“How would I know that?” I asked, feeling a bit defensive that he made it seem so simple. “You never said the words to me. And when it came to leaving the mountain, you started making plans—or wanting me to make the plans—to leave for L.A. and for signings. You never once mentioned me. Or us.”

Price reached out and ran his fingertips down the side of my head, tucking a piece of hair behind my ear. “First of all, you are my assistant. Which means you travel with me to these types of events. I’m sorry. I guess I should have been more clear on what would be expected of you once we returned back to reality and city life.”

I opened my mouth to ask about us, but he cut me off before I could utter a word.

“As for us. I want nothing to change. How we were at the cabin is how I see us, and want us to be in the city. Every day no matter where we are. I want my toy, and to be able to play with her whenever I want,” he said with a devilish smirk and a wink.

He leaned in close enough that he could take hold of the back of my head and pull me into a kiss. He claimed my mouth just as he had so many times before. Before, when we were safe and secure on the mountain. Before real life stepped in. Before I had to return to a life that I so desperately wanted to leave behind me, never to return to.

As his tongue danced with mine, I leaned closer to him, wanting him to desperately back out of the garage and head back to the cabin. Back to the only place that ever felt like home. Felt like my home.

“I didn’t want to leave,” I mumbled against the kiss.

He pulled away just enough that he could look into my eyes again. “You aren’t leaving me. I’m not leaving you.” He gave me a quick peck to end the more passionate kiss and added, “But I should have made that more clear. I suppose we should have had the talk about us. And what us would look like once we returned to San Francisco. But I know one thing. I love you. Those are words that I don’t say lightly.”

“I love you too. And those are words I don’t say at all,” I said softly.

I saw the biggest smile form on his face, not only with his mouth but with his eyes. “I like hearing those words from your perfect lips.” He sat back and opened his door. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to sit in the garage anymore. We have a lot of work to do, trips to plan, and a future to spend together.”

I got out of the Jeep feeling as if a huge weight had left my shoulders, but also so excited for what was to come. Price had a way of making everything so simple. So black and white. Black and white like the words he masterfully put on paper.

“The good news for me,” he said as we entered the house, “is I get to save on hotel expenses now.” He chuckled. “My assistant will be sharing the room with me.”

“I call that service. You have a good employee on your hands. She sounds like a Jack of all trades,” I joked back. “She meets every one of your dark demands.”

“She is, and she does. She’s my assistant. My muse. My love. My everything.”

The End

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