“I think you did that last night.”

“Nah.” He shook his head. “That was just a meet and greet. I want to know their hopes and dreams.”

I laughed. “That’s ridiculous.”

“It’s the truth.” He rolled then, throwing the sheet off him and swinging his feet to the floor.

My eyes widened.

Naked as the day he was born, he stood fluidly, totally uncaring that every inch of him was displayed. He raised his arms high above his head as he stretched. His back bowed, muscles popped and rippled. The indents by his hips tensed, drawing my attention for far too long to be decent.

Finally, I forced my gaze up. Our eyes met. “You know, there’s this thing called pants. You should try it out.”

He cast me a cheeky grin as he turned. “You’d be devastated. Just think, you get to see this every day from here on out.”

My heart did a trippy dance. “Your naked ass? Gee. Sign me up for that.”

He laughed again and then disappeared into the bathroom. Feeling way too warm, I closed my eyes. Every day? Like, forever? That had my tummy fluttering in all kinds of pleasant loops that had nothing to do with his current state of undress. Waking up next to Daemon, going to sleep beside him?

I opened my eyes when I heard the door reopen. He was rubbing his eyes, and I was staring at him again, like really staring at him in completely inappropriate places. It was like knowing you shouldn’t look at something, so your eyes automatically just want to go there.


He lowered his arm. “I think you’re drooling a little.”

“What? I am not.” But I might have been. So I tugged the sheet up over my face. “A gentleman would never point out something so unseemly.”

“I’m not a gentleman.” He shot forward, snatching the sheet from me. I held on, the playful struggle not lasting very long. “There’s no hiding. I caught you.”

“You suck.”

“At least I don’t drool on myself.” He tossed the sheet to the other side of the massive bed. His slow perusal caused my toes to curl. “Okay. I think I might be drooling right now.”

My face was going to burn off before breakfast. “Stop it.”

“I can’t help it.” He planted a hand on the other side of my hips and leaned in, brushing his fingers over my chin. “Got the drool.”

Laughing, I pushed at his rock-solid chest. “You have an overinflated sense of self-worth.”

“Uh huh.” He pressed down until our bodies were flush and his thigh was between mine. He supported his weight on his arms as he bent his head, brushing his lips against mine. “Kiss?”

I gripped his upper arms and gave him a quick peck. “There you go.”

He lifted his head, scowling. “That was the kind of kiss you give your grandma.”

“What? You want a better one?” Craning my neck, I put a little more oomph behind the kiss. “How about that?”


“That’s not very nice.”

“Try it again,” he said, eyes narrowing into lazy slits.

My breath hitched in my throat. “I don’t know if you deserve a better kiss after telling me the last one sucked.”

He did something truly remarkable with his hips, causing me to gasp. “Yeah,” he said smugly. “I deserve another kiss.”

Yes—yes he did. I kissed him again but settled back before the kiss could turn into something deeper. Daemon’s scowl went up a notch, and I grinned. “That’s all you deserve.”

“I strongly disagree with that.” The tips of his fingers drifted down my arm and across my rib cage. The featherlight touch continued over my stomach and farther south. The whole time his gaze was held to mine. “Try again.”

When I didn’t move, he did something clever with his fingers that caused my heart to pound against my ribs. I lifted my head, feeling dizzy and light. Brushing my mouth against his, I kissed him again, paying special attention to his lower lip. As I started to pull away, he wrapped his hand around the back of my neck.

“No.” His voice was low. “That was barely better. Maybe I just need to show you.”

I shivered at the heat in his stare. My entire body tightened. “Maybe you do.”

And he did—oh God, did he ever. Last night had been sweet and slow and mind-blowingly perfect, but this was something entirely different and just as heart-stopping. There was a razor edge of desperation to each kiss, to each touch. A rawness had built between us, increasing with every breath we took. Daemon moved over me and then inside me, turning the slow fire into a tempest that burned out of control. My hands grasped at him as the tension inside me unfurled, and the edges of his body blurred as whatever restraint he had snapped.

Neither of us moved for what felt like ages. Our hips still pressed tightly together. My arms locked around his neck. One of his hands lay against my cheek, the other curved around my waist. Even when he rolled onto his side, he brought me with him. He didn’t have much of a choice. I wasn’t letting him go. I didn’t want to. I wanted to press stop on everything and stay there, right there with him. Because I knew the moment we left this bed, left this room, an unknown reality waited. Serious stuff needed to be decided. Decisions that none of us could go back on had to be made.

But I thought about the every-morning thing—the forever. No matter what we faced, we would face it together. That made me ready.

“What are you thinking about, Kitten?” he asked, brushing the hair off my cheek.

I opened my eyes and smiled. “I was just thinking about the things we need to decide on.”

