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Falling for My Plus One Bonus Scene

Two years later


I ride my bike to the community clinic and park it next to Tess’s in the rack alongside the brick building. Inside, Mariana, the receptionist, glances up from helping an older gentleman check in, and gives me a smile. The soft lighting in the waiting room makes it feel more like someone’s living room than a doctor’s office. In the corner, a toddler plays with one of the toys while his mom cradles a baby in her lap. A few seats over, an older couple hold hands.

With my anticipation gnawing a hole in my chest, I slip through the door to the hallway lined with exam rooms. At the nurse’s station in the center of the clinic, Shep is leaning against the edge of a desk talking with José, another one of the doctors.

Shep hears me coming and looks up. “Doc here thinks Boise State’s going to win by twelve. I say they’re going to get their asses kicked. You want in?”

“Boise State’s QB is on fire right now, put me down for winning by six.”

“Six?” Shep replies with a scoff.

I give José a nod before he turns away, holding a chart.

Shep and I slap hands. When I decided to move home, I knew it wouldn’t feel right without him, so pulled every string I had to get him set up in Penny Creek. The staff at the clinic and Rogue Valley Medical love him, and he’s fit right in with my family. Now if I could only find him a girlfriend…

“Everything set for later?” he asks in a low voice.

“Better be,” I say.

“She’s just finishing with a patient,” Shep says, nodding at one of the exam rooms behind me. The door is closed, but I can just hear Tess’s friendly lilt. “Then you guys can roll,” Shep adds.

“Busy day today?” I ask.

Shep exhales a breath, his cheeks puffing. “Hell yeah, but it’s good. You missed an interesting patient.” He leans past me to glance at the closed exam room door. “I’ll tell you about it later.”

Just then the door opens, and Tess steps out.

My heart does a backflip. Her hair is swept up in that elegant twist and her cheeks are rosy with purpose. Even after a ten-hour shift, she’s so fucking beautiful.

“Peter,” she says, her eyes widening. “What are you doing here?”

“I thought we could ride home together,” I say.

Her face lights up. “I would love that.”

Shep gives me a wink as Tess hurries into her office to hang up her coat and grab her things.

“See you later,” he says under his breath before we slap hands again.

Tess exits her office having changed her shoes and switched her sweater for a windbreaker. I grab her backpack and sling it over my shoulder, then lead her to the door in the back of the clinic.

Outside, the spring air tastes of cut grass and river mist. The sunset casts everything in soft yellow. The tall trees lining the road make long shadow stripes across the parking lot.

At our bikes, I pull her into a quick hug. Though we keep PDA to a minimum while we’re working together, I can’t resist holding her when I get the chance, even if it’s just for a moment. It’s a common problem and one we get teased about relentlessly by the staff at the clinic and the E.D. but I don’t care.

“I missed you,” I say into her ear. My whole body comes alive with the need to kiss her, touch her.

“I missed you too,” Tess says with a soft sigh.

She’s been getting discouraged lately, so I’ve been taking extra care to be there for her. I’ve tried suggesting she cut back on her hours so she can rest more, but she’s as stubborn as a mule. Her birthday is next weekend, and I’ve got a huge list of ways I’m going to pamper her—starting with tonight, though she doesn’t know that.

I step back and give her a quick kiss before letting her go.

“What are we cooking tonight?” she asks as we unlock our bikes.

My heart thuds against my ribs. I suck at keeping secrets, so I have to be careful. “Do you feel like going out?”

“Oh, sure,” Tess says as we get on our bikes. “Where?”

We switch on our lights and clip on helmets.

When we first moved to Penny Creek, I teased Tess about biking everywhere, until I started doing it with her. Nowadays, I arrive at work feeling fresh and ready, and at the end of the day, it clears my head. Plus, the bike path network here is world-class.

“I’ve got a craving for spinach pasta. How about Carmela’s?”

“Oooh, fancy,” Tess replies as we pedal to the bike lane.

Penny Creek doesn’t exactly do “fancy” but Carmela’s is intimate and cozy, with great food. It’s also the obvious choice for what I have planned.

We pass under the highway in a tunnel, our bike lights blasting the darkness.

“Only the best for you,” I say, giving her a quick glance.

She smiles.

At the house, we store our bikes in the garage and head inside. After I sold my house in Bend, we spent a long time searching for the right place. We both wanted to be in town, but with easy access to the trails. It also had to be big enough for the family both Tess and I desperately want.

“How hungry are you?” I ask as we set our things down in the kitchen.

She arches an eyebrow. “Not very, why? You want to help me work up an appetite?”

I give her a look, and with a shriek she takes off running.

I let her get to the top of the stairs, giggling the entire way, before I grab her by the waist and hoist her over my shoulder.

“Peter!” she yelps, bucking against my hold.

I stride into the bathroom and lower her to the floor.

She’s breathless but her cheeks are flushed with desire.

“Undress,” I command, and settle on the edge of the bathtub.

She narrows her eyes at me.

I return her gaze with a “go on” lift of my chin.

Watching me with scrutiny, she unbuttons her shirt and slides it off. Though her bra is plain satin, it’s sexy as hell. Her nipples rise to tiny buttons beneath the fabric. It takes everything I have not to pull her to me for a taste.

She unbuttons her pants and slides them off, then turns and shakes out her long, wavy hair, and walks into the closet. Her perfect ass peeks out from the edge of her matching panties, making my cock throb.

When she returns, she’s naked, her skin glowing. She walks to the sink, where she keeps her jewelry box, and removes her earrings. I come up behind her and gently caress down her sides, lowering to kiss the slope of her neck. She’s so warm and supple here, her fresh scent drawing me in.

