Standing beneath a canopy of vegetation was his dream, his life, and the contents of his envelope. She was a vision in pink. Claire’s neck straightened as her shoulders went back. Her emerald gaze met his. It was their connection, a means of communication that no one else could ever have understood. Without a word, he called to her, told her he loved her, and begged for forgiveness. Was Roach speaking? Was there even anyone on the earth besides the two of them? Lost in her penetrating stare, Tony didn’t know or care.

He continued forward until her beautiful body was against his. Their baby had grown, making its presence known as he pulled Claire toward him. Tony had planned to explain, to apologize, to discuss, yet words didn’t form as he captured her neck and brought his mouth to hers, claiming what was his. She didn’t protest, as a matter of fact, she didn’t say a word. No, the sounds coming from Claire were the moans of pleasure and desire that he’d feared were forever gone. They were the sounds he heard in his dreams—but this wasn’t a dream, it was real. Peering once again into her shimmering eyes, he intertwined his fingers in her hair, and repositioned her head. Seconds before he returned his lips to hers, she whispered, “I’m sorry.”

Their tongues united and her radiating warmth pulled him closer. Breaking their seal, for only a second, Tony replied, “No, I’m sorry.”


The relief of her embrace and the parting of her lips, allowed him full access to what was his, overwhelming him, bursting their bubble and exposing them to the world. The ocean breeze returned, stinging his eyes, causing moisture to pool. He blinked it away before Claire could see, because… Anthony Rawlings didn’t apologize and he didn’t cry… that’s the truth.


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