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Crazy about Tara (Hastings Brothers Book 3) by Mallory Funk (1)

Chapter One

 

Derek

Everything has been a blur. I’m sitting in the hospital waiting room with my head buried in my hands. I feel like I can’t breathe. The world is spinning around me and it’s taking everything in me not to scream in frustration, anger, worry, and sadness. The only woman I have ever loved is sitting in the hospital, and god knows what’s wrong with her. She’s been having tests and more tests to find out what the fuck happened to my woman. The longer they take, the more worried I am.

Shit. If we all didn’t get all the women to change their emergency contacts, we probably wouldn’t have been able to find anything out. Sure, Tara has family, but they live so far away that we told her it would be better if Courtney and I were the emergency contacts since it could take a long time for her parents to get here. Fuck, I need her phone to call her parents. What would I say to them? Your daughter passed out and I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with her. Oh, by the way, this is the boyfriend you didn’t know she had. Yeah, I could see that going over well.

I don’t have to look up to know everyone is here. Why is it that we seem to be spending so much time in the hospital lately? I hate the feeling in my gut that whatever is wrong with her is life changing.

“Tara Stone’s family?” a voice asks. I immediately jump. Fuck, I hope it’s good news. I can’t even stomach the thought of something happening to Tara. She’s everything to me.

I clear my throat. “Yes, that’s me. I’m Derek, her man and emergency contact.”

The man looks at me, and I don’t think he has bad news to tell us like Tara is dead because he doesn’t look like a man delivering a message like that, unless he has just become immune to delivering sad news. Fuck, is Tara’s doctor a cold-hearted monster? Do we need to find someone else to take care of my girl? Will that even be necessary?

“Well, Tara is awake and asking for you. She told me it was okay to explain what was going on before you go in there.” He takes a moment to pause and look at everyone behind me who has probably stepped closer with interest.

“Well,” the doctor starts, “she is sixteen weeks pregnant. She has severe anemia and complained about feeling hot before she fainted. She said she had a hot shower before it had happened as well. Since she never knew she was pregnant and hadn’t had any proper care to detect her anemia earlier, it would be the cause of her not feeling well. She also hasn’t eaten since yesterday, late in the afternoon. Being pregnant, it’s important that she eats so her blood sugar doesn’t get low. Now that she knows, we can give her the best possible care.” I think I may pale a little. I know my legs give out when I feel arms grabbing me on each side. Then, I am being dragged to a chair. Pregnant. I can’t believe it, she’s having a baby. My baby.

“Are you okay, Derek?” Claire is standing in front of my face waving her hand and looking concerned.

“I’m fine. I just never thought that would happen. At least not for a long time. Holy shit, Tara is pregnant,” I say above a whisper. I know I am still in shock, and so does Claire, but her words snap me out of it and have my lips twitching to keep from smiling.

“Well, snap the fuck out of it. Get up and get your ass over to your girl before I drag you there by your ear. She’s probably in there freaked out and wondering where the fuck you are while you’re sitting there having your hissy fit,” she says and stomps her foot at the end like she means business.

“Alright, little Claire. I will get my ass in there,” I tell her as I mess up her hair.

“If he touches my hair again like I’m a pet, I will key his fucking car!” I hear grumbled and the statement is followed by a bunch of chuckles. I can’t help the smile that comes to my face.

Claire is my older brother Sam’s girl. She had lived a lonely life for six years until she ran into the girls at the grocery store on her birthday. I don’t know how they had convinced her to come and hang out with us, but I’m glad they did because she is good for Sam and he is head over heels for her. He fell instantly and hard for her. The same thing happened to me with Tara, and Trevor with Paige. I’m sure I could say the same thing for Cole, but he’s in denial right now so we won’t talk about that.

