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Balancing the Baby by Stardawn Cabot – Sample

Balancing the Baby by Stardawn CabotChapter One

“Sarah? Sarah! Where are you?” Wesley Anderson practically yelled into the darkened living room. He was a little late, and with the recent time change it was getting darker earlier than usual. But he was so excited he could hardly contain himself. “Sarah, are you home?” he yelled again.

A high-pitched scream answered him and he couldn’t help wincing when he realized that he just woke up the baby. She was still new, and since he’d only been a father for a little more than four months, he was still getting used to her and her irregular habits. Wes followed the screams until he finally found Sarah, who was holding and rocking the still settling infant in the nursery.

Sarah was a picture. She looked tired, with dark circles under her eyes. Her long brown hair was pulled back in a sloppy ponytail. She was wearing gray sweatpants and a burgundy t-shirt that had been stained with some sort of baby goo, and she’d somehow lost a sock, having one foot bare and the other not. She was wearing no makeup, and he doubted that she had had a chance to shower today, but she was still adorable.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t think anyone was home,” Wes whispered, getting close enough to land a kiss upon his wife’s and daughter’s heads respectively. “It’s a little late for a nap, isn’t it?”

Sarah gave him a hard look from where she was sitting in the rocking chair. The chair was an antique, a gift from his father when they’d told the family that Sarah was pregnant, and they both loved it so much they’d planned the rest of the nursery around the golden antique. The crib, changing table, dresser, and even the small oak trashcan they’d purchased matched perfectly.

“It would be if she would have slept at all today,” Sarah snapped at him. “Every time I try to put her down, something or someone wakes her up.”

“I’m sorry,” Wes repeated. “Here. Let me take her. Why don’t you go take a bath? You look like you could use a little break.”

Her brown eyes softened at his suggestion, and he couldn’t help smiling as he took their tiny daughter from her. The baby had finally quieted, and as she saw him, she gave him a little coo that melted his heart. It then did a flip-flop as Sarah’s lips met his. He had missed both of his girls today.

After watching Sarah leave, Wes then turned his attention to his daughter, letting her small hand wrap around his finger. Like her mother, Emma was beautiful. She had Sarah’s hair, although it was a little lighter and held a promise of some natural wave as it currently stuck up at all sorts of odd angles all over the baby’s head. Her hair wasn’t really long enough to do anything with yet, but he knew in time it would grow.

Emma also had her mother’s nose, which would wrinkle when she laughed, and he knew would be a sure sign of trouble when she got older. She had ten little perfect toes and fingers, which he never got tired of kissing, but her most striking feature was her bright blue eyes. That she got from him, and although Emma’s were a brighter shade of blue, Wes never got tired of staring into them.

“So, little lady,” Wes finally addressed her. “You’ve been giving your mommy a hard time, have you?”

Emma looked at him for a moment before she gave him the biggest toothless grin.

Wes chuckled as Emma then gurgled and pulled his finger into her mouth. Giving in and allowing her use it for an impromptu teething toy, he brought her closer to his chest and started to rock her gently.

It only took about five minutes before her eyes started to droop. Another five and he was able to lay her down in her crib and cover her with a light blanket. He then turned off the light, but left the door open a crack in case she cried. Once that was done, Wes then went in search of his wife. Since the baby was born they’d had little time together, and he was looking forward to the prospect that he might find her naked in the tub.

As Wes entered the bedroom, however, he stopped as he caught Sarah not in the tub, but sprawled across their bed. She’d gotten her t-shirt off, just barely, as it lay next to her on the bed, but then she must have passed out. Wes shook his head and was tempted to move her, in order to make her more comfortable, but if she was that tired, he didn’t want to wake her. With a small grin, he put a blanket over her, much like he did with Emma. He then turned off the light, making sure to leave the door open a crack before he headed downstairs.

Sarah blinked in confusion as she pulled herself up off the mattress and twisted to see the time. Surprised to see it was after 11:00, she then did the quick calculation and realized that she’d slept for over five hours. That was more sleep than she’d gotten in one chunk than she’d had since Emma was born, and although she was still tired, the rest had felt wonderful.

As her eyes focused on the greater room, she noticed that she was alone. Wes should have come to bed by now, but then she realized that he probably couldn’t have even if he’d wanted to. She’d fallen asleep across the bed in the wrong direction and if he’d wanted to join her, he would have either had to wake her or move her.

