Affection fills me and I slide off the sink and wrap my arms around him. “You had so many reasons to fail in life and yet you became such an amazing person. I’m going to fight like you did. For me and for us.” I sink down to my knees in front of him. “I am,” I say, spreading my hand over his tattoo, “infinitely yours, Liam Stone.”

He reaches for me and pulls me to my feet, molding me close. “Say it again,” he orders, his voice a raspy command.

I smile at this repeating theme. “I am infinitely yours, Liam Stone.” I curl my fingers on his jaw. “Now you say it.”

“You are infinitely mine.”

I glower at him and he gives me a devastating smile. “Baby, I have been yours from the moment I laid eyes on you.” He unties the robe. “Shall I show you? Or are you eager to continue with the punishment?”

“Yours, not mine. As in, no spanking.”

His lips hint at a curve. “We'll see about that.” He reaches for his pants and slides them down his legs, and there is no question, he’s risen to the challenge of “showing me”.

“No,” I say, pulling the robe shut. “We won’t.” But I am not afraid. I am never afraid with Liam.

He steps up to me, his expression all dark promise and smoky sensuality. “Like I said, we’ll see about that.” He shoves the robe down my shoulders.

I catch it at my elbows. “I’m pregnant.”

He arches a brow. “And that means what?”

“I’m pregnant,” I repeat.

“We could ask Dr. Murphy if-- ”

“We are not asking her any such thing.”

He laughs, a deep rumble of pure sex that I feel in every part of me. “Then I guess we’ll just have to figure it out for ourselves, won’t we?”

My sex clenches and I am horrified to realize how aroused this is making me. “Not now.”

“I’m in no rush.” He wraps his fingers around my neck and pulls my mouth to his. “In fact, I’m all about savoring you now that you’re mine. Nice and slow, baby.”

He kisses me and proceeds to convince me that his kind of slow is really, really good.

***

The next morning I stand in a massive closet, freshly showered and dressed in a pink silk robe, and thanks to the new products Derek’s sister had purchased for me along with the robe, my floral scented hair is blow-dried and shiny. All around me are bags filled with more items and while I’m incredibly grateful for the gifts, what really makes me smile is thinking about the way Liam had declared half the closet mine before heading to the kitchen to arrange grocery delivery from the corner store.

Thanks to his convincing me to stay in bed with him the previous evening with a Lord of the Rings marathon he’d claimed was rich in fictional history, I feel rested for the first time in months. Of course, me loving history, and keeping him na**d and in his bed, had made my agreement fairly easy, but I’d known I was physically and emotionally at my limit, too. As a perk, the pizza we ordered to eat in bed like we’d done back in Denver, was not only yummy but didn’t make me sick. I almost think the sickness was more about stress and exhaustion than the pregnancy.

Done arranging my new things, I dress in a black velvet Victoria Secret sweatsuit with stylish wedge-heeled tennis shoes. Soon I suspect they will be all that will fit of this slim-fitted outfit and I’m looking forward to a visit from Dr. Murphy on Monday to talk about my due date and general care.

Looking oh so casual and sexy in a pair of gray sweats and a red t-shirt with the “pi” sign on it, Liam appears in the bedroom entryway about the time I’m about to seek him out.

His eyes light on me, and I feel his genuine pleasure at having me here which warms me to the core. “Let’s go get you comfortable with your new home, why don’t we?”

My stomach knots with his words as he leads me along with him, the real world I’ve spent hours hiding from striking its angry sword at me, reminding me of what I’ve pretended didn’t exist. I’m hungry for stability, for home, but I’m on the run and once I leave here, I may never be back.

All the more reason to drink in every second of the here and now, I remind myself, aware in deep, gut-wrenching ways how easily tomorrow might not exist. We travel the hallway that had been intimidatingly dark and is now a path to several elegantly decorated bedrooms, a library filled with architecture books and models of buildings Alex created. We spend a good hour talking about those, and then finally we enter The Dagger Room. The Dagger Room.

I step inside what is a long, rectangular-shaped room the size of two giant master bedrooms. It is all windows. At least a dozen glass cases are framed in gray wood with club foot legs etched in intricate designs, holding Alex’s dagger collection.

Liam waves me forward and I eagerly move to the first case as he explains, “You’ll find them divided by region and time period. And as I mentioned, you’ll find the collection heavily influenced by Alex’s Asian interests.”

My eyes go wide as a jade-handled dagger with remnants of dirt and age on the ivory blade comes into view, and I read, Shang Dynasty ca. 1046 BCE. Stunned, I look at Liam. “This is museum-worthy.”

“And now you know why I say I have a state of the art security system.”

“Yes. Yes, I do.” I glance around at some of the other pieces and add, “I hope it’s really as good as you say it is.”

“I wouldn’t have brought you here if it weren’t. We’re wired like Fort Knox, baby, don’t you worry. Alex put a lifetime into this collection and I want to keep them safe, but I’m not sure I enjoy them the way they should be enjoyed. I need to find a museum to donate them to.”

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