Nurturing was in his personality.
Was it greedy to want one of their own as well?
Alex was supposed to be sterile, but they had been wrong about that.
It was possible after all - but was it moral?
On that subject she was adamant.
Maybe he thought she would change her mind, but it wasn't going to happen.
Alex was romantic enough to understand the sentimental significance of the home she had inherited.
It was the first time she thought of Katie that way.
Obviously he was still struggling with it.
Her heart was starting to flutter.
He was head of the house - the one who made final decisions.
This was the final step.
It was no small decision for her.
This was a decision she had already made once - but not really.
Alex was doing everything in his power to provide her with all the experiences of a natural mother.
It was true, and it brought color to his neck, but he didn't comment.
His voice was controlled.
Maybe something was wrong all along.
He was going to call the doctor.
Her sigh was a mixture of contentment and relief.
In the meantime, Thanksgiving was coming up - and then Christmas.
Alex was uneasy because he and his biological father had never seen eye to eye.
She was uneasy because she had never been on a plane before.
His birth father already suspected she was a country bumpkin.
Her face was burning.
Once the fire of passion was gone, it was embarrassing.
No one could deny that Alex was a devoted husband and father.
Bill was family because he was married to Alex's sister.
When Carmen's father died, she thought she was alone in the world, yet all these people had been there for her.
Alex had been the one who helped her see them as true family, and yet he was having issues accepting his own father.
Apparently his greatest concern was the fact that his mother was married to his adoptive father at the time he was conceived.
That was a double-edged hurt, though, because Alex adored his adoptive father.
With so many people at their house, it was fortunate that the weather was warm and dry so they could utilize the courtyard for the children.
Mr. Reynolds was indifferent to the subject.
That idea was troublesome to Carmen as well.
When Josh died, Mary had indicated that she felt Carmen was at least partially responsible.
In fact, at times she had been almost brutally clear that she was no longer interested in him.
She wasn't vain enough to think that turned him to drinking, though.
Maybe it was her way of keeping Josh alive.
At any rate, today was no different.
That was when Mary decided to relieve her mind of a troubling thought.
What did you really think when you found out Alex was a Mexican?
I can't imagine what he was thinking to hide a thing like that from you.
All I could think about was that I had a living father-in-law.
Communicating feelings with Alex wasn't always easy.
He was such a wonderful person in so many ways.
At ten years old, Jonathan was almost as tall as she was.
He was getting to be quite a handsome young man.
She was only a month into two years old, but she was big for her age.
What was he disappointed about - the new baby?
He wouldn't have approved - of that she was certain.
Then there was the money he left to Carmen.
On the other hand, the dream was in her head, not his.
What was she making him disappointed about?
That was a no-brainer.
It was one thing to tell herself everything was resolved, but quite another to thoroughly accept something she had always considered wrong.
He was respectful of her concerns, but they didn't see eye-to-eye on any of it - except the fact that they both wanted another child.
"I was," she whispered.
The coop was a comfortable 48°F - warm enough to keep the eggs from freezing, but cold enough that the chickens didn't get shocked by the temperature change when they went out of the coop.
Princess was supposed to foal again in January.
Six-month old Dandy nickered to his mother, but Casper was busy talking to Princess and Dawn.
She was due to foal in July.
Somehow it simply wasn't top priority in her life right now.
At least at this point, the old house was paying for itself.
He intended it as a joke, but the memory it resurrected was painful.
She was an only child who had been very welcome.
They put her through college and it was her intent to stay with them as long as they needed her.
For her, losing them was painful enough, but losing a mate - that would be agonizing.
She was equally certain that he would have loved them.
In business transactions Alex was frugal with his money, but when it came to his family, he was generous.
The household account he had set up for her was healthy and growing with the monthly deposits he made.
Katie said that was because Carmen had been raised poor and had become frugal.
That might be true, but there was no point in working at becoming a spendthrift simply because he had money.
In fact, that was a good way to make sure he didn't.
It was nice having Alex home all day and having the family together, but all good things come to an end.
There was shopping and packing to be done before they left on vacation.
As busy as she was, time had to be set aside for play with Destiny.
She was a veritable garden of indecision.
Well, that wasn't entirely true.
If God thought it was wrong, nothing we could have done would have been successful.
It wouldn't have been so much fun for him if she had reacted the way he did when she told him she was pregnant.
But then, he had reason - in his head - to believe it wasn't his.
As it was, the kids might pick up on her fear and emulate.