She shifted to sit up, but realized something else as her tummy growled loudly. She was starving, but then it had also been a while since she’d eaten. In fact, she realized with a small start, she hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast, and she’d only eaten then because Wes had practically forced her to sit down and join him at the table. It was something they’d always done—had breakfast together, but since the baby, everything had changed.

As her stomach growled a second time, Sarah snorted at the irony of her last thoughts. The baby had changed everything. She and Wes had always been very close. He was more than just a husband, lover, and friend, he was also her caretaker. They’d been married for a little over five years and in that time they’d established a sort of unique bond.

Sarah had been young when they’d married. A blushing bride of only nineteen, she was very innocent and naive. Wes was nearly ten years her senior, and being older and wiser, he made a point of keeping her out of trouble. Sometimes that point was made rather clear as he also had a habit of lighting up her backside when she misbehaved or acted in way that he deemed inappropriate for a wife, and now mother.

With that thought she wrinkled her nose and wiggled her bottom. It had probably been a good eight or nine months at least since she’d gotten a serious spanking. She knew that because of her pregnancy, Wes had been much more lenient, but she also knew that excuse was starting to grow thin. Wes had been cautious for the baby—they both had—but four months postpartum was more than enough time for her body to recover and return to normal.

Sure, she still had a little baby fat around her hips and across her belly, but she wasn’t in bad shape. She was actually rather proud of how she’d managed not let the pregnancy get the best of her. And maybe it wasn’t a bad thing that she was skipping a meal now and again. After all, she was almost back to her pre-Emma weight, but wasn’t there yet.

As if to argue with her logic, Sarah’s belly growled a third time. She wanted to tell it to shut up, but didn’t get the chance as the door to her room opened and the light from the hall filled the doorway.

“Sarah?” Wes whispered.

“I’m awake,” Sarah returned. She reached up to turn on the light on the nightstand. She then smiled at Wes, who came the rest of the way in before he sat down next to her on the bed.

He gave her a kiss on the cheek before asking, “How long have you been up?”

“I don’t know, five minutes?” Sarah returned, as she covered a yawn.

“I just put Emma back down, and thought I’d check on my big girl, too. Are you hungry?”

“A little bit,” Sarah hedged. “I guess I could do with a sandwich.”

“Come on,” Wes offered his hand. “I’ll make you one, and then I can tell you my news. I didn’t get a chance earlier.”

“News? What news?” Sarah wrinkled her nose and blushed as her tummy rumbled the loudest time yet.

“Just a little hungry, huh?” Wes teased. “When was the last time you ate?”

“Ah…”

“Sarah,” Wes’s voice dropped. “And don’t even think of fibbing to me.”

“You’re gonna get mad.”

“Sarah,” Wes warned again.

Sarah took a deep breath. “I think I had a cookie about two.”

“A cookie?” Wes blinked. “When was the last time you had any real food, Sarah Jane?”

Sarah winced; the middle name was never a good sign. She wanted to lie. She wanted to make something up. She wanted to blame him, or the baby, or… anything, but when she opened her mouth, she said, “Breakfast.”

Wes bit his lip, making that slight sucking noise he made through his teeth every time she did something that he disapproved of. Now she was in trouble, she just knew it. It was only a matter of time before he handed down her sentence. “Why, Sarah? You’ve been home all day. I saw you did laundry, you vacuumed, you even went through the mail. Why wouldn’t you take a few minutes to eat something? We’ve talked about this. You can’t go without eating all day, it’s just not healthy.”

“It was… It was just such a long day,” Sarah blurted out, her eyes suddenly moist and burning with tears. “Emma… it’s so hard. Every time I do something, she cries. I can’t put her down for a minute.”

Wes sighed and a moment later Sarah felt him pull her into his arms. She let him, enjoying the closeness that they seemed to have so little of lately. “Okay, okay, don’t cry,” Wes quietly soothed. “It’s alright, you’re not in trouble. I know it’s been hard.”

Wes gave her a minute to settle, but when he finally pushed her back, Sarah found herself swallowing as his blue eyes caught her in a firm stare. “But this can’t keep happening. You need to eat, Sarah. Even if the baby needs to cry for a few minutes, or if you need to skip doing the housework; everything else can wait. I want you to promise me that you’ll stop missing meals, okay?”

“Okay,” Sarah managed to sniffle. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright, little one. Now, let’s get some food in that tummy of yours, alright?”

Sarah gave Wes a soft smile at the use of her nickname. He used to use it all the time, but it had been a while since she’d heard the pet name and it made her feel all warm and gushy inside.

