Story of Us (Love Unexpected)(119)

By: Jody Holford

He stroked the soft, downy, definitely-Strombi dark hair. “I’m still here, baby girl,” he murmured. He touched her fist, and Ava’s tiny fingers circled his index finger, holding tight.

“Talk to her,” Sophia said.

Declan adjusted his position so his other hand could stroke Sophia’s hair as Ava held his finger. He couldn’t be comfortable, but she knew he didn’t care. As long as he could be close to them.

“Close your eyes, Sophe.”

She did, smiling into the semi-darkness as their daughter nursed and Declan’s voice stroked over them both with affection.

“Want to hear a story, Ava? It’s about me, your mommy, and you and how we became a family.”

Sophia’s eyes popped open, and her heart tripped.

Declan smiled at her in a way that told her she’d found her forever. “It’s the story of us.”

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Every once in a while, an author falls in love with their own story. I’m not sure what makes this one more special to me but I’m so excited to share Declan and Sophia with all of you, so thank you for reading it. To my family who always support and encourage me. Our story is my favorite.

To all of my writer pals who listened, offered advice and support and are just there for me every day. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such an amazing group of people. Thank you to Jennifer Probst who is not only sweet and lovely to me but encouraged all of us to write naked. I feel like maybe, just maybe, I did that more with this novel than any other.

To advanced readers and long time supporters who’ve become my friends; thank you. To Nicole, my…I’m just going to go with friend because she wears so many hats and helps me so much that it seems like the best title. Thank you for making my words beautiful with your images and for your constant support. To my agent, Fran for having my back. Always. Thank you.

To Stacy and the team at Entangled but mostly Stacy. I probably emailed you more about this book than all the others together. Thank you for your patience, your humor, and your incredible insight into making this story more of what I wanted it to be.

To all of the people I may not have mentioned: you matter. I appreciate you. Know that I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share my words and to have such awesome people in my life.

To Matt. You’re my happily ever after. “If I’m gonna be famous, I want to be famous with you.”

And clearly, to Old Dominion, who were the soundtrack to this book.

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