“Hel—Connor, why is the princess crying like that?”

“Mason, I need your help. I’m taking Julia to the office.”

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“By yourself?” he interrupted.

“Yes. I’m stuck in traffic, and she won’t stop screaming. She won’t take the pacifier either.”

“You gave her the pacifier? Does Ellery know this?”

“No, and you’re not going to tell her either. Help me; I don’t know what to do.”

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“Do you have any classical music with you?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Look in the diaper bag. There may be a CD in there.”

Reaching in the back, I grabbed a hold of the diaper bag and, as I was bringing it up to the front, items started falling out onto the floor. Julia was still screaming, and I was about to have a nervous breakdown.

“There’s no f**king CD in here!” I screamed into the phone.

“Connor, I’m sorry, but there’s nothing you can do until you get to the office.”

After hanging up, I looked at my phone and had an idea. Still stuck in traffic, I downloaded some classical music onto my phone. Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” was the first song on the list. I hit play and turned the volume up as loud as it would go. I held the phone towards the back and closer to Julia. She didn’t stop crying right away, but the noise was becoming softer. As traffic started moving, Julia fell asleep, and I felt like I could breathe again. Finally, we arrived at Black Enterprises. I pulled into the parking garage and parked in my spot. As I looked behind me, I saw that Julia was still asleep, and I needed her to stay that way. I carefully opened the door and started picking up all the things from the diaper bag that fell on the floor. As I gently unbuckled the car seat, Julia’s eyes opened, and I froze. Grabbing the pacifier that was sitting next to her, I put in her mouth and her eyes slowly closed. I started to sweat at the thought of her screaming bloody murder again.

Stepping off the back elevator that led to my office, I was instantly surrounded by a flock of women who wanted to see Julia. When I walked down the hallway to my office, I realized that Valerie wasn’t sitting at her desk. Shit, her vacation started today, I remembered as I was counting on her to keep an eye on Julia. Opening the door to my office, I set the car seat on my desk, while I gathered some files for the meeting.

“Whoa, Connor! Why is Julia here?” Phil asked in shock.

“Because I didn’t have anyone to watch her, Phil,” I replied with irritation.

“Don’t you have a manny or nanny or whatever?”

“He’s on vacation, and Ellery is working on her paintings.”

“You can’t bring a baby to a meeting,” he said.

Glaring at his stupidity, I calmly said, “Have you forgotten that Black Enterprises is my company and I can do whatever the hell I want? If I want to bring my daughter to the meeting, then I’ll damn well do it!”

Phil sighed and walked out of the office. “The meeting starts in five minutes,” he said.

Julia opened her eyes. I grabbed my files and the car seat and headed to the boardroom.

Upon entering the room with fifteen men and women, all eyes glared at me when I walked in. “Sorry I’m late, but as you can see, I have my daughter with me today and if any one of you has a problem with it, the door is right over there. Are we clear?”

While I stood and looked at the people in the room, there was silence. “Very good. Now let’s proceed.”

As I changed Julia’s diaper, I looked up and saw Ellery standing in the doorway of the nursery with a smile on her face.

“Hey, baby, how long have you been standing there?” I asked.

“Long enough to hear that little conversation the two of you were having.”

“That was a private conversation between me and my daughter.” I smiled.

She walked into the nursery, gave me a kiss, and picked up Julia from the changing table.

“How did it go today with your daddy?” Ellery asked her as she held her in the air.

“Things went fine. I don’t know why you have a hard time believing that I can’t handle my daughter by myself,” I said as I threw the diaper away.

“What’s that, Julia? You screamed all the way to the office, and daddy was having a meltdown?”

Damn it. She must have talked to Mason. “That’s not how it went down, Ellery.”

“That’s not what I heard, Connor.” She grinned at me.

“Why would Mason tell you that I called him?”

“What’s that, Julia? Daddy gave you the pacifier?” She glared at me.

“Can’t I do anything without someone telling you everything?”

“Mason didn’t tell me, well, not technically. I was on the phone with him when you called, and I made him put it on three-way so I could listen.”

“Ellery Rose! That’s an invasion of privacy.”

“Oh, please. I found it amusing and as much as I wanted to come rescue you, I knew you’d figure out what to do.”

“Thank you for the confidence,” I said as I put my hands on her h*ps and softly kissed her on the lips.

“After all, you are the CEO of a billion-dollar company. You’ve dealt with worse. I wasn’t worried that one little baby would be the thing to break you. I’ll admit that I was a little worried about something else.”

“What were you worried about?”

“There’s nothing sexier than a man with a baby, and I could see those vultures at your office taking advantage of that.”

Smiling at her, I took Julia from her arms and laid her down in her crib.

“What are you doing?” Ellery laughed as I picked her up.