She loved when Wes made her feel safe and loved and protected. It was a feeling she’d been missing, but until this moment she’d been so preoccupied, she hadn’t realized she’d been missing it. Taking his hand, Sarah paused only a moment to slip on a clean t-shirt, before following him down the hall and back toward the kitchen.

A few minutes later, Sarah found herself sitting on one of the barstools watching Wes make her a sandwich across the kitchen island. The high stool and the way her feet dangled when she sat on it made her feel younger and smaller than she really was, even though Sarah wasn’t that tall. Only 5′3″ and 120 pounds—well, 132 with the baby fat—she was dwarfed by Wes’s bulk.

He was 6′ even, and with his broad, muscular shoulders, he hovered somewhere right about 180. He was handsome too. With his blue eyes and dark hair, she always thought of him as her own personal superman. He worked for it though. He often lifted weights, ran, and even found time for the occasional swim. Sarah used to join him, but now she had little time for exercise, much less things like eating or sleeping.

He hadn’t asked her what she wanted, but knew that ham was her favorite. There was just enough left to make one sandwich, and with a little frown she added sandwich meat to her mental grocery list. That was another thing she would have to try to figure out tomorrow. It was hard enough just getting through the day without actually having to consider going out in public.

With another sigh, she let her mind wander back to the stool. It has a special significance to her, although it had been a while since she’d used the stools for anything other than eating from. Throughout their relationship they’d tried different things. Wes called this dynamic domestic discipline, but Sarah wasn’t so sure. She agreed that sometimes, especially when their relationship was new, she pushed some boundaries, but the discipline was more than that.

She liked the idea that Wes watched out for her. She liked that he held her accountable, and he would catch her if she fell. Sarah knew that sometimes she needed that. Wes called it her inner brat, but once in a while things would get too hard or too stressful and Sarah needed him to pull her back in. That usually meant a good spanking, but sometimes she needed more. Sometimes she needed limits. Sometimes that was temporary, in the form of grounding, or sometimes Wes would alter rules for her.

She’d gone through phases of everything—from a set bedtime to the removal of caffeine from her diet. There were other things too, like rules about spending money. Wes had a good job, and he provided well for them, but that hadn’t always been the case. There was a time when money was tight, and they’d had to be careful. She hadn’t always been so careful, and Wes had had a way of getting his point across during those times, often using one of the very stools that she now sat on.

Her mind flashed back to one time in particular. They had still been newlyweds, maybe about four or five months along and still very much in their honeymoon period—both when it came to being in love and when it came to Wes responding to Sarah pushing boundaries.

Sarah remembered sitting on the stool in her living room, totally nude, as she awaited her husband. Wes had called her an hour before, telling her to get into position, and as she sat with her nose to the corner, her stomach turned as she wondered if he’d finally gotten the credit card bill.

She was usually very careful, not just about money, but about getting in trouble too. Sarah was far from perfect, and since the start of their relationship, she had landed over his knee more times than she could count. That alone was more than reason to be cautious. Usually she knew exactly what she had done, but this time was different. It could be the dress she bought, or it could be a handful of other things as well.

As she sat on that stool, Sarah realized that she’d been very naughty lately. She’d been short-tempered, irritable, and even a little combative. That morning she hadn’t been very nice when Wes insisted she sit down and join him at the breakfast table. She was busy trying to clean up the kitchen, and didn’t feel like eating. She’d even been late the previous night, having failed to call Wes and inform him that she was going to eat out with her friend and wouldn’t have dinner ready for him at home.

He wasn’t unreasonable; he just expected her to be courteous enough to let him know where she was, who she was with, and when she was going to be home. The rules were simple, and usually Wes was quick to reproach her. He didn’t let things linger on, and she’d been surprised that she hadn’t received a good spanking for being late, or even for her attitude that morning. As she sat there thinking, her mind touched on a dozen or so naughty things that she could have done that deserved punishment.

Sarah’s thoughts then suddenly froze as she heard Wes’s car pull into the driveway. Her heart started to beat faster as she heard his car door slam shut and then heard his footsteps coming up the walk. She cringed as she heard him mumble a few curse words as he fumbled in the dark. She’d forgotten to turn on the porch light, and knew from experience, that alone was a spankable offense. Sarah didn’t dare get up and turn on the light, or open the door, however, because she knew that once she had been ordered to the stool, she was not allowed to get up until he gave her permission.

Sarah then turned her attention back to the corner as she heard the lock on the door finally click open. She didn’t look as he entered. She wasn’t allowed to. He didn’t say a word to her as he laid his keys on the table by the door and hung up his jacket in the closet.

