For now forever, p.18
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       For Now, Forever, p.18

         Part #5 of The MacGregors series by Nora Roberts
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  with her, though he’s my firstborn. After all, she’s due to give me another grandchild in a couple of weeks.”

  “Any excuse,” Grant said smoothly as Caine grinned and examined his nails.

  “You’re looking well, lass,” he told Gennie. “A woman just blooms when she’s carrying a child.”

  “And spreads,” Gennie returned, touching a hand to her rounded stomach. “Another couple of months and I won’t be able to reach my easel.”

  “See that you use a stool,” he ordered. “A pregnant woman shouldn’t be on her feet all day.”

  “And see that you’re out of this place and on your own feet by spring,” Grant told him as he slipped an arm around his wife. “You’ll have to come to Maine to be the baby’s godfather.”

  “Godfather.” He preened. “It’s a sad thing for a MacGregor to be godfather to a Campbell.” He ignored Grant’s grin, though it made his lips twitch, and looked at Gennie. “But I’ll do it for you. Are you getting enough rest?”

  Anna slipped a hand to his wrist to unobtrusively monitor his pulse. “He forgets that I was pregnant with Alan the last three months I interned. Never felt better in my life.”

  “I felt wonderful during pregnancy myself,” Serena commented. “I suppose that’s why I’m doing it again.”

  It only took Daniel a minute. “Again?”

  Serena rose on her toes to kiss Justin before she smiled at her father. “Again. Seven months to go.”

  “Well now—”

  “No Scotch, Daniel,” Anna said, anticipating him. “At least not until you’re out of Intensive Care.”

  He scowled, muttered, then opened his arms as best he could. “Come here then, little girl.”

  Serena leaned over the bed and held him as hard as she dared. “Don’t you ever scare me like this again,” she whispered fiercely.

  “Now, now, don’t scold,” he murmured and stroked her hair. “Bad as your mother. You take good care of her,” he ordered Justin. “I don’t want my next grandchild born in front of a slot machine.”

  “Eight to five this one’s a girl,” Justin answered.

  “You’re on.” Grinning, he turned to Diana. “You have to catch up.”

  “Don’t be greedy,” she told him and took his hand.

  “A man’s entitled to greed when he reaches a certain age, isn’t that right, Anna?”

  “A woman’s entitled to make her own decisions—at any age.”

  “Hah!” Enormously pleased with himself, he surveyed the room. “I never mentioned that your mother picketed for equal rights before it was stylish, did I? Living with her’s been nothing but a trial. And stop taking my pulse, woman. No better medicine for a man than family.”

  “Then maybe we should give you a bit more.” Anna nodded to the nurse outside the door. With a sigh, she leaned against the bed. They were breaking all manner of hospital rules already. What was one more? She felt Daniel’s fingers tighten on hers as Alan wheeled Shelby into the room.

  “What’s this?” he demanded and would have attempted to sit up if Anna hadn’t eased him back.

  “This,” Shelby began, uncovering the bundle in her arms, “is Daniel Campbell MacGregor. He’s eight hours and twenty minutes old and wanted to see his grandpa.”

  Alan took his son to set him in his father’s arms. He’d spent the night praying he’d be able to do just that.

  “What a sight,” Daniel murmured, not bothering to blink the tears from his eyes. “A grandson, Anna. He has my nose. Look, he smiled at me.” As Anna leaned down, he laughed. “And don’t give me that hogwash about gas. Doctors. I know a smile when I see one.” Looking up, he grinned at his son. “Fine job, Alan.”

  “Thanks.” Still awed by his son, Alan sat on the edge of the bed. With one hand he covered his father’s over the baby’s. For a moment, three generations of MacGregor males were content.

  “Campbell,” Daniel said abruptly. “Did you say, Campbell?” His gaze locked on Shelby.

