“Why?” I felt a little dizzy, like I’d been holding my breath.

“It makes me feel close to the baby.”

Oh gosh.

Oh man.

I dragged in a deep breath, but the warm and fuzzy feeling was spreading through me, and that wasn’t all. He wanted to be close to the baby. His hand moved slightly as his fingers brushed the band on my sweats.

“It’s right in there,” he continued. “A part of you. A part of me. No matter how any of this came about, it’s pretty amazing.”

My ovaries might’ve just exploded.

His lashes lifted. “Don’t you think?”

“Yes,” I whispered and then I said it louder, “Yes.”

Nick’s lips brushed the curve of my cheek, and I shivered once and then twice. When did he get so close? My breath hitched as my heart thumped in my chest. If I turned my head an inch or two to the left, his mouth would be on mine. Anticipation swelled, and snapping at its heels was confusion. Why did I want him to kiss me? Okay. There were several reasons why I’d like him to kiss me. Lots and lots of reasons, but what was his reason?

His palm was still pressed against my stomach and those lips were somewhere in the vicinity of my jaw, and I remembered his almost kiss. The one that had caught the corner of my lips the very first night. Suddenly, kissing him was all I could think of. What would his lips feel like against mine? Would they be hard or soft? With him, probably a little bit of both. If he kissed like he fucked, it would be the kind of kiss that forever changed the way you viewed kisses from the past and the future.


Nick’s head dropped a little and the stubble along his jaw dragged across my chin. I swallowed a gasp as heat flashed throughout me. His palm slid off my stomach, spreading flames as he wrapped his hand around my hip. He pressed his forehead against my shoulder and that warm breath tickled my neck.

This sound came from him, a purely primitive masculine sound that did crazy things to my nerves. My heart pounded as he lifted his head slightly, and then I felt his lips against the sensitive spot just above my pulse. Muscles low in my belly coiled tight. Kiss me. Really kiss me. Kiss me. Those words were on repeat as he continued to lift his head.

Nick drew back, and he didn’t kiss me, but when I laid eyes on him, I knew his mind was where mine was. His chest rose and fell heavily and his gaze was heavily hooded. Glancing down, there was no hiding the bulge in his jeans.

Holy hell . . .

“So, what are you doing tonight?” he asked, and his voice was deep, rough.

“I had no plans.” I wet my lips. “Are you going to Reece’s?”

He shook his head. “I didn’t come over to see him. I came to see you.”

That . . . that pleased me. “I was just going to watch a movie and eat some Cheez-Its. Okay. A lot of Cheez-Its. Maybe some Pringles, too.”

The lopsided grin appeared on his lips. It was infectious, and I felt myself grinning back at him. “Well, why don’t you pick out a movie and tell me where the Cheez-Its and the Pringles are. We’ll watch a movie.”

A huge part of me was hoping that watching a movie was code word for let’s get naked, but as I picked out something I thought he’d be interested in—the movie 300—and he returned with a slew of snacks, we did just what he’d said.

Sitting side by side, we watched all the airbrushed abs flounce across the screen—or that’s what I paid attention to. I replayed memories of all the guys I’d hung out with and even the guy I dated in high school, and I couldn’t recall a time where I found myself watching a movie with a guy and eating junk food while wanting nothing more than to just straddle him and get down to business.

Usually I didn’t sit and watch movies with a guy I wanted to do dirty, dirty things with, and not do said things. This was a first for me, and I sort of liked it. No. Not sort of. I really did enjoy it.

Nick’s warmth seeped out from him and bled into me. Once I stopped shoving food in my mouth, I found myself leaning into him. Not on purpose. It wasn’t something I was wholly aware of, but at some point my entire right side was pressed against his left, and his left arm was dropped along the back of the couch.

It felt . . . right.

Eventually my eyelids became too heavy to keep open. I fought the lull of sleep, because seriously, I didn’t need to fall asleep on Nick, but it was no use. Snuggled up against him, more comfortable than I could ever remember, I slipped into a peaceful sleep.

Chapter 16

I was warm, not too hot, but the toasty warmth pricked up my consciousness. I was slow to wake up and the cobwebs of sleep lingered even as I blinked my eyes open. My brows furrowed as I stared at the TV. The volume was turned down, but I could tell it was some weird info commercial. Faint light filtered in through the window.

What the . . . ?

It was that moment when I realized I wasn’t alone. My breath caught in my throat as my surroundings started to make sense. Curled up on my side, my back was pressed against the source of all the hard heat.


Oh my jeebus, I remembered falling asleep on the couch, but in those moments before I had slipped under, I honestly didn’t think Nick would’ve stayed. My eyes widened as I took stock of the situation. Nick’s body was curved around mine, and I knew this couldn’t be the most comfortable sleeping position for him. He was a tall guy, and this couch was cramped.

But he was here, his hand not resting on my hip, but on my lower stomach. In the pale light of dawn, I stared at his hand in a strange sort of wonder. Had he placed his hand there on purpose? It was such a protective, male gesture. Or had he done it while asleep?

Either way, it did something to me. Sharp tingles shot from where his hand rested and spread below in a warm wave of shivers. It also formed a knot in my chest and in my throat. Like when he asked to feel my stomach last night, I was shocked and my . . . my entire being was moved. Combine all of that with what he told me about his grandfather, I was beginning to see who Nick really was. Some of the missing puzzle pieces were appearing and clicking into place. Not all, but some.

As I stared at Nick’s hand, a very important sense of knowledge filled me. Nick would be a great father. I didn’t know a whole lot about him, but based on what he did and sacrificed for his grandfather, I had no doubt he would approach fatherhood the same way. Not to mention he didn’t see any of what he was doing to take care of his grandfather as a sacrifice. He was . . . he was a good person—a great person.

Tension that had settled in my shoulders and back since I found out I was pregnant began to slowly ease. It was like an awakening. No matter what went down between Nick and I, he would be there for our . . . for our child. I wasn’t in this alone.

But as I stared at his hand, I also realized that I didn’t want him to just be the father of our child. I wanted to find the rest of those puzzle pieces and figure him out. I wanted to know what it felt like to be kissed by him, and I wanted to know what it felt like to actually . . . make love with him. This sudden need went deeper than the physical.

I wanted him to mean more to me.

I wanted to mean more to him.

Yes, getting pregnant was what really brought us back together, but it didn’t have to be the only reason.

Carefully, I shifted so I was on my back. His hand remained where it was, splayed across my lower stomach, the weight comforting. A moment passed and his thumb moved in a slow circle, a very slow and precise circle, just below my navel.