The Cowboy Earns a Bride (Page 10)

The Cowboy Earns a Bride (Cowboys of Chance Creek #8)(10)
Author: Cora Seton

“I don’t know what to do!” Mia cried.

Luke took the situation in at a glance. “You’re doing great. Both of you are doing great.” Autumn needed something to lean on, though. “Mia, stay there. Get ready to catch that baby. Autumn, honey, I’m going to climb up on the bed with you.”

“Ahhhnnnggg!” Autumn cried as another contraction hit. Luke batted the pillows away that rested against the headboard, climbed onto the bed and sat cross-legged, his back to Autumn.

“Go ahead and brace your hands on my shoulders.” A moment later Autumn grabbed hold and another moment later, her fingers gripped him hard as she bore down again. Gravity was the trick with birth, Luke knew. Stick a woman on her back and she had to work twice as hard to push out a baby. In this position Autumn could work with the forces of nature. He grit his teeth as her fingernails cut into his skin.

“The baby’s crowning. She’s coming,” Mia cried. “Autumn, another push just like that one.”

“Aaahhhng!” Autumn groaned again as she bore down and Luke braced his hands on his knees to keep from folding underneath her.

“You can do it, honey. You can do it,” he chanted, hardly knowing what he said.

“The baby’s head is out. Oh, my God, Autumn. One more push! One more push!”

With her last push Autumn nearly bowled Luke over, but he kept himself in place and from the sounds Mia was making all was going well. Autumn ended with a wail that was quickly echoed by one that was quieter, but no less strong. A girly wail, Luke thought, barely daring to breathe as Autumn collapsed against him.

“You did it! Autumn, you did it!” Mia cried. “It’s a girl! Oh, she’s beautiful!” Luke sensed Mia moving behind them. Autumn slid down to lie on her side on the bed and Mia handed her the baby. Luke carefully climbed off, checked to make sure mother and child were safe before he ran to get the phone again. When Ethan answered this time, Luke’s voice was rough with emotion. “Ethan?”

“I’m on my way. How’s Autumn doing?”

“She just had your baby!” He strode back to the bedroom. Mia had smoothed a blanket over Autumn. A thatch of dark hair graced the baby’s head and its eyes were shut tight, but its little rosebud mouth opened and emitted another wail. Luke held out the phone.

“Did you hear that? That’s your baby girl! Get on over here, Daddy! Hurry up!”

Ethan arrived just after the ambulance and paramedics.

“Let me in! Let me through!”

Mia turned to Autumn and saw her friend light up when she heard her husband approaching. The paramedics had clamped and cut the cord and delivered the afterbirth. They’d quickly cleaned mother and baby and helped Mia get them comfortable again.

As Ethan rushed into the room to crouch by the bedside, Mia followed the others out to the living room where Luke waited.

“We’ll give them a moment before we take them to the hospital,” one of the paramedics said. In her thirties, with no-nonsense mannerisms and blond hair pulled back into a severe bun, she was everything Mia would hope a paramedic to be. “It’s really just a formality now. We’ll give Mom and baby a quick look over before we send them back home. You did a fine job.”

“I didn’t do a thing. Autumn did all the work.”

“That’s the way of it when things go right,” the paramedic said. “Still, I’m sure it helped a lot just knowing you were there.”

Autumn affirmed those words when Mia got to see her for a minute before she was loaded into the ambulance. “I don’t know what I would’ve done without you and Luke. It all happened so fast. I was totally unprepared!”

“I’m glad I was here. That was amazing, Autumn. You were amazing!”

“No, I wasn’t—I yelled at you.” But Autumn didn’t look too concerned. She was too busy kissing her baby’s head.

Mia didn’t blame her. The baby was beautiful. Delicate and sweet. Perfectly formed. “What will you name her?”

“Arianna. In honor of Ethan’s mother.”

Mia nodded. From what she’d heard, Aria Cruz had been an interesting woman. “That’s a beautiful name.”

She watched the paramedics wheel Autumn through the house and lift her into the waiting ambulance. Ethan followed, saying, “Tell Ned and Fila we wish we could be there for the wedding.”

“We will!” she assured him.

When they were gone, she turned to Luke. “Can you believe that? I thought I was going to faint when I found Autumn bearing down already. Thank God everything went okay. Luke? What’s wrong?” The cowboy had the strangest look on his face.

“I want one,” he said. “I want one, and I want it with you.”

“I want a baby with you, Mia. I want to marry you.” Luke knew this wasn’t the right moment for a proposal but here he was, jumping the gun, proposing anyway. He didn’t know what else to do. He’d tried to convince Mia to date him. He’d done everything he could to let her know how he felt. He’d wanted to make love to her for months. She’d been living right under his nose, tempting him with every sway of her hips as she moved about the house straightening up, every bounce of her breasts when she dashed up and down the stairs getting ready for a day’s work. But he wanted more than that, too. He wanted his ring on her finger, his name on her debit card and his baby in her arms. He wanted it all—everything that Ethan had with Autumn, that Ned was about to have with Fila. He wanted it all and he wanted it right now.

“Mia? Did you hear me? I want to marry you.”

She had gone as pale as the paint on the wall behind her. Her eyes were huge in her face and he wanted to kiss away the fear in them. What was she afraid of? Him?

“Say yes.” He took her hand in his. Tugged her closer. “Damn it, say yes, Mia.”

“I…” She couldn’t seem to answer.

“Stop thinking. Just say yes.” He bent down to kiss her, but she gasped and pulled back.

“I’m sorry.” Tears sparkled in her eyes. “I’m sorry! I tried to tell you!”

“Tell me what?” He refused to let her go. His arms tightened around her waist until they formed a cage she couldn’t break out of. Strength had its advantages. This time she wouldn’t get away. “What do you have to tell me?”

“I’m pregnant already.”

Chapter Four