Tess closes her eyes and sighs as I kiss up to the place behind her ear, my hands locked on her waist. In the mirror, I watch her relax into me, and just this is enough to set my heart on fire. She trusts me to take care of her, and I trust her to keep me safe. I never knew how much I needed her until that moment when I realized I could lose her.

I touch her and kiss her until her body has lost all the tension from the day, then she undresses me and we get into the shower. I wash her hair and scrub her gently, the warm water soothing and sensual at the same time. We kiss, our lips gentle at first, then becoming hungrier, our tongues lashing and teasing. I reach down to delve her folds, caressing and swirling until she comes beautifully in a series of soft cries. After we make love on the bed, with her on top so I can touch her and kiss her, we get ready quickly, kissing in between tasks like a couple of teenagers.

With flutters in my belly, I drive us to the restaurant in my Lexus that Wyatt stopped giving me shit about when I explained that my ride has the highest safety rating of any other SUV on the market. Now that Brooke’s pregnant, he’s the one rethinking his vehicle choices. After all, our Suburban is twenty years old.

At Carmelo’s, I hurry to open Tess’s door for her, then take her hand and lead her across the small parking lot. Thankfully, I don’t see evidence of my surprise. I release a sigh of relief.

“This is so nice, Peter,” Tess says. In the split second before I reach for the restaurant’s door, she reaches up to stroke my face. “I love you.”

I kiss her gently, savoring this moment. “I love you too.”

When I swing the door open, a cloud of garlic and warm spices envelop us. We step into the intimate dining area, usually full of people clustered tightly at the small round tables, but tonight, it’s empty, each table lit by flickering candles. The open kitchen at the far side of the space is a flurry of activity, the two chefs buzzing around, pans sizzling.

The hostess’s eyes light up. “Mr. and Mrs. Morgan, welcome.”

Tess frowns, then glances at me with suspicion just as my family pops out from their hiding places and yells, “Surprise!”

Tess’s eyes go wide as she takes it all in. The younger Morgans are missing but Shep and a few close friends from our work are here as surrogates.

However, one person stands out.

“Logan?” Tess cries as her brother steps through the fray to grab his sister in a giant hug.

I watch the two embrace. Gratitude sweeps through me for how much joy is in this room for the woman I love. She’s kind and hardworking and smart and generous and deserves every ounce of this.

Logan releases her and Tess wipes her eyes, then my family surges forward to hug her and wish her Happy Birthday. Wyatt grabs me in a hug and slaps me on the back, then Grady practically tackles me, wrapping his thick arms around my shoulders. I hug my sisters too, and then we’re being ushered to our tables.

Tess is glowing as we sit down. “Thank you, Peter,” she says, and kisses me.

“We all love you so much,” I say as my brothers order bottles of wine and sparkling water.

“I love them too,” she says, then reaches across the table to hold her brother’s hand to give it a squeeze.

“Tonight is about you,” I say. “I want you to relax and enjoy it, okay?”

Tess inhales a deep breath and smiles. “Okay.” She kisses me again, then gasps in surprise when a waiter slides a plate of puff pastry pesto bites in front of her.

More food is delivered, wine and waters fill the glasses.

I stand and tap my glass. All eyes turn to me. I gaze at Tess. Slowly, the noises of the restaurant fade and I’m falling down, down, down into those sparkling pools of hazel green. She’s everything I’ve ever wanted but never knew I could have. My heart swells with so much emotion it’s almost painful.

“I know it’s early, but we couldn’t wait,” I say to her.

“Plus, the Kings are playing next weekend!” Caleb jokes.

Everyone laughs.

“Kidding!” Caleb shouts.

I raise my glass. “To Tess, my kind, generous wife and best friend. I love you so much.” I smile but my eyes blur a little with all the emotion bubbling up inside me. “Happy Birthday.”

“Hear, hear!” my family cries in unison, followed by a cheer and the clinking of glasses. I lower into my seat, but before I can get settled, Tess grabs my face and kisses me hard.

“Get a room!” Logan hollers, followed by cries and whistles.

We break away, laughing. Under the table, I reach for her hand. Whatever challenges we face, I want her to know that we’ll tackle them together. That my family will always be here to back us up.


Two weeks later, I’m making coffee downstairs while Tess sleeps a little longer when I hear a shriek.

Alarmed, I drop the coffee scoop and race up the stairs. Has Tess fallen? Or has something scared her? My brain goes into full alert. I whip out my phone, ready to call 911. Then I’ll call the E.D. and tell them we’re coming.

“Peter!” she shouts.

I round the corner of the bedroom, but Tess isn’t there. Heart pounding, I hurry into the bathroom, expecting the worst.

But Tess is sitting on the edge of the bathtub in her silk robe, her eyes glistening with tears.

“What’s wrong?” I ask, skidding to a stop. I’m scrutinizing every inch of her, looking for blood or broken bones—something I can fix—when she rises and smiles, extending her hand to show me what’s resting in her palm.

It’s a pregnancy test with a little blue “plus” sign in the window.

My heart leaps. “Oh, sweetheart,” I say, and pull her into my arms.

“We’re going to have a baby,” she says in my ear, and squeezes me tight. “Peter, I’m so happy!”

My chest expands with so much joy I’m going to burst. Month after month we’ve been trying, and each time she’s late we think “this could be it.” And when it’s not, even though I’ve told her that it can take time and that there’s no need to worry, Tess has gotten more and more discouraged.

“I think we should celebrate,” I say, and sweep her into my arms.

She wraps her arms around my neck and gives me a mischievous grin. “Oh yeah?”

I kiss her softly. “Yeah. And I know exactly how. You didn’t have any plans this morning, did you?”

She laughs, her eyes glistening with fresh tears. “Nothing special, no.”

“Good,” I say, and lower her to her feet. I loosen the sash on her robe and let it fall to the floor. “Because you’re spending it right here with me.”


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