When Holly awoke, she first registered that Ethan was no longer in front of her. But her back was cradled into a hard chest and a hand rested possessively on her rounded abdomen. She smiled. Ryan.

She blinked the cloud of sleep from her eyes and marveled at how much better she felt. Part of it was the extra hours of sleep she’d needed but the other part was the reassurance she fe


lt with Ryan curled around her body.

Wanting to face him, she struggled to turn over, a not-so-simple feat these days. Gentle hands assisted her and warm lips met hers as soon she eased around.

She sighed in utter contentment as Ryan deepened his kiss, his tongue brushing over hers. She slid her hand up his naked chest then to his shoulder and over the puckered scar from his gunshot wound.

Unexpected tears swam in her vision as she once again relived the horror of that night. Damn pregnancy hormones. She was a walking basket case these days.

“You’re not going to lose me,” Ryan murmured as he pulled away from her mouth.

God, she needed this reassurance. Her heart seized every time she looked at him lately.

“I love you,” she said, her voice whispery with emotion.

“I love you too,” he said gruffly.

The baby kicked and rolled between them and Ryan’s face relaxed into a grin.

“Active today, isn’t he?”

He moved his hand into the waistband of her sweat pants and eased it downward until her belly was bared. His fingers smoothed reverently over the taut skin. Then he bent down to press his lips to the small bump just underneath her ribs.

“Is that his foot?”

Holly chuckled. “Could be. I can’t ever keep up, he moves so quick.”

He slid his hand up, pushing her shirt until he cupped one full breast. Then he bent again and kissed the swollen nipple.

“I’ve missed you,” he said, and she knew he meant their lovemaking.

She moaned softly as he swirled a fingertip around the puckered tip, left damp from his tongue.

“I’ve missed you too,” she murmured.

In reality, she was about to scream in frustration. They hadn’t made love to her in weeks. She knew they were being considerate of her discomfort, but it was an unnecessary restraint of their part.

They’d been nothing but excruciatingly gentle since she’d returned to them, never taking her in the way they had before. They made love to her reverently, almost as if they were afraid they’d hurt her.

Sure, not a day—hell, an hour—went by that they didn’t touch her, caress her, shower her with tenderness, but it wasn’t the same as making love to her.

“I won’t break,” she said.

A ragged sigh of frustration broke from Ryan’s chest.

“I don’t want to hurt you or the baby. Adam, Ethan and I discussed this. We think it would be best to wait until after the baby’s born.”

A frown tugged on her eyebrows. She rose up on one elbow and glared down at Ryan.

“Let me get this straight. You and your brothers decided, on your own, without consulting me, that you would be abstaining until after our baby is born?”

He eyed her cautiously. “Uh, yeah.”

She pressed her lips into a tight line. “I see. And did it never occur to you that maybe I had no desire to abstain? Since when do you make my decisions for me?”

He looked at her in complete befuddlement, the look of a man who knew he was cornered and had no idea what to say to get out of it.

She almost grinned, but it would completely ruin the stern look she was trying to effect. Instead she leaned down and pressed her lips to his chest. She licked the lines between his hard muscles, dipping down to explore his rigid six pack.

His breath escaped in a long hiss. “Holly, I don’t think…I don’t think this is a good idea.”

She raised her head to look him in the eye. “That’s your problem. You’re thinking way too much.”

She slid off the bed, taking only enough time to shimmy out of her clothes before she crawled back on top of him.

Her fingers dipped to the button of his jeans. “The way I see it, you have a couple of choices,” she began. “One, you can take off your jeans like a good boy, or two, you can suffer the wrath of a hormone-crazy pregnant woman.”

“Well, when you put it that way.”

His hands reached down to fumble with his jeans. They shook as he shoved the denim down his hips. A few seconds later, he was naked, his cock straining upward.

A surge of desire shot through her system, leaving her breathless. Not giving him any time to change his mind, she put her hands on his chest to brace herself then threw one leg over his hips.

His hands supported her shoulders as she reached down to position his cock at her pussy entrance. Then she sank down, sheathing him in one motion.

Ryan threw back his head, eyes shut tight as he clenched his teeth. She smiled. She might be a little rusty, but that wasn’t exactly her fault since they hadn’t exactly been willing participants of late. But she was going to remedy that. Starting now.

His hands slid down her body, over the curves and swells until they settled on her hips. She began a slow, sensuous ride, determined to punish him for holding out on her. He’d be begging for mercy before she was finished.

She leaned forward, letting her hair fall over his chest as she continued to roll her hips. Aching, exquisite pleasure built in her pelvis, curling like fire in her abdomen. God, she’d missed him too.

Her fingers curled into his chest. She panted as she felt the slow rise of her orgasm. No, she wouldn’t end this so quickly. She sank down again and paused, enjoying the feel of him embedded so deeply inside her.

“Jesus, Holly, you can’t stop now.”

The low, desperate sound of his voice sent a thrill through her chest. She stared into his eyes and grinned mischievously. She raised her hips one tiny inch before sliding back down.

“You’re so taking advantage of the fact that I can’t pay you back for this,” Ryan grumbled.

His hands traveled around her hips to cup her ass. He arched into her, thrusting deeper into her.

She knew she wasn’t going to last very long. And then he moved one of his hands between her legs. His fingers found her clit and began stroking the quivering flesh. She gave up on making him suffer and picked up her pace.

Her knees dug into his sides as her body tightened. Every muscle strained, reaching, begging for release. Her breath tore out of her lungs like fire.

Ryan surged upward and let out a cry as he came. A few seconds later, her orgasm followed.

He caught her as she slumped forward. Gently, he eased her to his side, curling his arms around her as he held her close. They both heaved for breath as their hearts beat erratically in the aftermath.

He kissed her hair, stroking a hand down her back as she shuddered with aftershocks.

“Did I hurt you?” he asked against her ear.

She shook her head and nuzzled closer to him.

“Adam and Ethan are going to kick my ass over this,” he said wryly.

She smiled and pulled away to look at him. “No, they won’t. I don’t plan on giving them the opportunity.”

“Uh oh.”

“Don’t you worry about your brothers,” she said. “I have plans for them.”

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