Aside from packing, there was also decorating to be done.
She had to move a few things to make room, but that wasn't too hard.
When she glanced at him, he was eyeing her, a wry smile twisting his lips.
It was presumptuous of him to purchase them.
I know it still galls you that he was willing to help pay for your college education, but not Katie's.
Jonathan came in as Carmen was setting the table.
Alex was watching her, his expression unreadable.
To him, it was no different than artificially inseminating a cow at his clinic... well, the concept wasn't.
Why hadn't it occurred to her that Jonathan might feel he was being replaced?
He was simply one of their children.
I think he felt included because he was helping as much as we were.
"I wasn't thinking," she said.
He was going to like the clothes she bought for the trip.
It wasn't something she would normally do - buying clothes specifically for a trip.
But this wasn't just any trip.
Besides, it was time to replace some of the things she'd been wearing since before they were married.
It was one of those break-through moments.
It was embarrassing to think she had let it go on this long without realizing he was troubled by it.
It was going to be nice having nothing to do but enjoy their little family for the next two weeks.
When she reached Destiny's room, Jonathan was already dressed and was helping Destiny.
I was so excited that I couldn't sleep, so I got up and dressed.
He was dressed in his usual indigo jeans and western shirt.
He didn't want to go, so maybe this was his expression of resistance.
Now he knew what a chicken she was.
Still, the feel of his hand was reassuring.
It wasn't so bad.
When she glanced up at him, even his smile was reassuring.
Outside of this being her first trip in an airplane, the rest of the flight was uneventful.
Alex didn't look at Carmen, which was her first inkling that something was amiss.
Alex wasn't much help, though.
Her dark shining hair was pulled back loosely with bejeweled combs and hung in loose curls down her back.
Señor Medena eyed Carmen thoughtfully, but like Alex, there was no way of knowing what was on his mind.
Carmen tried to focus on Felipa, but her mind was full of questions.
Maybe Katie wasn't the only one who had been overlooked by Señor Medena when it came to inheritance.
Maybe it was the soft accent that held her attention.
Alex was cordial to his father and formal to his sister.
If their meeting today was any indication, this visit was going to be interesting - if not uncomfortable.
The fact that there was nothing to protect her from was irrelevant.
That she doubted, but his tone was confident.
It is a beautiful day, but yesterday it was cold.
Señor Medena was watching Alex, but from the corner of her eye Carmen could see Alex was looking out the window.
Was he actually avoiding conversation with his father?
We... actually, I... was thinking about adopting a few wild horses from out west where they have too many.
It wasn't like him to be petty.
This wasn't the Alex she knew.
Señor Medena was watching him intently.
It simply wasn't like him to be rude like that.
It was a long time back, before they were married.
It was impossible to know what was going on in Señor Medena's mind by observing his expression.
His chuckle was soft.
Maybe he was simply tired.
It was a hacienda, not a ranch, and Señor Medena was the patrón.
More than likely the correction was to prevent her from being embarrassed.
At any rate, the Medena hacienda was impressive.
If the outside was impressive, the inside was magnificent.
It was his way of focusing in - pulling her close without the intimacy of touching.
Sometimes he even did it when there was a room full of people between them.
Actually, she hadn't thought how it looked to others - and there had never been any doubt in her mind that she was fortunate to have Alex.
Her eyes were almond shaped, the brown of the iris so dark that it was almost black.
Her jet black hair was swept up gracefully into a plaited crown.
Alondra was attractive in a delicate way - her features more refined.
Her dark hair was pulled back severely from a narrow face.
And yet, there was something about her that suggested she was in uncharted waters - maybe body language.
Alex introduced Jonathan and their welcome to him was equally warm.
He probably didn't realize that his hostility toward Señor Medena was being transferred to Jonathan as anxiety.
I think she was merely directing the comment at you because she thought you might want to know.
His brows lifted and his chuckle was deep and warm.
It's winter - or was at home.
They swelled and blended smoothly - and that flat tummy was so masculine.
In fact, everything about him was masculine.
That pleased smile was on his lips again and his eyes held a glint of humor.
His voice was husky.
All the same, he was the one who broke the embrace.
The idea of making love in a strange bedroom was disturbing enough, but with only a door between them and the children, locked or not, it didn't feel right.
Tonight, when it was dark, she could pretend they were at home.
The man sitting at the other end of the table was introduced to them as Morino el capataz - their foreman, Morino.
The boy who sat beside him was his son.
Apparently the duo was considered part of the family.
