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Authors: C.N. Watkins

Renewed (Awakened #2)

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renewed

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© 2013 by C.N. Watkins.

All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the author.

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and events are products of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events, places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

To my husband who not only awakened my soul

but renewed my spirit. My everything is

you.

 

Prologue

"Time for dinner, honey," I heard my mom scream from downstairs. Sam—being the snotty nosed six year old that she was—tripped me and made a mad dash for the stairs. Whoever got to the table first was able to sit by Momma. I caught Sam at the stairs and began ticking her uncontrollably. Being five years older than my sister, and twice her size, had its advantages. She fell to the floor on top of the stairs and started
spazzing
on the floor. I just laughed. She looked just like a fish out of water.

I stopped tickling her, taking advantage of the extra time I had while she composed herself, and sat down on the railing of our staircase. I slid all the way to the bottom and was met by my mother standing at the end with her arms crossed. I loved when I flew down it just right and landed on my feet.

"Didn't I tell you not to do that, Stefan?" My mom was trying very hard not start laughing.

"
Moooooom
. It's so much fun, though."

"Come eat before your food gets cold." She squeezed me around my shoulders as she led me to the dining room. My father sat at the head of the table, my mom next to him. I got to sit by Momma. Sam came running downstairs and sat in the chair next to me, clearly out of breath.

"That's not fair! Mom, I was coming down here before Stefan, but he started tickling me at the top of the stairs and I couldn't move. He did it on purpose!" She pointed her finger at me, waiting for Momma to say something.

"She started it. She tripped me when I came out of my bedroom." I put on my best whiny voice. She lowered her finger, but continued to sit there with her puppy dog eyes. Momma was always on my side; probably because I was her little boy and secretly her favorite.

"If you two don't stop, then nobody will sit next to me. Stefan, you can sit next to Momma tonight and Sam, you can sit next to me tomorrow night. You two need to be nice to each other and stop fighting." She leaned down and kissed each of us. The doorbell rang, and Sabrina jumped out of her seat next to Dad and ran to open it.

"Aunt Carol!" I heard Sabrina yell. Sabrina was five years older than me and really loud and annoying. All she cared about was boys and painting her fingernails. She never played with me because she was too busy hanging out with her friends.

Aunt Carol was Dad's younger sister by four years. I hated her; she was not nice at all. She occasionally watched me after school if I didn't go to my mom and dad's office, and that's where she did bad things to me. But I can't tell anyone. I promised her I wouldn't, and I don't break promises.

She leaned down in front of me. Aunt Carol had dark red hair and dark skin; I think she spent a lot of time outside. She always wore bright red lipstick and was too skinny. I backed up, instinctively, but she grabbed my arms and pulled me closer to her. I could smell the alcohol pouring out of her as she spoke. "How's my favorite little nephew doing? Give your auntie a hug and a kiss. Come on, don't be shy." She wrapped her arms around me.

After she hugged me, I went and found Momma and didn't leave her side. I ate in silence, not joining the discussion about school or friends or even Mom and Dad's work. When Aunt Carol was around, I became mute.

After dinner, I helped Mom clean up before going upstairs in my room to play. Aunt Carol came in a couple of minutes later and sat down on my bed while I sat in my chair to the side of her.

 
"Your mother just informed me that you are coming over tomorrow after school. We are going to have a lot of fun. Remember, this is our little secret, okay? I will pick you up where I usually do, see you then." She kissed me on top of the head and walked out, closing my door behind her. I got to my bed and pushed my face into my pillow and started crying. I hated keeping secrets, but I couldn't tell Momma or Dad because then Aunt Carol would punish me, and I still had a bruise on my backside from where she unleashed the leather whip on me after I forgot to call her ma'am.

I lay in my pillow and closed my eyes so tight that I thought my eyes were going to plop back in my head. Maybe if I wished hard enough and prayed hard enough, tomorrow would never come, and I’d be safe for the rest of my life from Aunt Carol.

 

Chapter 1

“Jennifer, what are you talking about?” Stefan stood to his feet, holding my hands tightly.

My stomach was turning in knots. I felt sick again.

 
How did this happen?

"Jennifer, are you okay?" Stefan quickly grabbed my waist. I was light-headed and needed to sit down. He lifted me up and put me on the table, and I immediately felt better. "Baby, please answer me," I looked up into his eyes; he was standing in between my legs, waiting not so patiently for my answer. I looked around to find we were alone, I couldn't think straight.

"Stefan, I...." I couldn't form the words out of the mouth.

Stop chickening out and just say it
.

