Owned By A Sinner: Epilogue 1

Kiara

Looking at my wedding dress – the bodice, a corset design of crystal embellishments and sheer paneling, and the skirt made of white silk with a thigh-high slit – I feel like the luckiest woman in the world.

Today I’m marrying Liam.

I wish Dad was here to walk me down the aisle. I’m sure if he saw how much Liam loved me, he would’ve approved.

“Smile down on me from heaven, Daddy,” I whisper.

“I’m sure he is,” Mom says as she comes to stand behind me. She places her hands on my shoulders and turns me to face her, adjusting my veil.

“Sweet Jesus, my baby’s getting married,” she says, her voice straining as emotion threatens to overwhelm her.

My throat closes up, and I have to blink fast to keep the tears back. “Don’t make me cry, Mom. The makeup.”

“I’ll just fix it again,” Denise says where she’s sipping on a glass of champagne. “But let’s not tempt fate.” Setting the flute down, she picks up my bouquet and brings it to me.

I take the flowers from her and suck in a deep breath of air. “God, it’s really happening.”

“Deeper breaths,” Denise laughs at me, then glances at Mom. “You too. You’re both going to pass out at this rate.”

Denise walks to the door and opening it, she says to Will, “She’s ready.” Glancing back, she gives me a warm smile. “See you downstairs.”

I swallow hard on the emotion welling in my chest, then take hold of Mom’s hand. The wedding’s being held in the same church where we had Dad’s funeral. I wanted to be as close as I could get to him today.

When we reach the top of the stairs, I look at Mom.

“Ready, sweetie?”

I nod, the smile around my mouth trembling. “You?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be.”

The opening notes for ’I get to love you’ by Ruelle start to fill the air.

With my hand tightly in Mom’s, we slowly take the stairs down. When I reach the bottom, and I lift my head, it’s to see Liam taking a step back as if he was physically punched. He presses a fist to his mouth, shaking his head, his features drawn tight with awe.

That’s my man up there.

We’ve decorated the ceiling of the church with lightbulbs hanging down. The warm light shining from them makes everything look magical. White lilies adorn the pews, a white carpet rolled out down the aisle.

Slowly, Mom walks me up the aisle. I don’t take in any of the guests. Just Liam.

Unable to contain the love I feel for him, a tear slips down my cheek.

Stopping in front, Mom lifts my veil and presses a kiss on my cheek. “I hope you find all the happiness this world has to offer with Liam.”

“Thank you, Mom.”

She gives Liam a hug, whispering something to him.

Finally, he comes to stand in front of me. He doesn’t bother wiping the tear escaping his right eye. “You’re so beautiful it hurts.”

Reaching up, I catch the teardrop with the tip of my finger.

We turn to face the priest, who clears his throat then says, “Dearly beloved, we’re gathered here today to celebrate the holy union of Liam Owen Byrne and Kiara Murphy.”

I don’t take in half of the ceremony, my heart fluttering as if it’s grown wings.

Turning to face Liam, my heart takes flight.

“I, Liam Owen Byrne, take thee, Kiara Murphy, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”

Our love wraps us up in a safe cocoon where nothing can hurt me.

When it’s my turn, I say, “I, Kiara Murphy, take thee, Liam Owen Byrne, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”

Liam’s mouth curves up, satisfaction darkening the circle around his blue irises, then he murmurs, “Mine.”

The priest lets out a chuckle. “Yes, she’s yours. I pronounce you husband and wife. You may k –”

Liam wraps his arms around me, and I’m yanked to his chest, his mouth taking mine with the same hunger as when he first kissed me.

The church and all the guests fall away until there’s only us and our happily ever after.

 


 

Liam

 

Two years later…

I’m in the middle of a board meeting when my phone vibrates on the table. Seeing Declan’s name flashing on the screen, I grab the device. “What?”

“You better come now!” he says, then shouts, “Get a fuckin’ doctor now, or I swear, so help me God–”

“Stop threatening the nurse,” Kiara snaps at him. “Oh, God. I’m going to die.”

“What the fuck is going on?” I shout to get Declan’s attention while shooting up from my chair and rushing out of the boardroom.

“Kiara’s havin’ contractions. You better come. I don’t know what to fuckin’ do. I wasn’t trained for– You’re breakin’ my fuckin’ hand!”

“Don’t shout at me,” Kiara yells, then she growls, “Don’t you dare let go.”

“You hold her fucking hand, Declan. I swear I’ll shoot you in the knee if you let go,” I threaten him as I take the emergency stairs down because I don’t have time for the elevator.

“Hurry, boss. Just fuckin’ hurry.” He gulps deep breaths. “Jesus, where’s the doctor?”

“Will you all calm down,” I hear another woman’s voice. “She’s still dilating. You’d swear the baby’s about to pop out.”

