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Pamela grinned. “Me too.”

Mara turned at the sound of the door opening again. This time it was Harrison, but his expression was unreadable. He hadn’t left her side in the past couple days, but he’d also flat out refused to talk about their future. She understood that he didn’t want to talk about anything when she was healing from a gunshot wound and in the hospital, but her mind was working overtime. What if he just wanted to wait until she was healed to end things? Her heart seized at that thought, but she pasted on a smile for her husband. If she only had a limited amount of time with him, she wanted to make it count.

Chapter 12

Mara slowly lifted her left arm out from her side, only stopping when she became uncomfortable. She wasn’t in pain, but she’d been careful not to move her arm too much and her muscles were stiff. It was too soon to tell if she’d have permanent nerve damage, but she had decent mobility and after being home for a week, she was doing almost everything on her own. She still needed help changing her bandage and wrapping up the area when she showered, but she’d mastered washing her hair with one hand as of this morning.

With her right hand she towel dried her hair then wrapped a fluffy white towel around herself instead of putting on her robe, picked up her comb and went in search of Harrison.

The past week he’d been incredibly caring and had been working from home, pushing all his assignments off on other people. While he’d taken great lengths to care for her—including bringing her breakfast in bed, combing her hair the first few days, and a whole lot of other little things that didn’t go unnoticed—he’d also been distant. Not overtly, but he was almost too polite with her. The way someone would be with an acquaintance. That hurt way more than the healing bullet wound.

As she strode through the hallway, she heard Harrison talking on the phone before she saw him. His office door was cracked open so she gently pushed it aside and stepped in.

Sprawled in the chair behind his desk he wore a dark blue cable knit sweater she’d bought for him. With his head tilted to the side in his free hand, the phone against his ear, he looked bored and adorable.

The moment he saw her, he straightened. His dark eyes scanned her with unrepentant need as he took her in from head to toe. Considering how distant he’d been, the knowledge that he still desired her was a soothing balm to her senses. Just as quickly, his expression shuttered. He held up a finger and mouthed that he’d only be another minute.

Yeah, we’ll just see about that. Dropping the towel from her body, she strode toward his desk with single-minded determination. She’d originally come to ask him with help in combing her hair even though she could do it by herself now. Seeing him killed her intention, replacing it with one she knew she should wait on, but simply couldn’t. Her body was definitely up to this as long as they took things slow. Even with her injury, she’d been so hot for him the past week. The way he’d been taking care of her melted her insides. Cool air rushed over her body, hardening her nipples as she walked completely bare to him.

His eyes were wide as he watched her skirt around his desk. He still held the phone to his ear, but she had a feeling he wasn’t listening to a word being said. She hadn’t attempted to replace her bandage because at this point she didn’t need one. The stitches holding the wound were almost healed on the outside and she wasn’t bleeding.

As she rounded his desk, he swiveled in his chair, still watching her every move. She could see emotions warring inside him and she wanted to wipe away any doubt he had. She’d screwed up big time by hiding her past from him. She knew that and she also knew she needed to see a counselor. Considering she’d been compartmentalizing stuff since she was a kid, she probably should have talked to someone a long time ago. But she was willing to fight for her marriage and if she had to play dirty to do it, she would. She loved Harrison and wouldn’t let him go without giving it her all. Even if baring herself to him right now made her feel more vulnerable than she ever had in her life.

Giving him her backside, she moved his laptop to the side. Behind her, she heard him make a strangled sound. She bit back a smile and moved his other paperwork to the side in a neat pile. Then she turned back to him and sat on his desk. Spreading her legs, she placed a foot on either arm of his chair. His eyes turned smoky and the dampness between her legs intensified. She might have been nervous about his reception of her like this, but he definitely still wanted her. She just hoped there was more to it than physical need.

“I’ll call you back,” he rasped to whoever was on the other line and blindly slammed the phone down into its cradle.

His heavy lidded gaze zeroed in on the juncture between her thighs for a moment before his calloused hands landed on her knees. Slowly, he slid them up a few inches then stopped, his fingers tightening as if he needed to force himself to remain immobile. “What are you doing?”

“You really need me to explain?” Mara felt more exposed than she ever had at that moment.

