“Then I guess we’ll have to find a way to coexist together, warts and all,” she said cheekily.

“Bet your ass,” he growled.


She yawned broadly, her eyes looking sleepy and contented.

He pulled her into his arms, nestling her head against his shoulder.

“Sleep now, baby. I’ll go into work late in the morning so we can have breakfast together.”

“That sounds wonderful,” she murmured. “And I’ll cook dinner for us tomorrow when you get home from work.”

He kissed her forehead, contentment spreading rapidly through his veins to the very heart and soul of him.

He knew they likely had a rough road ahead of them, but optimism was bright in his heart. Kylie was his and he wasn’t letting her go. They’d get through whatever issues they had together.


KYLIE hummed to herself as she brushed out her hair and applied her makeup. The week had flown by and strangely, she wasn’t looking forward to going into work on Monday. She’d enjoyed her time with Jensen too much. It had been just the two of them the entire week, settling into a comfortable routine.

Jensen went to work in the mornings after eating breakfast with her and he returned promptly at five. Though Kylie had spoken to both Joss and Chessy on the phone, she hadn’t gone into detail about her first time being intimate with Jensen. It just hadn’t felt right. It was private. Between her and Jensen, and she didn’t want the rest of the world to know what went on in their bedroom or the sacrifices he was making for her.

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He was a proud man and while she had confided his offer to her best friends, she wished now she hadn’t. At the time she’d needed the sounding board. A way to talk about her fears and perhaps get validation from her friends. But now she regretted confiding Jensen’s gift to them. It was beautiful and precious, the most selfless gift she’d ever received.

She immediately brightened when she heard the front door open, and she tossed aside the brush, giving herself a quick once-over before hurrying from Jensen’s bedroom into the living room.

He’d called earlier and told her they’d eat out again tonight. Cattleman’s was a pub and diner that offered great food in a casual environment. Kylie had eaten there a few times with Joss and Chessy before they’d made the Lux Café their permanent “go-to” spot.

She was looking forward to another night out with him. They hadn’t had sex since that first time a few nights earlier. He hadn’t pushed and neither had she. Perhaps she feared having another freak-out moment and ruining what progress they’d made. Who really knew?

What she did know was that she was solidly in love and not ha**g s*x had in no way impeded their deepening relationship. No need to rock the boat when they were floating along just fine.

Jensen’s face lit up when he saw her. She loved that look. The same look he gave her every day when he came home from work. As if he couldn’t wait to see her and she was the highlight of his day.

Her earlier thought that she wasn’t looking forward to returning to work on Monday fled as she took in the fact that she’d get to spend the entire day with him. They’d ride in together and come home together. What could be better?

“What’s that look for?” he asked, his expression perplexed.

She shook herself from her thoughts and dove into his arms, hugging him to her.

“Sorry. I was just rethinking something I thought earlier. Or rather unthinking it.”

He chuckled against her, his chest vibrating against her cheek. She closed her eyes and held on to him, savoring their closeness and the comfort he brought her by just . . . being. With her. Coming home to her and being so happy to see her each day.

“That made absolutely no sense,” he said in amusement.

She drew away with a smile, absorbing his gaze, drinking in the sight of him. All male, gorgeous and vibrant. She shivered at the intensity of his gaze and wondered if tonight would be the night they’d make love again. But then it was all up to her, wasn’t it? She called the shots, so all she had to do was say she wanted him and he would be at her disposal.

“Well, I was thinking earlier that I wasn’t really looking forward to going back to work on Monday. I’ve enjoyed this week so much. But then I realized that when I go back to work, I’ll get to spend the entire day with you and not just see you in the mornings and afternoons. So I corrected the idea that I wasn’t looking forward to work and decided that I’m very much looking forward to getting to spend the entire day with you.”

His eyes glimmered in amusement and a satisfied smile curved his sensual lips. Lips she very much wanted on her. Her heart fluttered as she imagined allowing him to touch her. Would she be able to handle it? Her heart and body recognized the desire and echoed her yearning. Her mind was the only thing holding her back.

“I’m glad you’ve seen the error of your ways. Although I won’t lie. This week has been wonderful with you here, waiting for me to get home. I wasn’t ready to share you with the rest of the world. Not yet. And I won’t say that I’ll be ready on Monday, but I’ve held you back long enough. It’s time to set you loose and let you go kick some ass. That I get to be there with you is just icing on the cake.”

“Flattery will get you everywhere,” she said with a grin. “Now, are you going to change so you can feed me? It’s been a while since I ate at Cattleman’s. I’m looking forward to some good bar food and lots of carbs.”

“Never let it be said that I denied my woman anything.”

He kissed her quickly and then headed into the bedroom, leaving her to stare at his ass and have lustful thoughts.

Did it make her a moron that she got a ridiculous thrill from the words “my woman”?

She shivered because, moron or not, the way he said it just hit all her girly buttons. She was left with a goofy grin, her hormones raging over that ass of his. God, she was turning into a squealing teenager about to go on her first date.

Deciding to be a bit, okay a lot, bold, she followed him into the bedroom, hoping for a peek while he was changing. Apparently she could add voyeurism to her growing list of things she’d never imagined indulging in.

Her breath caught in her throat when she entered to see him stripped down to his underwear. His back muscles rippled as he pulled a shirt over his shoulders and she shamelessly stood there, enjoying the view.

Her gaze drifted downward to the very noticeable bulge in his underwear. It indeed appeared as though he did look forward to coming home to her each day.

Had it been a version of hell the last few days of them not having sex? Had she merely teased him with their first foray into intimacy? She didn’t like the idea of being some prick tease. It wasn’t in her nature to lead a man on. Not that it was what she was doing exactly. But she didn’t like the idea of him being unfulfilled.