“I’m…pregnant.” I blurted out. I sat there for what seemed like hours waiting for him to respond. All the color drained from his face as his eyes widened.

Great, he’s probably dead now
.

“I thought you were on birth control, Jennifer.” His voice was hard as he continued to stare blankly at me.

Well, he’s not dead.

“I never told you I was on birth control. You assumed.” The grip he had on my waist was starting to hurt. “Stefan, you’re hurting me.” I tried to remove his hands from my waist, but his arms were stiff and hard.

“How the fuck could you be irresponsible? Why weren’t you on birth control?” He pulled his hands away from me and threw them in the air as he took a couple of steps back.

“Me? Stefan, we both did this.” I was trying to be calm, but it was taking everything I had not to slap him. This was just as much his fault.

“I thought you were on the pill!” he yelled, startling me. He ran his hands through his hair as we locked eyes.

“What do you want me to say, asshole? You want me just to snap my fingers and make this all go away?” My voice grew louder as the tears clouded my vision. I snapped my fingers in the air as I stared at him. “There
ya
go,
babe
. Everything is better.” I put my hands over my stomach, rubbing it. “Oh, wait. Baby is still in there. It doesn’t work that way, Stefan. It happened, now we have to move on and deal with it.”

Stefan didn’t move, or talk, and I was beginning to worry that he wasn’t breathing.

After what seemed like an eternity, Stefan took a deep, calming breath as he walked over to me, grabbing my face in his hands. The tears wouldn’t stop.

“Baby, please don’t cry. Jesus Christ, I’m stupid! I’m sorry, baby. We will figure something out, but I’ve never wanted a kid. I can’t be a good father.” I saw the look of defeat in his eyes. “There are days I don’t even think I could be a good husband, but my love for you is the one thing in my life that I know is good.” He planted a strong, passionate kiss on my lips as he wiped my eyes with his thumbs. “You are everything I want. You are my forever, Jennifer. This isn’t how I planned things, but we will figure it all out, baby. I promise.”

He placed a hand on my flat stomach, and I smiled, knowing my future was him and this bean inside of me. “I’m so sorry for yelling at you. We will get through this,” Stefan said as he wiped the tears away.

“I’m sorry too. For yelling. I shouldn’t-”

“You had every right to scream at me. I was being an ass. I deserved to be yelled at and called an…what did you say…asshole?” He smirked at me.

I just called him an asshole! High five!

“So, about that proposal...?”

"Stefan, I’m yours. Why do we need to put a label on it?"

"Because with this ring you can't run from me anymore, Jennifer. You can't leave when the going gets rough. This ring means you will stay with me forever, through the good times and the bad. When you’re not with me, I get so scared that when I come back you’ll be gone. I have nightmares about it. You don't understand." He hung his head and swiped a finger under his eye.

“Stefan…”

“Jennifer, it’s a yes or no question. Please, just answer it with that.”

"Stefan, it's hard for me to commit. I've lived my whole life watching my mom leave my dad, and I don't want to be like that anymore, but I don’t know what else to do.”

“Then let me show you. No, let me teach you that things can be different. You don’t have to run from me, Jennifer.” He brushed my hair behind my ear and sent a shiver coursing through my body. “Are you cold?”

“No, I just…I don’t know, Stefan. What if I can’t? I don’t want to ever have the same relationship that my parents did. I won’t do that to myself, or to anyone I love. That’s why it’s better if I don’t get married. Ever. Then I won’t have to worry about hurting you.”

“You live with me, for Christ’s sake.” He stood to his feet and put his hands over his eyes, rubbing them. “You’re pregnant with my fucking child! How is this going to be any different?”

Way to go. I sure know how to defuse a situation
.

“Because if we get married, we’re doomed.”

“Not every marriage is like your mom and dad’s marriage, Jennifer. It is possible for two people to be in love and stay in love their whole life. My parents were happily married before my father passed away. There are hundreds and thousands of people out in the world who are in a loving marriage all of their lives.”

 
“I know that, but that kind of stuff doesn’t happen to me. I’ve never had the happily ever after. Why would Earth be so willing to offer it to me now?” I stepped a little closer to him.

“I can’t believe I am arguing with you about marrying me.” He chuckled. “This is insane. Either you want to marry me, or you don’t. Simple question.”

“I do-”

“Then stop putting a fucking but at the end. Marry me.” He went down on one knee again.

“Do you promise-”

“Jennifer, I promise to love you. I promise to protect you and give my life in exchange for yours. I promise to hold you and cry with you when times are hard and laugh with you when times are good. I promise to teach you and in return learn from you. I promise to give you the moon and the stars every night and the sun and the clouds every day.

