The doctors predicted a long but hopefully full recovery, even though the chip had been embedded deep and was connected to things it shouldn’t have been. She might have memory problems, but with her past she might appreciate that. As long as she didn’t forget him, he was happy.

God, was he happy. He stopped hating himself when she began to rouse, her swollen eyes opening.

She lay on a clean bed, monitors strapped all over her body, and he climbed in beside her, oh so careful. This was the complete opposite of all those weeks ago, when he’d woken up in the hospital and she’d been beside him.

“Jaxon,” she said, the word slurred. She was groggy, but happiness shone in her eyes.

“I’m here, baby.”

“How do I look?”

He peered over at her. Her eyes were swollen, her forehead discolored, and her head wrapped in a thick white turban. “Never better.” And he meant it. No matter what she looked like, she was beautiful to him.

Her lips twitched, as more and more sleep and exhaustion receded. “You don’t mind the shaved head?”

“Hell, no. You’re sexy and tough as shit. Only downside is that there’s nothing for Mia to braid if you girls ever decide to do a sleepover.”

“Ah, you’re so sweet.”

“No, I’m honest. I’m also a man in love, and once you’re up and around I’m going to prove it. Over and over again.”

That twitching became a full-fledged smile, though her head lolled to the side as if it were too heavy for her to hold in one place.

“The gang is currently in my living room, watching TV, eating every crumb in the house, and waiting to hear how you are.” Jaxon traced a fingertip down the firm plane of her stomach. He was going to spend the rest of his life making this woman happy, making her smile and laugh. “But I want you all to myself.”

As he touched her, her monitors began to beep a little faster, a little louder. “Estap still in his coma?” she asked.


“When I’m at full strength, I’m going to give you his head as a present. You can do whatever you want with it. That should prove my love for you.”

Jaxon chuckled softly. “My sweet killer, a softy down deep.”

Slowly she raised a hand and brushed it over his jawline. As she peered at him, she frowned.

“What?” He wanted her smiling. Always.

“I just asked the chip the likelihood of us staying together.”

Old habits. He hoped she did not come to regret losing the chip. “And?” he asked gently.

“Silence. That’s weird. I cannot remember a time when there was not a voice inside my head, giving me the answers I needed.”

“Well, I can tell you the answer to this one. I’m not a math whiz, but there’s a one hundred percent chance I’m never letting you go.”

Her frown melted away, and she gifted him with that smile he’d so craved. “God, but I do love you. I think I’m going to like coming to you rather than the chip.”

Now he smiled. “I’m glad.”

“You gave me ecstasy when all I’d ever known was sorrow,” she said. “In return, I’m sorry to say I think I’m going to be high maintenance like Cathy. I’ll probably even cling.”

“Cling to me all you want, then cling to me some more.” Gently, so gently, he kissed her. “I’ll never be able to get enough of you.”

She chuckled, and the sound warmed his heart. Life, he thought, was so damn good.