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Thunder Thighs: Epilogue 2


Sometime in the near future…

‘We’re not calling our baby Cnut.’

I didn’t look up from the instruction manual I was attempting to decipher.

Is that a screw? Or a nail? Or some kind of hook?

‘I’m serious, Gunnar. I’m not calling our child a name that could be misspelled as you-know-what,’ Ella hissed, hands on her hips as she leaned in, face flushed.

I tilted the manual to one side, squinting. ‘Do you think this was printed wrong? I can build a boat with my eyes closed but apparently can’t construct a damned pram.’


I sighed, tossing the manual and getting to my feet. I pulled my fierce woman into my arms, rubbing her back.

‘It was only an idea,’ I assured her.

‘A terrible one,’ she told my chest, her voice slightly muffled.

I tried not to grin. ‘What’s your choice?’

‘I don’t know!’ She looked up, her face flushed, eyes glassy with tears. ‘And what if I choose horribly? What if our baby ends up with a horrible name for the rest of their life? What kind of parent will I be if—’

‘Valkyrie, stop,’ I ordered, giving her a little squeeze. ‘You’re going to make a wonderful mother.’ I reached down, placing a hand on her belly. ‘Our little one is going to be the luckiest kid in the world.’


I pressed a kiss to her forehead. ‘Promise.’

‘Good,’ she lifted her head, giving me a still teary blink. ‘Cause my water broke.’

I froze. ‘What?’

‘Yeah, my underwear is a mess. I think we should probably start getting ready to go to the hos—’

I swept her up, holding her gently as I moved us frantically through the house.

‘Shit, where’s your bag? Fuck. Should I call an ambulance? How close are the transactions? Jesus!’

I froze in the middle of our lounge, uncertain as to the best course of action.

‘Gunnar. Gunnar, look at me.’

My gaze dropped to the goddess in my arms. She raised a hand cupping my jaw. ‘My contractions—not transactions—are weak and far apart.’

‘Shit, contractions, yep. Fuck.’

She ran what I assumed was meant to be a soothing hand over my cheek. ‘We have hours. Put me down. We’ll relax, we’ll time them, we’ll go for a little walk to the beach, and when it’s time, we’ll go to the hospital. Calmly.’ She smiled softly. ‘Okay?’

‘Over my dead body I’m delivering our baby here,’ I told her. ‘I’m not qualified for that. I don’t even know what a contraction is called!’

She laughed, sending her long hair dragging across my skin. Strangely, that small movement reassured me more than anything she could say.

I gently placed her on the floor, hands steadying her, loathed to let go.

‘So this is it?’ I asked, my knuckles grazing her cheek.

‘Our last few hours of just us,’ she whispered, her smile watery.

‘I’m ready, Ella. I’m so ready for this, even if it’s terrifying.’


‘I fucking love you, Valkyrie.’

‘And I fucking love you, Viking.’

We grinned at each other, still as in sync today as we’d been five years ago when we’d met on that stormy night.

We spent the next few hours walking, breathing, and talking. As her contractions intensified, we headed to the hospital.

‘MOTHERFUDGER!’ Ella screamed, her contractions less than ten seconds apart. The baby was coming and coming fast.

‘You got this, Ella,’ I encouraged, ignoring her crushing my hand. ‘Just another push. One more.’

‘I can’t,’ she panted, her voice breaking. ‘I can’t, Gunnar. I can’t.’

‘You can.’ I brushed her hair away from her face, watching a new contraction rip through her body. ‘You’re amazing, you’re wonderful, you’re a miracle. You’re a goddess. You’re a Valkyrie. You can do this, Ella. I love you.’

‘Nearly there,’ the midwife encouraged. ‘One more push, momma.’

With a grunting groan, Ella pushed our baby into the world.

Before I could breathe, there was a flurry of movement, crying and congratulations from the hospital staff then the midwife placed a scrawling, red, bloody baby on Ella’s chest.

‘Congratulations!’ The midwife beamed. ‘You’ve got a gorgeous little girl.’

I blinked, looking down at my daughter unable to believe that this ugly, beautiful, perfect, crying, angry baby was ours.

‘Freyja,’ Ella said, looking up at me, tears streaming down her face, her smile blinding. ‘Our little Freyja.’

I cupped Freyja’s head, pressing a fervent kiss to Ella’s mouth. ‘Perfect.’


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