Page 26 of Puppy Madness

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But that would mean telling Danni how I really feel, praying she feels the same, knowing she probably doesn’t.

But she said she wants kids. She wants a future.

Does that mean she wants it with me?

Danni wraps her arms across her middle. My savage gaze attempts to consume her breasts, but somehow I manage to study the tautness in her expression instead.

“That was horrible,” she murmurs, stopping at the edge of my desk. “The whole time, I wanted to tell her. But I knew I couldn’t.”

I sigh, hating what I’m about to say, but knowing I need to. “We have to make a choice.”

“A choice?”

“We have to tell her or end this.”

Danni flinches, looking as though she’s going to take a step back. Her eyes start to glimmer as though I’m going to make her cry.

My instinct is to rise to my feet, walk around the desk and hold her….

But I fight it. Somehow.

“Is that what you want?” she says. “To tell her?”

“It’s the right thing to do,” I reply. “It’s the only way we can keep….”

“Keep what?” she snaps, taking a step forward.

Despite the anger directed at me, I can’t help but admire her sassiness and confidence flaring in her voice.

“What are we even doing? I know it probably makes me seem crazy bringing this up so soon, but I think it’s fair. If we’re going to tell her…what would we tell her?”

I’m on my feet, my fists clenched, resting against the desk. My body is throbbing like there’s a bomb inside me, just waiting to go off, ready to tear through me without mercy.

It’s a bomb that could blow us up…not just me and Danni, but Elizabeth too.

We’re building toward a future together. We’re going to get married, have kids, be together forever.

I try to force myself to say the words. I think of all the times overseas when fear tried to win. It could’ve won quite easily if I hadn’t forced myself to push through the discomfort.

But this is so much harder.

If she doesn’t feel the same, how will she ever keep being friends with Elizabeth?

If she knows I don’t just want to kiss her, hold her, take her, how will she stay in the house, knowing I’m thinking about kids and a future constantly?

“We’re…courting.” My words come out sounding weak, even to myself. “If you want to put a label on it.”

“If I want to put a label on it?” she says. “We kind of have to, don’t we, if we’re going to tell her? Otherwise, what would we say? Hey, Lizzy, me and your dad did intimate stuff in his office. Hope that’s cool.”

“I’m not saying that,” I growl.

“What, then?”

I tell myself to be strong, thinking of the dogs I served with and their steady stares in the face of danger. They never hesitated, howling into battle, never once questioning they were doing the right thing.

And that would be me if Danni wasn’t my daughter’s best friend.

“I don’t know,” I say, and again my tone is weak.

“So we can’t tell her.” Danni rubs at her cheeks angrily as if anticipating tears. “I guess our only other option is to end this.”

My fists clench even tighter, the muscles in my forearm feeling like they’re swelling, and I’m about to burst werewolf-like from my skin.

“I don’t want that,” I say gruffly.

“Neither do I. But what other choice do we have? That was horrible, walking around the shelter with her, pretending I wasn’t thinking, every single second, about what we just did. I had to lie to her, basically, even if I didn’t outright lie. I felt like I was spitting in her face.”

This is my chance. I could heal this rift with the truth by telling her how I feel…

But if she doesn’t want it, things between her and Elizabeth will never be the same.

“I know.” I sigh darkly. “It hurt me too.”

“Which is why you sent me as her chaperone. So you didn’t have to deal with it?”

“Yes,” I tell her bluntly. “And I needed to get away from you. You drive me crazy, Danni.”

“If we’re ending this, you should probably stop saying stuff like that.”

A sob cracks in her voice, but she turns before I can see the tears.

I force myself to go after her, but then she’s gone, the door shutting loudly behind her.

I stood at the desk, feeling like a failure, even if this was probably for the best.

But that doesn’t kill the need inside of me.

It doesn’t stop me from wanting her.

It doesn’t stop me from going to the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of my woman.



“You are such a good boy,” I tell Shelby as he sits at my feet, staring up at me with his tongue hanging out.

It’s a Saturday, four days after the standoff in the office with Dominic.

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