captivated Bonus Epilogue

Brett and emma from Whiskey Run 2

Emma

One Year Later

How do you go your whole life wondering if this is it? Is this really all I’m meant to do? Then all of a sudden everything changes, and you have a happiness that you never understood. Never even fathomed could be possible. That’s exactly what I got when I met Brett Barrett. He’s taken care of me in more ways than one. He helped me settle up everything with my dad’s property and talking to the police. It seems I was worried for nothing. No one wanted to put me in jail. As a matter of fact, half the force apologized to me for everything I’d been through and said they wished they’d known I was there instead of out of town out of town with a relative like they thought. Lost in thought, I kick my toe against the hard wood of the porch to get my swing moving.

“You doing okay, Mrs. Barrett?”

I smile at Brett as he walks up onto the porch. I’m rocking back and forth in the porch swing, and I hold it steady so he can sit down next to me. “I’m doing good, husband.”

I started calling him that shortly after we got married. I’m sure some people find it strange and old-fashioned, but for someone that never dreamed she would have a man to call her own, it means a lot. And just like always, any time I say it, he opens his arm, and I snuggle into his chest. “It sure is hot out today.”

I look at the ranch that has come so far in a year. The new barracks is up. The roof on the barn makes it look almost new, and the renovations that Brett has done to the house have been phenomenal. He works from sun up to sun down, and I try to get him to stop, but now he says he has someone to share his life with, he wants more than anything to make this ranch a success.

“You work too hard,” I tell him, even though I know it’s like talking to a wall. The man is not going to stop. “You know all I need is you. That’s all that matters to me. None of this other stuff means a thing to me. The house was perfect the way it was.”

He laughs. “So you want me to take out the dishwasher?”

I laugh with him. “I’m not saying that. I’m just saying, you keep doing all this, but it’s not going to mean anything if I don’t have you to share it with.”

“I think I’m done with all the renovations, at least until the spring. I think I’m going to be pretty busy soon.”

He reaches over and rubs his hand across my stomach. As soon as he does, I feel a kick, and I can’t help but smile. Our son is already giving his daddy a hard time.

“Oh, he’s active today, isn’t he?” Brett asks me.

I roll my eyes. “More like you rile him up. If this is any indication of what it’s going to be like when you and Baby Barrett are together, I’m going to have it rough.”

“Rough!” He nuzzles my neck and breathes me in. “I don’t think you’re going to have it rough. You’re going to have two Barrett men treating you like a queen then.”

And he’s not wrong. Brett treats me like a princess you would read about in a book. He makes sure to tell me every day how much he loves me and how much I mean to him. He goes out of his way to do anything he can to help me and be there for me. In the beginning, I thought it was something to do with Sophia, but it wasn’t long before I realized that he forgot completely all about her. She’s like a distant memory. He does everything he does for me because he loves me.

“You do treat me well,” I tell him, leaning into him.

“Because I love you…” he says.

I already know the answer, but I still ask it. “Do you ever regret…”

He’s already shaking his head. “Not for one second. I don’t ever regret anything when it comes to you, Em. You are my entire world, and I’m happy just spending the rest of my life on this ranch with you and our children.”

“Me too. I’m so glad that Violet brought us together. That was pretty sneaky of her.”

He harrumphs. “We were destined to be together, Em.”

“I know that. I just mean, you have to admit, she has a knack for these things.” I turn in his arms and kiss him. “I was thinking…”

“Oh yeah? Well, that’s a good thing because usually when you’re thinking, you’re thinking about me.”

He may be a little cocky, but he’s not wrong. I’m always thinking of him. “Yeah, well, I was thinking when Baby Barrett comes, we won’t be able to have S-E-X for six weeks.”

He grunts. He understands and would never do anything to hurt me, but it doesn’t mean he has to like it. “I know that. I’ll take care of you, Em.”

I stand up from the swing slowly with a little help from his pushing me from behind. I hold my hand out to him. “I know you will. But right now, I want to take care of you.”

He stands up instantly. “Well, you know I’m not going to say no to that.”

I start to pull him toward the house when he leans down and picks me up in his arms. “Rest, Momma. At least until you get to the bedroom.”

I lean my head into his chest. The same steady, pounding rhythm from our first time together is there, pounding against my ear. He says he was captivated by me the second he saw me. He thinks I saved him, but the truth be told, he’s the one that saved me.