“I love you,” Tate said into her mouth. “I’ll always love you, Chessy. I need you to believe that.”

“I love you too,” she breathed.

Then she closed her eyes, her body so taut she felt near to breaking. His words mixed with the deep thrusts unraveled her at the speed of sound.

She reached for his shoulders, digging her fingers into his solid flesh.

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“That’s it, baby. Give it to me,” Tate said in a soothing tone.

And then she simply burst. Pleasure bloomed and exploded around her. Her body seemed to fly in a hundred different directions all at once.

She was panting, trying desperately to draw air into her starved lungs. And then Tate tensed above her, his brow creased into an expression that bordered on pain. He thrust hard and then again and then he stilled, his hips pumping spasmodically against her body.

His release flooded her, hot and silky. He moaned as his hips twitched, each surge of cum causing another spasm.

Then he finally lowered his head to hers, so their foreheads touched and their noses bumped.

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“God, I’ve missed you, baby,” Tate said in a voice full of regret. “I’m so sorry. So damn sorry.”

“Shhh,” she whispered. “Not now. Not when everything is so perfect. Let’s put the past behind us where it belongs. We have so much to look forward to.”

He kissed her lingeringly, their tongues dancing and teasing.

“I’ll always put you first from now on,” he vowed. “You’ll never question your place in my heart or soul.”

SEVEN

KYLIE Breckenridge stared at her cell phone, her brow creased with indecision as she fixated on Chessy’s contact number. She vacillated between calling Chessy directly or calling Joss to see if Chessy had been in touch. But she knew if Joss had heard anything at all, she would have called Kylie by now. And, well, Kylie didn’t want to risk interrupting Chessy if things had gone really, really well and the two were even now in anniversary bliss. Even though her gut told her that months of accumulated unhappiness wouldn’t be fixed in a single night’s time.

She sighed and resisted the urge to hit Send to call Chessy.

Warm hands slid over her shoulders and an instant shiver that never failed to comfort her skated over her skin. Heated lips followed the hands, sliding deliciously down her neck until she moaned softly, arching into Jensen’s mouth.

“What has you worried, baby?”

She turned her head to look back at Jensen as he sat up in bed next to her. She was angled toward her nightstand where the phone had rested until a few moments ago, one leg pulled up on the edge of the bed while the other dangled to the floor.

Biting her lip in consternation, she lowered her gaze back to the phone before allowing it to slide from her hands onto the mattress.

“I’m worried about Chessy,” she admitted. “She was so excited about her anniversary last night and I really expected to hear from her this morning but … nothing. Not a word. I thought about calling Joss, but surely if Joss had heard something she would have let me know. We’re both worried about her and not hearing from her … well, it concerns me.”

Jensen’s smile was sweet and full of understanding. He leaned in and rested his forehead to hers, the corners of his mouth tilted upward in amusement.

“If it were my anniversary, I’d still be in bed with my wife, either making love to her or just having finished. You worry too much, baby. If I had to guess, they’re making up for a lot of lost time and if Chessy laid out her concerns like you told me she planned to, I can’t imagine Tate not having a serious come-to-Jesus meeting with himself and reprioritizing his life to make Chessy front and center. You not hearing from her is a good thing. Think about it. If things had gone bad, you’d have heard from her by now. Her silence likely means that they’re focusing on each other as they should. As Tate should.”

Kylie sighed again but relaxed, some of her tension and worry easing under the matter-of-factness of Jensen’s reasoning.

“You’re right. I know you’re right. I just can’t help but worry. Chessy has been so miserable lately,” she said quietly. “And I hate that. Chessy just … shines. Except when she’s not happy. Joss and I have worried ourselves sick because we can see how unhappy she is. And it has to be hard for her. I mean look at Joss. So gloriously happy. Pregnant with her first child. The love of Dash’s life. And then there’s … us.”

Jensen’s eyes flickered, his expression growing intently serious. “Us? Now this I want to hear.”

Kylie flushed but smiled at the gentle teasing in his tone. “It’s just that we’re all so … happy. And then there’s Chessy. It has to be so hard for her, seeing all of us, and being so unhappy herself.”

His gaze grew even more gentle. He tipped up her chin and brushed a kiss across her mouth and then followed it with his tongue, lapping gently at her lips. When he drew back, his gaze was hooded, eyes dark with desire that elicited a prickle of chill bumps over her skin.

“And are you happy with us?” he asked, his tone serious.

She melted at the slight insecurity she heard in his tone, which he tried to hide, but she knew every aspect of this man. Was still learning to a degree, their relationship still young and on the fringes of something new and exciting.

“I’m very happy,” she whispered. “I never thought I was unhappy before. Resigned, yes. But unhappy, no. I thought I’d accepted my place in life. Just a few best friends. My head in the sand, never moving forward, always stuck in the past. But you taught me to look ahead. To feel optimism for the future. I’ll always love you for that.”

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