My heart is so full of happiness that I can’t hide the smile that covers my face.

He nods his head and returns his lips to mine. “The truth is I couldn’t imagine a family without you.”

CHAPTER EIGHT

DREW

Who knew adopting a dog would be such a big responsibility? Well, I knew, but I didn’t realize how much attention he’d need, how many times he’d wake me during the day to go outside, and how much anxiety he’d have anytime I left the house.

However, I know Courtney loves having him around, and if all that means she feels safer, then I’ll do whatever it takes to keep her happy. After a week of spending time with Buddy and watching him interact with Courtney, I have no doubt he’s the right pick for us. I’m almost getting used to sharing the bed with him, but now I think it’s time to get him a dog bed for the nights Courtney and I are both home. It’s getting a little overcrowded. Buddy isn’t exactly a small dog and Courtney and I need our alone time back.

“What do you think about this one?” I ask her as she holds onto the cart in the pet store. “This feels soft and looks pretty comfortable.” I rub my hand over the bedding.

She shrugs, clearly not paying attention. She’s been out of it the past day or so, knowing that we’re due back in court tomorrow morning. This whole thing with Mia is starting to weigh on both of us. I just want it to be over so we can move on without feeling like it’s unresolved. Since we were able to get a temporary restraining order, we go in front of the judge for the permanent one tomorrow. The unknown of what to expect is driving at her and I’ve been doing anything I can to distract her from it. Buddy can’t even get her out of her haze.

“Sweetheart?” I say, grabbing her attention. She finally looks over at me. “You’re going to drive yourself crazy thinking about it.”

She sighs, her shoulders falling. “I can’t help it. The anxiety of possibly seeing her face to face and having to relive the details of that night are driving me nuts.” She points to the dog bed and nods her head. “That one is good.”

I grab it and place it in the cart.

“And part of me just wants to walk up to her and slap her across the face until her ugly nose ring falls out.” She narrows her eyes and releases a breath. “But being a Southern lady, I won’t stoop to that level or let her bring that side out of me,” she says through clenched teeth which really brings out her Southern accent.

“You have every right to be upset and stoop to whatever level, but you’re right. The more we allow her to get under our skin and upset us, the more she gets off on doing it.”

She nods, releasing a slow breath. I’ve noticed that a lot with her recently. She’s been using her yoga breathing techniques anytime she gets worked up about something.

“I’m just glad your friend’s lawyer friend agreed to help us out on such short notice,” she says, talking about my partner, Tyler’s friend, Jake. He’s a defense attorney who specializes in family law but agreed to represent us in case things get ugly.

I tuck a piece of hair behind her ear and look into her eyes. “Stop worrying. We’re going to get through this and finally be able to move on, okay?” I tell her, trying to reassure her, although knowing Courtney, nothing I say will calm her nerves.

She nods and we continue looking for more dog toys. Since Buddy’s arrived, he’s taken over the bed, his shit has taken over the backyard, and his fur has accumulated in every corner of the house. He’s also started randomly chewing on things out of boredom when he’s home alone. Courtney doesn’t want to kennel him, so we’re going to try some heavy-duty bones and toys to see if that occupies him enough until one of us is home with him.

Since we have court tomorrow, Travis gave Courtney the day off and once it’s over, we’ll have the rest of the weekend to spend together. If the weather cooperates and doesn’t rain, we plan to take Buddy to the dog park and help him get some exercise and socialization with other dogs.

“So, have you thought about what you want to do for your birthday next weekend?” she asks as we drive back home. Truth is, I really haven’t thought much about it. Spending time with Courtney is all I ever want to do. As long as she’s with me, it doesn’t matter what we do.

“Not really. But I wouldn’t be opposed to you giving me my birthday gift early.” I flash her a cheeky grin, knowing she’ll get exactly what I’m implying.


Tags: Kennedy Fox The Checkmate Duet Erotic
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