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“We’ve gotta cut the drama, okay? Between the two of us, we got a lot.” She laughs, dabbing a tissue beneath her eyes. “I’m not going to give you any speeches about how I wish you’d told me, because even if I wish you had, I understand why you wouldn’t want to. Sometimes we feel like maybe we did something wrong, or we should’ve been stronger, or we don’t want to burden someone else with our troubles or let them down somehow, so we try to do it alone. But going forward, let’s make a promise right here and now, we won’t do that again. We have each other’s backs, no matter the time, no matter the reason.” She holds up her pinky waiting for me to wrap mine around hers like we used to do when we were kids.

“Pinky swear,” I say as I wrap mine around hers. She laughs and kisses my forehead.

“I won’t stay long. I know there’s a certain someone you want to see. And he’s been so anxious to get in here with you, but he graciously let us all come first. I’m so happy for y’all. He’s a good one.” She squeezes my hand and retreats toward the door. “I want details…soon.” She winks before breezing out of the room.

Sterling quickly pops in. “Hey, how ya doing?” I shift a little so I can see him better.

“I’m going to be okay.”

He smiles, “I know you are. Listen, once you feel up to it in a few days, I need to get a statement from you on what happened tonight and what’s been happening. We’re not going to let him get away with this.” He presses his lips together.

“Thanks for that. I’ll call you soon.” I smile, relieved it’s finally over.

He smiles and turns to leave but hesitates. “I’m glad it was you.”

“Excuse me?” My brows furrow in confusion.

“I’m glad it’s you who made Tate fall in love. I’m happy for you both.”

I don’t know what to say so I nod. That’s a high honor coming from Sterling.

After a few minutes, Tate walks through the door and he’s the most beautiful sight I could’ve dreamt up. He smiles as he pulls the seat closer to my bed. He takes my hand between both of his.

“I thought I lost you,” he says in all seriousness.

“Nah, I’m too stubborn for that.” He grins and shakes his head. “Hey, you kept your promise and kept me safe.” He looks down at our joined hands.

“I’m only sorry I didn’t get there sooner, and I wasn’t able to stop him completely.”

“Tate Marks. Listen to me. You saved my life. Do you understand that?” A tear falls and he quickly swipes it away. Oh, this man of mine.

He nods. “Good, you better know because it’s true.” I say, smiling at him and he traces the bruise on my wrist.

“Hey, I want to stay with you, if you’ll still have me.”

He stands and kisses my lips. I scoot over so he can crawl in the bed with me. “I want you stay with me forever, love.”

“It’s only been a month, Tate,” I say as he gets boxes ready to put in his truck.

“And your point is?” he stands with his hands on his hips.

I laugh as Rocky watches Tate from his bed in front of the fireplace. “Are you sure you want me to move in already?”

“You told me you wanted to stay, and I told you I want you to stay forever.” I cover my mouth to hide my grin and stifle another laugh. He raises his eyebrows because he knows I’m giving him a hard time. He runs to the couch and tickles me as I laugh even louder.

“Mercy! I give up!” I call as he hovers over me staring with his hypnotic blue eyes.

I blink a few times. As my smile gets smaller. “What? What is it, Tate?”

His gaze never falters as he searches my face. “You’re so beautiful.” He smiles one of those sweet smiles that makes my ovaries feel like they might explode. Subconsciously, I lift my hand to cover my jaw and cheek where Taylor cut me. The wound is still healing, but the stitches have been removed. I know it could be a lot worse but I’m still learning to live with such a visible reminder of my past.

Tate moves my hand away and presses gentle kisses along the scar that’s forming, finally ending at my mouth. He pulls me to a standing position and kisses me passionately, our tongues exploring and tasting. I feel his hard length against my center as he runs his hands down my back and to my legs and lifts me up. I giggle as I hook my ankles around his waist.

“We’ve gotta get ready for the gender reveal.” Tate walks down the hall with me, kicking the bedroom door shut behind him.

“We can help each other get ready. We’ve got time,” he smirks before pressing my back to the wall. I’m just wearing an oversized T-shirt and underwear. We slept late today, and I didn’t put on clothes yet. Tate had because he checks on everything as soon as he gets up. He can’tnottake care of things. But I love that about him.

I pull my shirt over my head as he undoes his jeans, and pushes them down enough to free his length. He slides my panties to the side as he quickly drives into me until we both find our release. We stay connected, catching our breath as he pushes away from the wall and carries me to the shower to get ready.

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