Calmer, Kade grabbed a bottle from the refrigerator. Eliza would be up soon, he may as well get ready to feed her.
Soft footsteps stopped behind him.
Kade spun around. “Look. I’m sorry. I touched you like I had a right to. I don’t. The last thing I want is to make you uncomfortable in your own house.”
“Let’s forget it, okay? Chalk it up to being a stressful day. I’m going upstairs to get your room ready. Eliza is still down here in the bassinet. Will you listen for her to wake up?”
“Sure. Where am I sleepin’?”
“In the guest bedroom.”
“Where does Eliza usually sleep?”
“In my room.”
“That’s gonna be a problem when I get up with her in the middle of the night.”
“No it won’t be. I’ll just deal with the night feedings and get up with her like I always do.”
“The hell you will. I’m here to care for our child. That means day and night. If she sleeps in your room, so do I.”
Skylar looked petrified for a moment before she regained her composure. “Funny, McKay. You had me going there for a second.”
“I ain’t kiddin’.” He crossed his arms over his chest, knew it looked belligerent and didn’t care. “I’d be fine if you moved her crib into the guest bedroom with me.”
“But all her stuff is in my room. I hadn’t planned to decorate and put her into her own room for at least another month.”
“Then it’d be smart to keep her right where she is, wouldn’t it?”
She blinked with the same owl-eyed expression Eliza had earlier. “So what you’re saying, is…”
“It appears you and I are gonna be roomies, darlin’.”
“Oh yes. You stay on your side of the bed. I’ll stay on mine.”
“So we’re sharing a bed strictly as parenting partners?”
“You’ll be a perfect gentleman?”
“If that’s what you want. Besides, you’ll probably be so glad to get a full night’s sleep that you won’t even notice I’m there.”
“But, it’s only for a few weeks, until you put her in her own room, right?”
“So, how hard can it be?”
The look on Skylar’s face was priceless. He knew she wasn’t convinced it’d be no big deal having him in her bed.
And that’s exactly what Kade was counting on.
Two weeks later…
“Wah. Wah. Wah.” Pause. “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.”
Skylar groaned and rolled toward the edge of the bed. “Hang on, baby. I’m coming.”
Kade placed his hand on her shoulder. “Stay put. I’ll get her. Go back to sleep.”
She mumbled, “Thanks.” The minute he was out of bed, she sprawled in the middle of the mattress and snagged his pillow.
What a bed hog.
“Wah. Wah. Wah.”
“Good Lord, child. Them lungs work fine at four in the mornin’, don’t they?” Kade murmured, scooping Eliza out of her crib. He skirted the footboard and snuck out of the room.
Downstairs in the kitchen, he kept the lights dimmed as he reheated a bottle. Eliza rooted against his chest, making angry snuffing sounds. He brushed his lips across the top of her head, inhaling her sweet baby scent, rocking her back and forth. “I know. Poor starvin’ girl.”
The timer dinged. Kade plucked the bottle from the pan, tested the temperature, shifted Eliza into the crook of his arm and popped the nipple in her mouth. Greedy sucking noises echoed in the quiet house as he headed for the rocking chair in the dark living room.
After he set the rocker in motion, he closed his eyes. He was tired. The third time he’d been up with their fussy baby in so many hours. Usually he and Sky took turns, but the last two nights Eliza hadn’t slept for more than an hour at a stretch. Didn’t help Sky said Eliza wasn’t napping during the day. She screamed bloody murder any time Skylar wasn’t holding her, so Skylar had fallen behind at work.
When Kade returned from a long day at the ranch, Sky passed Eliza off to him and snuck back to the office for a few hours. He’d gotten into the habit of dozing when Eliza did, as it was his only chance for a little rest. How had Sky done this by herself for three months?
No matter. The important thing was Sky trusted him with Eliza. His darling Eliza’s immediate and unconditional acceptance of him was damn humbling too. It filled him with pride that both mother and daughter had begun to rely on him, to need him, and it amazed him how quickly he, Sky and Eliza created a family routine.
So as exhausting as the past two weeks had proven, Kade didn’t remember ever being so content.
He sure as hell didn’t remember ever being so horny.
Damn. If he wasn’t thinking about formula and diapers, or wondering how loud his daughter could howl, or what he wouldn’t give for a full night’s sleep, his thoughts focused on sex. Hot sex. Slow sex. Fast sex. Nasty, dirty, raunchy sex. Sweet vanilla sex.
Any type of sex, really. He’d gone for long stretches without it in the past. When he tired of his own fist as a partner, he’d find a willing woman to scratch the itch. Problem solved.
Now the problem was Kade couldn’t fathom having sex with anyone besides Skylar.
Fearful of her rejection, he hadn’t the balls to make the first move.
What the f**k had he been thinking, promising that gentleman crap? He didn’t want to be her goddamn “parenting partner”—he wanted to be her lover. The sexiest woman on the planet lay beside him, mere inches away, every night. Warming the sheets with her body heat. Surrounding him with her alluring scent so he couldn’t breathe without thinking of her. And to make his descent into lust complete, the standoffish Skylar had started…snuggling up to him in her sleep.
Oh, she wasn’t aware of spooning her body to his. She wasn’t aware she hummed contentedly before drifting off. But he was aware. Acutely aware. Painfully aware.
Still, Kade never touched her. His hands ached from squeezing them into tight fists.
Some nights his c**k was so hard he couldn’t sleep, yet he couldn’t force himself away.
He’d close his eyes and breathe her in.
On those rare occasions Eliza let them rest for a few hours, Kade imagined waking Skylar with hot kisses. Peeling away the baby doll pajamas she favored. Running his hands down her long, slender throat, between her full br**sts and over her belly, until his fingers brushed the curls covering her sex.