Anton sat on the steps with Gracie.


“She seems to like you,” Domini said.


He didn’t answer.


“We picked up your stuff from your mom’s house.”


No answer.


“Want to see your room?”


“I guess.”


Domini wondered why Anton was surly. She showed Anton his room. “The bathroom is across the hall.”


“Where is your room?”


She pointed. “Right there. I’m not far.”


“I’m hungry.”


“Didn’t Cam feed you?”


“Yeah, but he burned it. Tasted so crappy the dog wouldn’t even eat it.”


“Anton! That’s not nice.”


“But it’s true.”


“Come on, I’ll fix you something.” She whipped up a couple grilled cheese sandwiches. While Anton devoured the entire plate, she jotted down grocery items. Good Lord the man was a bachelor to the core when it came to food. That’d have to change.


Cam entered the kitchen through the sliding glass door. “I thought I smelled food.”


“You want a grilled cheese?”


“Sure.” He came up behind her and kissed her neck, sending a delicious shiver through her. “Better make it two.”


“We’ll need to hit the grocery store later.”


“I figured.”


Domini looked over at Anton. “Anything special I need to put on the list?”


“Oreos. Chips. Mountain Dew. Cap’n Crunch.”


“No, no, no, and maybe.” She’d seen a box of Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch in the cupboard, so she knew Cam liked it. “Name something healthy.”


“Why?


“Because eating that stuff is bad for you.”


“It’s what I like. My mom never said I couldn’t have it.”


Anton already played the “my mom” card? “Your mother and I had very different ideas about food, remember? So for now, we’re doing it my way.”


“Your way sucks.”


“Hey,” Cam said sharply, “let’s get one thing straight up front. You don’t get to talk to her like that. Ever.”


Anton hopped down from the breakfast bar.


“Where you going?” Domini called out.


The slam of his bedroom door was the answer.


“That went well.”


Cam tugged her into his arms. “It’s going to be an adjustment. I’ll cut him a little slack because he just lost his mother. And now he’s living in a strange place. But I won’t stand for him disrespecting you. Or me. Let’s just let him be for now and see what happens, okay?”


“Okay.”


He brushed his mouth over her ear. “I want you.”


Her belly fluttered.


“I know it ain’t gonna happen until he’s tucked in for the night, but I can’t help myself. I can’t get enough of you.”


“I should hope you haven’t gotten enough of me, since we’ve only been married one day.”


“He goes to bed early, right?” he murmured.


Domini figured her own bedtime had just gotten a lot earlier too.


Week Two…


“Anton. Why are there still markers all over the floor? I’ve told you three times to pick them up.”


“I’m doing it. Geez, you don’t have to get all freaked out.”


Domini counted to ten. “Yes, I do, because Cam could slip on any one of these and fall.”


“You always take his side,” he muttered.


“Side? What side? Safety and consideration have a side?”


After Anton shoved the markers in the box, he said, “Can I go out and play with Gracie now?”


Yes. Please. And stay out there for at least an hour so I don’t snap at you.


“Don’t go far.”


“You say that every time.”


“That’s because I worry.”


Anton snorted. And slammed the door on his way out.


The first week of marriage had been the week from hell. Anton showed extremely bratty behavior at every opportunity. Cam worked overtime to make up for the days he missed, leaving Domini to deal with Anton and Gracie. Oddly enough, Gracie was the least of her problems.


Domini had the mixer whirring on full power, so she was surprised when she turned around to see Cam leaning against the counter watching her.


Would she ever get used to the way this hunky man devoured her with unabashed hunger? His very smug, very male grin indicated he too, was reliving last night’s sexcapades.


Those sinfully sensual memories bombarded her. Facing each other in the Jacuzzi as the heat and the steam created a sultry haven. The rushing sound of the water jets and the darkness formed an erotic cocoon. The feel of his slippery chest gliding against hers as he fucked her slowly. His mouth sucking on her neck. On her breasts. The naughty words he growled in her ear. Cam’s hands gripping her ass as he lifted and lowered her. How the tight binding around her wrists left her completely at his mercy.


She’d loved every second of it. And she couldn’t wait to see what Cam had in store for her tonight. Anton’s presence down the hall seemed to challenge Cam to become even more inventive when it came to sex. She smiled and walked straight into his arms.


