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“It’s simple, Hawke,” she says quietly as her hands come to rest on my shoulders. “I made a bad decision. I hurt you because of it and you went a lot of years not knowing why I did the stupid things I did. I’m so sorry I caused you that pain, and I’m even sorrier that you endured more pain tonight learning the truth. It’s in the past. You said we look forward, not back.”

Her words sound right. It really is pretty fucking simple.

So I smile at her and nod in agreement. “Forward.”

“Forward,” she agrees with a return smile. Then she pushes on my shoulders and attempts to stand. She makes it just high enough my cock slips out of her but not high enough that my hands at her hips halt her progress.

“Where you going?” I ask.

“I really do need to get home. I’m worried about Dad.”

“Remember when I said that wasn’t going to happen?” I ask her.

She nods.

“Well, it’s not going to happen,” I tell her again.


“You’re staying here tonight. I’m not done with you by a long shot. Your dad is fine and we’ll call him to check in, but you’re staying all night, in my bed. Got it?”


“Got it?” I repeat firmly.

“You’re such a control freak,” she grumbles, but I can hear the capitulation in her voice.

She’s not done with me tonight either.

Not by a long shot.

I lean toward her, a kiss being warranted at this point to seal the deal, when my doorbell rings. Vale jerks in my arms in surprise and then laughs.

“Son of a bitch,” I grumble, holding still for a moment and wishing my visitor to go the fuck away.

The bell rings again.

Vale pushes up off of me, standing gingerly on the slick porcelain. She steps carefully out of the tub, cognizant of the standing water that I’ll need a mop to clean up, and grabs a towel. This, of course, brings me eye level with her pussy, which I know is filled with my release from just a few minutes ago, and the thought of that gets my dick to harden again. I have to wonder the basic and primal reasoning behind that. Is it because I’ve gotten her pregnant before? There’s no doubt that although we were young, had we known she was pregnant, and had the baby survived, it would have been one well-loved child.

“You get the door,” Vale says, breaking me out of my thoughts. “I’m going to call Dad and let him know I’m staying the night.”

Placing my hands on the edge of the tub, I pull myself up and out of what little water remains. I manage to pull the stopper so it starts to drain and step out.

The doorbell rings again.

I lean forward and give Vale a quick kiss on her head. I then snatch the towel out of her hand with a grin. “Be right back.”

“Hey,” she complains, but I’m already wrapping it around my waist and walking carefully across the slick tile floor. The minute my feet hit the carpet of my bedroom, allowing them to dry, I pick up the pace as the doorbell rings again.

I jog down the stairs, retightening the towel around my waist. Whoever the fuck this is better get ready to get gone soon, as I’ve got a sudden urge to let Vale ride my face for a bit tonight. After all, she did so well riding my cock.

I hit the bottom of the stairs, cut through the living room, and reach the entryway to the front door. I don’t even bother with the peephole, not worried about someone trying to fight their way in on me. I’m high on all kinds of things right now…mainly Vale, the truth, and great make-up sex. What’s to worry past that?

I turn the dead bolt and pull the door open, only about a foot so I can hide most of my half-naked body behind the large wooden frame. Peeking my head around, my eyes flare in surprise to see Michelle standing there.

“Hey, stud,” she says with a mischievous smile. Shocked, I pull the door open all the way, my mind absolutely frozen in a spastic state of disbelief and awkwardness.

Michelle reaches a hand forward and playfully pulls at the edge of my towel sitting against my hips. Her voice is husky, filled with seduction. “And look at you…absolutely ready for me. Guess this wasn’t such a surprise after all.”

It’s at this moment—this goddamn inopportune moment—that I hear Vale’s feet practically skipping down the stairs. “I’m starving, Hawke. I’m raiding your fridge, okay?”

I bow my head, utter a curse—or two—and then try to figure out what the fuck to do with this new fiasco.

Chapter 20


I’m not sure why I feel so buoyant all of a sudden.

Wait…yes I do know. It’s amazing the metaphorical weight that can be lifted off your shoulders when you unburden a secret. Telling Hawke about the miscarriage and, more important, how bad that doctor made me feel about it, and even more important than that, how that drove my decisions…well, it was practically cathartic.

Hawke reacted exactly as I expected him to. The initial swell of grief for a life lost. Then the outburst of anger for not calling him. For not allowing him to be my man in all respects.

The horror over the doctor pinning the concept of fault on my young shoulders and his anger on my behalf that I bore that alone.

The revisited pain from my unilateral decision to cut him from my life because in a matter of just a few hours, I had gone from believing Hawke was the best thing for me to believing he was the worst.

Then he reacted in the way that defines the true essence of the man known as Hawke Therrien.

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