By a Thread: Epilogue


“What are you doing?”

“Shh. Don’t distract me with your near nakedness. I’m trying to see if my straw is long enough to reach the bottom of the glass without sitting up,” I told him.

But it was too late, I was distracted. Because the breathtaking view of sugary white sand and turquoise waters was already eclipsed by Dominic Russo in package-showcasing swim trunks and dark sunglasses.

I loved the intense man in vests, but the relaxed, sunscreened, island tan version was possibly even more appealing.

“It’s your birthday, Ally. I’ll order you mango margaritas all day long if it means you never have to see the bottom of your glass.”

“Are you trying to get me drunk, Mr. Russo?” I peered over my sunglasses and batted my lashes at him.

He grinned wickedly.

“I think it’s time to reapply,” he said, holding up the bottle of sunscreen.

“Last ‘application,’ you spent ten minutes rubbing my breasts, and I got a sunburn everywhere else.”

“I promise to pay equal attention to every inch of your beautiful body,” he said lecherously.

I felt a quickening between my legs and took a second to pinch myself. Nope. Not dreaming. Not in a coma somewhere. Not hallucinating after an unfortunate bus accident. This. Was. My. Life.

“Are you ready for your birthday present?” he asked.

I laughed. “I thought this trip was my present. And the bikini wardrobe. And the candlelight dinner.” Not to mention last night’s hamstring-pulling sex for dessert. We were both still limping.

“Oh, baby, I’m just getting started,” he said devilishly.

My heart rate kicked up a few hundred notches. Because giving made him so happy. And I had no freaking clue how he was going to feel about what I had to give him.

“Vacation agrees with you, Mr. Managing Editor,” I teased.

He abandoned his chair and crowded onto mine. “No work talk,” he said sternly.

With Irvin Harvey’s unceremonious firing for being a prejudiced bastard, Dominic had stepped into the vacant position and promoted Shayla to creative director. Everyone was happy.

“I love you,” I said. Sometimes the words bubbled up and couldn’t be contained. And Dom’s face did what it always did when I felt compelled to tell him. It softened as if he, too, couldn’t believe that this was his life.

“I love hearing you say that,” he said smugly.

Since our reconciliation, we’d played an intense game of getting-to-know-you… outside of the bedroom. It was an ongoing conversation. Just like our relationship was an ongoing negotiation. Revelations had been both big and small. Like Dominic’s confession that he’d built his life around wanting to outdo his father on every battlefield.

Considering that the man was suspended from Indulgence for harassment and facing civil lawsuits and criminal charges.

I hoped to sweet baby cheeses that my little revelation today would give him one more place to win… and not send him into a downward spiral.

He hooked a finger in the string between my breasts. “Are you ready for another drink?” he asked me, his voice husky.

I nodded and bit my lip. Ready to take the plunge. “Make sure it’s a virgin margarita though, okay?”

He cocked his head. Then took off his sunglasses, his gaze more intense than the Canouan sun.


I took his hand and slid it over my stomach. “So I know we didn’t plan this,” I said, the words tumbling out. “And I know liking kids is a lot different from actually having them and raising them and turning them into not terrible human beings. And I know that I’m freaking forty now. But I’m healthy and in good shape, and I think I can do this. I mean, I hope I can do this.”

The waiter, in a polo shirt the same blue as the ocean, arrived with a silver tray and a smile.

“Are you two ready for something special?” he asked.

“Uh, hang on a second,” Dominic said, his hand still flat on my stomach. “Ally, are you saying… Are we…”

“I’m pregnant. You’re going to be a dad. And please don’t freak out in a bad way because I really, really need you to be happy about this because I am scared shitless.”

“Pregnant? Like with a baby?”

I nodded, suddenly wishing I could drink alcohol. Copious amounts of it.

“Are you okay?” I whispered. He looked like he was going into shock.

“Pregnant,” he said again.

“With a baby,” I repeated in case he’d missed that part.

He covered his eyes with one hand.

“Oh God. Dom? Charming? Are you okay?” I scrambled into a higher seated position and dragged his hand away from his eyes.

His damp eyes.

“I’m going to be a daddy.”

And here came my waterworks like a faucet opening.

I nodded, tears squirting from my eyeballs. “Yeah. You’re going to be a daddy,” I whispered.

He grabbed me and picked me up off the lounger. I wrapped my legs around his waist and held on tight.

“You’re not mad?” I clarified, cupping his face in my hands.

“Mad? I’m floored. And terrified. And excited. And worried. And so fucking happy, Ally. We’re gonna have a family.”

A family.

Yep. Now I was audibly sobbing. These freaking hormones were turning me into a lunatic.

“Excuse me, ass. You were supposed to signal us so we could witness the proposal!”

Startled, I whipped off my sunglasses. “Faith? Christian?”

My best friend and her “see where things go” guy were standing at the foot of my abandoned lounger, looking annoyed.

“I didn’t propose yet,” Dominic growled.

“Propose?” I shrieked, trying to climb down my very handsome baby daddy.

“Oops,” Christian said, flashing his dimples.

“If you didn’t propose, what’s all this?” Faith demanded. And then her mouth formed a perfect O. “Holy shit. Are you pregnant?” she screamed.

I could only nod and cry some more.

“Oh my God!”

She reached for me, and I grabbed her arm. “I know!”

Dominic cleared his throat. “Ladies. I still have this little bit of business to take care of.”

Faith released me and snuggled into Christian’s side, making a zipped lips gesture. “By all means.”

“Thanks,” he said dryly. He sank down on the lounger, settling me in his lap.

“Ally Maleficent Morales, will you marry me?”

He reached past me and produced a velvet jewelers’ box.

I was nodding vigorously.

“Don’t you want to see the ring first?” he whispered, a smile playing on his lips.

I shook my head violently.

“But you’re saying yes?”

“Yes!” It burst free. “Yes. Yes. Yes.”

And then I was laughing because I felt his erection twitch under me.

“Not my fault. Usually we’re doing something else when you say that,” he whispered in my ear.

“I love you, Dom.”

“I love you, Ally. So fucking much.”

“We’re getting married,” I said.

“And having a baby,” he added.

We grinned at each other. His cock moved again.

“Can I hug them yet?” Faith asked Christian.

After a series of hugs and questions, a round of virgin mango margaritas, and a quickie in the villa’s kitchen, Dominic Russo finally slid a beautiful diamond ring on my finger.

“I’m going to need to start lifting weights on the right so I don’t bulk up on just one side,” I said, sighing dreamily as the very large solitaire caught the light.

Dominic’s hand was on my belly again. As he leaned back against the kitchen cabinets, I noticed a smile I’d never seen before on his lips. Contentment.

“Do you want to call your mom and Simone?” I asked.

His smile widened. “Of course.”

“Can we call my dad?” I asked. “I mean, he might not understand, but I really want him to be part of this,” I said.

“Of course. But first, there’s something you should see,” he said, reaching for his phone in his discarded swim trunks. “Your dad gave his blessing,” He opened a photo.

“Oh. Dom,” I breathed.

It was a selfie of Dominic and Dad. My dad was grinning and holding the open ring box.

“I went every day and asked him until it was a good day,” Dominic said softly.

And I was back to nodding and crying again.

“This hormone thing,” he said, gently wiping the tears from my face with his thumbs. “How long does it last?”

“I guess we’ll find out,” I sobbed.


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