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“And for me.” I reminded him. “I hate to break it to you, but I fell in love with her faster than I fell in love with you.”

King laughed. “I love you. I’ve never said that to anyone but Max before. Since the day you turned up at my party, it’s been you.” He kissed me again then rested his forehead on mine. “Only you.” It was exactly what I’d needed to hear. Warmth spread in my chest and I felt my heart expand as the beautiful man in front of me worshiped me with his eyes.

“I never loved him, just so you know,” I said, offering King something I knew he wanted to hear. “I remember him, but it wasn’t that kind of love. Not for me, anyway.”

“You loved him enough to let him fuck you. To have his kid,” King stated. There was no bitterness in his voice, and although it wasn’t a question, it seemed like he was waiting for an answer.

“Tanner was sick,” I said. “Dying. I thought what I felt for him was real love, but I know now it was just the kind of thing you feel for a close friend. He wasn’t going to get to experience graduation, or prom, or—you know, girls. It was my idea.” I shook my head. “But, we made Sammy. So, as young and stupid as we were, as I was, I don’t regret it. I may not remember my son, but I feel him in here.” I placed my hand over my heart.

King chuckled.

As great as it was to hear his laugh I felt myself getting angry again. “What exactly do you find funny about all this?” I snapped, sitting up and leering at him.

King reached out and dragged me back to him. “Because, Pup. I could feel my blood boiling when I thought you were about to describe fucking another guy. But instead my sweet girl tells me how she gave up her virgin pussy to her dying friend.” King nuzzled his nose into my neck. “Sweetest pity-fuck ever,” he said, erupting in laughter. I grabbed a pillow and swung it at is head but he caught it and threw it to the floor, grabbing my hips and settling me on top of him.

“Now tell me where the fuck you were for a whole month.” I demanded, feeling free to be pissed at him now that he was alive and well. I crossed my arms over my chest. He pulled my arms away from my body and moved his lips from my ear to my nipples, sending my head rolling backward. I pushed at his head until he fell back against the headboard with a thud.

“Shit with Eli, it’s over,” he said looking relieved. He rested his hands on my waist. “It wasn’t pretty, Pup. He found us first. Shit went down you don’t ever need to know about. Shit with Bear.”

“What happened to Bear?” I asked, feeling panicked.

King squeezed my hips to grab my attention. “He’s alive. Healing. No permanent damage to his body, but after what he went through, I don’t expect him to be right in the head, not for a long while. A man can only take so much. Bear took that much and then some. Those fuckers tortured him.” King’s jaw hardened and his fingers bit painfully into my sides.

My heart ached for Bear, and for King.

“But it’s over now.” King said, cupping my cheek. “I can’t say there wasn’t a few minutes where I didn’t think I was going to get out of there alive, but I’m here now and I’m taking you home.”

“What about Sammy?” I asked.

“I can talk to Tanner if you want,” King offered. “Explain to him we’ll be wanting a trade off with Sammy. However you want it.”

He wanted me to bring Sammy home with us too.

I shook my head. “I think it’s better if I’m the one to talk to Tanner. I’ve screwed this all up. I’m the one who needs to fix it.”

King nodded. “Good. I’ll be here tomorrow night with the van. Get your shit together. Get Sammy’s shit together. If Tanner won’t see reason, let me know.”

King reached down to his jeans and pulled out a phone. “Here. This is yours. My number is the only one programmed in. Any problems, you call me. You want me here before tomorrow night? I’m here.”

“As simple as that?” I asked, feeling like I’d just been given a second chance at life. And in a way I had. Because King was alive and I was still his.

“Nope. Not that simple. You tell him you want an annulment and you want that shit yesterday. He so much as squawks at it you tell him to come fucking see me.” King pressed his lips to mine and inhaled deeply. “In this world, there is very little I believe in, Pup. But I believe we belong together.”

“You don’t believe in God?” I asked.

“No, Pup. The only thing I have faith in, is you.”

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