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Unshed tears shimmered in her eyes as she looked up at me.

My thumb swiped against her bottom lip as I cupped her face in my hands. “I love you, angel,” I repeated.

Blinking back tears, she drew a shuddering breath. “I love you, too.”

“I should have told you sooner. Did you see my note on the window that morning before you left?”

She nodded, confirming she had.

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

Her shoulder lifted in a shrug. “I don’t know. For being a man with dominant tendencies, you sure know how to keep a girl in suspense. I guess I didn’t want to take the lead in that aspect of our relationship. It was important to me to hear you say it.”

I nodded. She was right. Again. Christ, when was I going to learn? “So you like it when I take control?”

She licked her lips and nodded.

I chuckled low under my breath, unable to hold it in. This girl was perfect for me. “C’mere, angel.” I lifted her face to mine and kissed her deeply.

McKenna responded immediately, her arms winding around my back and her hands wandering under my shirt.

“Slow down,” I whispered against her ear. “There’s still more we should talk about.”

“There is?” she asked, gazing up at me with a crease lining her forehead.

Shit. I might have been tough in other aspects of my life, but I wasn’t brave enough for this shit. I couldn’t rip apart a relationship I was just building with her. “I like your hair. Is it different?” I said finally, running my fingers through the long, silky locks.

She laughed out loud, tipping her head back. “I was waiting for you to notice.”

“You’re always beautiful.”

She beamed up at me, her smile white and innocent. “Remember how we talked about me taking better care of myself?”

I nodded.

“Well, today I went to the doctor and then went to the salon and splurged on getting my hair done.”

“Good girl.” I pressed a kiss to her mouth. “Everything okay…with the doctor?”

“Yeah. I, um, got put on birth control.”

This time I couldn’t help the smile tugging on my mouth. My wide grin told her this knowledge made me very happy. Knowing I could be inside her without any barrier produced a caveman-like response in me. I’d always used condoms. Always. But McKenna was trusting me, giving herself to me fully. The thought was intoxicating.

“That’s…” I choked on the words and this time McKenna was the one laughing at me.

“You like that, don’t you?” she teased. “Good, because I got a shot in my butt today for you.”

Bringing both hands down to her backside, I rubbed her ass cheeks gently. “My poor girl.” Nuzzling into her neck, I gave her a few slow, damp kisses as I moved closer to her mouth. “I’ll take good care of you tonight,” I murmured against her skin. It occurred to me she didn’t have any of her stuff here—nothing to sleep in, no toothbrush. It made me realize I needed to take better care of my girl, make sure she felt comfortable here.

She dropped her head to the side, giving me better access to her neck, her fingers still tracing little circles on my back, underneath my shirt. “You said we needed to celebrate. What did you have in mind?”

My lips curled in a smile as I planted a kiss on the spot just beneath her ear. “You sure you can handle it?”

She nodded eagerly.

My fingers found the hem of her shirt and I began to lift it over her head, my body all too ready to show her all the ways she was mine.

“Wait.” Her hands stopped me. “You said there was more we needed to discuss.”

I faltered, swallowing a lump in my throat. “Yeah. Ah, I wanted to tell you, you wanting to help Luke…if it’s what you want, that’s cool with me.”

“Yeah?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I confirmed. “You and him work out the details. I trust you.”

“You’re being so good tonight.” She patted my chest. “Very cooperative.”

God, it had been too long since we’d had a night like this, one where we could be playful and just enjoy each other. There had been too much shit swirling over both of us lately, and though I knew I should say more, something in me couldn’t. We deserved tonight. We deserved to just enjoy each other.

“Now, where were we?” I pulled her close so our bodies were pressed tightly together and took her mouth in a hungry kiss, gripping the back of her neck to hold her close to me. McKenna moaned into my kiss, angling her mouth to mine. She was so responsive, so needy, and the dominant lurking inside me f**king loved it.

My cell phone vibrated in my pocket and McKenna let out a soft whimper as the buzzing device pressed against the front of her jeans.

I chuckled at her response. She liked that. Good to know. “One second, baby.” I released her and tugged the phone from my pocket. I was going to toss it on my dresser, get rid of the interruption, but Jaxon’s name flashed on the screen.

Shit. Nice timing, ass**le. “You better be dead or dying,” I bit out as I answered the call.

McKenna swatted at me again. “Be nice,” she mouthed.

“Close,” Jaxon croaked. “I’m at Regency Hospital. In the ER. Can you come get me?”

“What the f**k? What happened?”

“I got jumped. I’ll explain when you get here.”

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