Bonus Chapter!

Logan trails a finger across Darcie’s stomach.

“So my six months is up. They want me to stay on board. The question is, do you?”

She laughs and grabs his finger, bending it back slightly.

“You have to ask?”

“Nah – I just wanted to hear you say how much you love me and want me.”

“I love you and I want you, and you are not allowed to leave the ship. Ever again. Except for our daughter’s wedding.”

“I cannot wait for that. But yeah, I can stay here, be your sex slave in the meantime.”

“My sex slave? Sounds perfect. Job one – get me a drink.”

“That’s not a sexual service.”

“True, but my sex slaves – if they’re going to be successful and stay around need to do more than just pleasure me. After all, I can pleasure myself. What do I need a sex slave for?”

“For this,” he says, sucking her nipple. “You can’t pleasure yourself like this.”

“True,” she says, moaning and stretching out like the cat that got the cream.

“You can’t do this, either,” he says, pushing her legs apart and lapping at her clitoris.

“Okay, maybe I’ll keep you,” she says and then groans when he stiffens his tongue to lick inside her. “I’m convinced.”

“Good. Because I’ve already said yes. I’m on here for at least another year.”

She squeals and tries to sit up, but he pushes her back, licks her harder, sucking and nuzzling on her clitoris.

“Fine. Pleasure me if you must,” she says, and closes her eyes, giving into the pleasure and trying to ignore the excitement his news has given her. She was worried they might not want him to stay – his restaurant is an enormous success and people love to see him, but the food is so good, it would be busy anyway. They obviously think he’s worth keeping.

And so does she.

He slips a finger inside her as he licks between her legs and her orgasm comes over her quickly. She shudders and pants and then closes her legs.

“Enough.”

“Never enough.”

“True. Shall we stay here all day?”

“We could but you have rehearsals and I have new menus to organise.”

She pouts. “Shall we run away? Buy a big house in the country. Get some dogs and call them our babies.”

“That might upset Katie.”

“No – she’ll be having children of her own soon. As soon as we get this wedding out of the way.”

“I’m surprised it’s so soon.”

“Me too. It makes me wonder if she’s already pregnant. She’s super traditional, and she’d love to be married before having a baby. She wanted two years to plan it – so it wouldn’t surprise me.”

“Christ – how do you like the sound of a grandad for a sex slave?”

She laughs. He doesn’t look old enough to be a grandad.

“How do you feel about shagging a granny?”

They both laugh and then kiss.

“We should do it as often as we can before we are grandparents. It might be too gross after that.”

“Never,” she says, reaching for his cock and feeling it harden under her touch. “It’ll never be gross.”

They fall into their usual morning routine then, of sex before breakfast. They might both be over forty, but they are definitely making up for lost time. They can’t keep their hands off each other, and Darcie is happy to go with it. She knows things will settle down eventually, they always do, but she’s not complaining. No way.

It’s always lazy, snuggly sex in the morning, anyway – neither of them are swinging from the chandeliers, just kissing and caressing, warm and wanton, until he slips inside her, always as though he was made for her, and they easily find their rhythm. She always comes quickly, and he’s never far behind her.

Then they take turns showering before getting dressed for the day. She’s moved into his cabin and feels more like a passenger than a member of staff. She loves sitting out on his balcony on a lounger, ordering room service and reading a good book.

“Do you think about leaving the ship?” he asks, when they are lying in each other’s arms.

“Why?”

“You said about a big house in the country, some dogs…”

“Maybe. Sometimes. I’m not as young as I used to be. And I’m not chasing the dream anymore.”

“The dream of being a star?”

“Exactly.”

“You know you are a star. Not just to me – but so many of the passengers.”

She pats his arm. “Thanks, but it’s not what I dreamed of as a young woman. I dreamed of being a proper star.”

“Oh, darling. Does it make you sad?”

She pauses, really thinking about her answer.

“No. It did. I got quite bitter about it for a while, but now, no. Truthfully, no. I’ve loved working on the ship, and I don’t think I’d do anything else, but the desire to perform, it’s not as strong as it used to be.”

“You shouldn’t keep doing it, then.”

She yawns and stretches. “It’s a big decision. I’ve got a ton of money saved – I don’t spend an enormous amount because I’m always working.”

“And we’re together now. We can pool our money.”

“I don’t want anyone accusing me of a being a gold digger.”

He laughs, and she grins at him. They both know their future is with each other. He hasn’t proposed officially, but he talks all the time about getting married. They need Katie’s wedding out the way first – Darcie would never steal the limelight from their daughter.

“I don’t know,” she says. “I think about it more and more, especially since we met. I sit out on the balcony, sipping some tea, reading a book, or watching the waves, and I wonder what I’m working for, killing myself with never ending rehearsals and dresses that are so tight I can barely breathe when I’m wearing them.”

“You sound fed up.”

“Yeah – I’m not deciding yet. If you’re on here for another year, then so am I. But maybe after that… who knows. And with me out of the way, it’ll give someone else a chance to be the headliner.”

