He took a seat in the chair. “Partly because of you. Partly because of me and what I want from my career. And what I don’t want anymore.”

“What don’t you want?”

“I don’t want all the media attention, all the models and actresses and movie premieres and the other stuff.”

“What do you want?”

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“I want to play football for as long as my body will let me, and for as long as I can do a good job at it. And I want a wife. A son. Maybe another kid.”

She swallowed. “Ready-made family, huh?”

Her voice had gone hoarse. There were tears in her eyes. He moved to the couch. “I’ve known what I wanted since that night several months ago when I met this beautiful woman in a ballroom. She was perfect for me.”

She blinked, and her eyes went soft and dark. “Is that right?”

“Yes. I knew then there was something special about her. I didn’t exactly know then that I wanted to marry her, but I know that now. I love you, Tara.”

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Tara lifted her gaze to his. “I knew that night there was something special about you, too. But I was scared. I’ve never been lucky in love.”

He tipped her chin with his fingers. “Time for your luck to change.”

He brushed his lips against hers, and she sighed. He gathered her against him, so damn happy she’d come to him that his heart felt like it was swelling inside his chest.

He wasn’t a guy who was used to emotion, but he felt tears pricking his eyes. He shut them out and concentrated on the way Tara made him feel. Happy. Perfect.

And when her body touched his, all he felt was heat. Her hair brushed against his arm, and he lifted his hand to sweep along its length, tangle his fingers in it, and tug on it a little. She moaned against him and pulled her lips from his.

“I love you. I’ve missed you. I’ve been so stupid.”

He put his finger against her lips. “That’s over now. The past is always over. You only have to think about the future.” He pulled her onto his lap. “I’m going to make love to you, then we’re going to talk about that future. I’ve missed being inside you.”

She held on to his arms. “God, I’ve missed that, too.”

He pulled her sweater off and dragged her T-shirt over her head, laid her on the couch, and licked over the swell of her breasts. The taste of her set him on fire, the need to feel her hard nipples against his tongue overruling his desire to take things slow. He unclasped her bra and pulled it away, then took her nipples in his mouth, rolling his tongue over the hard buds until she arched and fed them to him. He sucked and licked her, and she writhed against him until his cock was about to bust the zipper on his pants.

He drew her jeans off, already inhaling the sweet smell of her desire.

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“You wet for me?”

She looked up at him. “All I’ve been doing is thinking about you, dreaming about you. All I want is for you to fuck me until I come.”

He left her only long enough to get a condom, tossed it onto the table, but first he needed to taste her. He drew her panties off, her moisture glistening in the overhead lights. He used his thumb to trace the seam of her pussy lips, loving that she shuddered at his touch. When he slid his finger inside her and bent down to capture her clit between his lips, she cried out, bucking against him.

“Oh, God, Mick, I won’t last long.”

He didn’t want her to wait. He wanted her to come, wanted to taste her as she let go and came against his mouth and tongue. He pressed down with his tongue against her clit and dragged it across her soft lips, keeping his finger inside her pumping away, then brought his lips over her clit and sucked.

“Oh, God, oh, God, Mick.” She rocked against his mouth while he lapped up her come, removing his fingers to suck up all her juices while she shuddered against him. Then he pulled away only long enough to drop his pants and put on the condom. He spread her legs apart and inched inside her, needing to fuck her hard but needing to savor this moment, because he loved her now, and it was like the very first time.

With Tara, it would always be like the first time.

It was perfect.

TARA WATCHED THE PLAY OF EMOTIONS ON MICK’S FACE, from passion to near pain as he entered her. She was so filled with love for this man she could barely contain her joy. The pleasure he brought her held no bounds. She lifted against him, still pulsing inside from the orgasm he’d given her. Her pussy tightened around him, gripping him as he swelled inside her and dragged impossible sensations from her with every thrust.

She held on to his arms as he moved slow and easy at first, then quickened the pace, rolling his hips over her clit and grinding against her until she climbed that precipice again. He took her right to the edge, then pulled back, giving her that wicked smile that told her he knew exactly where she’d been, but wouldn’t let her go just yet.

“Bastard.”

“You love me.”

“Yes, I do. Now let me come.”

He dropped down on top of her and kissed her, a bone-melting kiss, his tongue sliding over hers, his fingers buried in her hair, his body connected to hers in the most intimate way. There wasn’t a part of him that wasn’t touching her, from his cock to his mouth to his heart.

It was perfect.

And when she came, she cried out against his lips, and he groaned against hers, and it was the sweetest sound of love that left her laughing and crying and thinking life was just so damn good, and she’d almost thrown it all away.

After, they ate pizza and curled up together on the sofa.

“You want a big wedding?”

She turned to look at him. “I have no idea. I’ve never thought about it.”

He arched a brow. “You’re a woman. All women think about stuff like this. And besides, you’re an event planner.”

She shrugged. “I just never thought I’d get married.”

“You’re getting married. Plan a big wedding.”

“I don’t have any family. Except Nathan, of course.”

“You have my family. They’re now your family. And they’re huge. And then there’s the team. Also huge. And lots of friends.”

“Guess I should start a guest list.”

He kissed the tip of her nose. “Guess you should.” He grabbed his drink and took a long swallow.

“Do you really want a baby?”

He shifted his gaze to her. “Do you?”

She smiled at him, remembering the feel of the baby she held. “I’ve thought about it.”

“I’d love another kid like Nathan. Or maybe a little girl like you.”

Her heart warmed, and she snuggled against him. “I have no idea what I did to deserve someone like you.”

“Just lucky, I guess.”

She shoved her shoulder into him, and he laughed.

“I’m the lucky one, Tara. I have you; I have Nathan. I have the perfect life. Thank you.”

She lifted up and kissed him, a long, lingering kiss.

“Mmmmm, pepperoni. Perfect, indeed.”

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