Home > Softly at Sunrise (KGI #5.5)(13)

Softly at Sunrise (KGI #5.5)(13)
Author: Maya Banks

“Every single day with you is a dream I always fear I’ll awaken from. You’re a gift, Rachel. You and the babies are the most treasured gift I’ve ever been given. I don’t deserve it, but by God I’m going to cherish it for the rest of my life.”

Chapter 7

Rachel stood outside her old house, keys in hand, staring at the place she’d called home for her entire married life to Ethan.

The realtor had just left, and a brand new “for sale” sign was now mounted in her front yard.

She examined her feelings for some sign of regret. Sadness. Nostalgia even. But the only thing she could put her finger on was…relief.

Now that she was pregnant, her relief was compounded by the fact that she wouldn’t bring her babies home to a place that still held so much darkness for Rachel.

She took a deep breath and made the effort to let go. Of the past. The memories. The hurt. And the sadness. There was so much joy to replace the sorrows of yesterday. A new house. Precious babies nestled in her womb. A husband and a family who loved her dearly.

She closed her eyes and let the crispness of the fall winds blow over her face. The scratch of leaves on the concrete walkway and the faint smell of smoke in the distance brought home the changing season.

Change was in the air.

Changing seasons. Changing lives. All for the better.

The sound of a car crunching over the gravel drive diverted her from her reverie and turned her around, her brows drawn together as she looked to see who was approaching.

It was her sister-in-law Sophie’s SUV, but when it stopped, Sarah and Shea hopped out as Sophie got from behind the wheel.

“What are you guys doing here?” Rachel asked in bewilderment.

“We’re kidnapping you for dinner,” Shea said smugly.

Sarah smiled and nodded. “Yep. That’s exactly what we’re doing. Thought we’d go over to Big Sandy and eat at the Feed and Grain Mill.”

“Oh yum. You guys totally know my weakness.”

“Thought you could use some girl time about now,” Sophie said in a gentle voice. “A lot has been going on with you lately.”

“That sounds absolutely perfect,” Rachel said, warmed by the friendship in each of their eyes.

She turned one last time and stared at the empty shell of a house. It had no power over her any longer. She was free of it and the memories it housed. She could let go now and focus on the future.

“Why don’t we follow you to the new house so you can drop off your car, and then we’ll all ride together in my SUV,” Sophie suggested.

“Sounds like a plan,” Rachel said.

“I’ll ride over with Rachel,” Shea volunteered. “We’ll see you guys in a minute.”

Shea climbed into the passenger seat of Rachel’s Honda Accord while Rachel slid behind the wheel.

“Is Sam keeping Charlotte tonight?” Rachel asked as they pulled away.

Shea chuckled. “He and Nathan are both on babysitting duty. It’ll be interesting to see if Sophie’s phone starts blowing up in an hour.”

“Speaking of, can you grab my cell and send Ethan a text telling him what we’re doing? It’ll save time if I don’t go in and explain.”


Shea picked up Rachel’s phone and brought up Ethan in the text messages and promptly froze.

“Uh, Rachel?”

“Hmm?” Rachel made a questioning sound, not looking away from the road as she turned out of the neighborhood and onto the highway.

“Look, I wasn’t prying or anything. It’s kind of right here and impossible to miss.”

Rachel went still. “Oh crap. I completely forgot. I wasn’t even thinking.”

“Does that mean you are pregnant?” Shea asked hesitantly.

Rachel sighed. “Yeah, I am.”

Shea sent her a dubious look. “You don’t sound happy about it.”

Rachel lit up with a smile. Not happy? Never in a million years.

“I’m over the moon,” she said softly. “We both are. I just hadn’t planned to tell you or anyone else this way. We only just found out. It was quite a shock. When I first suspected, I wanted to wait until after the first trimester in case…”

“I understand,” Shea said.

“But then we went to the doctor and I’m further along than I thought. And…” She glanced over at Shea and bit her lip to keep from shouting it out. “We’re having twins.”

“Oh my God, Rachel!” Shea screeched. “Holy shit. Twins? Are you serious?”

Rachel nodded, beaming the entire time. “But you can’t tell anyone yet. We want to wait for just the right time. And honestly I need a few days to adjust to it myself before I hit the family with something like this.”

“Oh Rachel, I’m so happy for you and Ethan,” Shea said with a dreamy sigh. “I know how much this has to mean to you. Oh my God, I’m so excited! I’m going to be an aunt!”

“You’re already an aunt, dork,” Rachel said, laughing.

“Yes, but Charlotte was already here by the time I came along. This will be the first time I was here from the very beginning.”

Rachel reached over to squeeze her hand. “I’m glad you’re here with us, Shea. I wish Grace could be here more often.”

Shea’s expression didn’t fade a bit at the mention of her sister. Grace was married to Rio, one of the team leaders of KGI, and they lived in Belize when Rio wasn’t off on a mission.

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