“She’s always hungry when she wakes up.”

“I imagine.” He kept stroking Eliza’s face, staring at her with an expression resembling awe.

“You wanna hold her?”

“Like you wouldn’t believe.”

“You have held a baby before, right?”

“Not for a long time. And never mine.”

Sky shifted sideways and gently placed Eliza in his arms.

Kade stiffened.


“Am I doin’ this right?” His panicked gaze sought hers. “Or am I squeezin’ her too tight?”

“You’re doing fine, Daddy. Just make sure you support her head.” Sky fussed with Eliza’s blanket and murmured,” She likes to be snuggled close to your body.”

“Like this?”

“Uh-huh.” She studied his rapt face, bowled over by the raw emotion he didn’t bother to hide. “Be warned. She is squirmy.”

“She don’t weigh much, does she?”

“You won’t be saying that when you’ve been walking the floor with her all night because she won’t stop crying. Those fifteen pounds feel like a hundred.”

He smiled and brushed his thumb across Eliza’s plump cheek. “I can’t wait. I can’t wait to do it all. Good Lord, she’s so beautiful.”

Not the response Skylar expected and it brought a lump to her throat. “I’ll warm up a bottle.”

That terrified look returned. “You’re leavin’ me alone with her?”

“I’ll be in the back if you need anything.”

After grabbing a bottle from the mini-fridge, Skylar heated a pan of water on the hot plate. She considered Kade’s suggestion of moving in with them. Much as she’d been inclined to argue, it made sense. Not only could she use his help, she’d never intended to deny Kade contact with Eliza. She’d been too startled by his mother’s unexpected appearance in the store this morning to ask Kimi McKay her oldest son’s whereabouts.

But she’d been thinking about it ever since. Wondering how she’d react when she saw him again.

Skylar remembered every little detail of the last time she’d seen him on that sultry evening last summer, sadness from a family tragedy had been weighing on him. They’d been on their way to dinner and the heavy silence in his truck had gotten too much for her to bear. She’d said, “Will you think I’m pandering if I say I’m worried about you?”

“No. It’d be nice to have someone worry about me for a change.” He’d shot Skylar a sheepish look. “Sorry. Just feelin’ low. Never thought I’d be thirty-one, single, and livin’ back at home, wonderin’ if my future is as bleak as it looks right now.”

He seemed embarrassed by that admission as he parked at the far edge of the lot at the restaurant. “Hang tight. I’ll come around and help you out. The damn interior light is broken. It’s awful dark out here for you to be stumblin’ around in them ankle breakin’ shoes.”

He opened the door. Skylar swung her legs to the running board, but didn’t hop right out.

“What?” His hands tightened on her waist.

“You look like you could use a hug.” She wreathed her arms around his neck.

Scooting forward, she trapped his hips with her knees, which brought them pelvis-to-pelvis, chest-to-chest and almost mouth-to-mouth.


“Ssh. It’s okay.” She kissed him, wanting to chase away his melancholy. He relaxed into her like she’d given him exactly what he’d needed.

He was so sweet. So big and solid and sturdy. Such a contradiction with his hungry kisses and tentative touches. And he smelled like a million bucks. If she could bottle that elusive manly scent, she’d be filthy rich. He tasted of tobacco and toothpaste and Sky decided she could stay right there pressed against his firm body, secure in his strong arms, all night.

The kiss intensified. His rough palms slid up her thighs. She didn’t bat away his roving hands. Neither did she protest when he cupped her breasts and stroked his thumbs across her hard nipples.

He kept touching her. Kissing her. God. She was dying for him to put his mouth to good use everywhere on her body. His lips tracked moist kisses down the sensitive line of her throat.

The stretchy material of her top gave way when he tugged. Her breasts popped free with one flick to the front clasp of her bra. Her bared skin was putty in his oh-so-capable hands. He sucked her nipples, one after the other until she couldn’t think beyond the next thorough curl of his tongue around the puckered tips.

Amidst teasing bites to her mouth and throat, he rubbed his face over her neck and breasts, marking her with his suckling kisses and scratchy beard.

Reluctantly, he retreated to brush his lips across her hair. “Sorry for maulin’ you. But you are so damn sexy you make me lose my ever lovin’ mind. Give me a sec to clear it and we’ll go in, okay?”

“I don’t want to go in.”

His head snapped up. “Then what do you want?”

