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“Okay,” I agree, untangling my fingers from his shirt and running my palms up his stomach to rest against his hard chest. “I’m sorry for making you worry.”

“It’s all right as long as it doesn’t happen again.” He lowers his head, and his lips touch mine softly. “You okay now?”

“Yes.” I slide my hands up to his shoulders, then ask, “Is Maddi happy that her mom’s here?”

“She was a little freaked when she woke up this morning and Eva was there. She brought you up when Eva told her about dinner tonight. She asked if you would be coming, then got upset when I told her no.”

My sweet girl. God, I love her.

“She’s upset that she hasn’t seen you or Merida for two nights.”

“Maybe we can have dinner tomorrow?” I suggest hopefully.

“Yeah, and I’m going to hold you to your promise of cooking for us.”

“I didn’t promise I would cook.”

“Your last message said you’d cook.”

“That was before.”

“So you’re telling me that you won’t cook for me and my girl?”

“I’ll cook for me and Maddi. You can order a pizza or something,” I tease.

He grins. “I miss you. Even here, with you in my arms, I miss you because I know I have to go and I can’t take you with me.”

His words make my heart turn over in my chest and my stomach melt.

“I feel the same way,” I tell him.

His eyes run over my face. “I’ll see you tomorrow evening, but I expect you to answer when I call you tonight.”

“I’ll answer,” I agree, getting on my tiptoes and pressing my mouth to his.

I start the kiss but he takes over, sliding his arm around my waist and twisting his hand in my hair to move my head from side to side as his tongue slips between my lips. When he pulls his mouth away, I’m panting and my whole body is buzzing from head to toe.

“I’m really looking forward to this weekend,” he growls, nipping my bottom lip.

I whimper in response.

When his hold on me loosens, I let him lead me to the door with his arm around my waist. He opens the door and kisses me one more time before leaving. I lean against the doorjamb in a daze, watching him go. He turns to look at me over his shoulder, and his eyes roam over me.

“By the way, I really like your nightie.” He winks, and I feel my eyes widen.

I look down and feel myself blush. I forgot that I’d put on one of my new nighties before I got into bed. This one is baby blue, with dark-blue lace at the edges of my breasts and thighs.

I shut the door most of the way, and he laughs. I poke just my head out. “If you like this, wait until you see what I bought especially for you . . .”

I can’t believe I just said that.

My face heats.

He turns to face me but continues walking backward. “Baby, believe me when I say I won’t give a fuck what you have on, because I’m really fucking looking forward to seeing all of you.”

His words cause my legs to shake and my body to tingle in places it hasn’t ever tingled before. Even though he says he won’t care, I guarantee that he will when he sees me in the bodysuit.

With that thought in my head, I smile and shut the door.

Chapter 11



“Hey,” Eva says with a smile when she spots Maddi and me.

I lift my chin in greeting, and Maddi’s hand tightens around mine. A second later, my stomach clenches—not in the way it does when I’m with Courtney, but like I’m going to be sick.

Eva closes the distance between us. Instead of greeting her daughter like she should, she rests her hand against my chest and tries to kiss my cheek.

What the actual fuck?

I lean back before she can make contact and send her a warning look. Her happy expression falters for a second, then she schools her features and leans down, touching her lips to the top of Maddi’s head and saying a soft hello.

When she stands to her full height again, she says, “I put our name on the waiting list. They said it will be about ten minutes before we have a table.”

“That’s fine,” I say, wishing I didn’t have to be here. I wish that she weren’t the mother of my child and that I could write her out of my life. Unfortunately, that’s not possible. Until Maddi is eighteen, I will have to deal with Eva on some level. Last night, when she showed up at the apartment and said she couldn’t get ahold of her best friend, Heather, and needed a place to stay for the night, I wanted to turn her away. As much as I wanted to slam the door in her face, I couldn’t. Even if she’s not really a mother to Maddi, she’s still her mom.

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