Authors: Ellie Danes,Lily Knight
Cooper pulled into our driveway and shook his head as he cut off the engine, his quick smile visible in the dark interior. “I guess I’ll never understand why women suffer for the sake of fashion.”
I gave him a quick smile and slid my feet back into my uncomfortable shoes. “Umm, we do it because of men. I didn’t see you complaining when you were eyeing my legs back at the grille.”
Cooper grinned. “Touché. But you missed something.”
“And what was that?” I asked.
“I was looking at your ass, too,” he said as he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a blindfold. I raised an eyebrow, looking at him.
“A blindfold, huh? You want to do that in here? We have a perfectly good house we can walk into.”
“No,” he chuckled, holding it out to me. “I want you to put it on. I have a surprise for you. But put a pin in that thought. We can explore that option later.”
I rolled my eyes in jest and allowed him to slip the blindfold over my eyes, shivering as his fingers drifted down my cheek before he climbed out of the car. I listened as he opened the passenger side door and his hand touched mine, helping me out on my uncomfortable shoes.
“What are you doing, Cooper?” I asked softly, my heart racing with anticipation. Cooper loved to surprise me — from flowers to candy to my favorite takeout. I never knew what or when he was going to surprise me and, deep down, I loved it. I felt cherished and loved.
“You will see shortly,” he said, slipping his arm around my waist and guiding me forward. I went with him blindly, resisting the urge to reach out before me as my heels clicked against our cobblestone driveway. We walked as the sound of the ocean became louder before Cooper’s arm left my waist and he slowly removed the blindfold.
“Oh, Cooper,” I breathed, taking in the sight. Before me, candles lined every surface of the deck, steam rolled from the bubbling hot tub visible from my vantage point. Roses of every color filled the corners of the deck, their fragrance wafting on the salty breeze. An array of different desserts were arranged on the outside dining table along with a bottle of champagne chilling in a stainless steel bucket of ice near the hot tub, two glasses already perched on the side. It was a perfectly romantic scene. “It’s beautiful, Coop.”
Cooper’s arms encircled my waist and he pulled me against him, his lips nibbling at my neck. “You are beautiful. Happy anniversary, babe. I love you.”
“I love you, too,” I said softly, turning in his arms to kiss him. “Your anniversary present is in the living room, by the way.”
I followed him across the deck and into the house. His surprised expression had me laughing as we walked into the living room where his brand new surfboard sat propped against the wall, its shiny surface gleaming in the soft light.
“Emma,” he breathed, tracing his fingers gingerly over the surface of the bright blue surfboard. “How did you know?”
“I saw the way you looked at it last time we were at the shop,” I confessed, happy to see that I had chosen the right board. I knew he wouldn’t buy it for himself so I had purchased it and had it delivered to the house during our time away. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who had made plans for a surprise to be delivered while we were away. “Do you like it?”
He turned toward me and wrapped me into a hug, spinning me around the room. “I love it,” he laughed, kissing me on the lips. “Almost as much as you. Thank you.”
“Good! You’re welcome.” I smiled, kissing him back. “Thank you for my surprise as well.”
“Oh, I’m not finished. Close your eyes.” He grinned, pulling back and reaching in his pocket. “Close your eyes or I’m not giving it to you.” I complied. “Okay. Open them.”
I gasped when I saw a necklace dangling from his fingers, a solitaire diamond sparkled on the end of a white gold chain.
“Happy anniversary, baby.”
“Cooper, it’s beautiful,” I breathed as he moved toward me and fastened it around my neck. “You shouldn’t have.”
“I wanted to,” he said, kissing the side of my neck. “One diamond for one year of pure happiness. You’re the best thing that has ever happened to me, Emma.”
“I can’t wait to see fifty years,” I joked as he stepped back.
He gave me a grin and then pointed to the deck. “Ready to enjoy the rest of your night?”
I smiled, feeling the weight of his love around me. “Yes. Yes, I am.”
