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Now there was frustration, as well as indignation. "There have been plenty of men, with elfin blood and without, who've been interested in you, cousin."
"A pity I haven't been interested in them." Ana laughed.
"I'm miserably choosy, Morgana. And I like my life just as it is."
"If I didn't know that to be true, I'd be tempted to work up a nice little love spell. Nothing binding, mind," she said with a glint in her eye. "Just something to give you some entertainment."
"I can find my own entertainment, thanks."
"I know that, too. Just as I know you'd be furious if I dared to interfere." She pushed away from the table and rose, regretting for a moment her loss of grace. "Let's take a walk outside before I head home."
"If you promise to put your feet up for an hour when you get there."
The sun was warm, the breeze balmy. Both of which, Ana thought, would do her cousin as much good as the long nap she imagined Nash would insist his wife take when she returned home.
They admired the late-blooming larkspur, the starry asters and the big, bold zinnias. Both had a deep love of nature that had come through the blood and through upbringing.
"Do you have any plans for All Hallows' Eve?" Morgana asked.
"Nothing specific."
"We were hoping you'd come by, at least for part of the evening. Nash is going all out for the trick-or-treaters."
With an appreciative laugh, Ana clipped some mums to take inside. "When a man writes horror films for a living, he's duty bound to pull out the stops for Halloween. I wouldn't miss it."
"Good. Perhaps Sebastian will join you and me for a quiet celebration afterward." Morgana was bending awkwardly over the thyme and verbena when she spotted the child and dog skipping through the hedge of roses.
She straightened. "We have company."
"Jessie." Pleased but wary, Ana glanced over to the house beyond. "Does your father know where you are?"
"He said I could come over if I saw you outside and you weren't busy. You aren't busy, are you?"
"No." Unable to resist, Ana bent down to kiss Jessie's cheek.
"This is my cousin, Morgana. I've told her you're my brand-new neighbor."
"You have a dog and a cat. Ana told me." Jessie's interest was immediately piqued. Then her gaze focused, fascinated, on the bulge of Morgana's belly. "Do you have a baby in there?"
"I certainly do. In fact, I have two babies in there."
"Two?" Jessie's eyes popped wide. "How do you know?"
"Because Ana told me." With a laugh, she laid a hand on her heavy stomach. "And because they kick and squirm too much to be only one."
"My friend Missy's mommy, Mrs. Lopez, had one baby in her tummy, and she got so fat she could hardly walk." Out of brilliant blue eyes, Jessie shot Morgana a hopeful glance. "She let me feel it kick."
Charmed, Morgana took Jessie's hand and brought it to her while Ana discouraged Daisy from digging in the impatiens. "Feel that?"
Giggling at the movement beneath her hand, Jessie nodded. "Uh-huh! It went pow! Does it hurt?"
"Do you think they'll come out soon?"
"I'm hoping."
"Daddy says babies know when to come out because an angel whispers in their ear."
Sawyer might be aloof, Morgana thought, but he was also very clever, and very sweet. "That sounds exactly right to me."
"And that's their special angel, forever and ever," she went on, pressing her cheek to Morgana's belly in the hope that she could hear something from inside. "If you turn around really quick, you maybe could get just a tiny glimpse of your angel. I try sometimes, but I'm not fast enough." She peered up at Morgana. "Angels are shy, you know."
"So I've heard."
"I'm not." She pressed a kiss to Morgana's belly before she danced away. "There's not a shy bone in my body. That's what Grandma Sawyer always says."
"An observant woman, Grandma Sawyer," Ana commented while wrestling Daisy into her arms to prevent her from disturbing Quigley's afternoon nap.
Both women enjoyed the energetic company as they walked among the flowers—or rather as they walked and Jessie skipped, hopped, ran and tumbled.
Jessie reached for Ana's hand as they started toward the front of the house and Morgana's car. "I don't have any cousins. Is it nice?"
"Yes, it's very nice. Morgana and Sebastian and I practically grew up together, kind of like brothers and sisters do."
"I know how to get brothers and sisters, 'cause my daddy told me. How do you get cousins?"
"Well, if your mother or father have brothers or sisters, and they have children, those children are your cousins."
Jessie digested this information with a frown of concentration. "Which are you?"
"It's complicated," Morgana said with a laugh, opting to rest against her car for a moment before getting in. "Ana's and Sebastian's and my father are all brothers. And our mothers are sisters. So we're kind of double cousins."
"That's neat. If I can't have cousins, maybe I can have a brother or sister. But my daddy says I'm a handful all by myself."
"I'm sure he's right," Morgana agreed as Ana chuckled. Brushing her hair back, Morgana glanced up. There, framed in one of the wide windows on the second floor of the house next door, was a man. Undoubtedly Jessie's father.
Ana had described him well enough, Morgana mused. Though he was more attractive, and certainly sexier, than her cousin had let on. That very simple omission made her smile. Morgana lifted a hand in a friendly wave. After a moment's hesitation, Boone returned the salute.
"That's my daddy." Jessie pinwheeled her arms in greeting. "He works up there, but we haven't unpacked all the boxes
"What does he do?" Morgana asked, since it was clear Ana wasn't going to.
"Oh, he tells stories. Really good stories, about witches and fairy princesses and dragons and magic fountains. I get to help sometimes. I have to go because tomorrow's my first day of school and he said I wasn't supposed to stay too long. Did I?"