“I like the idea of setting up house together. I was renting before I came on here. I just don’t know where to settle, you know?”

“Let’s decide together, then. Let’s spend this year making plans and then decide.”

“Sounds like a plan. I’m going in the shower.”

“You go,” she says, pulling the blanket up to her chin. “I might go back to sleep.”

The days are so relaxed with him. She’s moved her schedule around, so she doesn’t do anything until after three. Work feels like an intrusion now, not a pleasure. That might change, though, so she won’t do anything hasty.

She gets out of bed – there’s a real chance she’ll fall back to sleep otherwise, and that’ll only make her feel worse. She’ll make tea and sit on the balcony.

Waiting for the kettle to boil, she checks her email, and then has to rest her hand against the wall. She feels weird. Sweaty and nauseous. She sits down, but it doesn’t pass. It’s the third time this week she’s felt weird in the mornings.

She hasn’t been sick, but today might be different. Her stomach is roiling and churning, and she throws open the bathroom door and vomits.

Logan turns the shower off.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah – just a bit off,” she says. Then she shakes her head. Surely not.

“Can I do anything?”

“No,” she waves him away and after a pause, he puts the shower back on. She goes out onto the balcony, gulping in the fresh air.

When was her last period? Could she be… pregnant.

She can’t even think when it was.

Shit. She touches her belly. Is there a baby in there?

She’s been sleeping with Logan for six months and they have a lot of sex, and it’s not always careful. She never gave a thought to pregnancy. Of course, women over forty get pregnant. She just didn’t think she would.

She pulls on clothes and puts her sunglasses on.

“Back in a sec,” she shouts to Logan without waiting for a reply. She heads to the lifts, and she pushes the button for the medical deck. They don’t sell pregnancy tests on the ship – they’re hardly a holiday necessity, but she knows they keep a small stock in medical.

Robyn is there – she hoped she would be.

“Hello stranger,” Robyn says, beaming, and coming out from behind reception to hug her.

“I know,” Darcie says. “I’m a rubbish friend.”

“You are not – you’re just in the heady throes of new love. Old love. Whatever.” She grins, and then her expression changes to one of concern. “Are you okay?”

Darcie nods. “I need a pregnancy test.”

Robyn squeals and Darcie laughs. “Yeah, I don’t know if it’s a squealy thing or a panicky thing.”

“Not planned?”

“Definitely not.”

“Okay. Let’s do the test. Then we’ll know if we have anything to even worry about.”

Darcie follows her out back to a private room. There’s a bathroom just off it.

“Give me a sec,” Robyn says, and Darcie sits on the bed.

Shit – could she be pregnant? At forty one. Christ, it was hard enough at sixteen. It might kill her this time around.

Robyn passes her a test and a disposable cup.

“You might be able to pee on a stick – I know I wouldn’t be able to. Pee in the cup and dip. Much neater as well.”

Darcie grins.

“Thanks.”

“It’s fine. I’ll be out here.”

Darcie takes the cup and the test in the bathroom and locks the door.

This is bound to be negative – she’s bound to be overreacting to a queasy stomach. It could be queasy for a million reasons. She touches her boobs – do they feel any bigger? More tender?

“Just pee in the cup,” she mutters and sits on the loo, awkwardly holding the cup and weeing. Will it matter that she’s just had sex? Will that make her urine weird? She doesn’t know, and she’s not going to ask Robyn, so she pees and dips and then waits.

Robyn knocks.

“All okay?”

“Juts waiting.”

“Do you want me to come in?”

Darcie unlocks the door and makes a worried face at Robyn. Robyn hugs her.

“It’s okay. Whatever the outcome is, it’s okay.”

“Yeah? I’m old.”

“Not too old. If your body makes a baby, then you’re not too old. And you’re sensible. You’ll go to all your appointments and take any advice given.”

Darcie swallows and sighs.

“Let me get you a drink. Tea?”

“Milk, two sugars.”

She doesn’t look at the test, she just sits on the chair beside the bed and waits for Robyn. Robyn can look.

Robyn smiles and passes her the mug of tea.

“If it’s negative, is that okay?”

“God yes. A relief, really.”

“Okay, so if it’s positive?”

Darcie blows out her cheeks. “I really don’t know. I haven’t given it a thought. I’m too old to have a baby.”

“You know you’re not. But is it happy news?”

Darcie closes her eyes. Is it happy news? Would she be glad? Probably. It would be a shocker. Not something she thought would happen.

“I’ve had a lot of unprotected sex,” she says, sipping her tea. “I’ve been married six times, engaged six times. I never got pregnant. Not once.”

“It happens like that, sometimes. Fertility is a funny thing – not an exact science.”

“I know. But I never worried I might pregnant. When it never happened, I assumed I just couldn’t have anymore. It was okay – I had Katie. I never worried about it. When the marriages didn’t work, I was glad there weren’t children in the mix. Shit, Robyn. I can’t look.”

“I’ll look. But if you are, you are. What then?”

