Turn My World Around Bonus Epilogue

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“To our brand new, certified RN!”

The cheer of the crowd gathered in her backyard had warmth blooming Corinne’s chest. She never would have dreamed of calling this many people friends when she’d first come back to Wishful, let alone these particular people.

Yet here they were celebrating her.

Tucker wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pressed a smacking kiss to her cheek. “Couldn’t be prouder of you, babe.”

“It’s a big accomplishment! How do you feel?” Tyler asked.

Corinne sighed and admitted the God’s-honest truth. “Tired. So very tired. I’m glad school’s over. It was totally worthwhile, but it’s been a lot. Thank God and all of you for helping out while I continued to juggle classes and a full-time job. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

She’d gone from having no one but her mother to help to having a massive network of people beyond her husband who were ready, willing, and able to pinch-hit with Kurt when his grandmother couldn’t take him. Which was more often the past few months, as she’d acquired a gentleman friend.

Who would ever have expected Marianne Dawson to fall for a simple mechanic? But Lou Perkins had rescued her from a flat tire on New Year’s Eve, and they’d formed an unlikely connection. Lou was good people, and he seemed to have done more to change Marianne’s mind about what was really important in life in the past five-and-a-half months than anything else in all the rest of Marianne’s fifty-five years. Wonders would never cease.

Cam hooked an arm around Kurt’s neck and ruffled his hair. “It’s been a pleasure. This one’s good practice.”

“You do know he’s like the world’s best kid and isn’t going to be anything like twins, right?” Tucker pointed out.

Norah folded both hands over the enormous mound of her belly. “Don’t remind us. The only way we can get through it is to hang on to our delusions.”

“So long as they stay in there for at least another six weeks.” Cam bent to his wife’s belly and stared at it with enormous seriousness. “Y’all aren’t done cooking yet.”

Tyler tapped her fingers on her own rounded belly. “Not gonna lie. I’m grateful I’m only incubating one.”

Arms wrapped around her drowsy daughter, Piper tipped her head to Myles’ shoulder. “I’m far enough away from the sleep deprivation and diaper duty that this all makes me want another one.”

From across the table, Whitney’s lips curved in amusement. “Maybe give it a couple of months until this batch arrives. Get your hit of new-baby smell and give them back and then see how you feel.”

“Beautiful and practical. I do love that about you.” Ben Rawlings, Whitney’s boyfriend, leaned over to kiss her.

“The woman speaks sense,” Myles insisted. “Not that I don’t adore Parker to the ends of the earth and back, but… I mean… sleep?”

Whitney shoved back from the table. “I’m gonna speak some more sense and suggest that the men-folk help clear the table and maybe toss the football with Kurt for a bit, while Corinne and I get dessert ready. All the preggo and preggo-adjacent relax yourselves.”

Corinne loved the ease everybody felt in doing exactly that, carrying plates and dishes into the house as if it were their own. In the three years since they’d moved in, everything had changed. While she’d been tied up with school and work, Tucker and Kurt—with help from their friends—had tackled tons of home improvement projects. No room in the house had escaped the paintbrush. Light fixtures had been changed out. Landscaping had been updated. Family photos had been added everywhere. Slowly, the house he’d bought them had become their home, and Corinne loved every inch.

The men trooped back outside for the suggested impromptu game of toss, which was really more like keep away from Buster, the mutt they’d adopted shortly after moving in. She’d had her reservations, but she couldn’t deny the joy the dog brought to her baby boy. And it turned out he was good company, curling up beside her while she studied.

Whitney came to join Corinne at the sink, wrapping an arm around her waist. “What a difference a few years make, huh?”

Corinne squeezed her back. “No kidding. Who would have thought we’d both have walked through hell and come out to find this on the other side?” She’d never imagined such goodness for herself after what she’d endured with Lance.

“Certainly not me. I had no idea that sexy hunk of firefighter would end up my perfect man. His patience knows no bounds.”

“You two are great together.” And Corinne was thrilled beyond words that her friendship with Whitney had recovered enough that she’d been there to see it as he’d coaxed her past the lingering fear and into the kind of love she truly deserved.

“We are,” she agreed. “Which is why I said yes when he asked me to marry him last weekend.”

“What?” Corinne pivoted, yanking Whitney’s bare left hand into view. “Details, woman!”

