She held out her hand. “It’s lovely to finally meet you.”
His gaze softened as he stroked a hand over Adam’s soft dark hair, and Mary finally saw there was more than a physical resemblance between William and his three brothers.
Howie, Larry and Layla arrived a few minutes later and helped fill the house with laughter and love. And when they all sat down a short while later to the huge spread of food, Mary wished both her parents and Jack’s could have been with them, too.
Hands down, it was the best Thanksgiving she’d ever had.
Mary had so much to be thankful for. Jack’s love. A relationship with her parents that was better than ever. Being a part of the amazing Sullivan family. Her flourishing career.
And, just maybe, if her suspicions were correct, she and Jack would soon have even more to be thankful for….
“Happy anniversary, Angel.”
Jack and his brothers had finished building the Lake Tahoe cabin a few weeks earlier, and tonight Mary and Jack were lying tangled around each other on the soft rug in front of their new river-rock fireplace.
Mary felt so warm and safe with her head cradled against Jack’s chest, listening to his heart beating steady and strong. Normally, she would have stayed right where she was. But she had a surprise for Jack that she just couldn’t wait another moment to give him.
When she got up, his heated gaze followed her every step as she took something from the bags they’d dropped just inside the front door and then returned to kneel in front of him.
She held out a small wrapped package, but instead of opening it, he stroked his hand over her cheek.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
A moment later, he pulled back the red-and-green wrapping paper and uncovered the beautiful ornament inside. It was a handcrafted clay Christmas tree, with Mary’s and Jack’s names together at the top. Off the edge of each of the branches along each side of the miniature tree was room for additional names to be added.“If our first child is a boy, I’d like to name him Marcus after my father. And if it’s a girl—”
Jack interrupted before she could finish speaking. “Are you pregnant?”
“We’re going to have a baby, Jack.”
“I thought last Christmas was the best I’d ever have,” he said in a reverent voice as he pulled her close and laid one hand over her stomach. “But you’ve made every day better than the one that came before it.”
Together they rose to hang the new ornament on the tree next to the angel he’d given her last year on their first Christmas together.
One year ago, both Mary and Jack had been looking for a Christmas miracle, but they’d given each other so much more than either of them could ever have dreamed of having.
“Look,” he said as he pointed up to the ceiling. “Mistletoe.”
And as Mary and Jack Sullivan kissed beneath the sprig of mistletoe, both of them knew there were many more miracles to come….
Glancing down, with tears in her eyes, Mary looked at the two Christmas ornaments sitting in her lap, which were more precious to her than anything else she owned.
From that first Sullivan Christmas through all the Sullivan Christmases that followed, these two small ornaments represented the deep and true love between her and Jack. She felt so incredibly blessed by the exciting life she’d led, the children who made every single day a delight…and most of all, loving, and being loved by, Jack Sullivan.
The sounds of happy voices coming up the walk brought Mary from her memories. Wiping her damp eyes with her fingertips, she stood up and carefully placed the two ornaments on the tree.
Looking up, she whispered, “I love you, Jack.”
When she opened the door, her family was standing in the fresh snow smiling at her. Marcus and Nicola were on the front steps with Chase and Chloe. Gabe, Megan and Summer were coming up the path laden down with brightly wrapped gifts.
“Merry Christmas,” they all said as they kissed and hugged her, and then began to pile into the cabin.
It was time for another Sullivan Christmas to begin.
~ THE END ~