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“Shut up,” Bridget replied, snorting.

“Do you have a picture?” Connie asked.

Bridget got out her phone and showed them a selfie she’d taken with Luke one night by the firepit in his backyard.

“Whoa, he’s so handsome,” Ben said.

“Bridget, he’s hot. What does he do for a living?”

“He’s a carpenter. He restored this old mansion on a lake with the formal gardens and the marble kitchen.”

“So, he’s a craftsman,” Ben said.

“Yes, but he’s uneducated. He mentioned having to comeall the way to New Orleansto see me, which is an hour from his house and I thought he’d need a sedative. The guy is kind of unsophisticated.”

“He’s kind and thoughtful—” Connie said.

“—artistic and responsible; he’ll take the baby when you deploy again,” Ben added.

“I’m not sure what the problem is,” Connie said. “You said there was chemistry; I mean obviously there was since you’re knocked up.”

“Maybe. I didn’t let anything develop because I knew I was leaving and it seemed kind of pointless. I told him I didn’t want a boyfriend that would wait for every email and text and he ended up doing just that.”

“That’s a good sign because he’s interested in you.”

The whizzing sound of a rocket launch ended their conversation. The reflexive thing to do was to look up, and in the distance, they saw the orange light of a blast.

“Time to get back to work,” Connie said, hugging Bridget. “I’ll be waiting to hear what your orders say.”

They parted, Connie returning to the ER and Ben and Bridget walking back to the barracks. Bridget buckled her helmet under her chin.

“I’ve never given much thought to my safety until today.”

“Why is that?” Ben asked.

“Because of the baby. I owe him that much. Again, it’s like his father, I don’t feel any great love, but I feel responsibility.”

“Good for you, Bridg,” Ben said. “You’re not a selfish bitch after all.”

“Thanks, Ben. I knew I could count on you to keep it real.”

Chapter 3

After Bridget’s call, Luke couldn’t decide if he was pleased or scared and for the rest of the day, while he waited to hear what her orders would be, he vacillated between the two extremes. Distraction was what he needed and the best way to wait for the news would be to stay busy. Work would be his elixir.

He was nearing completion of a huge garage attic conversion over at Katrina Blanchard’s Creole Cottage. When he arrived, her boyfriend, Sheriff Dave Chastain, was still home and invited him to come in for coffee. Sheriff Chastain was also Bridget’s cousin, and Luke would keep nothing back.

“I’d love coffee,” Luke said, stepping into the familiar kitchen that he’d also renovated. “I’m like a lunatic today.”

For Luke to say anything personal or self-reflective was so out of character, it got Dave’s attention right away.

“What’s going on?”

“Bridget called this morning and she’s pregnant.”


“Yeah. Her commanding officer is making her leave right away, so she’s waiting for her orders to come through.”

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