He was being positively rude.
When Jonathan spoke, the distraction was welcome.
Carmen shot a glance at Alex, who was giving his meal undue attention.
There was no reason Alex shouldn't tell his father.
It was no secret.
There was no way to defend her moral objections without seeding doubt in his mind.
Having a baby was something they should be excited about - talking about to others.
And yet, she was reluctant to say anything to church members - even family members.
And now she was even resenting Alex for telling his father.
Maybe he was thinking about Alexia, but that was still on their land, in the old house before it was renovated.
Or maybe he was thinking about their conversation last night.
But this wasn't about intimacy - was it?
It was about privacy and morality.
Morino said this horse was gentle.
When they turned around, Alex was still on the horse.
His face was still pale.
The belt buckle that deflected the knife from his heart was now irritating the scar.
Normally it was a raised area, dark pink, but now it looked red and angry.
He did not act as if it was bothering him.
What was that supposed to mean?
He was alright and they probably wouldn't do it again.
Maybe that was what Felipa was talking about - that she fussed over him too much.
The rest of the ride was pleasant.
Maybe it was jet lag - whatever that was.
Alex said nothing, his stoic features giving no suggestion of what was on his mind.
I have been made acutely aware of that fact since I was a child.
In that moment she was certain she saw something in his eyes - something akin to remorse.
You saw how he was.
Alex was watching her intently.
Jonathan was gazing up at Felipa with an adoring expression.
Christmas was only a few days away, and yet it didn't seem like Christmas.
Carmen was up first, showering and dressing before Alex woke.
It was almost as if he were shutting Felipa off before she could reveal something.
But that was behind them.
The shopping trip was exciting because it was so close to Christmas, but otherwise uneventful.
It was time to shove those old inhibitions out of their bedroom.
It was probably the first money, other than the air fares, Señor Medena had been able to spend on Alex - and even then he had to do it through Felipa.
If she was invited, it was as a guest of Alex, so he would tell her when and if he decided to go.
I just thought it was because he was so good looking.
Felipa tipped her head to the side, as if she was considering that information.
But it was more.
Maybe Felipa had a love she wasn't sure about.
But if you could trust him this way and there was no electricity, would it still be love?
It was Alex who talked her into the IVF, but what did it matter?
It wasn't an easy decision.
It was true, of course.
It was the way she wanted it as well.
She wasn't contributing money, but she was certainly contributing her share.
The room was silent for a few minutes after they left.
Carmen's smile was wry.
"I was raised poor," Carmen said.
Whatever the case, it certainly wasn't worth arguing about.
Maybe that was the problem.
Or was it the other way around?
His father was never able to get custody of him as a child.
Now he was exerting his authority in another way.
It wasn't as if he had to be there every living minute of his life.
Hopefully she wasn't offended.
He wasn't hurt, he interjected.
It was nice to hear English spoken without a Spanish accent.
Jonathan was sitting on his bed, watching TV in his pajamas.
Even so, Alex wasn't back by the time she got out.
It wasn't the first time she had gone to bed while he was out on a call, but it was the first time she had done so away from home.
If this was what defined a vacation away from home, she'd just as soon stay at home.
She was still awake an hour later when Alex came through the door.
Better. I think she was foundered.
Oh, I was supposed to tell you about a party.
Felipa was telling me.
The boxes were heavy, so carrying two of them was too much weight to handle.
Jonathan was up early and ready to go, so Alex hurriedly showered and dressed.
How could he do such a thing in front of Jonathan... and where was Jonathan?
It was all just good clean fun.
I don't think anyone was timing me.
Beautiful he was, but he also looked high spirited.
He wasn't going to buy it.
He was merely admiring it.
The architecture was fantastic, but not near as exciting as the ride on a ferry.
The weather was balmy, adding to the enjoyment of the day.
Pleasant as it was, they had to go back.
She was so worn out that she fell asleep at the table.
If he thought Alex was warming to him, he saw more than she did.
That night after Jonathan was in bed, Carmen turned to Alex.
For a minute there, I thought I was getting forgetful.
Carmen couldn't make out more than a few words, but one of them was mare.
The warm bubble bath was relaxing.
A friend, certainly, but their relationship was also romantic so best friend didn't seem like a good description.
When she glanced at Alex, he was watching her intently.
His response was a warm smile.
Jonathan was watching them intently.
The word usage examples above have been gathered from various sources to reflect current and historial usage. They do not represent the opinions of YourDictionary.com.