“It went great,” I lie, watching Tyler shake his head. I shrug and mouth, What?

“I’m happy to hear that, sugar. I know you were nervous about meeting them. I told you everything would be okay.”


Feeling a little guilty for lying, I ask, “Is Mouse doing okay?” as I swipe on mascara, then look through my bag again for my bronzer.

“I don’t know,” she mumbles, sounding distracted, and my heart sinks.

“You don’t know?”

“He’s been hiding since you dropped him off. The only reason I know he’s alive is the food and treats I leave out are disappearing.”

“He’ll come out eventually. Just be prepared for him to scare the crap out of you when he does.”

“I’ll remember that,” she assures me, and then I hear my mom talking in the background. “Your mom wants to talk to you before she heads home.”

“Okay, love you.”

“Love you too. See you when you get home in a couple days.”

“See you then, and have a good Thanksgiving.”

“You too, sugar.” Grams passes the phone to Mom.

“Hey, honey, how was the drive? Is everything going okay? Do you like Tyler’s parents? Are you having fun?”

I smile at her barrage of questions, then answer. “It’s going good. Tyler rented us a beautiful cabin not far from his parents’ house. But you should see the town, Mom. It’s like something out of a picture book.”

“Text me some photos when you can,” she orders, then softens her voice. “I can’t wait to hear all about your trip when you get home. We’re going to miss you and Tyler at dinner tomorrow.”

“We’ll be home Sunday afternoon. If we’re early enough, we’ll come to dinner.”

“Okay, honey. Tell Tyler’s parents I said hi, and don’t forget to check in. I want to know how things are going.”

“I will,” I agree as I finish applying bronzer while Tyler leaves the bathroom. “Love you. Tell Dad I love him and everyone else hi.”

“Will do. Love you, and we’ll talk soon.”

“Talk soon.” I hang up and place my cell on the counter just as Tyler comes back into the bathroom shirtless, wearing his jeans zipped up but not buttoned.

“You didn’t tell your grandma or mom about what happened,” he states, stepping up behind me and wrapping an arm around my waist.

I meet his gaze in the mirror as I add some blush. “I don’t want them to worry about me, and if I tell them what happened, they will. Plus, if our families meet one day, I don’t want this clouding my family’s opinion of your mom.”

“Baby—”

“I’m hoping that I can win your mom over while we’re here and that this will be something we all laugh about later on.”

“I get that, but I want you to know you can be honest. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t talk to them about it.”

“I’m just keeping things to myself for right now.” I rest my hand over his on my stomach when it growls. “How far is the restaurant? I’m starving.”

“I hear that.” He smiles. “Not far, about fifteen minutes. How much longer till you’re ready?”

“I’m ready now,” I say, watching his eyes rake over me in his shirt, which doesn’t hide much of anything. “I just need to get dressed.” I turn in his arms and place my hands against his chest when he slides his hands down my back to cup both my ass cheeks. “I’m hungry.”

“So am I.” He starts to lower his mouth to mine, but I dodge his kiss and laugh.

“I need food.” I push at his chest, not even gaining an inch. “Unfortunately, I don’t think my body can survive on orgasms alone.”

“Maybe we should see if it’s possible, just for scientific purposes,” he says while leading me out of the bathroom backward toward the bed. Unable to help myself, I lean up and kiss him, moaning into his mouth as he slides his hands under the lace covering my ass, grabbing two handfuls. My stomach growls even louder just as the backs of my knees hit the bed, and he tugs his mouth from mine. “We’ll have to experiment another time,” he concedes as I laugh. He lets me go and picks up his shirt from the bed, pulling it on over his head. “While you get dressed, I’m going to call my dad back. He hasn’t stopped calling since we left the house.”

“Sure.” I give him what I hope is a reassuring smile, but I’m sure it looks more like a grimace.

“I’ll meet you downstairs when you’re ready.” He picks up his boots and kisses me once more before heading down the steps and leaving the loft.

I put the jeans I had on earlier back on, then dig through my bag to find a bra and a sweater. After I put both on, I go to the bathroom and brush out my hair. Once I’m done, I go downstairs and get on my shoes, which are near the front door, then search for Tyler. I find him in the kitchen, leaning against the counter with a hand wrapped around the back of his neck, the other holding his cell to his ear.

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