I know what it’s like when you meet the woman that you are going to spend the rest of your life with. I experienced it the moment I first saw Tara. She was leaving her asshole ex-boyfriend who was caught cheating on her. How could anyone cheat on someone like Tara? Once I had her, I couldn’t believe that anyone could do that to her. She is an amazing person and, when I fell for her, I fell hard and fast.

I had talked to Trevor one day about it when he and I were both chasing Paige and Tara, respectively. It was like the second we had laid eyes on them, we instantly knew that they were meant for us. We ended up only seeing them- no other women. No matter how hard we tried, we weren’t able to get them off our minds.

Everything is different and better with Tara. Before her, kisses were just to get where I wanted, which was between a woman’s legs. Sex was just a way to find a release. With Tara everything was better, felt better, and meant so much more.

Now she’s carrying my baby. I was scared as fuck to be a dad, but also fucking happy. I was so scared that I was going to lose Tara that I couldn’t even think straight.

I’m walking down the hallway lost in my own thoughts. When I reach the door that the doctor had told me that Tara was in, I open it without hesitation. When I see her on the bed with a worried look on her face, I breathe a sigh of relief. She’s okay. That thought almost brings me down to my knees.

“Baby,” I say on a choked whisper.

She looks at me with unshed tears in her eyes and, before she opens her mouth, I already know I’m in for one of her crazy rants that she loves to do. It happens more when she’s nervous. That makes her my woman- I love the fact that everything that comes out of her mouth during a rant is always the truth.

“I’m sorry, Derek. I swear I didn’t know. I just thought I was tired, or maybe I was sick, but I wasn’t puking. Okay, maybe I was nauseous here and there, but I thought that maybe I was getting sick or I didn’t eat enough. You know when I’m really hungry that I usually feel sick until I eat, so I didn’t think anything else of it. And I was tired, sure, but you have a bad habit of keeping me up all night and not keeping your hands to yourself. So really, this is your fault because you can’t keep your hands to yourself wanting to have sex all the time. Your swimmers were bound and determined to find my egg and knock me up. They overcame the birth control I was taking. Since you refuse to wear condoms, it’s all really your fault when we sit and think about it.” I feel my lips twitching in amusement.

“Are you done, baby?” I ask her slowly since sometimes she tends to keep going.

“Are you mad?” she says with a worried look in her eyes.

I sit on her bed beside her. “No, baby, I’m not mad. I’m so fucking happy. I thought I was going to lose you. You don’t know how scary that shit was, seeing you passed out on the kitchen floor in Sam’s arms. Now that we know what happened, we can help take care of you and make sure that you’re eating the right foods for you and the baby. All this did was just made our family bigger.” I kiss her softly on the lips and I don’t miss the small smile that comes to her face.

“I love you so much, Derek,” she whispers to me between kisses.

“I love you too, baby,” I tell her softly.

“I don’t know the first thing about being a mom. Shit. I have to call my parents; they are going to kill me. They have never met you yet, and here I am having your baby. Have you called them?” Tara asks me with worried eyes.

“No, I haven’t called them. I was about to ask someone where your phone was so that I could do that when the doctor came and got me.”

She blows out a breath but, before she can say anything else, the door to her room opens and in walks everyone else.

“Quit hogging her, I need to give my girl some love,” Courtney says as she brushes past me with a smile on her face.

“You know, you could have thought of a different way to tell us that you’re pregnant instead of giving us all mini heart attacks,” Sam grumbles as he takes his turn to hug Tara. I notice he squeezes her tighter than the rest. That probably has something to do with the fact that he had been with her while she passed out.

Everyone takes their turns hugging her, and then Paige ends up handing her the phone. Tara reluctantly takes it so that she can call her parents.

“Are you all seriously going to listen to my conversation with my parents?” Tara asks in an annoyed voice.

“Yes,” they all say in unison like they had practiced it.

Shaking my head, I sit beside Tara on the bed and put my arm around her shoulders.

