Strong, Silent Type (Rough Riders 6.5) - Page 16

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“Where we left off.” Libby drained the last of her whiskey. “Where the problems began. Jilly warned me about bringing up the baby issue, or lack thereof.”

“Jilly? What’s she have to do with it?”

“She called and offered me some free advice.”

“Then take it for what it’s worth. Nuthin’. Besides, I’m the one who brought it up. And not in a nice way neither.”

“I don’t think there is a nice way to tell me that I seriously screwed up everything with my quest for a baby.”

“Libby—”

“Just let me get this out, okay?” Would this confession be easier if she wasn’t looking into his all-knowing eyes? Probably not.

“I’m not gonna pretend that I was aware that I was driving you away when I became obsessed with getting pregnant. After you stormed away a couple hours ago, it was like a light bulb went off in my head and I saw everything in a whole different light. I didn’t like what I saw.

“It was all about me. My body. What I wanted. What I needed.” Tears gathered in her eyes when she considered how selfish she’d been. How much she’d hurt him and without knowing it.

“And?” he prompted.

Suck it up. You made the bed, you can lie in it.

“And the truth is you were one hundred percent right when you said I cared only about your sperm, not about sex. Making love with you or to you didn’t cross my mind if it didn’t have…purpose. Sad to admit that mindset would’ve stayed even if I had gotten pregnant, because I would’ve focused all my attention on the baby. You suffered either way. God, Quinn, what kind of horrible, self-centered wife does that make me? And yet, I justified my attitude because I blamed you for not being interested in whether we got pregnant or not.”

“I just didn’t see the big rush, Libby. It wasn’t like we were too old then or even now. It’s just…well…”

“What?”

“Part of me wondered if you were in some sort of competition with your sister. She popped out four babies with no trouble. Then every time she came over with the kids, it was like she was rubbing them in your face. Jilly always was hinting around maybe one or both of us had problems with our, um, plumbing, so to speak.”

How much weight had Libby given to Jilly’s suggestions regarding fertility issues? A lot. After all, with four pregnancies under her belt, Jilly was an expert. She just wanted to help. Why had Libby confided her fears to her sister instead of her husband? God. She’d been such an idiot on so many levels.

“Libby?”

She couldn’t face him when she blurted, “I spent years feeling like a failure as a woman because I couldn’t pop out a little McKay.”

“It ain’t like the McKay name is gonna die out with the way my cousins are reproducing like rabbits.”

“True. But I was constantly fielding questions from relatives about when you and I were going to start a family since we’ve been married a while. If I hedged, then they asked if we were having marriage problems or reproductive issues. It was a stick poking an open wound you didn’t even know I had.”

Libby felt him wince.

“I’m so damn sorry. To be honest, it hurt that you wanted a kid more than you wanted me. Part of the reason I refused the fertility tests was I was afraid you’d leave me if I was the reason you weren’t pregnant.

Sounds selfish, don’t it?”

No more selfish than what she’d done.

He sighed. “Jesus, Libby. I’m such a prick. Not talkin’ to you. Lettin’ you think the worst of yourself, makin’ you handle all that family shit alone, when I didn’t know the half of it. No wonder you booted my ass.”

The resentment she should’ve felt was strangely absent. It felt good—freeing—to be brutally honest, to air all their dirty laundry. They had nothing else to lose, because they were damn close to losing it all.

“Look. We both were wrong. We both made mistakes. We both closed down and dealt with our issues separately, rather than together. We didn’t have fidelity, financial or substance abuse issues, but our issues were big enough to cause a rift in our marriage.”

Quinn didn’t say anything, which wasn’t surprising. He’d said more than she’d expected.

Still, she’d been carrying the burden for quite some time, so she might as well get it all off her chest.

“When I realized I probably wouldn’t ever get pregnant, I created a new me—Libby McKay 2.0. I fixed up the house, jazzed up the meals, pursued new interests and stopped thinking about babies entirely. I thought if I wasn’t a frumpy, chubby, boring ranch wife, you’d want me again.”

Quinn spun her around so fast spots danced in front of her eyes. “Want you again? I’ve always wanted you. Jesus. You think that’s how I see you? Frumpy? Chubby? Boring?” He shook her slightly. “Dammit. I see you, Libby, not a f**kin’ brood mare! You are the smart, funny, sexy, hard-workin’ girl that knocked me for a loop when I was a dumb kid of sixteen. A woman I’ve always known is too good for the likes of me. A woman I pledged my life, heart and soul to. A woman I love with every goddamn bone and breath in my body. What don’t you understand about that?”

“Quinn—”

“Just shut up. We’re done talkin’.” His mouth crashed down on hers and he kissed the living daylights out of her.

Arms, legs, hands, fingers clashed and collided as they tried to touch each other everywhere, all at once. The wet, hot kiss overwhelmed her until she could only cling to him and experience the spectacle of her calm, cool and collected husband totally out of control.

Quinn ripped his lips from hers. “Now. Goddammit. I need to prove…to show you how much I—”

“It’s okay.”

“I want you right now.”

“Where?”

“Table.” He untied the belt on her robe, pushed it to the floor and groaned satisfaction she was still naked.

“But the dishes—”

“Fuck the dishes.” Quinn turned, jerked the corners of the tablecloth until all the plates and silverware crashed together and rolled to the opposite end of the table. “Problem solved.”

Libby grabbed his face in her hands and kissed him, needing that connection as he lifted her on the kitchen table.

***

The woman absolutely pushed his limits of restraint today…and he’d never been happier in his frustration.


Tags: Lorelei James Rough Riders Billionaire Romance
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