By: V. A. Dold & Tori Austin

 (Le Beau Series HEA Book 1)

Chapter 1

Anna sat on the edge of the bed to put her tennis shoes on. Try as she might, there was no reaching the laces with her six-month pregnant belly in the way. Not only was she the size of a small elephant, but her feet also looked like water balloons.

I can’t believe it’s come to this already.

Growling, she kicked them off and returned to her closet for a pair of slip-on loafers. She wondered for a moment if a shifter baby was just plain bigger than a human baby. Twenty-some years ago when she had Thomas and John, she’d managed to make it to her eighth month before her waistline got out of control. But here she was only two-thirds along and as big as a house. Even her doctor was concerned and had her scheduled for an ultrasound today.

“Cher, we need to get moving,” Cade called from the front door. “We’re going to be late. Would you like me to put your pillow in the car or pack you a snack?”

Anna rolled her eyes. “I won’t kill him. I won’t kill him,” she repeated over and over.

Cade was driving her nuts! Damn, she knew his behavior stemmed directly from their mating bond, but the lovable man was worse than an old, wet hen. In his opinion, a rare, ancient relic couldn’t be more delicate.

"It’s not like I’m made of glass and I’ll break, for crying out loud,” she mumbled.

Somehow in the few minutes it took to change her shoes, Cade managed to load the car with her orthopedic pillow, and a picnic basket filled with roasted chicken, crackers, fresh fruit, and bottled water.

“Are you planning on being gone all day?” Anna chided, raising an eyebrow at him.

Cade frowned, a look of total befuddlement on his face. “No. Why?”

“Never mind,” Anna grumbled as she got into the car. “If you haven’t gotten it by now, you’re not going to.”

Cade hustled to the driver’s seat and leaned over to check her seatbelt before he belted himself in and started the car.

“Really?” Anna snarled, raising both brows this time. “I love you dearly, but you need to stop, or I’m leaving you home and taking Rose with me.”

Cade looked sheepish, blushing an adorable shade of red, and kissed her cheek. “Sorry, mon amour. I know I get a little overprotective. I’ll try to do better.”

Cade was uneasy; Anna had been silent most of the way to town. “Is something bothering you, cher?”

She turned toward him with concerned eyes. “I’ve never asked about when a shifter child first becomes able to change to their wolf form. Tell me Dr. Marjorie isn’t going to see a puppy on the ultrasound.”

Cade struggled to maintain a serious expression. “No, cher. She will see a human baby. Our child won’t shift until he or she is around one-year-old.”

“Thank goodness.”


Cade lucked out when he found an open parking space near the door. Glancing at the love of his life, he decided to keep the knowledge he would have circled until a car pulled out to himself. He didn’t want her walking any further than she had to, and if he’d done that, she would have gotten annoyed with him all over again.

He shook his head at his own behavior. He knew he needed to relax; even his father had pulled him aside the other night for a ‘pep’ talk. Telling himself to behave, he helped her from the car.

“Is there anything special we need to do when you check in? I’ve never seen an ultrasound done before.”

“No, nothing special. They’ll call us when it’s our turn.”

Cade nodded, pressing his lips together to keep them from flapping with the hundred questions he wanted to ask. Besides, he was pretty sure the doctor would cover everything he wanted to know during the appointment, and asking Dr. Marjorie was a lot safer.

His mother had told him at least one hundred times that both Anna and the baby were perfectly healthy. All he had to do was look at her glowing skin to know they were doing great. Still, he wouldn’t be able to take a deep breath until this appointment was over.

Why would the doctor want an ultrasound if there weren't something wrong?

Cade. Relax.

Sorry, cher. I didn’t mean to think so loudly.

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