“Mmm. Now that’s a welcome home a man could get accustomed to.”


“How was your day, Deputy?”


“All the better now that I’m here with my wife.” Cam bussed the top of her head. “How was yours?”


Trying.


Don’t burden him with Anton’s issues, her internal voice cautioned. While another countered with, why not? Anton is as much Cam’s responsibility as he is yours.


But as many times as Domini reminded herself in the last two weeks, it’d never fully sunk in. Mostly because Cam seemed to…tolerate Anton. He wasn’t unpleasant, but he didn’t go out of his way to engage the boy in conversation, either.


Be patient. These changes will take time. You’ve had two years to get to know Anton, Cam has had two weeks.


“Domini?”


“Sorry. I’ve been distracted all day.”


“Distracted thinking about our water games last night?” he purred in her ear.


“Uh-huh. And I’m wondering what you’ve planned for tonight.”


Cam chuckled. “I ain’t telling.”


The timer on the oven buzzed and she pushed away from him. She punched the “off” button and grabbed the potholders. She set three loaves of bread on the wire cooling racks. When she looked up, Cam wore the strangest expression.


Domini stood in his kitchen wearing smiley face oven mitts.


Smiley face oven mitts for Christsake.


The unfamiliar rush of love for her contracted his heart.


Tell her.


“Cam? What’s wrong?”


Nothing. Everything is utterly perfect in my life and I don’t want to fuck it up by doing or saying something to make you leave.


“Don’t you like wheat bread?”


He cleared his throat. “No, I like it.” He pointed to the mixer. “More bread dough in there?”


“No, silly. Bread dough is best when it’s hand kneaded. I’m also making cookies.”


“For Anton?”


“And for you. White chocolate chip macadamia nut are your favorite, right?”


“Yeah. How’d you know?”


Domini lightly smacked him with the oven mitt. “Need I remind you of all the meals you’ve eaten at Dewey’s the past two years? I’ve memorized your favorite foods and the ones you hate.”


Cam lifted an eyebrow. “Now you have me worried, princess.”


“Why?”


“Because if we ever have a fight, I’ll come home to a plate of liver and onions for supper, won’t I?”


“Yep, so don’t tick me off.”


He snagged her around the waist. Cam swallowed her surprised squeak, kissing her with coaxing, dreamy kisses until she melted into him.


The sliding glass door whooshed open. Gracie yipped and her toenails clattered as she tore around the corner of the breakfast bar. Domini froze. Cam had a split second to shove Domini behind him before Gracie jumped up on Cam’s left side.


“Gracie! Sit. What the hell is wrong with you?”


Gracie whined and cowered on the floor, recognizing her master’s angry tone.


Domini’s hand clutched his shoulder. “Cam. It’s okay.”


“No, it’s not. She never used to do this. Took me damn near a year to get her trained not to jump up.” His gaze zoomed to Anton. “Have you been letting her jump on you?”


“She just does.”


“And you haven’t tried to stop her like I showed you?”


Anton shrugged. “I don’t mind.”


Fury charged Cam’s system. He managed a curt, “I mind. And you’ll either follow my rules concerning my dog, or I’ll separate the two of you, understand?”


A stricken look settled on Anton’s face.


Cam knew Anton had bonded with Gracie, which was good for both boy and dog, but he wouldn’t put up with Anton’s blatant disregard of Gracie’s training or of the rules he’d laid down.


“Cam, I think—”


He held his hand up, stopping Domini’s interference, as he spoke to Anton. “I asked, do you understand?”


“Yeah, I get it.” Anton walked off and his bedroom door slammed.


Jesus. That kid pushed his buttons. And it pissed him off that Domini just let Anton retreat to his room whenever he got mad, instead of forcing him to talk. But once again, Cam said nothing. Domini would take the kid’s side, guaranteed.


Gracie whined. He said, “Stay,” sharply, and faced his wife.


Domini rubbed his biceps. “You okay?”


Every time she touched him with concern or caring or passion, he could almost believe she loved him.


“I’m fine. Just not looking forward to trying to break Gracie’s bad behavior again.”

***

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