“I want our first baby here, Isabella. First of many. And as soon as possible.” He ground his hips into my backside and huskily rumbled, “Is that acceptable to you?”

The way he asked, I couldn’t possibly say it wasn’t. I spun around as his hands went to his fly. His mouth crashed against mine as my back slid up the wall with the force of being impaled by him.

My legs wound around his middle and my teeth sank into his shoulder as I whimpered.

“Good answer,” he advised.


“I want our first baby here.”

Our first baby.

This hurt so much, because it wouldn’t be our first. Not truly. Our first was…gone.

I slipped the test into folded up tissue and tucked it into the drawer in the vanity. My palm caressed that vanity. Holden made this with his bare hands. It was beautifully finished, lovingly made for our home. A home he wanted to provide for his family. Me. His children.

In our one year together, I’d learned a lot about him by watching him, rather than by asking questions. And he watched me, too. He’d know, as soon as I told him I was pregnant, that there was more. More in my heart. My conscience. I had always worn my heart on my sleeve, and he was so observant.

So many things were already unsaid by us. Would the guilt eat me up inside? Would the stress of it all mean that I’d hurt another baby of ours and lose this one, too?

I was terrified of losing another baby, of being responsible for killing two of our children.

The guilt of knowing I’d very likely killed one already was bad enough.

2 – Flashback: Our First Day Together

November 1st, Last Year

“They said you’d help me.”

My eyes widened with worry. They? Was he about to say things he shouldn’t?

“I’d like to buy a car. A fast one.” His mouth split into a smile.

“I hoped you’d help me with this,” he said, pulling a stack of papers out of the gym bag he’d brought with him. I was rinsing dishes from our pancakes. I dried my hands and took the pile of paper and flipped through it. Oh. His assets. Property. Bank statements. Investments.

“Can you help me with that, Isabella?”

I had no idea how he had so much money, but now knew that he was my landlord. The deed for this property and several other commercial properties besides was in the stack, along with a pretty diversified investment portfolio that was being managed for him by an investment company with a P.O. Box address in Marblehead, Massachusetts. The same P.O. Box address for the corporation I had sent my lease and rent checks to. Erica?

It wasn’t as if I’d been steered to rent this specific apartment by someone. I’d made the choice myself. How odd (not unlike the oddness of everything surrounding Holden).

Erica never told me she was a witch, but I surmised that she was. The things she said, the book she carried, not least of which were the words in the children’s book about the headless horseman that talked about a local coven of friendly witches keeping the area safe from The Horseman.

“Can I pick the color of this new car?” I asked.

His lips tipped up. “Yes. So long as you choose silver.”

I giggled.

He grabbed my hand and tugged me toward him, then pulled me into his lap and I put the stack of papers on the table and wound my arms around his neck. My lips instinctually moved to his throat, to his scar.

I heard a sigh escape his lips and felt him harden underneath me. He was in just a pair of jeans. I was in the button-down shirt he wore the night before.

His hands went underneath and gripped the cheeks of my bottom.

I smiled against his neck, feeling my face flush. This sexual stuff was so new. But I liked it. A lot.

“You know, I have a car.”

“Is it fast?” His fingers slipped into the crotch of my panties and directly inside me. My head rolled back, and his mouth was right there, on my throat.

“N-no. I mean, it can go fast but it’s not a sportscar. It’s pretty zippy, but it’s economical.”

“Get me out,” he ordered, lips against my jaw, grinding his hips upwards, to add context. He yanked my underwear to one side.

I fumbled with his fly and hesitated.

“Grab it, kitty cat. It wants your heat.”

Heat flushed my face even further.

“No need to be shy with me. Ever,” he assured, caressing my head and twirling a lock of my hair.

Eyes on his, I carefully pulled it out, then my eyes dropped and saw why it’d been so easy. He had no underpants on. He lifted me a few inches by my hips. My panties were still aside so when he lowered me, there was a clear path for him.

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