“Honey… We need…” He trailed off again as he hungrily eyed her.

She swallowed hard and slid off the desk. Straddling him, she settled over his hips and wasn’t surprised when she felt his erection pushing against her. “Do you still want me?”

His fingers wrapped around her hips in a possessive manner and he jerked slightly underneath her. “What do you think?” Hunger flared in the dark depths of his gaze.

“I think we still haven’t talked about our future.” They’d learned a lot this past week about Perdue including how he’d figured out where the shelter was—she was disabling any future vehicle GPS systems because of it—her former boss had discovered the mole within MI6, and the agency had managed to locate another bank account belonging to Perdue. She was sure there were more out there, but it didn’t matter because he was gone forever and would never terrorize another woman again. That was the real win for her. So far during her recovery she and Harrison had talked about everything under the sun except their future.

“You’re still healing,” he protested.

“My mind isn’t injured. I can still think and talk and I want to talk about us. If you can’t forgive me or you want me out of your life, just tell me now. I need to know.” The not knowing was killing her. If he did kick her out of his life, she was desperate to know so she could start preparing herself for the heartbreak of living without this man.

His expression turned fierce. “I don’t want to live without you. I won’t.” There was an edge to his words and she felt like he was holding something back.

“I don’t want to live without you either, but I know how much I’ve hurt you. Hurt us. I have trust issues and they’re not going to go away on their own. This week I’ve…been researching different counselors. You don’t have to go with me, but I found a marriage counselor who might be a fit for us.” She was going no matter what. She’d been bottling things up forever and she had to let some of her issues go. The trouble was, she had no idea how to work through some of her problems and after this, she wasn’t afraid to ask for help. But she was afraid Harrison would balk at actually seeing a counselor.

“Counseling?” he said the word as if it was a foreign concept. Which she knew it probably was. Caldwell men did not see psychologists. It was the way they were wired, but if she and Harrison were going to get past this, she wanted outside help.

“I know this wouldn’t normally be your thing, but I don’t want your resentment of my lies to grow. You can say you’ll forgive me and mean it now, but what happens if we can’t trust each other after this? I just…I need to talk to someone who is objective to work through some stuff and I really want you by my side. If you’re not comfortable going, that’s fine. I’ll never push you to—”

“I’ll go.”

She blinked, unsure she’d heard right. “Really?”

He frowned at her. “Don’t act so surprised.”

“I’ve heard you make fun of psychologists and psychiatrists before. I know how you feel about them.”

He sighed and shook his head. “I love you, Mara. It still burns me up inside that you didn’t trust me enough to tell me about your past, but I have no doubt how much you love me. I want to understand why you couldn’t trust me and help you work through it so that this is never an issue for us in the future. And I do want a future with you. I want forever with you.”

The tidal wave of relief almost made her dizzy. Tears burned her eyes, but when she went to bat them away, he cupped her jaw and brushed them off her cheeks with his thumbs.

Neither of them said anything for a long moment until finally Harrison’s hands slid back to her waist where he held her gently. The feel of his fingers on her bare skin sent shivers spiraling through her, making her clit pulse with need. She wanted him to touch her everywhere.

“I don’t like the thought of you using sex to keep me distracted,” he said quietly.

Unable to control herself, she let out a sharp bark of laughter. “I’m not. Sex has always been the one thing between us I could trust to be real. It’s the one thing that’s always right. I’m not trying to distract you, I want you…and okay, maybe I wanted you in the right frame of mind. I figured if I came in here naked it would be harder for you to outright kick me out of your life.” Saying the words aloud sent a cold wave through her, though it didn’t douse the desire she felt for him.

His brow creased, the lines scrunching as he frowned. “I could never do that.”

She shrugged, the action jerky, pulling the healing flesh in her shoulder. “I was scared that you were only being nice until I was healed.” Even admitting that to him made her heart race. Laying herself bare in the non-physical sense was always a lot harder, but she also felt relief by opening up to him.

“Never, ever. You’re mine, Mara.” His expression and tone were serious, alleviating the threads of doubt she’d felt taking root inside her. Leaning forward, he gently brushed his lips over hers, the action almost chaste, but she could sense his restraint.