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When I’m sure I have everything and the house is in order, I set the alarm and lock the door, turning to see Tate waiting on me, leaning against his truck. He’s smiling with the same delicious fire in his eyes. My stomach does a little flip imagining what we can do when we get home, back to his house.

“You ready, love?” he asks as I walk his way stopping to give him a kiss and scratch Rocky behind the ears as he sits in the passenger seat of Tate’s truck with the window down.

“If you’re going to be there, I’m ready.” I wink at him. He leans in, giving me one more hungry kiss before letting me go and swatting my ass as I walk to my car.

“I’ll follow you. I love you,” I tell him as he rounds his truck.

His eyes twinkle. “I love you. I’ll see you at home, babe.” He gets in his truck and fires it up, driving off slowly to give me time to fall in behind him. I check my rearview as dread tries to settle in my stomach despite my happiness with Tate.

I know in my heart, the closer we get to home, the closer we get to battle. I’m about to be in the fight for my life…a fight for my happiness, my heart, my life both emotionally and physically. A fight to break myself away from Taylor and all the things he’s poisoned me with. I shiver as fear taps me on the shoulder because I don’t know how far he’s willing to go. But I push it back down, refusing to let the fear of him control me anymore.

Most of all, I’m fighting for Tate. There’s not a fight I would back down from for him…for us. Today, I’m more determined than ever to take back what’s mine. Lucy’s coming back home, stronger and fiercer than ever. I was lost before, but I found myself and I found my heart… and I found Tate.

When we get back home, I’m going to do my best to convince Lucy to get a restraining order against Taylor. If not, I hope she’ll at least agree to talking to Sterling and seeing what he recommends. My stomach drops a little as I think about my own secret I need to fess up to. While we’re still driving, I place a call to Dad, and it sounds through my truck speakers.

“Hello, son. Are you back home yet?”

“Nah, but I’m on my way.” He chuckles light-heartedly.

“Did you get your girl then?”

A smile takes over my face. “I did. But listen Dad, I’ve been thinking. It’s time for me to tell Sterling and Briella the truth. I wanted you to know that I’m going to talk to them.”

He lets out a little breath. “I understand, son. I need to talk to Foster too. I’m afraid that particular conversation won’t be easy, but you’re right. It’s time for all these secrets to be told. If your mom and me can work on our issues, I think I can handle trying to do the same with my own brother. It’d be nice to get to know them, if they want to know me.”

My heart squeezes a little in my chest. I hate he’s doubting they’d want to get to know him. They will…even Foster.

“Dad, you have nothing to worry about. They may be shocked at first, but they’re good people. They’ll want to have you be a part of the family, as you should be.”

This time his laugh erupts from deep down, a hearty laugh. “Son, I think that woman of yours has taught you a thing or two about feelings and love. I’m happy for you.”

“She has. She makes me happy.”

We talk for a few more minutes before ending the call.

The rest of the drive is silent. I’m going over in my head when and how to tell Sterling and Briella, all the while getting distracted picturing Lucy beneath me. When we pull back up to my house, Rocky escapes as soon as I open my door and I stand, quickly adjusting myself to hide my excitement.

Rocky runs and stretches his legs as I walk to Lucy’s car to help her unload her stuff. Once we get it all in the house and intomyroom I might add, she starts unpacking. She fits here…right here in my home and in my life. My heart kicks up in my chest as I take in the sight of her in my bedroom.

She suddenly notices me staring and blushes. “What is it?” she asks on a laugh.

“I’m taking in the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.” I walk over to her and wrap my arms around her waist before claiming her lips in a heated kiss. She pulls back with a lazy smile and hooded eyes.

“I’m unpacking my toiletry stuff. I’ll be done in a few.”

“You can unpack it all. Hang your clothes in my closet. I want you right here with me.” I say as I tug her hair gently, tipping her head back so she meets my eyes.

She doesn’t say anything at first but then she whispers against my lips, “Okay. I’m here.”

I kiss her again and release her. “As much as I want to hole up in here with you, I need to check in on the ranch and with Sterling and Hawk. Take your time, unpack, and relax. When I get back, we can spend the rest of the day together.”

“Sounds good. I’ll be here.” She winks at me as I walk to the door.

“I love you, firecracker.”

“I love you too.”

After I checked in with Hawk at the barn, Sterling is propped up on the gate waiting on me. “Welcome back. You good?” he asks.

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