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Flint grabs my ass, giving it a firm squeeze while he buries his face in my hair, working his lips past my ear to my neck. He inhales deeply and exhales a low growl like an animal pleased by my scent.

I love this life.

“This is your bedroom and bathroom. Downstairs is your kitchen and living area. The front door and entry closet are yours. The driveway. The garage. The trees. The grass beneath the snow. It’s all yours.” His lips and tongue tease my neck. “I’m yours.”

Yep … so much love for this life.




We’re two weeks away from summer break, four weeks away from the official start of summer, and fifteen weeks from my due date.

I love this life.

“Elle?” Flint calls my name.


“That’s my girl,” he says as his voice draws nearer. “What are you doing?”

I crawl to the side of Harry’s bed, reaching for more stuff he has shoved beneath it. “I’m not cleaning it. I know he doesn’t like anyone messing with his stuff, but he has too many dirty clothes everywhere. I thought he might like to have some clean laundry. He’s always complaining about missing socks.”

“Leave it. I have less than an hour before I have to go back to work. Is your dad at Martin’s?”

“Golfing.” I’m still in awe. He says his shot is not perfect, but the fact that my dad is golfing less than six months after his stroke just blows my mind.

“Tick tock, baby.”

“Just a second.” I wrinkle my nose, tossing several washcloths into the laundry basket. “Why does he have so many washcloths under his bed? They’re not really wet, they’re just a little crusty in areas. I’d say he’s using them to blow his nose, but they kind of smell.”

Flint chuckles. “He’s definitely blowing something in them, just not snot.”

I use the side of the bed to climb to my feet, rubbing my lower back a bit. “What are you talking about?”

“Same reason he takes long showers. Now wash your hands and get your ass in the bedroom.”

“Long showers … wash my—ew!” I cringe, holding my hands out from my body, fingers stiff. “Semen? That’s semen on those washcloths?”

“Hence the smell.” He grins as I hurry past him to the bathroom, surgically scrubbing my hands with hot water and lots of soap.

“Boys are gross. That is just gross!”

“Forty-seven minutes, Elle. Let’s go,” he scolds me, while loosening his tie and unbuttoning his shirt.

We didn’t have sex at night until the addition at the back of the house for my dad was complete. Apparently, I’m too loud during sex, which didn’t work with an open stairwell between our bedroom and Flint’s office where my dad slept. So Flint hired someone to take my dad to his appointments so we could have sex over Flint’s lunch break. And when my dad no longer required long days of therapy, Flint introduced my dad to Martin, and now they are buddies who just so happen to hang out during the middle of the day.

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

“I thought the nooners would stop when my dad’s new room was finished.” I follow Flint into the bedroom.

He’s already naked from the waist up.

“Yeah, well …” He pulls my tee over my head and unhooks my bra. “That’s before I discovered you have such a dirty mouth during sex. It’s so fucking hot. And the only time I get you completely uncensored is over the noon hour when we’re all alone.”

“I don’t have a dirty mouth.”

He ducks down, sucking in my nipple until I feel it between my legs. Every part of my body is hypersensitive and so responsive at this point in my pregnancy. I feel good. And horny. So horny. “Fuck me …” I close my eyes, threading my fingers through his hair.

He chuckles, lapping his tongue over the bite marks. “So dirty.”

I love this part. Mr. Tick Tock Hurry Up drops to his knees before me. I think he’d forego his own orgasm if he had to choose between it and this moment. It’s my favorite moment too.

“Hey, baby,” he whispers over my belly just before pressing his lips to my little bump, hands on my hips.

Tears fill my eyes today, the way they did yesterday, and the day before that—the way they have since the first time he did this so many months ago.

“It’s me, your dad.” Another kiss to my belly. “You’re loved.” Another kiss. “You’re wanted.” Another kiss. “You’re the best thing that’s happened to me in twelve years.” Another kiss before his voice lowers even more.

