She wanted to take back each and every one of them, but she couldn’t. Her heart trembled as she forced herself to roll out of bed. Quite the feat with the Bean like a basketball out in front of her.
She headed to the bathroom—where she seemed to live these days—and paused by Sawyer’s dresser, eyeing the two picture frames he kept there. Sentiment was mostly wasted on the man, but sometimes he surprised her. Like he had with these, which he’d picked by himself.
The first had been taken back when she’d still been flirting with screwing up her entire life. She’d been pulled over on her Vespa by none other than Sheriff Sawyer Thompson himself. It wasn’t a flattering pic of her. She was sunburned and windblown and looking a little bedraggled.
Not Sawyer. He looked big and badass, and like maybe he wouldn’t recognize a smile if it bit him on the ass. Someone had snapped the pic with the two of them staring at each other like caged tigers.
The second picture was Sawyer with his best friends and partners-in-cahoots Ford and Jax, the three of them barely out of their teens on a boat looking like the scofflaws Sawyer now caught for a living.
The pics represented the people he cared about most, and gave her some comfort. If he could love that crazy girl she’d been, he could love the pregnant shrew, right?
Shaking her head at herself, she moved to her dresser and went still. There was a small wrapped box sitting there. It definitely hadn’t been there yesterday. Gingerly she picked it up. Shook it. Finally, curiosity got the best of her and she opened it and gasped.
It was a gorgeous locket on a long chain in the shape of a heart.
She called Maddie first. Maddie was the middle sister, the one with all the emotions, the one who cried at the SPCA commercials and made her two ornery sisters hug and kiss when they fought. Maddie had kids of her own and was super enthusiastic about the baby, so whenever Chloe’s fears about becoming a mom got the best of her she entertained a secret fantasy of turning the baby over to Maddie.
If anyone had gotten Chloe a sentimental heart locket, it’d be Maddie.
“You okay?” Maddie asked immediately.
“Sure. But if you see a plate of bacon running down the street screaming ‘help me,’ please return it to me. It’s totally overreacting.”
Maddie laughed in delight, and Chloe asked her about the necklace.
“Not me,” Maddie said over the sound of her kids playing. “Maybe Sawyer before he left—”
“No,” Chloe said, a lump in her throat. “He was already gone when it appeared.”
She didn’t add that, given the state of their relationship, it was unlikely he would have left her anything at all.
“Chloe,” Maddie said softly, reading right through her baby sister. “He loves you more than his own life.”
“I’m not exactly lovable right now,” she admitted.
“Of course you are. It’s just pregnancy hormones.”
“Even when I told him this whole baby thing was his fault?”
There was a pause. “Um, excuse me,” Maddie said, “but didn’t you jump his bones every chance you got?”
Chloe blew out a sigh. “Did I start this by saying I was lovable? No, I did not. I told you I am unlovable!”
“Still don’t buy it,” Maddie said firmly.
“I also told him if he thought we were ever having sex again, he was oh-so-wrong.”
Maddie snorted. “I used that one myself…”
“I may have said I shouldn’t have let him near me with his thing.”
“His thing.” Maddie burst out laughing. “Did you really?”
“Yes,” Chloe said miserably. “I’ve been out of control, Maddie. And now he’s gone.”
“Honey, it’s going to be okay.”
Chloe nodded, even though that was stupid because Maddie couldn’t see her. She swiped angrily at a tear that had escaped. She wanted to believe her sister, with all her heart she wanted to believe. But she wasn’t sure she did. “Gotta go,” she said.
And then she put on the beautiful locket and pretended that it was from Sawyer after all.
The next morning, there was only one thought on Chloe’s mind. She wanted Sawyer right here next to her, all six feet of testosterone rumpled from sleep, eyes hooded and sexy, that raspy morning voice of his telling her to “c’mere”…
But he was gone.
In the old days he never left the bed before having his wild, wicked way with her. He’d flash a mischievous bad-boy smile and tug her over the top of him. And then roll her beneath him. After he’d had his way with her, he’d carry her to the shower and then give her yet another slow, delicious orgasm until she was begging for mercy.
Damn it. She scrubbed her hands over her face. She’d give anything to have him here so that she could tell him she was sorry she was such a PITA. That she loved him, more than life itself.
But he was gone, and she was a big girl who would have to deal with that.
With a sigh, she got up and stared at herself in the mirror. She could swear that she’d doubled in size since last night. “You’d better be cute,” she told the baby, who kicked, making her laugh. It was that or cry because she spent the next two hours trying on everything that she owned, and nothing fit for the Christmas party.
She could almost hear Sawyer saying “Then be smart and safe and stay home,” but she was tired of her own company. Come hell or high water, when that party started this weekend, she was going to be there.