Home > Risky (Adventures in Love #2)

Risky (Adventures in Love #2)
Author: Aurora Rose Reynolds

 

Chapter 1

EVERLY

I sit at the island in my parents’ kitchen and smile as I listen to my mom talk to my ten-month-old son, Sampson, who babbles back to her in baby excitement. I know all parents think their kid is the smartest and the cutest, but Sampson really is both of those things. He’s already started walking and using a few words and is adorable, with chubby cheeks, blond wavy hair, and big blue eyes that match my mom’s and mine.

“I can’t get over how big he’s gotten the last three months.” Mom’s gaze comes to me, and Sampson gurgles his agreement, showing off his two bottom teeth that popped out last week.

“I told you.”

“I know, but even in the pictures you sent, he still looked so tiny.” She hefts his booty higher up onto her hip, then looks down at him. “What do you say you and I go out and track down Grandpa so Mama can unpack?”

“Mama,” he repeats, turning to look at me, then holds out his chubby arms in my direction. Recognizing the sleepy look in his eyes, I scoot off the stool I’m sitting on and walk around to take him from my mom. As soon as I have ahold of him, he rests his cheek against my shoulder, and I palm the back of his head.

“It actually might be time for a nap. He didn’t sleep much in the car on the way here,” I tell her, and she touches his soft cheek with the tips of her fingers.

“Do you want me to make him a bottle?” she asks, and I nod, then watch her go to the fridge to get out the milk.

As she fills up a bottle, I rock my boy from side to side, the action a natural movement since the day he was born, something that seemed to be ingrained in me subconsciously. “I was thinking that tomorrow, if you don’t mind watching Sampson, I might go out and put in my application at a few places around town.”

“Already?” She stops on her way to the microwave and looks at me over her shoulder. “You don’t want to take a week to settle in?”

“I’d rather hit the ground running, especially since it might take a couple of weeks to actually find something.” I tip my head down to kiss the top of Sampson’s head when he presses his face into my neck.

“You know your dad and I will always help you.” Her voice is quiet, and the look in her eyes makes my chest hurt.

“I know, but you and Dad are already helping me out in a big way by letting us live here and for agreeing to watch Sampson while I work, when I do find a job.”

“You’re our daughter, and Sam is our grandson, Everly.” She rolls her eyes at me like my last comment was ridiculous. “We’re happy you’re here and happy to help.”

I know she and my dad are, and I’m so grateful for that, but none of this was part of my plan. I never thought I’d be in a situation where I’d be living at home with my parents again. I for sure never thought I’d be moving home with a baby, and I definitely didn’t plan on being a single mom with an uninvolved baby daddy.

Two years ago, I met the man of my dreams, a guy named Lex, who was everything I wanted in a partner. He was well spoken, sweet, and a hard worker. Head over heels in love, I tied my rope to his star and followed him across the state to where he worked as a foreman for a construction company. Things were great—not just between Lex and me, but life in general was good. I had an awesome job managing one of the hotels in the city. I made some friends, and Lex started hinting at proposing.

I was happy.

We were happy.

Then I found out I was pregnant, and even though I knew it was soon, I thought everything would be okay. Only I was wrong . . . so very wrong. The moment I surprised Lex with a tiny baby onesie and my positive pregnancy test, he made a joke about me getting an abortion—which I laughed off, not wanting to believe he was serious. I thought he was just scared about becoming a dad, which I got, because the idea of becoming a mom freaked me out. I also knew I was already attached to the life growing inside me.

As the days turned into months and my belly grew, things between Lex and me became more and more strained. Even though we were still physically together, I felt as if I were alone. He wasn’t open to me sharing anything about the pregnancy with him; he never talked about the baby or asked questions.

Still not wanting to be wrong about the man I’d fallen in love with, I was holding out hope that he would come around once Sampson was born. I thought maybe once he saw his son and held him, he would feel the connection I did and fall in love.

That didn’t happen.

Instead, he started working more and sometimes stayed out all night. More than once, he came home smelling like perfume, and a few times, I would see texts from women pop up on his phone. Eventually, my heart couldn’t take any more, and I told him I was leaving. He didn’t ask me to stay. He didn’t put up a fight. In fact, he helped me pack. Then this morning, he got me and my son in my car and sent us on our way.

“Everly,” Mom calls, and I come out of my thoughts and blink my eyes open. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” I take the bottle she’s holding out to me. “Just spaced out.”

“Are you tired?” Her eyes wander over my face. “Do you want me to take Sampson so you can sleep for a bit?”

“I think I’ll just lie down with him.” I hold Sampson a little tighter. For the last ten months, he’s been all my responsibility, so thinking about doing something like just taking a nap while even my mom looks after him makes me feel anxious.

“Well then, while you do that, I’m going to take your dad some lunch and see what I can come up with for dinner.”

“Sounds good. I’ll be back down to help you cook.” I turn to head for the doorway in the kitchen to take Sampson upstairs.

“Everly.”

I stop to look at her over my shoulder and watch her shake her head while her eyes start to mist with tears.

“You’re not alone anymore, honey.” She clears her throat while placing her hand against her chest. “I know you’ve been doing this all by yourself, but you’re not alone now.”

With my throat getting tight, I nod and leave the kitchen before I break down in tears. For so long, I didn’t tell anyone what was happening between Lex and me, because I was positive things would get better, and I didn’t want anyone to have animosity toward him when they did. Now, I wish I would have opened up about everything, at least to my mom. I could have used her advice and support, especially when I didn’t have anyone.

When I get upstairs, I walk past my brother Jayson’s room, which had been empty for years and is now Sampson’s nursery—courtesy of my mom and her friends—and head for my bedroom, at the end of the hall. With Sampson starting to fuss, I get comfortable on my bed before giving him his bottle, then watch him with wonder as he eats.

I grew up in a house filled with love and have been lucky to experience love a time or two in my life, but I never really knew how fully I could love another person until I gave birth to the baby in my arms. In such a short time, he’s taught me so much about myself and what really matters in life.

Once he’s finished eating, I rest him against my shoulder and burp him, then hold him until he falls asleep. As he drifts off, I silently promise him that I will always make him a priority and that there will never be a day in which he thinks he’s not wanted.

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