He turned, his brow rising as he saw her standing in the doorway. Then he smiled as he reached for his pants.

“Is this where I say ‘busted’?” he asked with no remorse.

She shook her head, smiling back at him. “Not at all. I . . . like . . . seeing that you want me. Unless that erection is for someone else?” she asked innocently.

He snorted. “As if. Do you see any other gorgeous, desirable woman here?”

“Nope. Don’t even see one,” she said, her cheeks growing warm with his compliment.

He scowled at her response and then strode over to where she stood, pulling her into his arms. She landed with a thud against his chest and he tipped her chin upward before crushing his mouth over hers.

He rubbed his groin against her belly so she’d feel just how hard he was. She slid her hands between them, cupping his c**k through the denim of his jeans, and caressed him gently.

His moan was guttural, the sound of a male in desperate need. Tonight, come hell or high water, she was going to mount a charge. If she had her way, neither of them would be aching much longer.


KYLIE and Jensen were seated at a table by the window at Cattleman’s and Kylie was munching on an appetizer of nachos when an extremely handsome man walked up to their table.

Beside him was a gorgeous woman with brilliant blue eyes and midnight black hair. It was a striking contrast. The couple looked like a million dollars together and it was obvious the man had money.

It wasn’t that he looked ostentatious, or he was one of those guys who openly flaunted his wealth. He just had a quiet authority about him and his clothing was designer, very expensive and looked very good on him. Then there was the rock the woman sported on her ring finger. It caught the light and shimmered, nearly blinding Kylie in the process.

Okay, maybe that was a slight exaggeration, but still. She wasn’t wrong about this man—and woman—being wealthy. She’d hung out in Carson’s circles enough to know the real deal when she saw it. She was also trained to catch on to the wannabes, the ones who tried to make it look like they had more money and status than they had in reality.

“Jensen, it’s good to see you,” the man said as he approached.

As he stopped at their table, he pulled the woman to his side in a gesture that looked practiced and automatic. It was obvious this man was possessive of her. It was evident in his body language. And the way he looked at her spoke volumes.

Jensen glanced up, his expression easing with recognition. And then he smiled warmly at the couple and stood. Kylie sat there like a deer in the headlights, unsure if she should stand or not. But Jensen reached a hand down to her, collecting hers and squeezing as if to reassure her.

God she loved that about him. That he was always so mindful and protective of her.

“Hello, Damon. Serena,” he said to the woman. Then he turned to Kylie, his eyes possessive, positively screaming to the world that she was his. “I’d like you both to meet Kylie. She’s very special to me.”

A surge of joy flooded her heart at the simple way he declared their relationship.

“Kylie, this is Damon Roche and his wife, Serena.”

“It’s very nice to meet you, Kylie,” Damon said, charm evident in his voice. But so too was there that authority that she’d noticed about him. There was something about him that fascinated Kylie but made her wary at the same time.


The word came silently to her, her instincts telling her unquestionably that this man was dominant. It seemed everyone around her was either dominant or submissive. The world seemed very small, indeed.

“Hello, Kylie,” Serena said, a warm smile on her beautiful face.

“Hi,” Kylie said shyly. “It’s very nice to meet you both.”

“We won’t keep you,” Damon said to Jensen. “But it’s been a while since I saw you last and I wanted to come over and say hello at least.”

Jensen shook his hand and then leaned in to kiss Serena on the cheek. Kylie gave them a small wave as they turned and headed in the opposite direction. Then Jensen retook his seat and Kylie looked at him in question.

“Who are they?” she asked.

“Acquaintances,” he said. “I haven’t known them long and met them through Dash.”

A prickle of awareness stirred at her nape. Damon’s name rang a sudden bell with her. Joss had mentioned him. If she wasn’t mistaken, he was the owner of the place Joss had joined and intended to go to in her quest for dominance. And if Jensen knew him . . .

“Are you a member there?” she asked quietly.

He didn’t pretend to misunderstand her. He was ever blunt, a fact she appreciated. She never had to wonder where she stood with him or what he was thinking or feeling because he never held anything back with her.

Except his need for dominance.

She flinched at that reminder, still raw over the knowledge that he was denying a huge part of himself. For her.

“I’m a member, yes. But as of yet I haven’t participated and now I have no intention of ever doing so.”

“Chessy and Tate and Joss and Dash go there,” Kylie murmured.

“Yes, I know,” he said calmly. “But I’ve never been there when they were there. In fact, I’ve only been twice, both times for the application process and to tour the facilities.”

She pursed her lips, wondering if she even wanted to know the answer to her next question. She knew of the lifestyle. She’d heard enough of Chessy and Joss’s conversations to have a good idea of just what went on there, but she’d never gotten explicit details. She wasn’t even sure why her curiosity was stirred.

“What exactly goes on there?” she finally asked. “I mean Chessy and Joss have talked about it but to be honest most of the time I shut them out because I didn’t want to know. And I was worried sick about Joss when she first said she was going to start attending.”

“Why would you want to know now?” he asked softly.

She shrugged. “Just curious, I suppose. I mean it’s not that I’m interested in going there. I guess I should drop it. I don’t like to remind you of what you’re being denied.”

“Kylie. Look at me, baby.”

She glanced up, meeting his gaze. His stare was intense and utterly focused on her. He radiated seriousness.

“I’m not being denied anything. I made a choice, one that I do not regret. I have no interest in The House any longer. What I want and what I need is right here in front of me.”

Even though logically she knew all of this, relief still surged through her veins, leaving a tightness in her chest that was almost painful.

“Do you believe that, baby?”

She nodded slowly. “Yes, I do, Jensen. But I won’t lie. At times it worries me that you’ve given up so much for me.”