“I did it! I tooked the picture!” Brantley, our four-year-old son, exclaims as he emerges from the woods in his father’s arms.

“You did a good job, buddy!” Grizz says. His camera is around his neck on a strap and he’s carrying our boy with a look of pure pride on his face. They’ve started taking nature walks together, and Grizz has been introducing Brantley to nature photography.

Grizz pauses at the back gate to open the latch and sets Brantley down on his feet while he secures the gate again. Our son scampers onto the back porch where I’m sitting on the swing. The swing sways in the gentle afternoon breeze, but I put a toe down to stop it.

Brantley climbs up next to me, beaming with all of the delight a four-year-old has. “I tooked it, Mommy!”

I ruffle his hair and inhale his sweet little boy scent. “Are you going to be an award-winning photographer like Daddy?”

Grizz joins us on the swing, giving me a tired smile. He puts an arm around my shoulders and pulls me close. He smells of the earth, his cologne, and that special scent that only my mountain man has.

Brantley puts a hand on my belly, feeling the bump where his little sister is growing big and strong. “How many weeks?”

“There are still about sixteen weeks left, honey,” I tell him. “Then you’ll get to meet your little sister.”

His shoulders slump. “That’s long, Mommy.”

I chuckle. He’s not even the one who gets up every fifteen minutes at night because he has to use the bathroom constantly. Still, I understand his urgency to meet his sister. I think we’ve all been feeling that lately. That’s why I wanted to give him this gift now. “I have a present for you. Look over there.”

Brantley’s eyes light up when he spots the big box on the other side of the porch. It’s wrapped in red paper with a giant white bow on top. “Is it my birthday?”

“No, it’s not your birthday, but it is for you,” I tell my son right as my big mountain man husband frowns at me. “Why don’t you and your dad go open it and see what it is?”

“This had better not be what I think it is or you’re in big trouble,” Grizz whispers in my ear as he moves to stand.

I shiver at the sensual promise in my husband’s voice. It’s exactly what he thinks it is, but I know my husband. He’s a big softie underneath it all.

He helps Brantley open the box then our son is letting out a delighted squeal, “A puppy! I have a puppy!”

Grizz stalks back over to the porch swing and flops down next to me. In a quiet tone so Brantley can’t overhear, he says, “We talked about this.”

I widen my eyes, the picture of innocence. “We did?”

He growls, a sexy rumbling sound that I feel everywhere. “You know we did.”

When I brought up the subject of getting Brantley a dog, Grizz was firmly against it. He said I was far enough along in my pregnancy, and he didn’t want to add more stress for me or the baby.  That was his top concern—how it would affect me. I put my hand on his flannel shirt, right over his heart. “Look how happy he makes him.”

Grizz glances up, watching our new family member lick Brantley’s cheek. After a moment, his curious gaze searches my face. “But does it make you happy?”

I nod, happy to see my son’s delight. I can’t believe it’s been nearly six years with Grizz. Every day, I’m thankful that I decided to show up at his cabin and pretend to be drunk. I’m equally happy that he decided to tie me to the bed that night. He continues to do it regularly, though never when I’m pregnant.

Grizz sighs when he sees the dreamy look on my face, and I know that he’s not going to fuss about it.

“You’re not upset?” I ask, still feigning innocence. I knew he wouldn’t be. I could set the world on fire, and Grizz would still love me. He spends his days at the camping store, and his nights podcasting with me. After the birth of our son, I had Grizz on the show to talk about the way our love life changed. That episode quickly became my most popular.

The two of us now co-host the podcast together and spend our time talking about marriage and intimacy. We get to help couples all over the world while learning more about each other with every episode.

He nuzzles my neck, pressing little kisses along it. “You’re the most important person in the world to me. If you’re happy, then I’m happy.”

I put my hand on his knee and slide it up to his thigh. I stroke the firm muscles underneath the layer of denim. “Too bad you’re not upset. I had plans for how I could soothe you.”

“Brantley, it’s time for a nap,” Grizz calls and stands from the porch swing. He pulls me into his arms, bridal style. He still loves carrying me everywhere. I think he’d always do it if I’d let him.

“Aww, Dad…” Brantley starts, trying to give him a list of reasons why he wants to skip his usual mid-day nap.

“No excuses,” my husband bellows in a stern voice.

I smother my laugh in his shirt, so our son doesn’t overhear. “You’re crazy.”

“Crazy about you,” Grizz agrees as he ushers our son, the new puppy, and his wife into the house. It takes him half an hour to get Brantley calm enough for his nap then Grizz joins me in the bathroom for a shower.

We take our time together, my handsome husband satisfying me twice before he braids my hair and tucks me into our big bed. He cups my face and smiles down at me, the corners of his eyes crinkling, “I love you, wife.”

I yawn and tell him I love him too before drifting to sleep with a smile on my face. Being kidnapped by my brother’s best friend was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me.

***

Santa just kidnapped me. No, seriously.

I’m not drunk on the eggnog. I was at the hospital’s annual Christmas party when the bearded mountain man scooped me up and put me on the back of his motorcycle.

He says I’m his, and he’s keeping me.

Forever.

This Christmas, get ready for a possessive mountain man who is over the top, ridiculously hot, and all in for his shy little elf. Pre-order Jingled by the Mountain Man for a story so sweet you’ll get a toothache!

Jingled by the Mountain Man by Mia Brody

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