“It’s ringing,” she says with her voice shaking a little. I have never met her parents, but from what she told me they were good people. She also has a brother and a sister that she hasn’t seen much. She had moved away to be with Jeff and get out on her own, but her family never liked him, so they had been on the rocks for the last year. Tara has been scared to call them and tell them all the changes in her life. She only told them when she and Jeff broke up that she’s living with friends and is working now. She hasn’t told them about me no matter how many times I ask her to. She’s told me that she is scared to tell them because of everything that happened with Jeff. I had to remind her that I’m nothing like that asshole, so they won’t have a problem with me.

“Hey, mom. It’s Tara.” She has the phone on speaker so that we can all hear the conversation since no one bothered to leave the room.

“Of course it’s you, I only have one Tara in my phone and I think by now I would know my daughter’s voice,” a woman grumbles making Tara’s lips twitch in amusement.

“Sorry, where’s daddy?” she asks hesitantly.

“He’s right here. What’s going on sweetie? Should I be worried? You never took that ass-hat, Jeff, back did you? Oh god, you did. He’s no good for you, honey. I told you to cut that man loose and that my baby girl is so much better than him, but you just don’t listen. Maybe we should get you to see someone. Maybe if you talk to someone that would help, you can leave his ass once and for all. I know I can send your brother and father down there to help send a message to him, but then I might need to come along if they need help with the body. Shit, this is going to take some planning and strat-” she gets caught off by Tara.

“MOM! Just stop. I did not take Jeff back. Let me talk and put me on speaker so that I can hear dad.” She looks at all of us with annoyed eyes.

“I can see where Tara gets her cuteness from,” Trevor mutters, and Tara shoots him a glare which has us all laughing.

“Who is all there with you, honey? I hear a bunch of laughing? Do you have friends?” Her mother’s voice sounds so hopeful that I’m shaking with silent laughter. I can see everyone trying to hold in their laughter.

“Yes, mom, I have friends. Jesus, you make it sound like I’m a loner or something?” Tara grumbles with a hint of pink hitting her cheeks.

“Oh, you know that you weren’t much for hanging out with people growing up. Okay, your dad is here, your brother and sister are too since they are visiting. Do you want me to ask them to leave?”

“No momma, it’s okay. It’s better that you all listen at once so that I don’t have to repeat myself.”

“What’s Tara going on about? Please tell me she’s not back together with Jeff. She finally left that asshole,” I hear a man’s voice grumble.

“I don’t know, honey, just shut up so she can talk,” Tara’s mom grumbles back.

“That’s the first time I ever heard you tell someone to shut up so someone else can talk, darling,” the man says back, I’m guessing that’s Tara’s dad. That causes everyone to laugh, even a couple voices on the other side which I’m guessing are her siblings.

“Well, guys, I’m at the hospital…” She trails off when a voice interrupts her.

“Baby girl, you’re in the hospital? Are you sick, hurt? Do we need to fly out as soon as possible?” the man practically yells into the phone.

“No daddy, I’m fine. I had passed out this morning and I was taken to the hospital.”

“What happened? Why did you pass out? Is it serious?” Tara’s mom asks.

“Well yes and no,” Tara says, and she’s once again cut off. She lets her head drop in defeat.

“What the fuck does that mean? You better start talking now, baby sis.”

“I-“ Tara gets cut off again and I’m trying really hard to hold back my laughter. I look at my family and they are holding in it as best they can. All of their shoulders are shaking with silent laughter.

“Oh for fuck sake! If everyone would just shut up and let the girl talk, she could tell us what the fuck is going on!” another woman’s voice yells.

I look at Tara when I feel her shaking, and she’s laughing. “This is why I didn’t want to call them. It’s hard to get a word in with them,” she whispers to me.

“I can see that, baby,” I tell her back and kiss her lightly on the lips.

“Who was that? That sounded like a man. It didn’t sound like Jeff. Honey, are you dating a man?” Tara’s mom asks in a hopeful voice.

“I’m not Jeff. My name’s Derek Hastings. I’m Tara’s boyfriend.”

