If the prospect of having a child with Erica was new and a little mind-boggling, being helpless to ensure she could have that experience turned everything upside down. I had wealth, influence, and technology at my fingertips. I’d worked for all of it and in many ways took for granted the level of control over my world that came with it. Now I had the woman I loved in my arms, and despite everything, we were at the mercy of chance and nature’s whim.

The fact both frustrated and emboldened me. I’d do whatever I possibly could to bring us closer. Come hell or high water, I’d meet every need, wish, and desire she had. I tightened my hold on her a fraction, the fervency of my silent admission wreaking havoc on my emotions. “If this is what you want, it’s what I want. And I’m ready if you think you are.”

A small smile crept over her lips. “We’ll never be ready. I think we just have to be crazy enough to try.”

I locked my gaze to hers. “Believe me, I’ve been trying.”

Her breathing sped up, and a shiver worked its way over my skin. I’d never said it before, but I’d been trying like hell since she’d healed enough for me to have her again. She hadn’t gone back on the pill, and I’d been inside her every night. I’d fucked her deeper and harder than I ever had, secretly hoping that doing so would give her what both of us feared we’d never have.

The two of us would be enough. I’d never need another, only her in my bed, in my arms, every day of our lives. But this is what she wanted, and deep down, I wanted it too. This would be more, so much more than I could really comprehend right now.

Hope glimmered in her eyes, hiding the sadness I’d seen there before. “How can you have that much faith, after everything we’ve been through?”

I shook my head. “I don’t know. I feel like if we want it enough, it’ll happen. Or maybe I’m just not used to taking no for an answer.”

Overcome with all the things I couldn’t completely make sense of, I held her against me and kissed her again, more deeply this time. The soft press of her body was the sweetest kind of torture. The kiss became urgent, our tongues tangling. Her taste stirred my hunger. Her hips brushed against me, and I hardened. I wanted to claim her then, to sink deep inside her, again and again.

A groan left me, and I lifted her legs around me. She clung to me tightly as I walked us out of the pool.

Fingertips sliding over my scalp, thighs gripping my waist, she took over my senses as she’d done so completely, so many times before. I forced my eyes open between her kisses to find my way to the cabana next to the pool. I laid her down on the white terry sheet that hugged the lounging bed, and she tugged me down over her.

* * *

ERICA

My touch trembled over Blake’s shoulders. Rivulets of water trailed over his skin and down the strands of his hair onto me. Behind him, the night sky was an endless blanket of navy. Stars shimmered through the sheer fabric draped around the cabana.

Moments ago, I’d been scrambling to escape from my unconscious, wrapped up in scenes I’d relived too many times. Now I was in Blake’s arms, healed and whole, and the magnitude of what we’d shared moments ago had left me breathless. Could this be real?

I wasn’t convinced that what he’d just asked me hadn’t been a dream. I’d thought about it, of course. Every time we made love there was a possibility, but I’d never imagined that he was wishing for a baby too, that he was trying . . .

I wound around him, tangling our limbs as a surge of wanting coursed through me. He took my mouth, moaning. I could taste the love in our kiss, sweet against his tongue as he tantalized me with tiny delicious licks. His body was firm against me, every muscle flexing and taut as we moved over each other. Had there been a moment when I’d loved him more than I did now? I couldn’t remember. My heart swelled against the walls of my chest, flooding my veins with a rush of potent emotion.

“I love you,” I said, breathless when we separated. “God, I want you so much right now.”

He trailed kisses along my jaw, down my neck, to the tender place below my ear. He sucked and nipped, sending shivers over my skin.

“Erica,” he whispered against my neck, “I want to give you a baby tonight.”

The sweet proclamation stole the air from my lungs and the words that wanted to follow. My doubts. My fears. He’d wash them away anyway. He’d make them seem small and impossible in the face of what he wanted, we wanted.

“I want that too,” I said quietly.

He drew a damp stroke across my cheek, holding me with his gaze. Moonlight glittered off the droplets on his skin. “I know you’re scared.”

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