Trevor snorted. “If we can convince the banker we’re a good risk.”

Edgard drummed his fingers on his knee. “Would you consider asking your family for the money?”

“Fuck no. I ain’t gonna be beholden to my pa for nothin’.”

“Even if it means letting the McKays have the land?”

Trevor brooded. Fiddled with the radio station. Messed with the heating system vents. Finally he sighed. “I don’t know. Askin’ Tater would be a last resort. It sucks ass.”

It wouldn’t be a last resort for me. I’d love to suck your ass.

Great. He’d finally managed to get rid of his hard-on only to stir it up again with that debauched visual. He shifted uncomfortably. “Who’s helping run your dad’s place?”

“My brother Brent. Such a kiss up. I never liked him. Pa knew it, which was why he put Brent in charge when I threatened to leave.”


“Old bastard didn’t think I’d do it. When he pulled that ‘I’m cuttin’ you out of the co-op’ threat, I called his bluff. Told him to do whatever he wanted. Brent took over, so I left.” The corners of his mouth twitched. “But not before I knocked that pussy on his fat ass.”

Edgard laughed.

“I ain’t been back since.”

“No contact with anyone at all?”

“Minimal. My other brother is on the circuit. Brent will do whatever Dad tells him to do. My sisters and their freeloadin’ husbands are just as bad. So I figure I ain’t out much.”

“They know Chassie?”

“About her? Yeah. Met her yet? Hell no.”

“You know I ain’t a big fan of your family, but that seems…odd.”

The muscle in Trevor’s jaw bulged. “My asshole father called me, drunk as shit, and announced I’d dropped to the bottom of the peckin’ order, except he called it the ‘totem pole’, when I married a red-skinned…shit, I can’t even repeat it.” His hands curled around the steering wheel. “Chassie heard.”

Edgard’s stomach dropped. “Oh, Jesus.”

“Tater Glanzer can be a dickhead to me all he wants, ’cause I’m used to his meanness. But when he brought my sweet wife into it? He went too far. Even if he was drunk off his ass and probably don’t remember nothin’.”

“I can understand why you’d stay away from them.”

“Can you? I thought your family was all rainbows and butterflies and I’m-okay-you’re-okay happy shit.”

Trevor turned off the main road and they started up the long driveway.

“Maybe at one time. Things change.” Sadness, anger and grief spun in Edgard’s head. Here was his chance to come clean with Trevor about what’d gone down in his life in the last year. “Sometimes things change one helluva lot. Sometimes leaving is the only option.”

He braced himself for Trevor’s questions, but the man kept his eyes forward and he knew why Trevor hadn’t responded. Chassie’s truck was parked in front of the house.

Trevor barely put it in park before he jumped out of the truck and barreled up the steps into the house.

Edgard stared at the aluminum screen door and listened to the engine clicking as the motor cooled. “Sometimes leaving is the only option,” he repeated, knowing saying it out loud didn’t make it any easier to do.

Chapter Twelve

The door banged open. Chassie turned just in time to see Trevor running— running—

toward her.

He swept her into his arms, peppered her face with kisses, muttering, “Thank God you’re home. I missed you. Baby, I missed you so damn much. Don’t ever leave me again.”

She wrapped herself around him and held on. Breathing him in. Listening to his heart thundering beneath her ear. Renewing her vow to do whatever it took to keep this man she loved in her life forever.

Trevor said not one word; his actions spoke volumes. His palms smoothed over her hair and down her neck. Hands followed the contours of her shoulders, her spine, the curve of her hips and the globes of her ass, then his fingers trailed back up, starting the process all over again. Feelings of love, reverence, hope, possession, apology, passion, fear, need…all there solely in his touch.

A shuddering wiggle of her body caused Trevor to drop his arms as if he feared he’d been crowding her.

Chassie rose up on her tiptoes and brushed kisses on the sexy cleft in his chin. Once.

Twice. Three times. Her lips meandered up to his mouth, where she whispered, “I missed you too,” and she devoured him in a bruising kiss.

Trevor let her lead for a change and it felt damn good. She dragged hot, openmouthed kisses down the strong column of his throat, loving the way he tasted there, loving the scent of his sweat and really loving his soft, helpless groan when her tongue touched a sweet spot at the base of his neck.

“Chassie, we need to—ouch!”

Her lips curved into a smile after she’d bitten him.