“Oh, he has a nice deep voice, don’t you think so?” I hear Tara’s mom sigh.

“Mom, you sound like a girl who just found out she’s talking to her crush,” the other woman says.

“That’s it, that’s all you had to tell us? If he’s nothing like Jeff, I will tell you right now that I will like him just fine,” her dad says.

“No, daddy, I’m not in the hospital to tell you I’m dating someone,” Tara says annoyed.

“Okay, right. I forgot,” he mumbles.

“Seriously, daddy? I just told you two seconds ago!”

“What’s she’s trying to tell you is that she’s pregnant, but no one will shut up long enough to let her talk,” Claire yells, and then slaps a hand over her mouth. Her eyes go wide like she just can’t believe she said that.

“Claire!!!” Tara yells.

“Shit, I’m sorry, but seriously no one was letting you talk. It was frustrating,” Claire mumbles and then buries her head into Sam’s chest.

“Baby girl, you’re pregnant? Please tell me it’s not Jeff’s,” her dad says.

“Okay, enough about Jeff! Seriously, it’s not his! If it were that would leave me ready to pop! I would not wait that long to tell you guys. He’s out of my life and way in my past. The baby is Derek’s, the deep voice momma is swooning over right now.” I can’t help but laugh at the last part.

“Your mother isn’t swoo-” Tara’s dad is cut off by Tara’s brother.

“Dad, this is the quietest mom has ever been. Seriously, she looks like she’s in dream land right now. I’m pretty sure that if that Derek guy said her name right now, she would blush.”

“Okay, let’s book a trip. If this fellow knocked up my baby girl, then I need to meet the man and see if he’s good enough for my daughter. Go online and see when we can all go, and we will all call our work and see when we can all get the same time off. We have an interrogation to do. Also, we will need to book a hotel room.”

“Daddy, we have lots of guest rooms that you guys can stay in, no need to pay for a hotel. Just call me when you have made your arrangements. You need to get to mom, I’m a little worried because she isn’t talking,” Tara says.

“Okay, baby girl, I will call you later and you can tell us everything.”

“Bye, love you all,” Tara says, and they tell her they love her too.

Once she hangs up, she looks up and smiles. “Ready to meet the family?”

“Why are you looking at all of us? Shouldn’t it only be Derek who should be worried right now?” Luke asks curiously.

Tara laughs. “No. They aren’t just coming to make sure Derek is good enough for me. They are coming to make sure you all are. Why do you think I had so few friends growing up? They tend to interrogate anyone I meet. I was bullied lots growing up and had people pretend to be my friends, so now they make sure that everyone passes their ‘test’ before I can officially call them my friend.” Tara had told me all of this already, so I knew the hard childhood she had growing up.

“Wow. I guess I need to get a haircut. You know, look my best,” Noah says winking at Tara. I glare at him.

“That won’t help with your crabs,” Claire says, causing us all to laugh. She always has to say something about crabs when he starts talking like he’s the man. It makes us all laugh, and I know he doesn’t care because he thinks of her as a little sister.

“Woman, I don’t fucking have crabs. If I never get married then I’m moving in with you and Sam for the rest of my life to get back at you for cock blocking me,” Noah grumbles.

The doctor comes in and explains to Tara that she needs to make an appointment as soon as she gets home to ensure that she has a healthy pregnancy from here on out. Then he gives her some prenatal vitamins and some iron pills to help get her on the right track.

He had also told her no more hot showers or baths. They needed to be warm, since that was what caused her to faint. She’s able to go home, so Sam and Trevor take their women to the grocery store so that they can make her a proper meal. Now that we all know she needs to eat, I think it’s safe to say that she’s going to have food shoved in front of her constantly.

I look at my brothers and I can see the excitement in their eyes. They love the idea of being uncles, and it’s crazy to think that I’m not even worried about having a baby. I love Tara and I’m so fucking glad she’s having my baby.

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