Quietly, Dan cracked open the door to the bedroom to check on Stacy. He found her sitting in the rocker, feeding Emily. Opening the door the rest of the way, he leaned against the jamb.
“How long has she been awake? I didn’t hear her cry.”
“She didn’t cry.” Stacy smiled a guilty little smile. “I just wanted to hold her.”
“Did Jimmy and Kylie wake you up?”
“Yeah, but that’s okay. It was nice to hear them talking to each other again.”
“They left together,” Dan said. “That’s a good sign.”
Stacy nodded. “Very good.”
He crossed the room to the two most beautiful girls in the world, placed a soft kiss on Stacy’s lips before running a light hand around Emily’s downy head. She startled a bit then settled back into nursing. “Is it wrong to be jealous of her right now?”
“Very.” Stacy laughed softly.
“How are you feeling?”
“Better. I’m sorry I freaked out on you earlier this morning. It was silly to be scared.”
“No, it wasn’t.”
“I think I’ve got this whole ‘Mom’ thing under control if you want to go in. Brent’s probably having a conniption being there by himself.”
“He’s called a few times but he’s not in full-on panic mode yet. He’ll be fine.”
“You still should probably check on him.”
“Are you trying to get rid of me?” Dan teased.
“No,” Stacy said with a smile. “I just know you really want to go in and check on things. I’m giving you an excuse to go.”
“I do want to go in,” Dan admitted. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay, kochanie. I understand.”
“But the instant we hire someone to run the office, I’m taking a day or two off. Maybe even a whole week. I promise.”
“I’m holding you to that. One of these days, I expect a real honeymoon.”
“And you’ll get one,” Dan agreed. “I just thought we’d wait until it’s elk season in Montana. We could rent a little cabin up there.”
“Uh-uh.” Stacy smiled and shook her head.
“Fishing in Alaska?”
“I suppose you expect me to take you somewhere exotic—like Georgia.”
Stacy cocked an eyebrow and asked doubtfully, “Georgia’s exotic?”
“And just what would we do in Georgia?”
“Oh, what couldn’t we do in Georgia? There are tons of places to go. They’ve got mountains and canyons, beaches, big cities, little cities, old cities, battlefields, mining towns. We could even go see the world’s biggest peanut.”
“I don’t think so.”
“We could nibble on some sweet peaches.”
She bit back a smile. “Would they be in cobbler?”
“Oh, for sure. We could get you some peach cobbler or peach pies, peach ice cream, muffins, pancakes, salsa, marmalade. I could get you grilled peaches, baked peaches, fried peaches, frozen peaches—”
“Got it, yep,” Stacy cut him off with a roll of her eyes. “Lots of peaches there.”
“Or maybe you’d rather see the tree that owns itself.”
She laughed, causing Emily to startle again. Stacy rocked a bit to calm her. “How can a tree own itself?”
“I don’t know how, but it does. At least, that’s what the little plaque says.”
“You’ve seen this tree?”
“I have.” Dan nodded with a smile. “If I remember right it’s the son of the tree that owns itself, but still, it’s pretty cool.”
“You know, while we’re in Georgia, checking out the peanut, and the peaches, and the tree, it would be criminal not to do a little catfish noodling.” He wiggled his eyebrows and she rewarded him with a sexy smile.
“Ah, now the truth comes out… You woo me with the peaches just to trick me into canoodling with you. I see how you are.”
“You make it sound kinky.” Just thinking about it made him flush with heat.
“I don’t have a clue what noodling is.” She laughed. “I just guessed.”
“Noodling is wrestling gigantic, slimy catfish out of their hidey holes under stumps and rocks in mucky, shallow water using only your bare hands. True warrior style.”
“Trust me, you’ll like it.”
“You think so, huh?”
“I do.” He grinned. “When do you want to go?”
“Umm… how about the fifth of Never,” she suggested.
“You’re no fun.”
“I know,” she agreed. “But here’s a crazy thought… How about we go somewhere that actually is exotic, in all the right ways, and we do my kind of noodling?”
“What’s your kind of noodling?”
She said nothing, but her smile was so vividly naughty, his jeans grew tight.
“Hmm…” Dan said, feigning debate. “I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it.”
“You do that and let me know.” She shifted her gaze down to Emily and let out a sigh of wonderment and peace. “How did we make such a beautiful baby?”
“She has a beautiful mommy. It was bound to happen.” Dan brushed Stacy’s hair from her face and kissed her cheek then her lips. “You want some lunch before I go?”
Stacy groaned. “Never again. How in the world could you let me eat those things?”
“It wasn’t a choice, Stace,” Dan answered seriously.
“I hope I never have another food obsession like that again. It was weird.”
“I think most women have cravings when they’re pregnant. It’s probably normal.”
“Seven chili dogs a day is not normal,” Stacy said with a shake of her head.
“That’s true,” Dan agreed. “Those chili dogs owned you, woman. I’m surprised Emily doesn’t smell like a pickle.”
She laughed. “You’re a dork.”
“But a damn sexy dork.” Dan winked and headed downstairs to make lunch, relieved he’d never have to smell another of Cheryl’s disgusting chili dogs, ever again. Stacy truly had been possessed by those chili dogs. If he ever got obsessed with a food like that, he’d have no choice but to commit himself.