“You should really lock the door,” Liam huffs as he throws his coat over the chair.
“But then I’d have to get up to let you in,” I state matter-of-factly and go back to feeding the baby, trying to put aside my worries. The fact is…this is reality. I have to deal with it.
“Uh huh. Hey, Pumpkin,” his eyes alight as he crouches down by Aara. It’s adorable hearing grown men use a baby voice. It gets a little softer and higher pitched.
The corners of her mouth lift and she throws her arms in the air when he gets close. My heart sputters seeing how happy she gets seeing him. Liam kisses her head and she giggles.
“At least someone is happy to see me,” he says playfully.
“I’d be happy if you brought me a present,” I joke.
He laughs and goes into the pocket of his coat. “Just so happens I did, but since that’s the only way you’ll be nice, I’ll hold on to this until you’ve earned it.”
Practically leaping out of my chair, I rush over. “What is it?” I try to peer around his back as he holds the mystery item.
Liam’s lips curl as he sees how much I want this. I don’t even know what it is. Jeez, I’m an idiot. “Nope. We eat first, then maybe you’ll get it.”
“Watch, it’s a freaking Pez dispenser or something stupid.”
“Guess you’ll have to be nice to find out.” He shoves the item into his back pocket and I fight the urge to reach and get it. “How was work?”
We spend the next thirty minutes going over my day and Jackson’s return. Liam never mentioned that they spoke, but he’s surprised to hear he’s in Virginia. After we finish the pizza, Liam somehow convinces me we should watch a movie. I get Aarabelle to bed and come down to find him sprawled out on the couch.
“By all means, make yourself comfortable.”
Liam pulls his beanie higher on his forehead and his eyes glimmer with amusement. He sits up and puts the TV on. “I picked the movie.”
“What?” I ask with mock incredulity. “It’s my house. Why do you get to pick the movie?”
“Ummm, I’m the guest.” He shrugs as if this should be an obvious answer.
I groan and lean back. “What crappy, shoot-‘em-up movie do I have to endure?”
“You’ll see. It’s a classic.”
“Let go,” he says against my mouth. “Let me take it for you.”
Before I can say anything, his mouth is on mine again. Our tongues thrash against each other as the kiss becomes hungry. He pulls me close so there’s no space between us. The low sound resonates through his chest, sending shivers down my spine. It’s sexy, and before I know it, my hands are traveling to his chest. I pull his shirt out and my fingers trail up his chest. I want to feel his skin.
Liam breaks the kiss. “Natalie,” my name is both a plea and a request.
“Shhh,” I instruct him as I unbutton his shirt. “I want to feel your heart.”
My hands glide up and he trembles beneath my touch. We stand here with my fingers resting on his chest, feeling his heart beat beneath me. He’s alive and here with me. His hands stay at his sides as he once again lets me decide where I’m going with this.
“I want to touch you so bad,” he admits and his hand lifts then drops. “I’m fighting every muscle in my body right now.”
“Stop fighting,” I say without thinking.
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He wasn’t even on my radar.
He was my husband’s best friend—forbidden.
But my husband is dead and I’m alone. I ache for him and I reach for Liam.
One night with Liam changed everything. Now I have to decide if I truly love him or if he’s just the consolation prize.
Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers were librarians, which only intensified her love of reading. After years of writing short stories, she couldn’t ignore the call to finish her debut novel, Beloved. Her alpha Navy SEALs are broken, beautiful, and will steal your heart.