“There’s only one vulture I want taking advantage of me, and I want it right now.”

“Connor, what about Julia?”

“She’ll be fine. She’s safe in her crib, and if she starts to cry, then we’ll stop. But, I want to make love to you now. I don’t want to wait another second.”

Before laying her down on the bed, my fingers tugged at the bottom of her shirt, lifting it over her head. As my mouth smashed into hers, she reached her arms back and unhooked her bra, letting it fall to the floor. After my hand cupped her breast and tugged at the hardness of her nipple, I picked her up and she wrapped her legs around me as I laid her gently on the bed. I wanted to devour her as I took her breast in my mouth. Her fingers were quickly unbuttoning my pants as I was unbuttoning hers. I stood up and took them down as fast as I could. I ripped my shirt from me and threw it on the floor as she sat up and took her pants off, throwing them across the room. She looked at me with a seductive smile and laid down on her stomach.

“Christ, Ellery, you have me so hard.”

“Then put that erection to good use, Mr. Black.”

A growl came from the back of my throat, and I swore I almost came right then and there when she said that. I dipped my finger inside her to make sure she was ready for me, and sure enough, she was more than ready. Hovering over her, I slowly pushed myself inside and began thrusting in and out of her when, suddenly, Julia began to cry.

“Don’t you dare stop, Connor!” she exclaimed.

“I won’t, but—”

“There are no ‘buts’! You cannot and will not stop! I’m so close. Oh God. Oh God!” Ellery screamed as her body tightened and released itself, causing me to explode inside her.

We lay there as our hearts raced and we tried to catch our breath. All of a sudden, it was quiet. Ellery turned her head and looked at me.

“Of course she stops crying now.” She laughed.

That’s my daughter. My love, my life, and my little angel.

Chapter 25

Ellery

As I stood in front of my easel, putting the final touches on my fourth painting, I looked out the large window that overlooked the city. So many thoughts ran through my head about the showing at the gallery, Connor’s new Chicago building, and Peyton’s bachelorette party, which was starting tomorrow at ten a.m. Connor and I had a slight argument about it because he wanted Denny to drive us around the city all day and night. I told him no, and he wasn’t happy. Needless to say, I won. I didn’t understand what he was so worried about, because he was having Henry’s bachelor party tomorrow night as well. I heard the door open and, as I turned around, Connor walked in, set his briefcase on the chair, and then wrapped his arms around me.

“Hi, good looking.” I smiled.

“It feels so good to hold you. I missed you, baby,” he said as he buried his face into my neck.

“I missed you too. What’s wrong?”

“It’s just one of those days where if everything could go wrong, it did. Where’s Julia?” he asked.

“She’s at home with Mason.”

He broke our embrace and looked at me. “Now tell me exactly what you’re doing tomorrow for Peyton’s bachelorette party.”

I looked at him with knitted eyebrows. “Why do you want to know?”

“I’m your husband, and I should know what you’re doing.”

I was hoping to get away without having to go over the party detail by detail because he wasn’t going to be happy when he heard what I had planned. This could be the start of a huge fight.

“Please have a seat, Mr. Black, while I explain to you the details of Peyton’s bachelorette party. You will in no way say a word or comment on the upcoming events. There will be no arguments, no harsh words, and I forbid you to become jealous. If you decide you want to start an argument, then you’ll be cut off from sex for a very long time. This is my best friend’s party and I’m putting everything sexy into it before she gets married. It’s what we women do, and if you can’t trust me, your wife, who loves you more than life, then you need to go and see your therapist.”

He sat there, with his legs crossed and his hands folded in his lap, and stared at me as I finished my last sentence. “Okay, and the same goes for you.”

After he said that, I started to get a little worried and a sick feeling crept inside my stomach. But I wasn’t going to let him know that. He didn’t know what I had planned, and I didn’t know what he had planned. We were both going to do our own thing and trust each other. I knew how much he loved me and he knew how much I loved him.

“Okay, fine,” I said as I faked a smile.

He got up from the couch, kissed me, and said he had some plans to confirm. I knew he did it on purpose because it was killing him that he didn’t know what I had planned, so he was trying to get back at me. I told him that I’d be upstairs in a bit after I finished my painting. Connor’s mom and dad were taking care of Julia for the weekend because Mason and Landon were joining the bachelorette party.

The next morning, I awoke before Connor. We had dropped off Julia at his parents’ house last night and then we had sex all over the penthouse, taking advantage of the fact that Julia wasn’t here to interrupt us. While I stood in front of the mirror, I put my blonde hair up in a high ponytail. As I brushed my teeth, Connor stood in the doorway of the bathroom in nothing but his pajama bottoms, with his muscular arms against the doorframe.

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