He asks me what it was like to grow up a Robbins. I described a lot of PB&J and Chef Boyardee lunches, summer vacations roaming the neighborhood on my bike because we couldn’t afford to go anywhere, and cheap department store clothing that made it difficult to fit in with the cool kids.

But I also told him about the love and laughter around the dinner table, a ritualized event where we would eat good food my mom cooked after a long day at the mill, and we’d share how our days went with each other. And even though we didn’t have a lot of privileges, we always had what we needed.

It becomes apparent just how different our lives have been, yet there’s never a lull in our discussion. There’s quipping back and forth, profound questions, in-depth answers, and one of the things I love the most out of what we’re trying to do here… a lot of laughter.

CHAPTER 21

Declan

I thrust into Bailey one more time—the last push I need before I’m coming with a long, drawn-out groan of relief. Bailey had two such orgasms already this morning.

Letting out a sigh, I touch my forehead to hers a moment before rolling off, coming to rest on my back beside her. Our shoulders touch, faces pointed to the ceiling, and we fight to regain our breath.

“Not going to lie,” Bailey pants with a faint underlying chuckle. “Morning sex is awesome.”

Laughing, I roll my head to look at her. She stares at the ceiling with a smile, her fingers laced and resting on her belly. I slide my gaze down to her naked breasts, nipples still hard and contracted. Christ, I want to fuck her again. I mean, my body isn’t quite ready, but everything else in my being is ready.

“I could get used to a lot of morning sex,” I say in agreement, turning back on the pillow to stare upward as well. “And just think… come Monday, we’ll probably have the results of our tests back, then we can do away with condoms. Then nothing will hamper our spontaneity.”

“That’s going to be awesome,” Bailey murmurs.

Sure as fuck is. It’s been a long damn time since I’ve shared that level of intimacy with a woman, and I’m near crazy with the anticipation of it.

Yeah…I could get used to a lot of different things with Bailey now firmly in the picture of my life.

These scratchy sheets I’m on. Not the expensive high thread-count cotton I’m used to sleeping on that feels like clouds. But the sheets smell like Bailey, and that makes them pretty fucking nice.

Her bed is small, a fraction of the size of the huge king in my suite. I usually sleep sprawled practically corner to corner, but I found spooning with her last night to be comfortable. For sure, her mattress is hard as a rock, but…

Well, no. There’s nothing I can think of that makes sleeping on this concrete slab worth it for the long haul. I make a note to buy Bailey a new mattress for the nights I stay over.

And yes… I’ve already started thinking about us spending every night together. I mean, why the fuck not? The sex is beyond amazing, and Bailey is awesome to be around. Where is the downside?

Because you’ve been here before, asshole. At some point, it will probably not be so great, I remind myself.

I shake that thought off. I could suggest she stay at the Blackwood with me, but that wouldn’t be best for her. I know she needs to be closer to her parents because of their health issues. The one clear thing I came away with after our dinner last night is her family is vastly different from mine and far more important to her. We spent a lot of time talking about her parents and how hard they worked to provide for her. They didn’t have a lot. They lived without extravagances, and yet Bailey never felt deprived. Knowing that about her family, I can’t even imagine how shocking it was for her to see my family dynamics.

She told me last night—with a great deal of pride—that unbeknownst to her growing up, her parents saved mightily to provide her with a college fund. She was able to go to the University of Nevada and graduate without owing a dime.

Of course, she’d said her degree in business administration wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on because she still hadn’t figured out what to do with it.

“Maybe I’ll get my MBA one day,” she had mused over the cheesecake she’d pulled from the fridge.

I had not a doubt she would probably do just that. She didn’t seem like the type of woman that would ever let an opportunity pass her by.

“So today is Saturday,” she murmurs, sounding mellow.

“Yeah.”

“What do you normally do on a Saturday?” she asks, rolling slightly toward me.


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