“Who is that? Who is that man?” I ask Baker as West trudges up the walk.

My two-month-old son sleepily glances around. He’s grown so much in the past few weeks. He still sleeps a lot but he’s starting to have more awake moments. West and I love spending that time trying to get him to smile at us.

“That’s Daddy. Can you say Dada?” He lets out a little grunt and I reposition his bottle.

I had such an easy pregnancy with him. I worked right up until the delivery and because of that, there will be plenty of toys to go around to the needy families at the Santa’s workshop event tomorrow night. West will be Santa again and I’ll be Mrs. Claus. Mom and Dad asked us to take over the roles permanently after last year’s success.

“Look, he’s bringing in the Christmas tree,” I say. He looks so hot with that tree slung over his broad shoulders. I didn’t realize just how much sexier my husband would get when he became a father. Baker is his whole world and he’s constantly looking for ways to take care of me and his son.

A blast of chilly air enters the house when I fling open the door. The tree is another Carolina Sapphire. Even though he enjoys the Fraser Firs, my husband always gets the ones I like.

“It’s so beautiful,” I croon.

“You are beautiful,” West says before he maneuvers the tree so he can press a quick kiss to my lips. We’ve been married almost a year and the passion is still just as strong as it was on our wedding day.

He sets up the tree in the living room. The entire time he works, Snowball watches him from her perch in her cat tree. We’re not the only ones that West is always spoiling. He also dotes on our kitty.

When he’s done, he reaches for Baker and cuddles him close. He’s sleepy but he goes to his daddy without fussing. “Hey, buddy. This is the Christmas tree. Pretty soon it’s going to be filled with hundreds of gifts for you.”

“Or just a few.” Baker isn’t even old enough to play with toys and last night, I caught West price checking dirt bikes. When I asked him about it, he said he was doing it in advance “for when the time is right”.

“Just because you sympathize with the big green guy doesn’t mean my son should be deprived of toys,” he teases. His voice is a soft rumble. Since Baker was born, he talks differently. He’s quieter and slower to respond. I think he weighs his words because he knows his son is listening to us.

I reach for a box of Christmas decorations and pull out the lights. These ones are my favorite and West always programs them with his phone for me.

“He hasn’t even started playing with his toes yet,” I point out as I start untangling the first strand of lights.

Snowball leaves her perch to sniff the boxes of decorations. She’s always curious about what we’re doing. She still hisses at me, but she seems to adore Baker. She’s always cuddling up with him and meowing over him.

Baker has just started to hold his head up a little bit when he’s on his tummy. But to hear West talk, he’s practically ready to walk. He installed safety latches on the cabinets yesterday and put covers over the electrical outlets this morning.

“Children learn through play,” he counters. He’s pulled out his phone to take pictures. He snaps some of himself with Baker then of me setting up the Christmas tree.

Since our son was born, West takes pictures constantly. I swear, he documents every moment of our lives. He even downloads and prints the photos from his phone each month. He says at Baker’s first birthday, we’ll be able to look back over the whole year.

I manage to unknot the strand of lights and start the process of stringing it around the tree. “What do you want for Christmas this year?”

“You first.”

Before I can say anything, Baker starts to fuss. West puts him over his shoulder and pats his back gently until he burps. “Good job, buddy. Our compliments to mommy.”

I reach for the second strand of lights. I’m having a hard time thinking of what I want for Christmas. The truth is that I got everything a woman could want last year. I married the love of my life and learned I was pregnant. Since then, life has been nothing but blessing after blessing. “I can’t think of anything. Our life is perfect.”

Something flickers across his face, but he quickly schools his expression. He tucks Baker back into his arms and starts to rock him. No matter what’s going on around him, he can always sleep in West’s arms. I’m the same way though. Once I know that West is holding me, I drift right to sleep. That’s because he’s our family’s protector. He’s our fierce warrior and we can rest easy because he’s always standing guard.

“Don’t keep something from me,” I warn him. We spent ten years apart because we didn’t talk about our feelings. That’s why I want us to always be honest with each other now. Even if the truth is hard or painful, we can face anything together. “There’s something you want.”

He glances at Baker who’s sleeping soundly in his father’s arms. “I’d like another one.”

I can’t help the smile that stretches across my face. “I’ve been thinking the same thing.”

We’re only two months into the adventure that is raising Baker and I’m already certain that I want a big family. There’s just something precious about getting to do this parenting thing. I want to do it over and over again with West.

Snowball finally gives up her exploration of the boxes and comes to rub up against my husband’s leg. He bends to scratch her with one hand while still holding our baby boy close to his chest. “But I was thinking maybe we’d try to grow our family in a different way.”

That’s when I realize that maybe we weren’t thinking of the same thing at all. “You want another cat?”

Snowball hisses and I swear she glares at me as if the mere suggestion of another cat is too outrageous to contemplate.

He chuckles and the rich, deep sound washes over me. I love it when my man is happy. He loves it when I’m happy too which is why he makes it a priority to please me at least once a day. No matter what else is going on in our lives, he takes the time to talk with me, cuddle with me, and love my body. “No, I definitely want more kids. Besides, I think Snowball here would mutiny.”

She turns her attention back to my grumpy cowboy and purrs as if to thank him for being the one to bring some sense into the conversation.

I stop fussing over the tree and cross the room to wrap my arms around my strong husband. He’s been such an amazing father to our son that I can’t wait to see him with more sons. Or maybe even some daughters. “We could definitely work on your Christmas wish.”

“I was thinking about fostering,” he says. “You and Micah and Ledger are in my life because my parents opened up their hearts. My mom always said she felt a pull, like she knew that there were more kids in the world that were hers.”

My eyes fill with tears. I’ve heard her say that before. She knew deep in her heart that there were three more. She swore she knew it in her bones. A mother always knows her children, even if she didn’t carry them into the world. “I would love to foster.”

“Yeah?” He glances down at me, his gaze searching mine. He wants this. I can see it in his expression. But the thing about my West is that he’d never push it on me. If I said I was happy with just Baker, he’d be quiet and never bring it up again. That’s because my happiness matters more to him than his own.

But I’d never ask him to give up any of his dreams. Especially not one that’s so beautiful and so fitting. “I think it would be amazing and wonderful. We can talk to your parents tomorrow night. They can tell us how to get started.”

Then I lean up and press a soft kiss to his lips. My grumpy cowboy has a heart bigger than the whole state of North Carolina. I can’t wait to start this new chapter in our lives together and grow our family again.

***

I’ve had a crush on Micah Kringle for weeks now. But it’s fine. I can still work as his nanny for hire. Everything is going great…until he kisses me under the mistletoe.

Micah is finally claiming his curvy woman in A Christmas Nanny for the Cowboy. Pre-order A Christmas Nanny for the Cowboy now for a gruff cowboy who falls hard for his newest employee!

A Christmas Nanny for the Cowboy by Mia Brody

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