I touched her cheek and held her, dragging my mouth from hers, along the curve of her jaw, to her pulse rushing under my lips. I wanted to touch her everywhere, as if somehow that would make this all seem real. This crazy thing that we couldn’t see. Nothing was different on the outside, but the words she’d uttered had suddenly changed everything. Everything.

“You’re really pregnant?”

I needed to hear the words again. She worried her lip until I thumbed it loose.

“I wanted to wait to tell you . . .”

“Why?”

She glanced down, fidgeting with the collar of my shirt. “I don’t know. Just in case, you know, it didn’t last. I figured it would be better if you didn’t have to go through that too.”

My determination flared, and I shoved the possibility of a failed pregnancy out of my mind. The fact that she was pregnant was too new, too amazing, to dim with those fears. I tipped her chin, lifting her gaze to mine.

“Everything is going to be okay. I promise. And whatever happens, I’m here. I want to feel all of it right beside you.”

Her lip started trembling vigorously again. “I need you with me, Blake. That’s what you don’t understand. I can’t do this alone. I don’t want to raise a child alone, without a father. I know what it’s like to have that piece of your life missing, and I won’t sit by and let them take you from us.”

The way she said us sent my heart speeding.

“I won’t let that happen. We’re going to be a family.” The words were foreign in my mouth, but instinctively I knew they were true. In the blink of an eye, our future meant more than it ever had.

“We can’t leave this to chance. We have to find Trevor and end this. Promise me.”

“I promise.” I said it before I could think twice. The fact that I’d ever fought Erica over this suddenly seemed absurd. What the fuck was I doing?

Her eyes lit up, glowing with the tears that glistened. “Do you mean it?”

“I’ve never meant anything more.”

“Then how do we find him? If Michael can’t help us, I don’t know who else we can go to.”

Even though I’d had no intention of following through with the plan, I’d already mapped one out. “I need the code that was used to the rig the machines. Trevor does shoddy work. He’s bound to have left something behind, something that points back to him.”

“Don’t you think the feds would have found something by now if he did?”

“Not necessarily. It’s my code. It’s been a decade, but I know it inside and out. And they’re the good guys. They’re not looking for tricky shit the way I will. Trevor is a hacker. Takes one to know one, I guess.”

“How can we get it?”

I rubbed my hands up and down her legs, wishing I had the power to do more. “They’ve all got eyes on me, Erica. Otherwise I have no doubt I could get it.”

“What about Sid?”

I shrugged. “Maybe. Depends on whether that’s a risk he would take.”

“He’s done some creative research for me before.”

I smiled, the sensation oddly strange. Had it been so long since I’d smiled? It had been days since she’d left. “Creative research? Is that what we’re calling it now?”

“I don’t judge you for what you do, Blake. I may not always agree with it, but I know that your heart is in the right place. Sid’s is too. His ethical baseline is probably a little more in line with what I’m comfortable with, though.”

“Okay. We’ll see what he says.” I took a lock of her blond hair and rolled the silky strands between my fingers. Would our baby have blond hair? Blue eyes that mesmerized me like hers did every day?

“Does Gove know about Trevor?”

I shook my head, torn from happier musings. Guilt settled over me all over again.

“Will you at least tell him and see what he thinks? Evans may not believe you, but it could be enough to get him to back off a little.”

That tightness in my stomach returned, but faded just as quickly. I wasn’t positive, but I was pretty sure that was the feeling of learning my lesson.

“I’ll talk to him tomorrow.”

Her lips curved into a smile and the worry in the endless oceans of her eyes lifted. “I missed you,” she whispered, kissing me softly.

I circled my arms around her torso and held her to me as if she might disappear. Her tongue slipped past my lips, delving and teasing. She was sweet. So soft. I met her passion, reveling in the singular pleasure that was her taste, her touch, her exquisite aroma in my lungs.

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