Damn. He had a good point.

“I have a good point, huh?”

My eyes narrowed. “Can you read minds?”

“No.” He laughed. “I’m just logical.”

“Whatever,” I sighed. “Okay. I can make an OB/GYN appointment tomorrow. Well, hopefully find one.”

He smiled briefly. “I can be available whenever. You let me know. I can drive you or meet you there.”

“Okay.” Folding my arms over my stomach, I peeked up and found him watching me. “Are you . . . you going to tell your family?”

The line of his jaw hardened. “No.”

His response was so quick it was cutting. “Okay.”

“Dammit.” He leaned forward, resting his arms on the table. “I didn’t mean it like that. I don’t have any immediate family—not any that would care.”

I tipped my head to the side. “What does that mean?”


“A lot.” He rested his chin in his hand and his fingers obscured the well-formed mouth. “I’m not close to my extended family. I don’t even know if they still live around here. Are you planning on telling Roxy?”

Knowing he’d changed the subject on purpose, I struggled to let it go. Things were very new to us and our steps were tentative. If he didn’t want to divulge that information right now, fine, but he would have to eventually. “I hadn’t thought about it. Were you?”

“I was going to leave that up to you, but I don’t think it’s something I could keep secret from everyone,” he reasoned. “I’ll have to let Jax know if I need time off or something, but he’d keep it secret.”

“He might tell Calla. I mean, they’re together and I’m sure they talk. Then if she knows, there’s a good chance she’ll let it slip.” I bit down on my lip. “We don’t have to tell them anything right now, though.”

He nodded. “Nothing needs to be said at the moment, but what about your job? How do you think they’re going to handle it?”

“Ugh.” I plopped my chin into my hands. “I don’t even want to think about it and I have no idea how they’ll respond. I guess I still have some time before I tell them.”

Nick raised a dark brow. “I don’t think you want to drop a pregnancy bomb on them a few months before you’re due.”

“I know, but I’m barely a month, so I have time.” I wrinkled my nose when he raised both brows. “And I really don’t need to tell them for a long time, right? It’s not like I’m delaying the inevitable.”


My eyes narrowed again. “What does that mean?”

“Nothing.” There was a brief pause. “You’re not delaying the inevitable here. You don’t have to tell them yet. I mean, I think women wait for a while, but you just don’t strike me as the type who delays anything. You seem like you meet most things head on.”

“Obviously you don’t know me well.” Immediately, I recognized the snottiness in my tone.

Nick’s fingers lowered from his mouth, revealing a half smile. “That’s what we’re doing, aren’t we? Getting to know each other.”

Kind of felt like we were just scraping at each other’s surface and not going any deeper. “We do need to.” I softened my tone.

“Agreed.” Suddenly, he reached across the table with his long arm. His hand cupped my cheek, and I stilled, holding my breath as he swept his thumb along my chin. “You had a piece of lint there.”

My pulse fluttered. “I did?”

“Yeah.” His lashes lowered, shielding his eyes. “Not anymore.”

“That’s good,” I whispered, the fluttering expanding. “Are you searching for more lint?”

Nick chuckled deeply, and the sound elicited a fine shiver out of me. “Maybe.” His voice had changed, sluicing over my skin like warm water. “Lint are tricky little beasts. But I think I’d have to do a more thorough search.” His lips curled fully as he removed his hand. “Just to make sure you’re lint free in all the important areas.”

I grinned. “You’re so helpful.”

“That I am.” He tilted his head to the side and the low light glanced off his high cheekbones. “Anyway. We need to figure each other out. We are stuck with one another for like . . . well, forever now.”

A wave of prickly heat washed over my skin, eroding the sensual warmth of his teasing. A bitter-edged hurt I didn’t fully understand replaced it, and my mouth immediately formed words. “I guess you need to start buying better condoms then, huh?”

The grin twisted into something wry. “I guess you need to pay better attention to taking your pills, huh?”


We both scored points there.

“Look. We need to make this work.” He pressed back against the seat, his eyes chilly compared to earlier. “And pointing fingers at one another for this isn’t going to do us any favors. There’s a lot we need to figure out—a lot of important things like child care, how we’re going to raise this kid—the money it’s going to take. I’m not sure about the legalities involved in all of that, but we’re going to need to figure it out.”

The prickly heat spread, and I wished I was outside, letting the cold wind chill my body and erase the sting. I felt myself nod, but I couldn’t get the word “stuck” out of my head. Being “stuck” with someone didn’t allude to anything deeper. What the hell was I thinking earlier, when Nick had hugged me? That we could somehow grow to really care for each other, maybe even . . . maybe even love one another in the way I’d always hoped I’d fall for someone?

I was a fucking idiot.

Nick and I had sex. Now we were dealing with the consequences. Emotions weren’t involved in this. Nope. Not at all.

He looked away, a muscle ticking along his jaw. The food arrived, but my stomach had soured.

Well, that new beginning didn’t feel too shiny now.

The stack of fresh binders wobbled in my arms as I navigated the cubicles Monday afternoon. The revamped HR manual had been completed, but now they needed new binders, because of reasons. The plastic, chemical scent turned my sensitive stomach and I was half tempted to throw them into the stockroom, but once again, there were reasons why that wouldn’t be acceptable behavior.

I stacked them on the center shelf, spines facing out, and then smoothed down the front of my blouse. A different scent overpowered the chemical one, something too musky. Turning around, I almost threw myself on the floor and started flailing like a two-year-old.

Rick stood in the doorway, his flushed face and beady eyes a very unwelcome sight. He was the source of the newest stomach-turning aroma. Some days it smelled like he bathed in cologne. He smirked.

I sighed.

Today was not a good day.

My shitastic mood kicked off in the morning when I tried to slip on this extremely cute pin-striped pencil skirt. I’d gotten it up my thighs and over my hips but when I tried to zip it up, it cut into my stomach and stretched the seams.

Then, after experiencing the very first pregnancy-related clothing failure first thing in the morning, my stomach was not a happy camper the entire rainy commute to work. Not having had the foresight to check on what pregnant folk could use to deal with nausea, I just had to suffer until I got home. My paranoia would not allow me to Google that info while I was at work.