Here it comes …

“Be nice to your mommy. She’s the second best thing that’s happened to me in twelve years.” Dark eyes meet mine as his lips stay pressed to my belly.

I feel loved. I feel wanted. I feel like someone moved Heaven and Earth for me.

He slides down my leggings and panties. I suck in a breath as a shiver jolts up the entire length of my body from his fingertips ghosting along the back of my bare legs.

His touch has had this effect on me since the first time his hand touched mine. At the time I thought it was this craving for any touch after feeling starved of that kind of affection for so long. I was wrong.

It’s Flint.

It’s his touch.

It’s me.

It’s how he reacts to my touch.

It’s us.

We’re that moment of light and whisper of hope that sprouts from the barren ground after the end of the world. It’s not him. It’s not me. It’s us. We defy the laws of existence. We are forgiveness and redemption. What we have is not a victory against all odds, it’s the inevitable.

Just as his mouth moves toward my legs, I shake my hand and give him the same crooked finger he likes to give me. He gives me a questioning look but obeys, standing to his full height. I back him up to the bed, working on removing his pants and briefs.

He steps out of them and sits on the bed.

“I hate how we got here.” I crawl up onto his lap, standing tall on my knees, looking down on him.

His brow draws tight as he palms my backside. We don’t pretend my life with Alex didn’t happen. We don’t pretend Flint didn’t kill Heidi. The pain of our pasts keeps us grounded, focused, and living in gratitude.

“But I’m glad we made it.” I kiss him, and he guides me onto him, both of us letting go of a moan.

Sometimes I like our quick and dirty-talking nooners. And sometimes I like this position where we stare into each other’s eyes and spend our lunch time falling in love all over again.

We kiss. His hand kneads my breast before sliding between us, his thumb making circles on my clit. I can’t see past the little bump between us, but I love, love watching his face as he watches his hand. His tongue makes a lazy swipe along his lower lip, eyelids heavy with lust like he doesn’t know what he wants more—to touch me there or taste me there.

I lean forward and suck in that bottom lip of his, and then I slide my tongue into his mouth. He moans, moving both of his hands back to my hips.

“Flint …” I curl my fingers into his back as this builds into something stronger and erratic. Our breaths quicken.

“Elle …” His grip on my hips tightens, and he slams me onto him as his hips rock up into me. “You’re so fucking beautiful.”

Our mouths crash together again seconds before we fall apart. I love being in Flint’s world. It’s tragic. It’s complicated. It’s filled with obstacles. But …

It’s passionate.

It’s addictive.

It’s the deepest kind of love.

It’s everything.

His forehead falls to my shoulder and my body collapses into his. “I love you.”

When the tick tock of responsibility approaches, we make our way to the bathroom and piece ourselves back together. Like every day, I button his shirt, tie his tie, and help him into his suit jacket.

“Well, I have to wash some spank rags.” I give his tie one final adjustment.

He chuckles. “Diapers, spank rags, underwear when they have a million accidents during potty training … spit up …” He shrugs. “Cleaning up bodily fluids is ninety percent of parenting.”

“And the other ten percent?”

“Finding ten minutes of alone time to have sex with your husband.” He grins. In a flash it fades, just like the color from his face.

My eyebrows ease up my forehead as I bite my lower lip and nod. It’s funny how we’ve not breached this topic. I never feel like it’s my place to bring it up. Even my dad has managed to not ask Flint if he plans on making an honest woman out of me.

“I see. Well…” I tug on his lapels “…I hope my baby daddy doesn’t get too jealous when I sneak off for ten minutes to have sex with my husband.” I can’t resist tightening his tie just a little more, like a noose. “First I need to find this husband. Maybe Amanda can find a good match for me. I have a thing for guys with wavy red hair. Blue-collar workers. Pet lovers. Pickup drivers. Soccer players instead of American football.”

We have a silent stare off. I wish I could read his mind, but he’s not giving me a single clue. Not one single tell.

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