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I carried the now-empty pizza boxes out to the garbage can and leaned against the side of the house, inhaling deep breaths of cool night air. It smelled like rain. I closed my eyes and tried to calm down. Why was she here? I never got rattled around a woman, but things were different with McKenna. Was it because she led the sex addicts group I was part of? No. I didn’t think that was it. She made me feel aware and alive in a way I hadn’t felt before, challenged things I thought I knew. She’d talked me into getting STD testing done, though I’d been adamant I didn’t need it.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous for the results to arrive. McKenna thought I did the test for my brothers. The truth was that I did it for her, not for some altruistic purpose. I wanted her. Something told me if I pushed her, I could have her. And I’d never expose her to something I picked up from one of my exploits. I just wasn’t ready to go there until I knew I could trust myself with her.

When I headed back inside, I found the boys in the kitchen cleaning up and jumped in to lend a hand, welcoming the distraction from the thoughts swirling inside my brain.

“So, what’s McKenna doing back here? I thought she was just your counselor,” Jaxon asked, looking down as he washed a glass in the sink. It was how guys worked. Sometimes we found it easier to have conversations when our hands were busy.

I bumped his shoulder as I pushed my way in to rinse. “She is. She’s just my counselor. But she came to hang out too. That cool with you?”

“Sure. Why should I care?”

I could tell there was more to it than he was letting on. He’d brought it up for a reason. Maybe he was just curious about my having a normal relationship with a girl. Hell, I was too. I’d repeatedly told my brothers things weren’t like that between McKenna and me, but apparently they knew my history with women too well.

“I like her,” Luke said as he stuffed the paper plates into the overflowing trash can.

“Me too,” Tucker chimed in. “She’s nice.”

“She’s got a nice ass,” Jaxon said, smirking down into the dishwater.

Reaching back with a wet hand, I smacked the back of his head lightly. “Don’t talk about her ass, dude.”

Shit, he was right, though. Earlier when I’d watched her lift up onto her toes to reach the top shelf in the cupboard, her shirt had ridden up, revealing the milky skin of her lower back and a perfectly round ass I wanted to grip in my hands.

I’d fought the urge to walk up behind her and cage her in against the counter, and rub up against her like a dog in heat. It should be illegal to be that hot and be a sex addiction counselor. Seriously, they needed to outlaw that shit.

McKenna

The guys wouldn’t let me help clean up; apparently it was because they wanted to grill Knox about what my appearance here meant. Hearing him say I was just his counselor had stung. I was starting to wonder if I shouldn’t have come. Maybe my being here was confusing.

I sat on the couch and flipped on the TV, wondering what to do. I hadn’t felt like just his counselor. It had felt like hanging out with a friend. But apparently I needed to stop being delusional.

Soon the boys had finished their chores, and though Jaxon disappeared up the stairs, the others joined me in the living room. Before I knew it, I was surrounded on the couch by boys, Luke on one side and Tucker on the other. Tucker sat motionless, looking up at me in wonder. “You’re really pretty,” he said. “And you smell good. Like candy and soap.”

“Thank you.” I tousled his hair, running my fingers through the too-long strands. He was overdue for a haircut, but the look suited him.

He scooted his body closer and yawned. I patted my thigh and he laid his head down in my lap. My heart full, I reached down and pushed his hair back from his forehead, and he released a contented little sigh and closed his eyes. It seemed these boys were hungry for female attention, and it killed me to think they missed their mother so badly they were willing to accept attention from anyone. Even from me, someone they only met a couple of days ago.

After a little while, Knox went to help Tucker to change into his pajamas and brush his teeth, since it was clear he was wiped out from soccer. That left Luke and me still sitting together on the couch while the TV hummed quietly in the background.

Luke glanced over at me from his perch on the sofa, his expression all serious. “So, are you going to help my brother?”

“I’m trying to.” I didn’t know how much he knew about Knox’s addiction. He knew that Knox saw a counselor, but I wasn’t sure if he understood the full picture.

“Does that mean you’ll be here more often?”

“I hope so.”

“Me too.”

After several minutes of comfortable silence, Luke looked over at me again. He was always so thoughtful and calm, his scrunched brows and creased forehead had me wondering what was on his mind.

“McKenna? Can I ask you a question?”

I wondered if it was related to my sudden presence in Knox’s life. And how I would explain it. “Sure, what’s up?”

“It’s kind of a private… You know what, never mind. It’s stupid.”

Now I was even more curious. “You can ask me anything, Luke.” If they didn’t have regular access to a female in their lives, I wanted to fulfill the role in any way I could.

“Well, I was just wondering. How do you, um, make a girl’s first time special?”

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