Wes crossed the room to her stool. He stood next to her for a minute, then gently turned her face toward him and briefly met her lips. He then smiled at her, saying a simple, “Hello, dear.”

She returned his smile as she nudged her face up against his hand. Wes then turned her nose back to the corner. He stood next to her a moment longer, where he then teased her by brushing a hand over her closest breast, before leaving and walking down the hall into the bedroom. Sarah sneaked a glance and watched him go, but then she shifted her attention back to the corner once again.

It was difficult to stay there, especially when Sarah heard the water in their bathroom turn on and she knew that Wes was going to make her wait until after he’d taken a shower. She sighed again, and shifted her body weight. Her backside was already getting sore from sitting so long, but she knew that it was going to be a lot sorer by the time he was through with her. That thought only made her wiggle uncomfortably.

After a few minutes she heard the water shut off and she knew that Wes would soon be coming for her. He came out of the bedroom about five minutes later wearing a pair of black jogging shorts and a tightfitting muscle-tee. Sarah wanted to turn and look at him. She loved the way he looked just after he got out of the shower—his skin still moist and his dark hair neatly combed. She loved the clean scent that he carried right after a shower as well. That smell in particular always made her a little weak at the knees, even when she knew he wasn’t going to spank the daylights out of her.

“Alright, little one,” Wes called to her. “You have permission to get up and come over here.”

Sarah obeyed, as she slowly got up and walked over to where he stood. She then let him draw her into his arms. She returned his embrace, enjoying the scent and warmness of his body. Wes kissed her on her forehead and then said to her, “You know, little one, your behavior lately has been less than stellar. I know you’ve been settling in and we are still learning to live with each other, but there are some things that I just can’t ignore. I hate to do this, but you’ve done something very naughty and you must be punished for it.”

She nodded her head, chewing her lip nervously, while letting her eyes travel to the floor. Wes pulled her close to him, again running his strong, rough hands down her naked back where he grabbed her butt, gripping it firmly. He shifted his weight, surprising her, as he suddenly swooped her up in his powerful arms. She let out a cry of protest as her feet left the floor, and could only hang on tight as he carried her over to the sofa and sat her down on his lap.

Sarah leaned into him as he began to fondle her breast. His hands were warm, and she couldn’t help the tingling starting to grow in between her legs with the touch. “You know, Sarah,” Wes finally began his lecture. “I’m disappointed. We’ve talked about this, and you know that you can’t just do what you please. We are in this relationship together.”

Sarah nodded. It was a standard lecture, and one that she got often.

“You know I work hard. You know I don’t ask much of you. I only ask that you are careful about certain things.”

Sarah nodded again and started to squirm as Wes continued. When he started in on the importance of saving money and not wasting it on frivolous things, she winced. “You saw the credit card bill, huh?”

“Yes, and I’d like an explanation. I told you that credit card was for emergencies only. Imagine my surprise when I found a $200 charge from your favorite department store. Mind telling me what was so important that you had to not only charge it, but then not even tell me about it?”

Sarah rested her head against his chest. She didn’t really have a good answer, and knew that she was toast no matter what she said. Even if there was a way she could justify the purchase, by allowing Wes to find out by means other than her own admission already sealed her fate. Knowing that a spanking was imminent, her nipples grew even harder at his touch, for despite the fact she was in trouble, she knew she wasn’t the only one being turned on by the idea. She could feel his bulge starting to grow against her thigh as he waited for her answer and continued to fondle her.

“I’m sorry,” she finally managed. “I bought a dress. I was thinking about my cousin’s wedding next month and I just wanted something nice to wear. It was on sale,” she added hopefully.

“Still, even with a sale, that’s too much for one outfit,” Wes scolded. “I want you to take it back.”

“Um,” she started. “I can’t take the dress back.” She then paused for a moment, before quickly continuing, “The dress wasn’t just on sale, it was on clearance. The store won’t take it back.”

Wes stopped fondling her and Sarah dared sneak a peek at his face. She could see the tiny spark of anger in his eyes and knew that she was really in for it now. She shifted uncomfortably in his lap as he finally spoke. “Alright, little one, I see that is going to call for more than a simple spanking. I want you to go into the bedroom and bring me your hairbrush.”

Sarah stared at him slack-jawed for a moment, before immediately starting to protest. It was rare for Wes to use anything other than his hand. In fact, he had only punished her with the brush twice before. Both of those were for serious things. Surely he couldn’t count buying a little outfit in that same category. “Come on, Wes, it was just a dress. It’s not like I bought it just to spite you.”