“You. I want you. Right now. Like this.” She whispered, “Please. Touch me. Don’t stop this time.”

He kissed her hard, as he eased her flat on the bench seat and slid her silky skirt up to the curve of her hips. He reached between her thighs and found her soaking wet, practically growling his pleasure. “I want my mouth on you.”

“Next time.”

“No. Now. Right now.”

Never had a man been so forceful, so demanding of her submission. Never had she dreamed she’d…love giving in.

He twisted her panties in his fingers and yanked aside the flimsy cotton. No easing her into the intimate kiss. His wet tongue lapped her slit from top to bottom. Swirling.

Tickling. Tasting. He tongued her relentlessly, jamming deep in her pussy, returning to flicker the very tip across her clit until her whole body shook. When he finally sucked that bit of protruding flesh, she came in a throbbing rush against his mouth.

As she attempted to regain her sanity, he feathered unbearably gentle kisses across the tops of her trembling thighs. He breathed heavily and muttered against her slick flesh.

Skylar lifted up on her elbows and looked down at his dark head nuzzling her.

His hot gaze met hers across the clothes bunched around her middle. “If I don’t get inside you I’ll go crazy.”

“Then you’d better hurry up, huh?”

In record time he’d stepped up on the running board, unbuckled, unzipped, shoved his Wranglers to the tops of his boots and levered himself over her.

Skylar circled her legs around his waist and canted her pelvis for easier and faster entry, mindful of not nicking him with the razor-thin heels of her red stilettos. Her fingers dug into his tight, muscular ass.

Witnessing the ecstasy on his face as he slowly sank inside her to the root was one of the sexiest things she’d ever seen.

He pressed his forehead to hers. “Do you know how perfect you feel? Tight. All creamy wet, soft and hot for me? Do you know how long I’ve been achin’ to be with you like this?”

“Oh, so now you wanna talk, McKay? When we’re naked?”

He laughed, if a bit shakily.

“Talk later. Sex me up me first. Kiss me. God, your kisses undo me.”

He kissed her with the same vigor as he made love to her. The heat in the truck expanded, making for a sticky, hot and intense coupling, yet, retaining the balance of comfort they both needed.

His thrusts became more frantic. Deeper. Faster. He pulled away from her mouth to whisper, “Skylar. Take me with you this time.” Lifting her hips higher, he slammed home three more times.

When she came in a series of juicy ripples, he buried his face in her neck, repeating her name, and followed her over the edge.

She frowned. Now that she thought about it, she hadn’t said his name. She’d taken to calling him McKay on their previous dates. About an hour after that fateful incident, she’d learned the truth about who he really was.

Wrong. His name may’ve been different, but the man was the same.

Eliza cried, jarring Skylar back to the present.

Kade entered the small backroom. “Is that bottle ready yet?”

Damn. She’d been so lost in the vivid memory of him, of them, of heat and sex and need and lust, she’d forgotten all about the bottle. She popped it in the pan. “Just about ready.”

He took one look at her flushed cheeks and bright eyes and somehow knew she’d been reliving their brief—but glorious—naked past.

Defiant, she raised her chin a notch. “What?”

Kade’s look held more steam than the pan of boiling water. “I think about it all the time too. Some days that’s all I can think of.”

“Do you want to feed her?”

“Later. I’d best get back to my folks’ place and pack up my stuff. What time will you get home?”

“Around five-thirty.”

“I’ll be there earlier than that.”

“Wait. You’ll need a key.” She removed the front door key from the massive key ring and set it on the counter. Skylar watched as Kade kissed Eliza’s wrinkled forehead and murmured, “Later, sweet baby,” before he awkwardly snuggled her back in Skylar’s arms.

Then he did the strangest thing: he kissed Skylar’s forehead and whispered, “Later, sweet baby,” to her, snatched the key and took off like a shot.

She sighed and settled in the rocking chair. “He’s in for it now, girlie girl. We’ll see how long he lasts in this parenting gig.”

But part of her knew Kade McKay wasn’t a short-term kind of guy. He was the type to stick around for the long haul.

That scared her far worse than him not being around at all.

Chapter Four

Twenty miles from Moorcroft, Kade turned off the main highway onto a gravel road.

He motored past the gigantic steel building, noticing an open gate to the parking lot.

Being a lifelong rancher, leaving gates open drove him crazy.