My heart sinks with pleasure and I can’t bite back a grin. Leaning in, I whisper back, “You should swap nights with Meg; I want you in my bed tonight.”

He looks pretty pleased with himself, but I don’t even care. If we were alone right now instead of surrounded by family, I’d be on my knees worshiping his cock. Daddy Mateo is somehow hotter than scary Mateo and playful Mateo combined. There’s no side of this man I don’t completely adore.

Man, this is going to be a long movie.

Elise leans forward from her seat behind us, peering over the back of the couch and pecking Mateo on the shoulder.

Mateo raises a questioning eyebrow as he glances back at her. “Yes?”

“Can you break a belt with your neck muscles?”

Now he frowns in utter confusion. “What?”

“How are you at expectorating?” she continues.

“Okay,” Adrian says, leaning forward to tug Elise away. He’s faintly smirking, and I have a feeling we’re missing a crucial piece of the puzzle piece.

“Did she get into the wine at dinner?” Mateo asks.

“She’s not drunk,” Adrian says, rolling his eyes. “It’s Gaston. You’re Gaston.”

Still leaning forward, Elise says, “Can you flex your biceps? Give us a good Gaston flex.”

I’m still a little lost, but Meg is currently losing her shit. Leaning forward, she squeezes Mateo’s right bicep and says, “Oh, my God, they’re right. You even have the cleft in your chin.”

“He is not Gaston,” I say, offended on his behalf.

“Yeah,” Isabella puts in loyally. “Daddy can’t be Gaston. Gaston’s the bad guy.”

Adrian raises his eyebrows but offers no commentary on that observation.

“Yeah,” Mateo says, but only for Isabella’s benefit. It occurs to me that since he keeps the kids so sheltered, they’re probably in for a rude awakening when they become a part of the world and realize who he actually is.

It also occurs to me that I’ll be there for it. This man is mine now, and I am his. Beth’s death necklace hangs around my neck, her child in my lap, and her man on this couch with his arm wrapped around me. I never met the woman, I don’t like anything I’ve heard about her, but I think I’m taking her place in ways even Meg hasn’t.

The good ways, at least.

Obviously I won’t make the mistakes she made and drive him into a homicidal rage. If there’s anyone in the world capable of not only surviving Mateo, but having a happy life with him, surely it’s me.

Well, me and Meg.

It may not be exactly the way I envisioned having Mateo, but I have no complaints.

Mateo leans in so he can whisper in my ear again. “I hate quickies. I still want to fuck you.”

I whisper back, “In an hour and a half, I will run straight to my room and rip off all my clothes. You can have your way with me all night long.”

“Not long enough,” he complains. “I won’t be done with you by morning.”

I lean in closer, so I can catch his earlobe between my teeth and give it a little nip. “I never want you to be done with me.”

His eyes are so warm as he looks over at me, and since he already has his arm wrapped around me, it’s easy for him to pull me in for another kiss.

The commotion catches Isabella’s attention and she glances up just as our lips are disconnecting.

“Hey,” she says, scowling up at us.

“I didn’t forget about you,” Mateo says, leaning down to kiss her cheek.

She grins up at him and then leans back against us.

My stupid heart fills up, overflows, refills, and overflows again. There’s so much love and yearning moving through me right now, I could fill five people with it.

Since I can’t attack him right now, I settle my head on his shoulder. I don’t think I could hold more happiness and contentment in my heart than I have right at this very moment.

Mateo might think he’s hard to love. He may think life with him is no fairytale. But on both counts, he’s completely wrong.

I don’t know if Mateo Morelli could ever be described as the perfect man, but I do know he’s the only man for me.

THE END… kinda. You know the drill ;)