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My head pops up, wanting to believe the measure of confidence in his suggestion. Would Dad be okay on his own back in Sydney? I mean, right now, there isn’t anything he really needs help with. Sure, I cook for him, but that’s so we don’t starve. Dad was never the best cook. Otherwise, the infection he had three weeks ago notwithstanding, his physical health is actually pretty good. He’s even out walking a few miles each day.

“Stay here?” I ask, just to clarify what Hawke is saying. Or maybe, rather, I’m hoping to glean if there is any vested interest on his part.

“Why not?” he throws back with a smile. “You like this job, right? Like the area?”

I nod, because it’s all true.

“You like me, right?” he adds with a slick grin, and his hands drop mine so they can go back to my legs. His palms are warm against the denim of my jeans as he squeezes my thighs.

With an exaggerated eye roll, I lean over and give him a quick kiss before sitting back up straight. “I guess I kind of like you.”

“Oh, you like me a lot,” Hawke says knowingly as he sits up. His arms go around my waist and he leans forward, kissing my neck.

I more than like you, I think to myself. I love you. In fact, I’m pretty sure I never stopped loving you.

But those are all sentiments that never get spoken.

Chapter 23


Jesus, Vale looks amazing.

Her hair curled and flowing down past her shoulders. Smoky eye makeup. Lips slick with something pink that I know tastes like peaches because I snuck in a quick kiss not too long ago.

Speaking of lips.

Those same lips were wrapped around my cock five nights ago and I haven’t been able to get that image out of my head. It was a rare time that she stayed all night at my house, but since I had an extended road game coming up, it didn’t take much to convince her. Because I knew it would be a long four days before I’d see her again, I fucked her long and slow, prolonging the experience by pulling out anytime I got close. That meant she’d come twice before I decided to give into the raging lust that was actually making my balls hurt. I blew so hard I thought I might have broken my dick, and she came gloriously a third time.

I fell asleep that night with my body wrapped tight around hers, eventually settling into the usual spooning position we adopted all those years ago.

I was awakened the next morning with her mouth on me. The first thing that brought me out of slumber was an electrified jolt of lust that seemed to seize my entire body. My eyes sprang open to find Vale kneeling beside me, one hand laying gently on my stomach, the other wrapped around the base of my cock while she laved her tongue around the head.

Let me be the first to tell you that Vale always gave good head. She was adventurous and oral sex had always played a big part of our sex life. We were both satisfied at times to not even fuck but to slake our lust with merely our faces between each other’s legs. Even though it’s been a little over a month since we started having sex, and even though I’ve eaten her out a lot, her lips have been absent from my cock.

Not that she hasn’t wanted to. It’s just that I’ve usually been so crazy to get her off and then get inside of her that I haven’t given her an opportunity. I’m not sure the why of it, but sometimes I feel like time is borrowed with Vale and me, and I can’t seem to slow down with her.

So she took matters into her own hand and gave me the best fucking blow job of my life that morning five nights ago as a way, I’m sure, to torture me over my extended road game. I jacked off a few nights to that memory.

It would have been easy for me to find a hookup while out on the road. All the single guys do it, and hell, even some of the married guys that are douches do it. But I was content to consider myself in a monogamous relationship with Vale again, even though we haven’t necessarily uttered that exact commitment to each other. It’s just that I know it to be true and thus was completely content to get myself off rather than find a meaningless fuck.

“Dude…do you think you could take your eyes off Vale for like maybe thirty seconds or so? We have some catching up to do,” Oliver says with a punch to my shoulder.

I turn to face him with a sheepish grin. “Sorry.”

He chuckles before turning his head to the bartender. With a lift of his hand, he holds up two fingers indicating we want another round. Christ…this one is going to make me officially drunk, but what the hell. I’m celebrating the renewal of my friendship with Oliver tonight so it’s allowed.

At least I think it’s allowed. It’s not like I talked about this with Vale, and I’m not sure I have to. I mean, when we were together before, it was just a given.

We go out.

We party.

We get drunk.

Surely it’s the same now, right?

I flew in yesterday evening from Tampa and hightailed it to my house, where Vale said she’d be waiting for me. All thoughts of attacking her, possibly dropping her to the floor right in the entryway and fucking her from behind, simply vanished when I walked in and saw her sitting at my kitchen island with a shit-eating grin. My eyes immediately went to her left, where I saw Oliver sitting with a matching shit-eating grin. I didn’t think Vale could have surprised me more than by having Oliver come in, but then I was proven wrong as his twin, Avery, walked into the kitchen.

“Surprise,” she said with more of a malevolent smile, and it told me all I needed to know. Avery still didn’t like me, and I had to say, the feeling was still mutual on my part.

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