“I can’t live without you. I refuse to live without you. I want this ring on your finger to show everybody that you are off the market. We don’t have to get married right now. We can wait, but I want to know that eventually you will be Mrs. Jennifer Long. The love of my life and the only woman who has ever completely stolen my heart.” He looked at me with so much love and passion in his eyes, I found myself getting lost in them. I could see myself being Jennifer Rene Long; I could see our little bean, myself, and this man living happily ever after.

Mrs. Jennifer Rene Long

I needed to trust not only my heart but my gut too. I had to shut my damn head up, it always ruined good things for me. Not every marriage is perfect, and yes there are a lot of people who get divorced out there, but I didn’t have to be one of those. I could have a long, happy marriage as long as I wanted to. I controlled my destiny.

“Yes.” I paused, letting that single word sink in, and hoping that it would shut my head up.

“Yes?” He jumped up to his feet with more excitement then I had ever seen from him.

“Yes.” I pounded that word into my head. Like it or not, I had to take this leap of faith with him. I deserved it, he deserved it, and our bean deserved it.

He grabbed me by my waist and swung me around. “Jennifer, I promise to make you the happiest woman on this planet. I love you so much.” He crashed his lips into mine, opening my mouth with his tongue and biting my lower lip. I ran my hands through his soft hair as we kissed, our tongues intertwining with each other. He ran his hands over my ass, squeezing it and causing a moan to escape my lips. He squeezed my ass one more time before unlocking out lips and staring into my eyes.

“Stop distracting me, Jennifer. I still have to put a ring on your finger.”

I giggled as he sat me down on my feet and grabbed my left hand as he slipped on the huge diamond ring.

“It’s a 2.5 carat Tiffany ring,” he informed me.

Holy shit, girlfriend! You have a 2.5 carat ring on your finger!

The ring was absolutely breathtaking. It was white gold with a big diamond in the center that was cushioned with diamonds on the outside and diamonds streaming down the band. It looked like an antique ring with a little modern touch to it.

“Stefan, I…I love it.”

“I saw it, and I knew it was you. Now everyone can tell from a mile away that you are mine.” He winked at me, then slapped my ass. “Now get dressed so we can go eat.”

“I’m not finished with my massage,” I tried to protest, but I knew I wouldn’t win.

Do I ever win with him?

Sure don’t!

“I’ll give you a special one tonight after dinner, promise.” He leaned down and kissed me before turning on his heels and exiting the room.

I looked down at my hand again. The huge ring was still sitting on there, staring at me. I honestly didn’t feel like I deserved this ring on my finger; it was too flashy and too expensive, but I knew Stefan wouldn’t let me trade it for anything less. When he set his mind on something he wanted, there was no way around it.

I got dressed, then walked out the double doors and towards the front door. I started rubbing my belly again as I saw Stefan jump to his feet when he saw me. I could see the happiness in his eyes and for that, I was grateful.

“Where are going to eat?” I asked as he took my hand and led me through the front door.

“Dinner is being prepared at my home for us with my mom and sisters.”

I stopped in my tracks.
Was he being serious?
“Stefan, I need to shower and get ready first. And I don’t think I brought anything nice to wear.”

“Calm down,” he paused and opened the door to the SUV. “You have plenty of time to get ready before they come over.”

That calmed me down. I got into the SUV and scooted over, allowing him room to sit next to me.

“Congratulations, Jennifer,” Charles said, turning around and smiling at me.

I smiled back. “Thank you.”

“Charles, we need to tell you something else.” Stefan placed his hand on my thigh and squeezed it. “We’re…pregnant.” We turned our gaze from each other to Charles who was smiling.

“Well, congratulations on that too. I am very happy for you both.”

“Thank you, Charles. You can take us home, please.” Charles turned around and we started moving.

“I don’t think I will ever get use to this blinding rock on my finger.” I moved it side to side while staring at it.

“Yes you will. It looks perfect on your hand.” He lifted my ring finger up and kissed it, sending butterflies running through my body.

“Why did you have to get it so big?”

“Because I want everyone to know that you are off the market. That you belong to someone, and you are very special to that person.” He squeezed my hand and ran his thumb down my jaw to my lips. He traced my lips with his thumb and licked his lips at the same time. Oh man, he was going to have me wet and screaming his name before we even exited this damn vehicle.

“So, uh..” I tore my gaze from his. “How come your mom and sisters are coming over?”

“To celebrate.” He ran his fingers over my breast, making me suck in my next breath.

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