“I don’t know – I suppose I break the news to Logan. We haven’t spoken about it.”

“But he knows you’ve had unprotected sex, right? It won’t come as a surprise to him.”

“No – I never said anything about thinking I couldn’t have more. It just never happened.”

Robyn picks up the test and smiles a slow smile. She holds it up for Darcie to see.

“It’s happened now.”

Darcie starts crying. “Oh my god, Robyn. Shit! What do I do?”

She’s half laughing and half crying and Robyn hugs her.

“You finish your tea. You stay here as long as you need to. Then you go to tell Logan. Does he know you’re here?”

“No, I felt queasy and threw up, and then I had a funny feeling – a little inkling, so I came here. He was still in the shower.”

“Well, you need to get him out.”

“God, Robyn, I don’t know what to say. I wasn’t expecting this.”

Robyn grins. “It’s lovely news – but at the moment it’s only your news. You don’t have to have it and you don’t have to tell anyone.”

Darcie looks at her, and then grins. “I want it. I want this baby. Oh, my word – are you sure. I’m definitely pregnant?”

“Definitely. I mean, you can have a false positive after a miscarriage, but…”

“I’m pregnant. Oh, my god.” She downs the rest of her tea. “I’m okay – I’m going to tell him.”

She hugs Robyn and they both squeal.

“You’ll need to book an appointment with Preston. I’m not sure about antenatal care when you’re on here full time. He’ll know.”

“Thanks. I’ll come to see you tomorrow. And it’s definite?”

“It’s definite.”

Darcie’s mind is racing in the lift and she keeps the test in her hand, in her pocket. She’s excited and scared to tell Logan all at the same time.

She knocks on the door; she forgot her key card.

He grins and pulls her in.

“We have some exciting news,” he says, and she frowns. How does he know? “You need to ring Katie. She wanted to tell you, but you weren’t here, so she told me, but she wants to tell you. She’s so excited she couldn’t hold it in. You mustn’t be cross with her – I coaxed it out of her.”

“Coaxed what? I’m confused.”

“Katie’s pregnant.”

“What? Oh!” Darcie forgets her own joy and sits on the bed, grabbing her phone.

“Darling!”

“Don’t be mad that I told dad.”

Darcie tuts. “Oh, I never could be. Darling – it’s the best news ever. Massive congratulations to you both. Is this why the wedding’s been brought forward.”

“Yes. I just didn’t want to say until I was three months along, until I knew it was okay.”

Darcie wishes she could hug her daughter and kiss her and comfort her in person.

“I understand that,” she says, wiping her eyes. She’s going to be a granny. And a mum. Shit.

“Are you okay mum?”

“Absolutely. I’m delighted – over the moon. Couldn’t be happier. We’re back in Southampton in three days. Any chance you guys could be there?”

“Yes. I need to check with Chris, but yes, I think so. Oh, mum, I’m so excited and scared.”

“You’ll be fine, my darling. It’ll be the most wonderful thing. You and Chris will make wonderful parents.”

“Thanks mum. I have to go. I’ll text you about Southampton.”

“Okay darling. Congratulations, again.”

Katie hangs up, and Darcie puts the phone down.

Shit!

Logan wraps her in his arms, pulling her to her feet, and spinning her around.

“I’m so happy!” he says. “How have I gained a daughter, and now a grandchild?” He whoops and she laughs. Shit. “Are you okay? You look shell-shocked. I’ll still love you, even though you’re an old granny.”

“How about an old mammy?”

“Well, yes, you’re an old mum, now I suppose. Oh, darling.”

He sits beside her on the bed and she reaches into her pocket and passes him the test. He takes it, but his expression is blank.

“Is this Katie’s? I don’t understand. How did you get it?”

She kisses his cheek and whispers. “It’s mine.”

She feels sick; she doesn’t know how he’s going to take this. Will he be happy or devastated? He’s so chuffed to be a grandad, but dad is different. With dad, you don’t get to hand the baby back at the end of the day.

“Yours? You’re pregnant?”

He looks blank for a moment and then his face splits into the most massive grin. He pulls her up to her feet again and hugs her, whirls her around, and then he drops to his knees and kisses her belly.

“Really? We’re having a baby?”

“We are. And you get to do the sleepless nights, this time.”

“Darcie, I will happily do all the sleepless nights. Woo hoo!”

He’s so loud and so excited and clearly so happy that she can’t stop laughing.

“I was worried you wouldn’t want it.”

“Are you crazy?”

He holds on to her and kisses the top of her head.

“Maybe.”

“I want you. A baby. Our daughter. A house in the country. Ten fucking dogs! I want it all.”

“I’m not telling her yet. I’m not bursting her bubble.”

“She’ll be glad to be a big sister.”

“She will, but not yet. I’ll say when the time is right.”

He nods and takes her hand.

“Oh, Darcie – who gets second chances like this?”

“Nobody I know,” she says, and it’s true. She feels more than lucky. She feels blessed. Truly blessed.

Addicted to Love

Bonus Chapter


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