“Me, too.” He kissed me. “But I think we need to be showered and changed before we go down that road.”

I laughed. “True.”

“Have I told you that I love the sound of your laugh? Doesn’t matter. I’m going to tell you again. I love the sound of your laugh.”

“And I love you.” I pressed my lips to his and then sat up, taking the sheet with me. “I call dibs on the shower.”

Daemon rose up on his elbow. “We can always do it together.”

“Yeah, we’d end up needing a shower after taking a shower.” Wrapping the sheet around me, I scooted off the bed. “I’ll be back.”

He winked. “I’ll be waiting.”


If I’d had any doubts about Kat being the perfect female before, all doubts would’ve been cleared up right then. She took a shower in less than five minutes. Remarkable. I hadn’t even thought that was humanly possible. Dee’s idea of a quick shower was fifteen minutes.

And then she came out, a towel secured under her arms, as she dabbed at her soaked hair. When she looked over at the bed, a pretty flush crawled across her cheeks.

Guess I could’ve put some clothes on, but then I’d miss that blush of hers.

Throwing my legs off the bed, I strolled over. As I passed her, I tweaked her pink cheek. Her face flamed even brighter, and I laughed as she muttered something very unladylike under her breath.

The bathroom was nice and steamy. As I stood under the showerhead, letting the water beat down on my face, I thought about last night, about this morning. My thoughts spun further back, to the first time I’d seen Kat walking out her front door, heading over to my house to ask directions. Even if I hadn’t wanted to admit it in that moment, she had sunk her claws into me, and I didn’t want them out.

At that point, my brain pretty much unloaded a bunch of crap on me. Bringing up memories I’d almost forgotten—of Kat arguing with me over the flower bed and refusing to go to the lake with me the day Dee had hid my keys. Like I had needed my keys to go somewhere. Even then I’d been looking for a reason to spend time with her. There were so many moments. Like when she went ninja on the Arum after homecoming. She had risked her life for me, even when I’d been nothing but a giant tool to her. And Halloween night? She would’ve died for Dee and me.

I would’ve died for her.

Where would we go from there? Not just where would we end up living or any of that crap, but both of us had and would sacrifice just about anything for each other. There was a next step involved. I thought about the car ride there, when I’d been staring at her left hand.

My heart did a funny thing in my chest, something between a panicked squeeze and an excited jump. I dipped my head back under the stream. Something was building in my chest, piling up until there was no denying what I wanted. My hands curled into fists against the tile.


Was I really thinking this? Yes. Did I really want this? Hell yes. Was it probably the craziest thing I’d ever considered? Most definitely. Was it going to stop me? Nah. Did I feel like I was going to pass out? Only a little.

I’d been in the shower for more than fifteen minutes.

I was such a girl.

That panicked/excited feeling was increasing as I turned to the faucets, shutting the water off. My hand trembled a little, and my eyes narrowed.

I should really think about this.

Then again, who was I kidding? When I set my mind to something, I did it. And my mind was set. No pussyfooting around it. No point in waiting. It was right. It felt right. And that’s what mattered—the only thing that mattered.

I was in love with her. I would always be.

Wrapping a towel around my hips, I entered the bedroom. Kat sat on the bed, cross-legged in jeans and wearing her My Blog Is Better than Your Vlog shirt. Yep, that pretty much sealed the deal for me.

“So I was thinking,” I said, my mouth moving before my brain really caught up with it. “There’re eighty-six thousand, four hundred seconds in a day, right? There’re one thousand, four hundred and forty minutes in a day.”

Her brow knitted. “Okay. I’ll take your word for it.”

“I’m right.” I tapped my finger against my head. “A lot of useless knowledge up here. Anyway, are you following me? There’re one hundred and sixty-eight hours in a week. Around eighty-seven hundred and then some hours in a year, and you know what?”

She smiled. “What?”

“I want to spend every second, every minute, every hour with you.” Part of me couldn’t believe something that cheesy had come out of my mouth, but it was also so beautifully true. “I want a year’s worth of seconds and minutes with you. I want a decade’s worth of hours, so many that I can’t add them up.”

Her chest rose sharply as she stared at me, eyes widening.

I took one more step and then went down on one knee in front of her, in a towel. Probably should have put some pants on. “Do you want that?” I asked.

Kat’s eyes met mine, and the answer was immediate. “Yes. I want that. You know I want that.”

“Good.” My lips curved up. “So let’s get married.”

Chapter 25


Time stopped. My heart skipped a beat and then took several leaps. My stomach felt like I was hurdling mountains. I stared at him so long that one single dark brow rose.

“Kitten…?” He tipped his head to the side. Strands of wet hair fell across his forehead. “Are you breathing?”

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