I could tell from her body language and the sensual way she moved over me that she was waiting. Waiting for me to take what was mine—her body, her pleasure. God, did I want to, but something held me back. The woman I held in my arms wasn’t the same.


* * *

ERICA

The sound of the shower door closing stirred me from my nap. I twisted in the sheets. The fatigue from earlier lifted gradually as I got my bearings. The clock read 10:00, which meant I’d crashed for only a few hours. I lay back on the pillow and stared at the ceiling. More importantly, Blake had finally come to his senses, and for the first time in days, I felt relief.

I was grateful to be home too. Back in the bed we shared and back in Blake’s arms. Except that’s all Blake had allowed. Ever since I’d told him about the pregnancy, he’d seemed guarded, like I might break if he let the slightest bit of passion slip into his touch.

Maybe the hormones had taken hold. Maybe I simply wanted that closeness with my husband, no differently than I ever had. Maybe the way I loved Blake had transformed, knowing that I was carrying our child, knowing that we’d made a life between us. Whatever it was, I wanted him badly, and I wasn’t going to let him deprive himself, or me.

The water stopped and a second later Blake emerged, a towel around his waist. His chest was gloriously bare, save the tiny lines of water trailing down from his still wet hair. The man had the body of a god. The fact was doing little to tame my now raging libido. I lifted up on my elbows to boldly drink him in.

“Did I wake you up?”

I shook my head, lifting the corner of my mouth in a suggestive smile. “Come to bed.”

“You’ve been traveling all day. You should rest.”

“I’m all rested up. Come here.” I bent my knee. The friction between my thighs and the vision of him creating more of it there sent my temperature rising.

His tongue passed slowly over his lower lip. “I will in a bit. I’m going to do some work.”

Bullshit.

I rose from the bed and walked to him. I didn’t wait for an invitation. I slowed in front of him, gazing up into his beautiful eyes, now a heart-melting shade of green.

I glided my hands down the broad planes of his chest. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” His eyes were shadowed with emotion. “I wish words were enough to show you how I feel, Erica. I’ve said it a hundred times, but every day I love you more, and the words stay the same.”

Something in my heart twisted. I hated that he’d been hurting so badly. He was clean and shaven now, fresh and alert, but he’d been a wreck when I came home. I’d never seen him so devastated.

I shouldn’t have left him so coldly. I knew he’d forgiven me, but a part of me wanted to atone for it. I wanted us together. I ached for our bodies together.

“I shouldn’t have left you the way I did. I was angry and so scared.”

“I know,” he said quietly.

After leaving Blake with a reminder of the commitments we’d made, I’d thought a lot about our vows and what they meant—their symbolism and the words themselves. They were promises to build on, not laws waiting to be broken. We were human. Imperfect. Still young in many ways even though we’d been well acquainted with the ways of the world.

We’d hurt each other. We’d landed some powerful blows and somehow found our way back to understanding and love. We’d changed. We’d grown. And every hard lesson had woven us closer together through the journey.

Nothing could shake my love for Blake, and tonight my vow was to fight for that love. I tangled my fingers in his hair with one hand and drew a line down his chiseled jaw with the other. My beautiful lover.

“Even if we fight and fuck up, we’ll always find a way through things. I promise.”

“You have no idea how badly I wanted to believe that was true.” He tucked my hair behind my ear. “It would have been easier to believe if you’d returned my calls though.”

I closed my eyes. “I’m sorry.”

His hurt echoed inside me.

I’d said the words, but now I needed to show him. And the magnitude of what I felt couldn’t be said with a gentle touch. Love and lust were two highly combustible ingredients, stoking the small inferno already burning inside me.

I pressed my lips to his chest. Tracing my fingers down over the hard ridges of his abs, I found the knot of his towel and tugged.

“Erica . . .”

I hushed him and let the towel fall to the floor. I flicked my tongue over the silky disk of his nipple until it pebbled under a puff of air. I gave the other the same treatment. I kissed my way along his collarbone. Then his neck, where I sucked him boldly until he let out a tortured groan. He palmed my ass, forcing us tightly together. His arousal was unmistakable, hot against my skin.

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