Incredible! All this time we were only one phone call away from one another.

"I've carried your mobile with me every day since you left. I knew you had the number because you used it to transfer our photos to your personal phone. I got your number from the phone records and tried calling you, but I was too late. You'd already canceled your service."

"Yeah. I had to switch and get a new number."

I don't want to hear the story behind that right now. I know it isn't going to sit well with me and I just want to enjoy this time together. "I never stopped hoping you'd call and I'd hear your voice on the other end."

"I wish I had. If I'd known how you felt, I would've called. Hell, I would've never left you in the first place. God, that must've been bad when you found my letter."

It was awful—the absolute worst day of my life.

There have been so many mistakes made between us, on my part and hers, and saying I love you didn't automatically mean she'd agree to live happily ever after with me. "What if I've changed my mind and decided I want complicated? What if I want to try?"

Her finger is on my stomach and she's tracing that invisible infinity symbol like she always does when she's nervous. "When I fell before, you didn't catch me."

She's right. She told me she loved me and I let her down. But never again. Never. "I'll always be sorry for that, Laurelyn. You've never had a single person in your life who didn't let you down, but that's not who I'm going to be. I swear I'll be there for you, if you'll let me."

Because of the men in Laurelyn's past, she's destined to have trust issues and she's never hidden this from me. We didn't have problems with it when our agreement defined very clear expectations, but a normal relationship will be different. I'm certain it won't come easy for us, but I'm prepared to do anything it takes to be with her.

"I can't lie. This—me and you—scares the shit out of me."

I'd be worried if she weren't frightened. "Me too, but wouldn't you rather be scared together than be miserable apart? Because I know that's what I'd be without you."

"You're right. I've done the being-miserable-apart thing for the last three months and it blows. I'm ready to try the scared-shitless-together part."

Chapter Nine

I turn my back to Jack Henry and snuggle against him. It hasn't been quite long enough but I know he's going to have me again as soon as he's ready. I'm definitely willing whenever all systems are go.

His hand slides around my waist and he rubs it in a circular motion on my stomach again. He seems to be hung up on that area tonight for some reason. I cup my hand over his. "Are you discovering a second time how much you like my belly-button piercing? You can't seem to stay away from it tonight."

"Your piercing isn't what I'm fixated on."

Hmm…that sounds interesting. Maybe he's already revving up for round two. That was quicker than expected, but it has been a long time. I scoot back so I'm pressed against him. "Then what has you so mesmerized tonight?"

He doesn't make a move or answer right away. "I found your birth control pills after you were gone."

"Oh." I knew I'd left them somewhere in the bedroom, so I'm not at all surprised by him bringing that up. I suspect he probably had quite the come-apart when he found them since I already know how badly he wants to avoid a pregnancy.

"There were two nights we didn't use condoms about the time you missed your pills. I didn't even attempt to pull out, so you can understand why I would've spent the last three months wondering if you were pregnant." He pushes my hair aside and kisses the back of my neck. "Don't be afraid to tell me if you are because of that f**ked-up misunderstanding we had at my parents' house." His mouth is hovering over my ear and he sucks my lobe. "I love you so much and I swear I'd love our baby too."

Just when I think I can't love this man more, he says something like that and I fall even deeper.

I reach for his hand splayed on my stomach and lace my fingers through his. He clenches it tightly as he waits for me to answer his question. "I'm not pregnant."

But right now he sure makes me wish I were.

"I caught up on the pills I missed with a new pack as soon as I got home."

He doesn't act relieved the way I'd expect. Did he want me to be pregnant? Before this moment, I thought he would've freaked out big time over a pregnancy, but his telling me that he'd love our baby makes me think otherwise.

"I had to ask, Laurelyn. It was driving me crazy thinking you might have our baby growing inside you but were too afraid to tell me because of how foolish I acted before."

"I probably would've been scared to tell you." Hell, who am I kidding? I would've been petrified to tell him I was having his baby. "Just so you know, I'm not on the pill anymore because of my migraines. I had an IUD placed since it didn't look like I'd be wanting to have children any time in the near future."

"I would've been okay with it if you were. I meant what I said. I love you and I'd love our baby."

It never ceases to amaze me how much this man can make me desire him. I'm not sure if it's his hands on my body or hearing him promise to love our baby that never was, but one of the two has me wanting him fiercely.

I'm already grinding my bottom against his groin when I realize what I'm doing and I feel how hard he is against me. Yeah, it's been long enough for him to be ready again. He slides his hand from my stomach to between my legs and I feel his mouth against the skin on my neck.

He cups his hand between my legs and rubs me until he ignites each and every nerve ending from my waist down. I have no doubt that he remembers exactly what my body needs as he circles the area around my most sensitive spot.

When I rock my hips against his hand, he glides two fingers inside me and uses his thumb to slowly massage my ecstasy controller and the responsive area around it. I begin to feel those earth-shattering contractions as they initiate deep inside me. The sensations are coming hard and fast because he's too damn good at this. I think he suspects the rush coming over me because he slows the motion of his fingers, but it only ends up applying more deliberate pressure and I spiral even faster. The escalating pleasure is everywhere—in my groin, down my legs, making them stiffen, even radiating to my toes, curling them. In this moment, Jack Henry holds total power over me, which I have a feeling he covets, and I freely give myself to him.

When I reach the end of my orgasm, I melt against him. "Woo. That was another pleasant reminder."

"You know that I'm not even close to being done yet, baby."