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Oliver sighed and ran his hands over his face. It would feel good to talk to someone about how to handle the general. He had made it pretty damn clear that he didn’t want Oliver anywhere near Eve, and once he found out he’d spent the weekend with her, Oliver was a dead man.

But Oliver still thought Eve was worth whatever her dad dished out.

“The base commander is Eve’s father, and Tate was giving me a bad time about it, so I punched him. I was on edge because her father had stuck me in this publicity position for this new outreach program, which is where I ended up meeting Eve. In spite of her father, I wanted to be with her. But Eve doesn’t date military guys, so I went to the general and asked him if I could be transferred perma

nently to the Alpha Dog Training Program. He told me no and that if I didn’t stay away from his daughter, I’d find myself transferred to a completely different base.” Oliver pushed the sandwich away and laughed bitterly. “And then we came here, and you were pretty much just one more person telling me I couldn’t be with her. And it just sucks, Mom, you know?”

His mother was quiet, almost too quiet. He looked up and caught the shine of tears in her eyes. “Do you love her?”

The truth came tumbling out before he even thought about it. “Yeah, I think so. I mean, we haven’t known each other that long, but it doesn’t seem to matter.”

“Pshaw, there is no right time for love to grow. It can be instantaneous or it can take years. I knew I loved your father after our second date; I just had to wait for him to catch up.”

“I just don’t know how to get her dad to trust me with her,” Oliver said.

“As you’ve said yourself, you are both grown-ups. What her father thinks doesn’t matter. It’s her life.”

“Thanks, Mom, for the pep talk. I kind of needed it.”

“Any time, mijo,” she said. “Now, finish your sandwich and get out of my house.”

EVE CLOSED HER door and leaned her head back against the solid wood. She’d heard Oliver’s voice in the house and almost run out to greet him, until she’d heard his mom. She had just been about to go back to bed, but then he’d said her name; unable to resist, she’d cracked the door enough to listen.

God, her dad had gone too far. Oliver had been willing to give up being an MP for her and never said a word? Come Monday, she was going to have a long talk with her dad about making her decisions for her. It might have been done to protect her, but she’d almost missed out on being with Oliver.

And that dick Tate? Man, was she glad Oliver had broken his face.

Then Oliver had admitted that he thought he loved her, and the knots in her stomach had loosened. She’d been struggling with the L word herself, knowing logically that it was too soon, but emotionally it was there, at the tip of her tongue every time she was with him.

She had fallen in love with a military man. A man like her father: honorable, kind, a little bit stubborn, and with some jackass tendencies, but still completely wonderful. Oliver and his mother were still talking when Eve got an idea.

An exciting, wonderful, awful idea.

Climbing onto the bed, she unlocked and opened the window over it. The drop was only about three feet, easy peasy. Quietly, she pushed out the screen, being sure not to damage it, and slowly swung out of the window before dropping to the ground. Once the screen was replaced, she walked to Oliver’s cabin and hurried inside.

And waited. Waited. And waited some more.

And then she heard the thud of the front door as he left the main house and the crunch of gravel under his feet. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she held her breath until the door opened.

When Oliver saw her, he stalled for a second, just staring at her.

“Get in here,” she whispered.

Oliver stepped into the cabin and shut the door behind him. “What are you doing? What happened to respecting my mother’s rules?”

Without a word, she took off her glasses and laid them on the nightstand, blinking as her vision blurred. Closing her eyes, she then slowly reached down and gathered the edge of her T-shirt. Before she lost her nerve, she pulled the shirt over her head and tossed it to the floor.

Opening her eyes again, she stood. “I heard you talking to your mom . . . about Tate and my dad.” Eve took several steps across the room and brought Oliver’s hands to her lips. “And I needed to see you.”

Oliver didn’t move for several moments, then suddenly, she was being lifted against him. “Sorry, I didn’t hear anything after your shirt came off.”

Eve laughed, wrapping her arms around his shoulders as he tumbled her back on the bed. Hovering over her, Oliver trailed his fingers along her cheek and chin. “So, did you also hear me tell my mom how I feel about you?”

“Yes,” she said.

“I meant every word.”

“I wouldn’t be here if I thought you didn’t,” she said.