Inspire Me | Carrie Ann Ryan
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Carrie Ann Ryan Carrie Ann Ryan

Inspire Me

A visit with Shep and Shea.

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Inspire Me

While numbers usually calmed Shea; today, they only annoyed her. Her head hurt, her back ached, and she hadn’t been able to sleep for longer than a few hours at a time since she’d gone back to work. Of course, if she were truly honest with herself, she hadn’t slept a full night since before Livvy was born.

Totally worth it, since Livvy was her everything. But right then, all she wanted was a nap.

And a tumble with her husband, Shep.

A long tumble against the door, on the table, or even over the back of the couch. She and Shep weren’t much for beds. Or they hadn’t been—before Livvy. Now, with a child toddling around and getting into everything with her adorably curious mind, sex outside the bedroom hadn’t been on their radar for a bit.

Shea let out a breath and put away her computer. She’d already done her work for the day at the office and needed to get dinner started since Shep would be home any minute. They took turns cooking dinner depending on what shift Shep worked at the tattoo shop. Since she’d gotten home first tonight, it was her turn.

“Mommy!” Livvy tottered her way out of her bedroom and ran smack into Shea’s legs.

Letting out a grunt, she bent to pick up her daughter, smothering her baby with kisses. “You want to help Mommy make tacos?”

“Yuck! Cake!” Livvy was at the age where everything had to be yelled, even if it didn’t make sense. Plus, she only wanted cake. Everything else was yucky.

Shea held back a roll of her eyes since Livvy had already caught on to that trait far too early. “Tacos, darling. Not cake.”

“Cake!” Livvy yelled once again, a smile on her face.

Shea blew a raspberry on Livvy’s cheek, loving the way her baby giggled. “Tacos.”

A long sigh. “Okay.”

“Thank you for agreeing,” Shea said with a laugh and carried her daughter to the kitchen. She set Livvy in her chair and snapped her in place so she wouldn’t inadvertently get in the way and hurt herself.

Humming along with the songs that her little girl sang and rambled, Shea browned the meat and stirred the beans while chopping up veggies for the toppings. She was so into what she was doing that she almost screamed when large hands gripped her hips.

Of course, she knew whose hands those were and exactly what the man pressed firmly behind her wanted. She wanted to do the same to him.

“Holy hell, Shep. Don’t do that when I’m holding a knife. You scared the crap out of me.”

He kissed her neck, the scrape of his beard intoxicating. “I couldn’t help it. You were bent over just enough that it put all these dirty thoughts into my head.”

She sighed and moved her head to the side as he licked and kissed his way up her neck. “I’m having those dirty thoughts, too.”

He bit down, and she shuddered, dropping the knife on the cutting board.


Shea let out a sigh, and Shep gave her a quick kiss over where he’d bitten, then went back to the other woman in his life. She looked over as Shep picked up Livvy, their daughter going into a dramatic recitation of everything that had happened that day as Shep nodded along, a smile on his face.

If she didn’t already love him, seeing the big, tattooed man holding the little girl with such rapt joy on his face, would have made her fall for him. As it was, she fell just a little bit more in love with him right then.

“I love you,” Shea said with a smile.

Shep turned with Livvy in his arms and grinned. “Yeah? I love you, too.”

She licked her lips and went back to browning the meat. “Tacos should be ready soon. Will you set the table?”

“No problem.” She heard Shep move around with Livvy in his arms, setting things out on the table and getting her juice cup ready for dinner.

“I thought you’d be later,” she said as she served up the meat and toppings.

“Sassy’s out for the week on a family vacation, and the others were taking over the shop.” He paused. “When you have time tonight, I have something to ask you.” At the sound of his serious tone, she looked up.

“What’s going on?”

He shook his head as he buckled Livvy back in her highchair. “Let’s eat first and get this one ready for bed before we talk.”

She sighed. “Well now that you’ve gotten my interest piqued, I’m worried. What’s going on, Shep?”

He kissed her softly. “Good things. At least, I hope.”

She pressed her lips together as she pulled away but didn’t object when he pulled her onto his lap. She leaned into him, missing his touch more and more these days. His hours had been weird recently at the shop, and he’d been working more than usual. She was starting to get worried.

His body tensed. “Damn, I knew I should have waited to say something,” he said after a moment, letting out a breath. “What do you think of Colorado Springs?”

She blinked. “You mean where your sisters and parents live?” She knew everyone used to live in Denver before each set of cousins moved to a different major city in Colorado. She wasn’t sure why that had happened, but she figured it had to do with work. Of all of the Montgomery cousins—and there were a lot of them—Shep had been the only one to permanently move out of state to New Orleans.

“Yeah. There. Adrienne, Austin, and Maya have been talking and…well…”

Her eyes widened as he spoke, and she blinked.

Well, that wasn’t what she’d been expecting at all. And yet…and yet she knew it was exactly what they needed.


To find out what happens next, be sure to read the Montgomery Ink series!




end of story