Cooper took my hand and I followed him back to the deck. He pointed to the champagne, but I shook my head as I brushed my hand through the water in the hot tub. “Not yet, maybe later.”
“Whatever makes you happy, love,” he replied. Cooper took a seat next to me and we sat there for a moment listening to the waves as I took in the romantic atmosphere around us. “I think tonight was a success,” he said after a few minutes, reaching over to clasp my hand in his, our wedding rings gleaming in the candlelight. “Jessie was very surprised.”
I nodded, my throat tightening as I remembered the tears that had glimmered in her eyes as we presented the check to her. She had thought it was just a staff meeting and we had really caught her by surprise. There had been a gleam of hope in her eyes and that was all the thanks we needed. Hope was what had brought me and Cooper together.
Moving in front of him, I looked into his beautiful eyes, seeing the love reflected there. “Cooper,” I started, nervous butterflies in my stomach. “I have to tell you something.”
His eyes darkened and his expression changed, some of the excitement faded. “What? Is everything okay? What’s wrong?”
I pursed my lips and put my arms around his neck, playing with his hair at the nape. “Nothing’s wrong. I just have one more anniversary gift for you.” I reached over beneath the built-in bench where I had hidden his gift earlier in the day and pulled out a small box wrapped in green paper with blue and pink ribbons curled on top. “Here.” I placed the box in his hands. “Open it.”
Cooper eagerly tore into the paper and pulled off the lid of the box. He removed the tissue-covered item and proceeded to unravel it from the paper. When he held it out in front of him, his eyes grew as wide as saucers. “Em, this . . . this is a little small for me,” he said of the orange and white bib he held in his hand. He eyed it for a moment and read the words embroidered across it aloud. “Dad surfs. Mom surfs better?” he said with a bit of hesitation. Then his gaze moved to me and our eyes locked. “Does this mean what I think it means?”
“I’m pregnant,” I blurted out, seeing his expression morph from confusion to excitement. “About five weeks along.”
“P-pregnant?” he stammered, his eyes darting to my waist where his fingers quickly began caressing. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” I laughed. While we hadn’t been preventing it, I hadn’t expected it to happen so suddenly either.
He swallowed and a glimmer of tears gleamed in his eyes as he pulled me close, his warm hands on my back. “Oh my god. I am going to be a dad.”
The wonderment in his voice brought tears to my eyes as well, thinking of all the conversations we’d had about families and children. “You’re going to be a wonderful dad.”
He pulled back to look at me, his hand snaking around to touch my stomach gently. “We are going to have a baby.”
I nodded, unable to trust my own voice. The thought was still pretty shocking to me as well but I was excited to start our family. We were financially secure and in a good place in our marriage. We had a loving, supportive family and extended family that would help us raise our child in an affectionate environment. Everything was falling into place.
A frown appeared on his face. “I guess the hot tub is out tonight. Hot tubs aren’t good for pregnant women.”
“Cooper, I’m not fragile. A little hot water isn’t going to hurt me.”
“No champagne either,” he was saying, grabbing a plate of desserts from the table. “But as much food as you want. I will get you anything you want, even if I have to fly it in.”
I laid a hand on his arm and forced him to look at me, my heart softening at yet another wonderful thing my husband wanted to do for me. “Cooper, sweetheart,” I said gently. “I still have eight months before this baby even thinks about making an appearance.”
“I just want everything to be perfect,” he sighed, setting the plate back on the table before reaching for me. “I didn’t think it was possible, but you have just made me the happiest man on the face of this earth again, Emma.”
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About The Author
Ellie Danes is a bestselling author with over thirty-four published works and more added each month. Transplanted from New Jersey at an early age, she now resides in central Virginia with her family and two dogs. She is an avid movie watcher and loves a good thriller or sci-fi movie more than a romance.
When she’s not writing or reading, Ellie is out on the streets, likely training for another running race or dreaming up ideas for her next series.
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