Page 75 of Tripping on a Halo

She dropped her head on his shoulder and nudged the book in his direction. He picked it back up, his mind ricocheting in every direction as he opened the paperback and tucked the bookmark into the back cover. Settling deeper into the bed, he found their place on the page and cleared his throat, preparing to read. She knew everything. The events of the last nine months. The project he’d finished with Nate. Paige’s missing tooth debacle. His dreams and hopes and love for her.

“Wait.” She gripped his shirt and looked up at him. She tried to pull up higher on his chest, but was too weak to do so. He tilted down, toward her mouth, a question in his eyes. She nodded, and he gently pressed his lips to hers, his body trembling in an attempt to keep his feelings in check. It was a soft, sweet kiss, four or five mini-kisses in one, and when they parted, she smiled. “I love you, Declan Moss.”

She loved him. Could she? Could her own feelings have developed at the same time his did? Maybe this was drugs—a cocktail of chemicals they were pumping into her IV to keep her brain in check. Would she remember this, or all of the last nine months, when she woke up tomorrow?

He swallowed every fear and looked into her eyes. God, he’d missed those eyes. “I love you, too.” His voice broke a little on the words, and he swallowed, holding back every other thing he’d ever said to her. They had the rest of their lives for those confessions, and chances were, she’d already heard them from him a hundred times before. He pressed a soft kiss on her forehead and then brought her into his chest, relaxing back on the bed.

Then, together, they discovered Jocelyn’s husband’s secret.

Epilogue

“I’m not putting a penis on a cake. I don’t care what sort of significance you think it has.” A very pregnant Ansley glared at me, a spatula in hand.

“I’m not asking you to put the penis on the cake, I’m asking you to put the penis in the cake.” I turned from the counter and looked to Declan for moral support. “Tell her she has to put a penis in it.”

He raised his hands in surrender. “I’m staying out of this. I have a strict policy against touching any penis that isn’t my own.”

“Ew.” Ansley crinkled her nose.

“I suppose you’d prefer that he touches other people’s penises?” I asked dryly.

“Can you all stop saying that word? Please?” Roger stood in the doorway, a bag of party decorations in hand, and gave us a pained look.

“I can say the word penis. I was in a coma,” I informed him primly, and everyone in the room groaned. “Whaaaat?” I glared at them.

“You can’t pull out the coma card anymore.” Declan tugged at the back of my jeans, pulling me into his arms. “Remember? We all voted and agreed.”

“I didn’t agree,” I reminded him. “Maybe you couldn’t see my weak little hand raised in the anti-vote, but it was up there. Hospital band on and everything.”

He wrapped his arms around me and bent over, pressing a kiss against my collarbone. “Your vote didn’t count.”

“That’s bull crap,” I said indignantly. “I—”

He silenced me with a kiss, spinning me around and pressing his lips to mine in a fierce lip lock that sucked every relevant thought out of my head. Someone threw a party hat at us and Declan blocked it with one hand, using the other to keep me tightly gripped to him. When we came up for air, I couldn’t remember my middle name, much less what we’d been discussing.

“So, it’s decided,” Ansley said. “No penis in the cake my children are going to have pieces of.”

I whirled around to speak and Declan clamped his hand over my mouth. “I have another place you can put a penis,” he whispered, his breath tickling the edge of my ear. “I’ll give you three guesses where.”

“GROSS,” Ansley said. “WE CAN HEAR YOU, you know.”

“The garbage disposal?” I guessed, painting my face into a mask of innocent inquiry.

He winced, his hand moving to protect my favorite organ in the entire world. “Nevermind. I rescind the offer.”

I grinned at him, and he straightened, his teeth sawing over his bottom lip as he eyed me. That’s all it took between us. One long look, and a playful smile could ignite into wet panties and stiff arousal. He tugged me to him and I ducked around his hold, jogging down the hall and laughing as he took up the chase.

He caught up to me in the laundry room, and backed me up against the dryer, his hands hooking around my ass and pulling me into his kiss. “I love you.” His words slipped out between deep kisses, our heads angling for better positions, mouths frantic, hands groping and skating over every piece of each other we could access.

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