  “I most certainly did.” Her hand slipped into Alan’s as she rose. She might be less than nine hours out of the delivery room, but she felt as strong as a bull. Certainly as strong as a MacGregor. “You’d better accept the fact that he’s half Campbell, MacGregor.” At her brother’s chuckle, her chin lifted higher. “Very possibly the best half.”

  His eyes flashed. Anna took note of his color and approved. He opened his mouth then laughed until he was weak from it. “What a tongue the girl has. At least you had the good sense to name him Daniel.”

  “I named him after someone I love and admire.”

  “Flattery.” He signaled, reluctantly, for Alan to take the baby. Taking Shelby’s hand he held it between both of his. “You look beautiful.”

  She smiled, a bit stunned by the tears that swam in her eyes. “I feel beautiful.”

  “You should have heard her swear at the doctor.” Delighted with her, Alan pressed a kiss to her temple. “She threatened to get up and go home to have the baby without his interference. She would have, too, if young Daniel hadn’t had different ideas.”

  “Good for you,” Daniel decided, and thought his name suited his grandson very well. “Nothing worse than having a doctor fussing around when you just want to get on with your business.” After sending Anna a bland smile, he turned back to Shelby. “Now, I want you to get back in bed where you belong. I don’t want to worry about you. You’ve given us all a gift.”

  She leaned down to kiss his cheek. “You gave me one. Alan. I love you, you old badger.”

  “Just like a Campbell. Go to bed.”

  “I’m afraid you’re all going to have to run along before the hospital board calls me on the carpet.”

  “Now, Anna.”

  “If your father gets enough rest”—she turned to give him a telling look—“he’ll be moved out of ICU in the morning.”

  It wasn’t quick, and it wasn’t quiet, but Anna finally managed to clear the room. She pretended not to hear Daniel’s muttered request to Justin for a game of poker later or his demand to Caine for the cigars Daniel had hidden in his office. If he hadn’t made the demands, she’d have worried. No matter how Daniel had protested, she knew visits were as much a strain as a blessing. Until she was satisfied with his condition, she’d keep the future ones short. The trick would be making him think it was his idea. She’d had years of practice.

  “Now”—she walked back to the bed and smoothed the hair from his brow—“I’ve a dozen things to see to that I let go while I was fussing unnecessarily over you. I want you to sleep.”

  He could be weaker now, now that it was only her. “I don’t want you to go yet, Anna. I know you’re tired, but I need you to stay just a little longer.”

  “All right.” Dropping the bed guard again, she sat beside him. “Just rest.”

  “We did a good job, didn’t we?”

  She smiled, knowing he spoke of the children. “Yes, we did a very good job.”

  “No regrets?”

  Puzzled, she shook her head. “What a foolish question.”

  “No.” He took her hand in his. “Last night I dreamed. I dreamed of you. It started on the night we met, that first waltz.”

  “The summer ball,” she murmured. She had only to smile to see the moonlight, smell the flowers. Odd, it had been in her dreams as well. “It was a beautiful night.”

  “You were beautiful,” he corrected. “And I wanted you more than I’d ever wanted anything in my life.”

  “You were arrogant,” she remembered, smiling. “And desperately attractive.” Leaning over, she kissed him softly, lingeringly. The same passion that they’d felt in the beginning hovered over them. “You still are, Daniel.”

  “I’m old, Anna.”

  “We’re both old.”

  He pressed her hand to his lips. The ring he’d given her so many years before was cool against his skin. “And I still want you more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life.”

  Ignoring rules and procedu
re, Anna lay next to him and rested her head on his shoulder. “I’ll lose my reputation for this.” She closed her eyes. “It’s worth it.”

  “A fine one you are to talk of reputations.” He brushed his lips over her hair. The scent was the same after all the years. “It’s a funny thing, Anna. I keep having this fierce craving for peach pie.”

  She lay still a minute, drifting, then her eyes opened on a laugh. They were young and wicked as she tilted her head toward his. “The minute you have a private room.”

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