, you and me, and that’s all that matters.”
“I’m glad you feel that way.” He bent his leg under him and turned to face me. “I had a thought while I was driving home.”
I rolled my eyes. “I’m not eloping.”
“No, no. I know that. But you’re right… about not letting them have our wedding, the paparazzi and leeches who thought it was okay to post a picture of the girls in the newspaper. I don’t want them having any part in our day, so I was thinking, what if we had the ceremony and the reception in my parents’ barn?”
My mouth fell open as he held his hand up. “Don’t freak. Just hear me out. I know it’s a crappy rundown barn, but I was thinking how cool it might look if we hung thousands of little white lights or even candles everywhere, though we don’t want to burn it down, but you get what I’m saying,” he rambled, barely taking a breath. “I can hire a company to come in and clean it up. We’ll rent some tables and chairs and whatever other crap you need for a wedding. Anything you want, Kacie. The sky’s the limit. I just want you to be—”
I put my hand over his mouth to stop the adorable, incoherent sentences that were tumbling out of his mouth.
When he stopped talking against my hand, I lowered it and scooted forward, cupping his face in my hands. I looked him straight in the eye. “Brody, I think that’s the best idea I have ever heard.”
Beth Ehemann lives in the northern suburbs of Chicago with her husband and four children. When she's not sitting in front of her computer writing, or on Pinterest, she loves reading, photography, martinis and all things Chicago Cubs. She's represented by Jessica Watterson of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.