The truth surprised her. “No.”

“See what a little bit of talking things through can do?” he said in a not-quite-teasing voice.

“Hmmm.” She let her gaze travel over his chest downward to where his waist was hidden by the table. “Your turn. Tell me what you’re thinking.”

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His voice grew low and rough. “I’m thinking I wish my father wasn’t taking a nap in the living room and a hospice nurse wasn’t on her way because I’d very much like to take you over my knee.”

“I missed you,” she blurted out.

He moved closer, his eyes locked on her lips. “I missed you, too.”

She sucked in a breath and leaned forward. The napkin fell from her hands. It was probably a bad idea to kiss him. They had agreed to start over, start fresh. Kissing now might be too much too soon.

She told herself that, but her body wanted him. And from his body language, he wanted her just as badly. The space between them grew smaller and the hint of their indecision hung between them.

Just go for it.

No sooner had she decided to throw caution to the wind and kiss him than his father called from the living room. It sounded like he was in pain.

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“Damn,” Jeff mumbled under his breath as he pulled away from her. “I’ll be there in a second, Dad.”

“Now I’ll clean up the kitchen,” Dena said, gathering the bowls.

Later that night, the awkwardness returned. After calling Cole and having him bring her bags to the house, she realized she hadn’t given much thought to the sleeping arrangements. Jeff had been an only child, and there were only two bedrooms in his small childhood home.

Jeff picked up on her unease as she stood in the hallway with her suitcase. “I can take the couch. You can have the bedroom.”

“I can’t kick you out of your bedroom.”

“You’re not. I volunteer.”

His old bedroom was furnished with a queen-sized bed. Technically, there wasn’t any reason for either of them to sleep on the couch. Or to sleep alone, for that matter. She had told herself they were going to take things slowly and make a fresh start, and if they shared a bed, she had a feeling the slow plan wouldn’t happen.

Even so, she surprised herself by saying, “Don’t sleep on the couch. Share the bed with me.”

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His jaw tightened at her words, like he was restraining himself. “Only if you want.”

“I wouldn’t have asked otherwise.”

He nodded. “I’ll keep my hands to myself,” he said, before heading down the short hall to check on his father one more time.

Dena took her suitcase into the small bedroom and took out her pajamas and toiletry bag. She’d packed her regular pajamas, a white cotton long-sleeved two-piece set. She wondered if she would have packed something different if she’d known she’d be spending the night in Jeff’s bed. With Jeff in it.

He hadn’t returned to the bedroom when she was finished getting ready, so she climbed into the bed and scooted as close to the edge as possible. She was still hesitant and unsure enough about where they were headed that she didn’t want to tempt him. He’d said he’d keep his hands to himself, and she wasn’t going to make it difficult for him.

He came into the bedroom ten minutes later and silently crawled into bed. She noticed he scooted as close as possible to his edge, too.

“How’s he doing?” she asked.

“He’s sleeping. He’s slept much more today than normal. I think it must really be the end this time.” He seemed to hesitate before asking his next question. “How long are you here for?”

She rolled over to look at him and replied with a gentle whisper, “As long as you need me.”

The silence in the room was deafening. Her heart pounded so hard, she felt it in her ears.

“Fuck, Dena,” he whispered coarsely. “I’ll always need you.”

Her answer was just as rough. “Then take me.”

He didn’t pause to ask questions or to make sure she meant it. Her statement was all the encouragement he seemed to need, and he rolled her over to her back, coming with her, so he rested hard and heavy on top of her.

Fuck, it feels so good to be under him. She shifted her hips, trying to ease him closer, but he resisted and nipped her ear instead.

She yelped, and he covered her mouth with his hand. “You have to be quiet. The night nurse is in the living room.” He rocked his hips. “Unless you want her to hear all those pretty little sounds you make when I fuck you.”

“I’ll be quiet,” she said against his skin, running her hands down his back and grabbing his ass, pulling his shorts away. “Now. Please. In me.”

He pushed her pajama pants down and shoved his free hand between her legs. “Already so wet. Do you have any idea what it does to me, feeling how your body reacts to mine?”

While he whispered, he worked his fingers along her entrance, brushing and teasing until she shook with need. She squeezed her eyes shut, wanting to hold off until he was inside her. He removed his hand from her mouth and, taking hers, placed it on his cock.

She wrapped her fingers around his base, stifling a moan when he continued whispering. “I’ve been in this bed alone for the last few weeks, imagining what I’d do to you if you were here. All the positions I’d fuck you in, how many ways I’d make you take my cock, and the number of times I’d let you come before I gave in and rode you as hard as I could for my own pleasure.”

She wiggled under him. “Please.”

“Show me. Take my cock and put it where you want it.”

Right at that moment, she’d have taken it anywhere. But she loved the feel of him on top of her, so she spread her legs and placed him at her entrance. “Here. Hard, fast, and deep. Give in and ride me for your own pleasure, because I’ll fucking explode with you inside me.”

He pulled back and entered her with a hard thrust, covering her mouth with his and swallowing her groan at the feel of him. She clawed at his back, urging him deeper, harder. She was already so close. She worked her hips, meeting him thrust for thrust and getting lost in the feel of him filling her over and over.

Her release bubbled low in her belly and spread outward, touching every part of her body until she was coming around him. Her response only made him move faster and harder, until he jerked inside her and dropped to the bed, panting.

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