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I blew out a breath and glanced at Erica, who seemed to share my relief. I should have carried a more confident facade for her sake, but the doctors had the answers in this situation, not me, and Erica was the patient. This was my chance to get as much information as I could, because Googling this shit only horrified me. In this case, my limited access to technology did me no favors.

“And sex is fine, just in case that might be something you were worrying about too.”

I lifted my eyebrow. This woman had no idea how I fucked, and I wasn’t about to run the details by her.

“Completely fine,” she reassured with a wink.

We stood and the doctor helped Erica off the table.

“You have a very protective father-to-be on your hands, Erica.”

Erica rolled her eyes with a smile. “Trust me, I know.”

* * *

ERICA

We drove back toward home. Autumn leaves flew across the road in windy gusts, scattering across the grassy yards that were dulling from the vibrant green of summer. The earth was dying, yet I held life, a tiny fragile promise.

I hadn’t been sure what to expect from today’s appointment, but I couldn’t have been happier. I wanted to shout our news off the rooftops but knew that we should wait a little longer. Still, I couldn’t believe how incredibly lucky we were.

“You all right?” Blake caught my hand and held it in his lap.

I met his gaze and smiled. “Yeah. Just happy.”

“Good.” His concern softened into a look full of warmth, full of love that I felt in my heart all the way to my fingertips. “I’m sorry if I freaked you out in there.”

“It’s okay. You asked a lot of the questions I wanted to. It’s hard to feel like I don’t fully understand what my own body is capable of.”

“If you don’t understand, I’m completely in the dark.”

I laughed. At least when it came to pregnancy, I suppose that was true. Beyond that, he seemed to know all too well what my body was capable of. Heat flooded my cheeks at the small reminder of that fact.

Hello, hormones. That quickly, I wanted to be home. I wanted to be in his arms. I wanted to celebrate and revel in our good news over and over.

Blake’s phone ringing from the Tesla’s dashboard broke the fantasies my brain was stitching together. The caller ID read Remy. Blake’s eyebrows knitted.

“Are you going to answer it?”

Assuming the man calling was the same one who owned and operated the sex club to which I’d very naively gained entrance months ago, my curiosity burned. As far as I knew, Blake wasn’t in regular contact with Remy. What could he want to speak to Blake about now?

“Not right now. I’ll call him later,” Blake said quickly. He released my hand and hovered over the end call button.

“Just talk to him now.” Before he could stop me, I accepted the call from the console.

He shot me a glare when Remy’s accented voice filled the car.

“Blake, hello. Do you have a minute?”

“I have exactly one minute. What do you want?” The tension in Blake’s tone was unmistakable.

“It’s about Sophia.”

A knot began to form in my stomach, filled with immediate regret and worry. I’d wanted to know Remy’s reason for calling, but now suddenly I didn’t. I didn’t want her presence anywhere near us.

Blake’s tension grew, too, evident in the tick in his jaw. “What about her?”

“She’s been hurt.”

Blake paused, his focus fixed on the road ahead. “What happened?” he asked calmly.

“It was at the club. A patron, he was fairly new. I suppose she and I both underestimated him. But you know how she is. She . . .” He cleared his throat. “You know her demands. She challenged him, and he took the bait. Unfortunately he took it too far.”

“Fucking hell. I could have predicted that. Is she okay?”

“She’s at the hospital.”

I pretended to look away, as if I could give him any privacy now. Even as I pretended to want to, I watched out of the corner of my eye as Blake’s grip tightened on the wheel.

“You should go see her. She’ll want to see you. No one will understand. You’re the only one she has,” Remy said, a touch of pleading in his request.

My mind shouted a string of heartless protests. Maybe this wasn’t one of Sophia’s dark plans orchestrated to lure Blake back into her life, but that is what she would hope for from it. I knew her well enough to know that.

“I’m not the only one she has. Call her parents.”

“They won’t understand this, Blake.” Remy’s voice lowered. “You know that.”

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