“Didn’t you? If it wasn’t a big deal, why did you try to hide it? Did you think I wouldn’t get the bill?”

“No, I just hoped… I just didn’t get a chance to tell you yet.”

“That’s not an excuse for overspending. Now, I’m not going to tell you again. Go get your hairbrush.”

“But Wes,” Sarah started, but further protests were cut short as Wes gave her a hard look before raising her off his lap and giving her a firm swat on her bottom. She let out a yelp of surprise, and with her eyes already blurring with tears, she forced herself out of the living room and down the hall to their bedroom.

She knew she had to hurry. Wes didn’t like to be kept waiting, and so with a lot of dread and mental urging she forced herself, hairbrush in hand, back into the front room. Once there, she saw that Wes had turned one of the straight-back chairs around and was now sitting in it waiting for her. Sarah paused for a moment, then walked to him, her hand shaking as she handed Wes the brush.

Wes took the brush from her. He laid it on the table behind him before taking her by the wrist and encouraging her over his lap. He then began massaging her backside with his hand as he started to lecture again.

“I want to be clear why I’m spanking you, Sarah. It’s not just about the dress. Yes, you spent money we don’t have, which means we’ll have to cut it out from our budget elsewhere, but it’s also about trying to hide it from me. You know how important honesty is to me.”

The words made Sarah squirm, and as she stared at the carpet, Sarah was anything but comfortable. The worst part was the waiting. “I’m sorry,” she managed as Wes paused. She was trying to listen, but the position was making it difficult to concentrate.

“You are? I’m not sure about that,” Wes scolded, and as he stopped massaging and started peppering his lecture with swats, she grunted and started to squirm. “I’m thinking you will be a lot sorrier when we are done, though,” Wes continued, bringing his hand up and down several times, making his points as he pinkened her backside with the first wave of spanks.

When he finished the initial spanking, Sarah’s body tensed as she felt his hand leave her backside and reach for the brush. She then felt the cool wood from the brush being gently rubbed over her cheeks. Wes continued to lecture her, but she wasn’t paying much attention to what he was saying. Her attention was too focused on the hairbrush.

Suddenly the hairbrush was raised high up in the air before coming down again with a loud crack. A second later Sarah felt it as she let out a cry from the sudden high-pitched pain. She began to struggle, desperate to get her bottom away from the hairbrush. Wes however, was undaunted. He was focused, and as the hairbrush fell over and over again, Sarah found herself responding to each spank with an “ooh,” “ow,” or “oh.”

Several more loud and painful swats followed and it wasn’t long before Sarah’s eyes filled with tears and she began to plead with him. She promised to be good. She promised to be more frugal. She even promised to never hide anything she ever bought again. Above all though, she told him she’d learned her lesson and that she would never buy anything again without asking him first.

After Sarah repeated her promises a few times, Wes again paused. He set the brush down and listened to her cries while he massaged her backside with his hand. Wes let Sarah settle for a minute or two, before raising his hand and delivering several more quick swats to her rear.

Sarah’s crying immediately renewed, as did her promises. Her bottom was scarlet, but Wes continued until her pleas simmered down and all she could manage was one long, incomprehensible blubber.

Wes let her lie across his lap for a few minutes until her sobs had calmed before he finally encouraged her to get up. He then drew her onto his lap again. She was still blubbering, and her backside throbbing, but it felt good to be in his arms. She was sitting, or rather half lying in his lap as he merely drew her in closer and rocked her as if she were a small child. Sarah let him cuddle and coddle her until her sobs subsided into sniffles and the occasional hiccup.

They then talked quietly for a few minutes. He comforted her, and she renewed her assurances she would be good and be careful about the spending. Eventually they shifted into the bedroom and had made passionate love. Sarah remembered that day and that lesson well. Wes had never again spanked her for that mistake, and since she’d always been careful about asking about major purchases. Even now that they could afford it, it was habit, and she would always be thankful that her husband cared enough to keep their financial house in order.

“What’s the smirk for, little one?” Wes’s voice suddenly brought Sarah from the past as he sat her sandwich in front of her.

“Um, nothing,” she returned as he added a sliced apple and then poured her a glass of milk a moment later.

“You know you need the nutrients,” Wes scolded when she grimaced at the milk. “You’re going to drink the whole glass. And I’d really like to know what you find so amusing. Is it so strange to see your husband make you a meal?”

