She gasped and cried out at the same time, arching against him as she came so hard she lost herself.
She always lost herself with him. Just as, with him, she was always found. Simple and terrifying as that.
When she could breathe again she realized he hadn’t moved and was still hard inside her. He slid his hands along the underside of her thighs, angling her hips to his. When she opened her eyes to see his fixed on her, she lost her breath.
His eyes were dark, dark as night and just as intense. Unable to hold back, she ground her hips into his own, wanting more, always more. He brought his lips back down to hers and started to move, slowly and then more controlled.
Trying to get more, faster, she pushed down onto him. In answer, he nipped her lip, sucking it into his mouth, using it to torture her until she arched and came again, her body completely under his control.
Somehow she managed to open her eyes. She’d never seen that look on his face before, and she would never forget it. Lust in its most carnal form. Lust and…love.
She panted his name, and he came hard, not closing his eyes until the very last second when his control deserted him. He thrust into her until they were both spent, unable to say another word, unable to move another muscle.
It was always like that with Sawyer, Chloe mused now, soaping herself up.
Always had been.
And God, she missed him more than she’d ever missed anything or anyone in her life. Maybe that was because, until Sawyer, she’d never had anything worth keeping before.
The truth was, she knew she’d never be able to get enough of him.
God willing, he felt the same.
Maddie drove Chloe home from the B&B. Chloe hugged and kissed her sister good-bye and then unwrapped her contraband.
Tara’s red velvet robe.
Next, she went to her sewing room and set about making herself a Christmas dress for the party, Gone With the Wind style.
That night she crawled into bed and tossed and turned. Without Sawyer’s long, warm, hard body behind her, anchoring her in place, she couldn’t get comfortable.
Nor could she sleep.
Not with the knowledge that she’d sent Sawyer out there into a dangerous job without looking him in the eyes and telling him she loved him. That she would miss him. That he needed to come home, not to take her to some stupid Christmas party but because she couldn’t imagine her life without him.
She flipped on the lamp beside her bed and grabbed her phone.
And then debated. In the end, she couldn’t help herself. She texted him.
Are you staying safe?
Her chest tightened while she waited for a response that probably wouldn’t come because he was busy and she knew it. Stupid estrogen overload.
And then she got his reply that made her weak in the knees.
That didn’t ease her mind at all. He was placating her, not wanting her to worry. And then, as if he read her mind, he texted:
I’m okay, Chloe. Tell me about you.
God knows what kind of danger she’d pulled him from, but he wanted to know that she was okay. She typed:
The Bean misses you.
She had to wait thirty minutes for a reply, which told her that she was indeed pulling him from something important, God knew what. But his response, when it came, made her need tissues. A box of them.
Tell the Bean I’ll be back soon. Tell the Bean’s mommy I’m thinking of her.
She fell asleep hugging her phone.
And woke up the next morning to a wrapped present on her kitchen table.
Fresh, soft, doughy, perfect chocolate doughnuts from the local bakery. An entire baker’s dozen. Chloe stuffed one in her mouth and called the bakery. Leah, her friend and the local pastry chef, answered.
“Who bought a baker’s dozen of chocolate doughnuts this morning?” Chloe asked her.
“About thirty people,” Leah said. “Yes, I’m that good.”
“Any of those thirty people either of my sisters?”
“Nope,” Leah said.
“Nope. Although Jax did sneak in for a bear claw and told me not to tell Maddie. You can keep a secret, right?”
Chloe blew out a breath and ate another doughnut.
Two days later Chloe dressed for the party in her gorgeous—if she said so herself—red velvet dress.
She’d ruched it over her belly and cut the neck square and low enough to show off her heart locket and extremely impressive pregnancy cleavage. Might as well flaunt it while she had it, right?
She did come up against an unexpected roadblock when it came to the shoes. On the best of days she had to be a contortionist just to see her feet, and when she managed that with the creative help of her mirror, they were swollen. Way too swollen for heels.
Plus her back was aching like a son of a bitch.
No problem, don’t panic, she told herself, and went with a pair of her favorite high-top sneakers.
Necessity, the mother of invention.
Maddie and Tara had been hovering over her like mother hens for days, and both had refused to take her to the party because they didn’t want her to have an asthma attack or go into labor.
“Honey,” Maddie had said, “Jax and I aren’t even going to go. You’re not going to miss anything.”
“Sugar, no one’s going to that silly ol’ party,” Tara had said.
Chloe knew her sisters loved and adored her, but they were both full of shit.