Whitney’s smile was a mixture of smug and amused as she squeezed both of Corinne’s hands. “The ring’s at home. Tonight’s for celebrating you. I didn’t want to steal your thunder.”

“Girl code. You are morally obligated to spill your guts. I want to hear everything. ”

Whitney laughed. “And you will. But later. Let’s get this chocolate torte all divvied up. I have this secret theory that if we keep her fed, Norah won’t go into labor.”

“If she did, we’d be fine. There are two nurses here, and the hospital is a ten-minute ride away.”

“Let me have this. Being pregnant with twins is basically one of my worst nightmares. Did you see her belly ripple while she was sitting there? She doesn’t even need the table anymore! She can just balance the plate right on her belly. She’s way too tiny a woman to be growing two humans at the same time.”

Corinne was still laughing as she helped carry out plates of dessert. “Come and get it, boys!”

As everybody crowded around, Kurt pounced on the chocolate torte.

“Slow down, son. You don’t get seconds if you inhale it so fast you can’t taste it.”

He looked up, mouth full, big brown eyes shifting to Tucker in an unmistakable plea.

“Hey, you got the dog. I’m not crossing her on dessert.”

“Aw, man! But I’m a growing boy!”

“Who needs more protein and vegetables,” Corinne reminded him.

“Can I have more dessert if I eat more protein and vegetables first?” Yeah, he was totally learning to argue like his daddy. Had been ever since Tucker adopted him right after their wedding.

“Nice try, smart guy. You can have more dessert tomorrow.”

With a put-upon sigh, Kurt turned back to his torte and began taking itty-bitty bites.

“So, Corinne, now that you’re done with school, what’s next?” Brody asked.

“I know what should be next,” Kurt announced.

“Oh, do you? And what is that?” Corinne waited for the inevitable request for a Disney vacation. He’d been making noises about it for a while now and been put off because of the time constraints. She and Tucker would have to discuss whether that was something they could squeeze in this summer, before things got chaotic again.

Her son scooped up the last bite of torte from his bowl. “A baby brother.” Then he shoved the torte into his mouth.

Corinne sat back in her chair. “You think so, huh?” This wasn’t the first mention he’d made of the subject.

He gestured with his empty spoon toward Tyler and Norah. “I mean, you’re getting behind here.”

As snorts of laughter circled the table, Corinne looked to Tucker. Amusement lit his gaze, and he shrugged one shoulder, telling her it was her call.

With slow deliberation, she scooped up a bite of her own torte. “Well, it wasn’t why we brought everyone together tonight, but as a matter of fact…”

She ate the torte, savoring the rich, chocolaty goodness as reactions sank in from their gathered friends.

“Wait, really? You’re pregnant?” Piper asked.

“We were trying to time it so that I’d be finished with school for several months. I’m due in early December.”

Tucker pulled her in close. “Best Christmas present ever.”

“No way!” Kurt crowed. “Is it a boy? Tell me it’s a boy. I specifically asked for a brother.”

“It’s a surprise,” she told him. “At least for another month or two.”

“Look at it this way, Kurt,” Norah reasoned. “If you end up with a sister, we’re having one of each, so you can get your fill of an honorary baby brother with ours.”

“That might not be so bad,” he reflected. “Then the girls can be all girlie together.”

“Or they could be as rough and tumble as any of the boys,” Tyler pointed out.

As debate turned to what life was going to be like as the next generation arrived, Corinne cuddled into her husband and smiled. The next phase of her life was beginning, and it just kept getting better and better.

* * *

I’m so glad you decided to stick around for this last little glimpse at Tucker and Corinne’s happily ever after! The series continues on with one of the side competitors in Dancing with Wishful—barista Tara Honeycutt. Her story is basically Hallmark heartwarming in words. Mainly because I wrote it one year because I couldn’t find what I wanted to watch during the Countdown to Christmas marathon. Don’t miss Dance Me A Dream!

And if you’re new to Wishful and want to go back to the very beginning, you can do that with Cam and Norah in To Get Me To You, where you’ll see first-hand evidence of how Norah never does anything small.

If you’ve got a yen for more sort-of enemies to lovers, pop on over to Eden’s Ridge, Tennessee and my Men of the Misfit Inn series. Our Kind of Love is just what you’re looking for.