“What was that for?”

She blinked at him innocently. “What? That little love bite?”

“Little? Christ, woman, I think you drew blood.”

“Poor baby.” Chassie kissed the red mark. “That’s what’ll happen every time you try to talk. I don’t want to talk.”

The front door opened. She half-expected Trevor to jump back (with guilt?) but he didn’t move. She pressed her lips to the other mark before she spun around.

Edgard paused on the rug.

What was he waiting for?

For you to prove you don’t have a gun aimed at his head for being in love with your husband. Make the first move.

“Hey, Edgard.”

His smile was warm, lighting up his entire face. When the glow reached his eyes, the hazel tones were transformed into a mellow gold. “Hey, Chass.”

She couldn’t help but return that beautiful smile.

“I’m glad you’re back.”

“Are you?”

Trevor didn’t speak. He appeared to have quit breathing.

“Yes, I am.” Edgard looked at Trevor. “Might I borrow the truck for a little while?”

“Where you goin’?” Chassie asked as Trevor tossed the keys over.

“I want to check on my pickup in person and light a fire under them to get going on repairs.” He shifted his stance. “There are a couple other things I need to do before I leave town.”


Edgard’s gaze zipped to Trevor, but Trevor kept his focus on Chassie. “Yes. Why?”

“Because we need to sit down and talk tonight. All three of us, before there’s any serious talk of leavin’.”

After a long pause, Edgard nodded. The door shut with a soft click.

Without another word, Chassie hooked her finger in Trevor’s belt loop and towed him upstairs to their bedroom. She locked the door and leaned against it.

Her take-charge husband stood in the middle of the room like he was facing a firing squad.Trevor’s pale blue eyes were wary, his normally full lips flattened in a thin line.

Jaw clenched, neck muscles tight, even Trevor’s broad shoulders were hunched almost to his ears. He jammed his hands in the front pockets of the dirty jeans he wore. “What now?”


Trevor opened his mouth, reconsidered and snapped it shut. He doffed his clothes quickly.

“Lie on the bed. On your back. Close your eyes.”

He rolled down her grandmother’s star quilt. The bed creaked and a buck-ass nekkid Trevor stretched out on the sheets without complaint.

Chassie undressed and crawled on top of Trevor so they were skin-to-skin. Back to basics, nothing between them but breath and bones. Shuddering heat rolled off him, not solely from desire, but from relief. She rested her head on his chest, situating herself so the sharper planes of her body wouldn’t injure any of his vital parts.

After a minute, he circled his arms around her. She didn’t chide him for his presumption; she took comfort in the feel of his body against hers from head to toe.

Despite their combined body heat, her skin cooled quickly. When she shivered, Trevor shifted and pulled the quilt up over both of them. Even beneath the covers his fingers lightly stroked her back. Like he couldn’t touch her enough.

Chassie’s eyes drifted shut. She floated into sleep; his muted whispers in her hair a sweet lullaby.

She awoke disoriented. The shadows and light in her bedroom indicated afternoon, not morning. Had she overslept?

Callused fingertips skated up her arm.

Chassie lifted her head and stared into Trevor’s sleepy blue eyes. “Whoa. Time warp. How long was I asleep?”

“I don’t know. I drifted off right after you did.”

“How long have you been awake?”

He smiled. “Long enough to come up with a plan to seduce my very sexy wife.”

“You know what they say about the best laid plans…”

“Laid bein’ the word I can work with, bein’s we’re both nekkid.”

She trapped his hips between her knees and dangled on all fours above him. “Maybe I don’t want your seduction.”

The pulse in his neck jumped. “Ah. Okay. I’m willin’ to wait until you’re ready…to talk or whatever.”



“Good. Because you were startin’ to piss me off, Trev.”


Chassie lowered her face until their lips were a hair apart. “Maybe there ain’t any seduction involved. Maybe I just wanna be a little mean. Maybe I want sex on my terms.”

Trevor’s loud groan disappeared as she thrust her tongue into his warm mouth, licking at every inch until that’s all she could taste—Trevor on her lips, rolling over her tongue, flowing down the back of her throat, filling her up.

When his arms moved, she expected he’d latch onto her shoulders and flip her to her back. She anticipated fighting him. Being forceful and more than a little harsh appealed immensely, but those strong hands gently cradled her face and Chassie was lost in his tenderness.