He pulled back and stared into her eyes intently. “Are you all right?”
“Yes, sore and my head is killing me, but I’m good. Better now.”
Tyler took Noah from her without asking, and she watched his eyes close as he hugged her son until tears blurred her vision.
“And how about you, Noah? You okay?”
“Okay,” Noah said.
“Thanks to you,” Dani whispered.
It didn’t even feel like there was anyone else, just them in their little bubble.
“Come on, everyone, let’s move the party inside and let these two have a proper reunion,” Sparks said, leading the way inside.
As the crowd trickled past, Dani held Tyler’s free hand to her cheek. “I am so sorry about last night. I called you and was headed to your place when—”
“I know. Blake already told me he talked to you—”
“But I knew before he showed up—”
“Baby, I don’t care. I don’t care about one stupid misunderstanding in the grand scheme of things. Today, I could have lost you. We could have lost Noah.”
She loved the way he said we. “And Noah and I could have lost you. I still can’t believe you were crazy enough to go all Die Hard on Angel and his cousins.”
“It wasn’t like that. They weren’t exactly hardened criminals,” he said.
“Still, things could have gone really bad today.”
“Instead we’re all here. All together.” Caressing her check, he continued, “I used to think that fate was a bunch of bullshit, but I’m beginning to believe there’s got to be something higher guiding us. Leading us to where we’re supposed to be.” Kissing her again, he pulled back enough to whisper against her lips. “My place is with you and Noah. You’re my everything.”
She wrapped her arms around Tyler’s waist and leaned her head onto his chest, looking up into Noah’s smiling face.
“Are you two gonna be much longer? There’s a celebration in your honor, you know!” Dereck yelled from the front of the house.
“So much for enjoying the moment,” Tyler groused.
Dani pulled away. “That’s okay. I have a feeling we’re gonna have plenty of moments.”
TYLER BEST WATCHED his eight-year-old son, Noah Best, kick a soccer ball to Jeremiah Walton across the park. It was Noah’s birthday, and they had invited all of their friends and family to the park to celebrate. Tyler couldn’t help smiling at the relationship between Jeremiah and Noah, who were twelve years apart but as close as two brothers. When Jeremiah’s mom had moved out of state with his stepfather, Jeremiah had split his time between his guardians’ home and Tyler and Dani’s place until he’d accepted a scholarship to run track for Arizona State two years ago. Now, when he came home, he usually crashed on their hide-a-bed if the Graysons had a full house.
Olsen Meyers and Dwayne Harlow were swinging Tyler and Dani’s second son, Gareth, between them as they walked. The two-year-old’s laughter reminded Tyler so much of Noah when he was that age.
There were a few other graduates from Alpha Dog standing around, talking with the other instructors, and of course, Dani’s and his families were spread out. His dad was manning the barbeque while George, Dani’s dad, told him everything he was doing wrong. Tyler laughed, just imagining how things would go in a few minutes, when his dad would start shouting at him. It was all done in good spirits. It was actually a little weird how easily the Bests and the Hills had meshed, even sharing holidays so their kids wouldn’t have to split their time between them.
Which had been really helpful when Dani was pregnant with their daughter, Felicity, and so uncomfortable and crabby that no one could make her happy. Now that Felicity was four months old, Dani was back to her old self.
Her old, completely tone-deaf self, who was currently singing to their daughter as she rocked her in her arms.
“What’s that you’re singing?” he asked.
She looked up from the baby, her eyes twinkling. “Usually, you call it wailing.”
“I’m being nice today.”
“Ah, well, in that case, I’m singing ‘Baby of Mine.’ ”