He broke the kiss on a groan and shifted, moving off of me just enough to reach between our bodies. He positioned himself at my dripping entrance, the tip barely penetrating my opening before he thrust deeply, seating himself fully inside me. At that same, earth-shattering moment, his hand moved, a buzzing came to life, and my clit turned to fire as pleasure raced over me.

With a high-pitched cry, I flew over the edge, coming hard as he impaled me with his hardness repeatedly while his fingers worked my micro bullet over my now over-sensitized clit. I was jerking against him, trying to pull away even as I arched into him, seeking more of the blinding ecstasy filling me, pushing me almost violently to that razor edge and beyond once more.

I screamed out my release until I was hoarse, my fingers clutching and scratching helplessly at his back and shoulders as I was dragged under by waves and waves of almost unbearable sensation. Brandon, with one last hard thrust, slammed deep inside my clenching heat, spilling himself inside of me on a loud, primal shout before he collapsed across me, taking care, though,  not to crush me beneath his weight.

We laid there panting, our sweat slickened skin sticking together where we touched, his heavy weight pressing me into the mattress while the forgotten toy buzzed happily alongside my hip where he’d dropped it. As I worked to catch my breath, I mused that I didn’t have to wonder what he’d been doing in my closet. The better question to ask would probably be how the hell he’d known where my stash was?

After a few moments, he rolled to his side after carefully disengaging from my sated body. He reached for the toy, smiling slyly at me as he thumbed it off and tossed it aside before gathering me in his arms and cuddling me against his chest. He drew lazy circles on my shoulder and down my side and hip while we laid there quietly, our breath mingling in the closeness of our lips.

He smiled tenderly and kissed me softly, sweetly. “Mmmm…” he murmured between kisses.

“Yup,” I sighed happily.

“You know,” he began, his tone getting softer, not quite worried, but definitely getting a little tense. “We haven’t been using any protection.”

I nodded. “I know,” I said, my voice very quiet. “But, like I told you before, I’m on the pill.” I looked away from his and whispered the real reason I’d never worried about protection with him. The painful one. “I-I can’t have kids anyway.”

He leaned up on his elbow and gripped my chin gently in his fingers, turning my face back to his. Concern creased his brow as he asked, “When…?” He didn’t finish the question, but he didn’t need to. I knew what he was asking.

I nodded once more.

He blew out a breath and kissed me again, holding me tighter in his arms. After touching his lips almost absent-mindedly to my forehead, he said, firmly, “It’s okay, sunshine. That bastard will never hurt you again.” He dipped his head, his eyes searching my face. “There are always other options, baby. Don’t ever think there aren’t. If and when we decide to explore that path…”

His words trailed off. All I could do was smile at him and lean in for another kiss as my eyes filled with tears. But they weren’t sad tears. They were the happiest-I’d-ever-been, how’d-I-get-so-fucking-lucky kind of tears. And those are the best kind to have.

Chapter 16

The plan put into motion by my friends and family shifted my life completely, turning it upside down over the next week or so. I couldn’t complain about it, though. When Allie learned that everyone was on board with her selling the store, including her mom because she’d been wanting to take an RV tour of the U.S. with George, Allie’s dad, she moved quickly.

The realtor found a buyer immediately; it was unreal at how everything played out, especially finding a buyer so quickly. Allie settled into her role as a housewife rather easily, content to ready the house for the baby that was due any time now and spoil Grady even more than he already was. Jackson was ten times happier, too, knowing that Allie wasn’t overexerting herself, and he wasn’t worrying so much anymore about something happening with her being alone at the store or any of the hundred thousand more scenarios that had been giving him nightmares since the night she told him she was pregnant.

He’d kept it together pretty well, I must say, though. Did it stop me from teasing him about turning into a worrywart? Nope. Although, I would have to admit that I may have used other words. You know, like…hell with it, I called him a pansy. It earned me one of his death-glares and he threatened me with a mega-wedgie, but it was worth it.

Emma gladly turned over her duties down at Skin Deep to me, especially with her due date looming so close, so now, not only do I get to have Brandon in my bed every night, I get to spend my days with him, too. I worried about him getting sick of seeing me so much, but he assured me he wouldn’t. Honestly, I think he was just excited to get to figure out ways to get me naked in the supply closet. Or in his office. And once on the floor behind the counter…but the shop had been closed at the time, thank God.

Luke just shakes his head in disgust when he catches Brandon kissing me at random times throughout the day, but then he just grins wryly when Brandon reminds him that it was he himself getting caught lip-locked all the time before I started working.

My mom was back from her trip and had flown directly out to Ohio instead of going home. She’s staying at Jackson and Allie’s house so she can be there when the baby comes. Emma and Luke already had a security system in place, as did Allie and Jacks. Needless to say, my house was wired up within an inch of it’s life now, too. They even upgraded the system down at Skin Deep, just to be safe.

So, just like that, everyone did what they needed to to protect themselves and…well, mostly to protect me. Every day, I woke up and thanked God and anyone else who would listen for all of them. I may have saved myself by getting the hell away from Greg, but in all honesty, they were the ones who really saved me.

I still had nightmares, but they’d been getting less frequent. I still jumped at shadows, which Brandon laughed off, but I could still see the worry in his eyes. I rarely went out by myself, just until we got confirmation that Greg was back behind bars for violating his probation and the no contact order. Emma had waltzed up into her old boss’ office and Attorney Floyd Grimm had sent out a nice, biting little letter to the Department of Corrections and the Courts out in California, along with a copy of the letter I received from Greg. The police had been looking for him, putting out BOLO’s and everything, but they’d had no luck so far.

Other than that, everything was good…no, it was perfect. Okay, so perfect with a few hiccups. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Not even when I got the phone call. The one that said they’d found a car registered to Greg in a little town on the outskirts of Cincinnati, abandoned on the side of a township road in the middle of nowhere. They’d done a search of the area, including the woods and the one and only motel in the town, but they’d found nothing.

With things being so tense until we heard something from the police, the group had banded together even more than usual. In fact, dinner was a nightly event, moving from house to house. Two nights ago we were at Luke and Emma’s, last night was at Leah’s…and I can’t with good conscience tell you that that would be happening again anytime soon. Unless we order pizza or takeout from somewhere…

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