“No,” Sarah wrinkled her nose. “I was just thinking about these stools.”

“Stools?”

“Remember when we were first married?” Sarah said, picking up her milk and taking a small sip before practically attacking her sandwich. She was hungry and was enjoying actually having food in front of her and a moment to sit down.

Wes chuckled at her enthusiasm. “I suppose it’s been a while since I’ve seen my naked wife waiting for me, knowing that she was in for a trip over my knee.”

Sarah paused in her chewing, blushing deeply, and then giving a little cough as she tried to swallow. Taking another sip of milk, she wrinkled her nose again, this time with disgust. This caused Wes to laugh outright.

“Maybe it’s time to renew some of those old traditions, hey, little one?”

Sarah coughed again. “I don’t know. You think you could handle it?”

“What do you mean?” Wes stood up a little straighter. “I think I can handle you just fine.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that. Between me and Emma, we outnumber you now.”

Wes raised an eyebrow at the challenge before abruptly changing the subject. “I never did tell you my news.”

“Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. What’s so exciting?”

“I got it.”

“It? Seriously? You got the promotion?”

“Well, yes and no.”

“What does that mean?” Sarah knit her brow in confusion.

“I didn’t get the position that I wanted; the VP of sales was given to Henry Dermont.”

“You don’t seem to upset about that,” Sarah hedged.

“I didn’t get it because we are expanding. You are looking at the new head of production for our new California division.”

“California? You mean… are we moving?”

“Would it break your heart?” Wes said with a smile as Sarah flew off her stool and practically bowled him over. “You mean I’m going to get to go home again? Oh, Wes!” she paused just long enough to kiss him. “I love you.”

Wes smiled. “I haven’t told you the best part yet.”

“There is more?”

“Yes, not only are we going to be close to your parents and your sister, I’ve already found us a house.”

“A house?”

“Yes. I want to show you the pictures, and if you agree, I’ll put an offer in on it tomorrow.”

“You mean to buy?” Sarah’s eyes got wide. “We’ve never owned a house before. We always have to move.” In fact, since they were married they’d moved six times to four different states. The new position that Wes was trying to get would guarantee him a contract that would promise at least two years at the same location and Sarah had been looking forward to that more than just about anything. They were currently in Georgia, and although Sarah was becoming used to the Southern charm, it wasn’t the same as California.

“Yes,” Wes smiled. “I know I probably should have talked to you first, but I signed the contract this afternoon. I’m guaranteed at least five years before they can transfer me, and they are going to pay moving expenses and give me a housing allowance. We’d be crazy not to take advantage of it and actually buy.”

“I’m in shock. Oh, Wes, I’m so happy.”

Wes beamed. “So you don’t mind that I said yes?” he teased.

Sarah mockingly swatted him across the chest. “Of course not, but now I have so much to do. I have to pack, we need boxes. Oh, and Emma. She’ll get to take her first plane ride!”

“Yes, yes,” Wed nodded. “There is just one little catch.”

“Catch?” Sarah pulled back, not liking the sound of that.

“Yes. I have to be in California Monday after next.”

“What? We can’t possibly be ready to go by then. Why, even if you put the offer in on the house, you’re looking at least thirty days of escrow… Wesley…”

Wes chuckled at her scolding tone. “I know. The next month or so is going to be a little hectic. I don’t want you and Emma coming out until I have somewhere set up for you.”

“Why, we could make do with a hotel…”

“No,” Wes shook his head. “I have another idea. I’ll be able to fly back and forth a couple of times, but I don’t want you here alone, especially with Emma. I know how hard it’s been on you, and I think we need a little help. I’ve asked Matt to come and stay with us.”

“Your brother? Will Amanda come too?”

“Well, considering she is his wife, I would assume so.”

Sarah grew quiet. She liked Matt. She also liked Amanda, but in many ways they were too similar to her and Wes. Amanda called herself a brat, and Matt was a lot stricter with her than Wes had ever been with Sarah. They’d had fun, but in the past it was a rare visit that Sarah didn’t end up in trouble at some point. “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Sarah finally managed.

“Oh, little one.” Wes paused and kissed her forehead. “You know how I trust Matt, and he loves you. Everything will be fine, I promise.”

Sarah bit her lip for a moment, but nodded. “I know, and it’s only for a little while, right?”

“Right, only a few weeks at most,” Wes reassured her.

“Okay,” Sarah finally smiled. “Plus it’ll give Emma some time to get to know her aunt and uncle.”

“Right.”

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