May 11, 2022
Faint music wakes me. I tiptoe down the hall, careful not to wake Haleigh. As I get closer to the kitchen, the music stops, then starts again from the beginning. In the mix of the music is Ace’s voice, humming the melody. I lean against the doorjamb to the kitchen, quietly listening as I try not to disturb him. This is a part of his life I’ve never seen—his creative juices flowing from his brain and out his fingers. And what’s coming out is beautiful. I get lost in the music until his gaze locks on mine. His smile draws me to him, and I feel as if someone moves me toward him. I bite my lower lip, not knowing what to do. His gaze rakes down my body and back up.
“We can do better than that old T-shirt, Charlie-Anne. I think it’s time for a new one, don’t you?”
My nipples pucker from the smoldering look that he’s giving me. “I like this one.”
“I do too, but if you’re going to walk around the house, maybe we should find one that isn’t see-through.”
I don’t know why, but his words feel like ice water dousing me. If he’s still attracted to me, wouldn’t he enjoy seeing me in something see-through? No, he said he wanted a family. A family, not a wife. I’m so confused by the mixed signals. I know better than to get my hopes up. Instead of stepping closer to him, I move toward the sink for a glass of water.
“Charlie-Anne? Did I say something wrong?”
When I look up, I see him in the reflection in the window. He stands and saunters up behind me. His hands bracket me as he looks at me in the same glass as I watch him.
I shake my head. “I think I’ve misunderstood what you’ve been saying.”
“I thought I’d been crystal clear of my intentions.”
“You have. You want a family. Haleigh makes us a family. You aren’t looking for a wife.”
He pushes my hair over one shoulder. “You couldn’t be more wrong.” His lips plant wet kisses on my neck. “I want you first. Haleigh is a bonus.” Kisses trail down my shoulder and back to my neck. “Turn around, baby.” I turn in his arms. “Is this another test?”
“I don’t know. You shattered me, my heart.”
“I did. And now I’m putting you back together. In time, I’ll fill every crack in your heart. It belongs to me. I’m the only one who can fix it.”
He’s right. My throat constricts as my nerves kick in and I swallow. “Kiss me.”