“Put me on speaker,” I order.

“Good to go, boss.”

“Kiara? Baby?”

“Tell me you’re almost here,” she cries.

“I’m almost there. Five minutes.” I say as I climb into the SUV. The phone connects to Bluetooth, so I can put it down in the holder. “You’re doing the breathing exercises, right?”

“God, Liam, I don’t have time to breathe.” I hear her groan, the sound agonizing.

“I’m almost there. Breathe with me.” I push the gas pedal to the floor. “In.” I listen as she takes a breath. “Out.” It wooshes from her, then she groans again.

“Don’t push yet,” the nurse says.

“It h-hurts,” Kiara sobs.

“Give her something for the pain!” I shout as I take a turn sharp, the SUV’s tail skidding.

Just then, I hear, “Mrs. Byrne, you’re a whole two weeks early.”

“Dr. Boyle, give her something for the pain,” I tell the man.

“Just about to give her an epidural,” he says, his tone comforting.

I find a parking space, and grabbing the phone, I hightail it out of the SUV. “I’m here. Where do I go?”

“Comin’ to get you, boss,” Declan says.

I end the call, tucking the device into my pocket, and jog through the entrance of the hospital.

I head in the direction of the maternity ward, figuring they’ll be in that area. When I see Declan jogging toward me, relief on his face, I ask, “Where’s she?”

“This way.” He flexes his fingers. “She’s got one hell of a grip.”

“Of course, she’s my wife,” I mutter, then finally walking into the room, I go straight to Kiara, taking her hand. Leaning over her, I press a kiss to her damp forehead.

She starts to sob and leaning closer, I whisper, “You’ve got this, baby. Break my hand if you have to. I know you can do this. Okay?”

“Don’t let go,” she whimpers.

Pulling back, I lock eyes with her. “Never.” I glance at Declan, who looks like he’s going to be sick. “Get out of here and call her mom.”

He runs out of the room, not able to leave quick enough.

Turning my attention back to Kiara, I keep encouraging her as the waves of pain hit, wishing there was a way I could take it from her.

An hour later, Dr. Boyle positions himself between my wife’s legs. I clench my teeth and hold Kiara’s hand tighter.

You can’t kill him. He needs to deliver your firstborn.

“When you feel the need to push, go ahead,” Dr. Boyle tells Kiara.

Her fingers flex around mine, her eyes locking on me.

“You can do this,” I encourage her again.

My phone starts to vibrate in my pocket, but I ignore it, all my attention on my wife. She begins to pant, her eyebrows drawing together. Placing my other hand behind her neck to help brace her, I say, “Come on, baby, you can squeeze my hand tighter than that.”

With a threatening scowl from her, she starts to groan, curling forward as she pushes. The sound is downright feral, then it morphs into a broken cry.

Jesus.

Leaning closer, I will all my strength to her, emotion flooding my chest.

Kiara’s in so much fucking pain to give birth to our child.

“Christ, I’ve never respected anyone more,” I say my thoughts aloud. “And you’ve never been more beautiful.”

She cries again, her fingers tightening like a vice around mine, making me feel the strength it’s taking from her to push.

“You’re so strong, baby. You’re almost there.”

It takes Kiara twenty more minutes, and by the time Dr. Boyle pulls our child from her, Kiara looks like death.

My heart races in my chest, worry clouding my vision. “Is she okay?” I ask, fear darkening my words.

“Your son is a healthy boy,” Dr. Boyle replies.

“Is my fucking wife okay?” I shout when Kiara drifts in and out of consciousness.

“Yes, her vitals are good. She’s just resting before the next round starts.”

My head snaps to him. “Next round?”

“The afterbirth.”

Jesus.

Our baby lets out his first cry, and instantly Kiara’s head snaps in his direction. She pulls her hand from mine, stretching out her arms. “I want to see him.”

“Just one more push,” Dr. Boyle says.

The final contraction hits, and Kiara barely has the strength to push through it, but she gets the job done. “Please… tell me it’s… over,” she gasps.

“All done,” Dr. Boyle smiles at her. “Well done, Mommy.”

The nurse wraps our baby up in a blanket and brings him over. My eyes dart between Kiara’s face and our baby, the moment too overwhelming. Tears slip silently down my face as I witness the wonder on Kiara’s face, then the wrinkled little being in her arms.

My family.

“Look,” she whispers, her voice hoarse with emotion, not taking her eyes off our child. “Isn’t he perfect?”

Leaning over them, I press my mouth to Kiara’s temple. “Just as perfect as you. Thank you for making me a father.”

Kiara laughs through a sob. “Say hi, Daddy.”

With my head pressed to Kiara’s, I take in our beautiful son. “Hi, James.”

He makes a fussing sound. Kiara coos, and me… I stand in utter amazement before my wife and son.

The loves of my life.

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