This is everything. He is everything. He’s satisfied but he hasn’t pulled out yet, and my heart quickens, just thinking about him still inside me. I never want him to be anywhere else. My lips seek him out as if of their own volition, brushing across his chest, right over his heart. I turn my head to press my ear there, listening to the strong, sure beat of his heart.

“Making sure it works?” he asks lightly.

“It works perfectly,” I assure him.

“Anatomically, at least.”

“No,” I say, my tone dismissive as I hug him fiercely, then press another kiss to his heart. “You’re wonderful.”

He drops a kiss on top of my head. “You’re adorably misguided.”

I shake my head defiantly, reaching up to run my fingers through his hair, to caress him. The affection in his eyes as I do about undoes me. I need to kiss him again, so I stretch up to brush my lips across his. He’s such a tender kisser, and I love the taste of him in my mouth.

I finally break the kiss to catch my breath and he buries his face in my neck, sending shudders of pleasure coursing through me. I wrap a leg around his hip, keeping him close.

My mind is only a second ahead of my mouth, but before I have time to reconsider, I tell him, “I love you.”

It feels so scary to say to him and my heart stalls, but he gazes down at me warmly. “I love you, too.”

I definitely didn’t expect him to say it back, and I can’t keep my jaw from inching open. “Really?”

Mateo chuckles, apparently amused that I’m surprised.

My face flushes, but I also smile. I can’t be too embarrassed—I’m too damn overjoyed.

He doesn’t offer further confirmation, but hearing it once was leaps and bounds above what I expected. I knew Mateo cared for me, I knew he desired me, I guess I even realized he had some kind of soft spot for me, but love? Mateo Morelli loves me?

I sigh, so content in this moment I never want it to end. I want to pause life and stay here in this bed with him for the rest of time.

Especially knowing we’re sharing, so while I have him with me tonight, kissing him, holding him, loving him, tomorrow he’ll be gone.

I don’t want to worry about that now, though.

Mateo finally releases me long enough to pull out of me. He rolls over into the empty spot beside me—his spot, in his bed—and pulls me into his arms, tucking me snugly against his body. Like a lover. The way he used to, when he was done being mean to me. It made me angry then because it was a mockery. It isn’t anymore.

It’s wonderful now. It’s intoxicating. It’s distressingly tender, and now I’m afraid to lose it.

I just declared my love for him and promised I’d never leave him. I told Mateo I’m his.

But I’m not. I live with someone else—a member of his own family.

I don’t know what happens now, but I don’t think it’s going to be pleasant.

Mateo’s voice startles me. “You don’t have to work at the bakery in the morning, do you?”

“No,” I murmur, lightly caressing the arm he has locked around me.

“Good,” he says, dropping a kiss on my shoulder.

“You’re really staying all night?” I ask, glancing back at him.

“I am,” he verifies. “And as soon as I recharge, I’m going to fuck you again. And again. And again.”

He punctuates each “again” with a little kiss along my neck, and I close my eyes, sighing in pleasure. “That sounds really good.”

“If you can sit down comfortably tomorrow, I haven’t done my job.”

That makes me laugh, and I twist in his arms until his grip eases up enough for me to turn. Once I’m facing him, snuggled against him, he secures his arm around me again. I run my fingers through his dark hair, just admiring his beauty. God, he is intoxicating.

“I love that plan,” I tell him.

“Yeah?” He dips his head to kiss me, his tongue moving into my mouth and drawing me back into his chaos. I don’t resist. He’s my favorite kind of chaos.

I don’t know where we go from here, but as long as we’re in this little bubble, I’m not going to worry about it.

As long as I’m able, I’m going to love him.

To hell with the consequences.

Chapter Eleven


I wake up to Mateo’s mouth moving across my bare shoulder blade, his hand between my legs, two fingers already pressed inside me. I’m face down in the pillow and he fists his free hand in my hair, signaling it’s going to be a rough round. I’m already sore from last night, but I crave the burn as he pushes his cock inside me. I’m not accustomed to morning sex, but the sudden intrusion jogs my memory—when I was in his room all those months ago, he always took me in the morning before he started his day.