Second chance at love – Can there be such a thing when tragedy is involved? 

A wild weekend tryst. No real names. No exchange of information. No consequences. Yet two strangers will never forget the passion. 

Considered the dark, dangerous and dominating smokejumper, Antonio Giovanni prefers keeping to himself, a protection from his past. A family secret prevents Bethany Cooper from trusting anyone, including herself. Yet the mystery is swirling, keeping her on edge, one involving the entire town of Missoula, Montana. 

When the two strangers meet again, will the electricity once shared reignite the flame or add fuel to the danger threatening them both? 

 

The Jackals: An elite core of smokejumpers nestled in the heart of Missoula, Montana. 

By day they indulge in their penchant for danger. 

By night they exude passion. 

Are you ready for their brand of domination? 

Prevent. Protect. Preserve. This is their motto. 

 

Publisher’s Note: This romance contains elements of suspense, mystery, action, adventure, sensual scenes, strong language and power exchange. If any of these offend you, please do not purchase. 

 

Read it for FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt

 

Chapter One

 

Big Ernie: The smokejumper god. A deity with a rather twisted sense of humor 

On Final: The final flight path before jumpers jump 

Situation Report: Daily report of current fires, personnel assigned and resource allocations 

Zulies: Missoula Smokejumpers 

 

April 2018 

 

“Tell me your kinkiest fantasy.” Her tone was soft, velvety, the kind of voice a man could listen to for days. 

Antonio Giovanni almost knocked over his beer. His entire body was tingling, wild desire bursting at the seams. And all from a single line. Willa had a look about her, ruby stained lips and long legs a man could lose track of time just admiring. “You mean whips and chains?” 

“Mmm…” Willa dragged her tongue all the way around her glass, a husky purr coming from her throat. “Whips. Chains. Bondage. Beatings.” 

Why did he have a feeling this girl was teasing him? Leaning over, he whispered in her ear, “To have absolute domination over a woman for an entire weekend, nothing held back. Binding her wrists and ankles, keeping her chained to do my bidding. Any. Time. I. Desire. Perfect.” 

Closing her eyes, she shuddered and took a sip of her drink. “I like a rough and tumble man.” 

Chuckling, he sat back, studying her chiseled face and porcelain skin. She was far too gorgeous to frequent a dive bar like this one. “Any other questions for me? You know, to see if I pass the test?” 

“Let me think. What are you looking for?”  

He studied her face in the dim light of the bar. “In life?” 

“In everything.” She laughed and eased her hand over her mouth, her eyes twinkling. “I know, far too philosophical for a bar conversation. Right?” 

Shrugging, he thought about her question. He’d met her maybe thirty minutes before. Two people in a rundown hole in the wall seeking solace and a hard drink. Willa seemed like a nice girl, far too much so to be sitting all alone. There were three other customers, scruffy and intoxicated, an indication of the kind of place. “Peace.” 

“Said like a tortured man.” Willa swirled the swizzle stick in her drink. 

“I’ve never thought of myself that way, but you might be right.” He was far too attracted. 

Sitting back, she allowed her gaze to travel up and down, studying him from head to toe. “Tony. I can tell you’re more than what you appear to be. You’re not a paper pusher, not by a long shot. If I had to guess what you did, I’d say a policeman or maybe a rancher.” 

Forced to resist laughing, he shook his head. “Not even close, except for the paper pushing part. I don’t think I could sit behind a desk all day. If I had to guess, I’d say you were an attorney.” He hadn’t been creative when using a fake name and wasn’t entirely certain he knew why he had; except he didn’t need any complications in his life. He wasn’t looking for romance or a girlfriend of any type. He’d traveled out of Missoula to spend the weekend alone, to think about what the fuck he was doing with his life. 

He had a feeling he was being passed up for a promotion and he’d spent the better part of a solid month enraged, almost getting his ass suspended from the smokejumping team. The last thing he needed to do was lose his job, one he loved more than anything in his life. Hell, jumping was the only thing he had in his life that was worthwhile. So, the trip had been on the fly, driving until he found a bar close to a hotel. To be very much alone, wallowing in a bottle. 

Then she walked into the dingy bar. 

Her smile widening, she re-crossed her leg. “I’ll take that as a compliment, but hell no. I couldn’t stand to be in a courtroom either defending or prosecuting lowlifes. That would piss me off royally.” 

Damn it. He liked this girl. From her short, fiery red hair to her provocative dress, she was the perfect objection to getting a good night’s sleep. “I know at least one attorney who might fight you on that one.” 

“I’ve never met any attorneys I could call anything but slimy.” 

“Ouch. Sounds like you’ve had some horrible experiences.” Antonio found himself leaning in, catching every word, concentrating on what she said in return. This wasn’t like him.  

“Let’s just say I’ve had certain family issues over the years forcing me to seek answers. I didn’t like what I heard so I’m moving on my way.” 

“Is that why you’re here?” 

She gave him a wry look. “In a way. Just some time to myself, which rarely happens.” 

He lifted his drink. “To finding out shit out here in the middle of nowhere.” 

Willa winked as she lifted her glass, touching her rim to his beer bottle. “I can drink to that.” After taking a swallow, she closed her eyes, making murmuring sounds.  

Fuck, if his cock wasn’t aching, thumping hard against his way too tight jeans.  

“What kind of women do you like?” she asked then rolled her eyes. “Doesn’t that sound like a come on?” 

They both laughed, and he wasn’t even certain what to tell her. “Truth is. I hope it’s a come on. I love intelligent women with attitude, yet women who prefer a man to be in charge.” Oh yeah, he was risking the woman slapping him across the face and storming out of the bar.  

“You mean in the bedroom?” She had a sly expression on her face. 

He had to swallow twice before he could answer. Here goes nothing. “In the bedroom and in the relationship. Might sound old-fashioned and I guess it is, but I think having one person in charge, and in my case the man as the head of household, is the glue for any relationship. Equality leads to more arguments.” 

“So, the man decides the rules and what the little woman can do?” Willa asked quietly. 

“Well, yes, with agreement from his little woman,” he said as he grinned, feeling the heat of embarrassment rising up from his neck. Had he ever admitted this to another woman? Even with Lila, he hadn’t formed any rational thoughts in any form. In fact, they argued the majority of the time. Then Lila had been over eight years ago. 

“Hmmm… That’s very interesting.” She remained unblinking but seemed a thousand miles away. 

Great, you Neanderthal. He shook his head and took another gulp of beer. That was one way to end a great conversation. 

“A woman can feel protected as well as loved, secure in her environment. Pressure is taken off, allowing for a happier relationship. I bet the sex is damn hot as well.” Her tone of voice had changed, full of teasing. 

Leaning over, he lowered his voice so only she could hear. “Sex is hot. As. Shit.” 

Willa licked her lips in response. 

Antonio was in absolute agony, ready to rip off his jeans as well as the sexy little dress she was wearing. He tried everything to squash his libido. 

“Fascinating. I’ve never met a man who was so open and honest. Most men act like they want women to be equals.” Willa scooted closer. 

He inhaled her perfume, the exotic scent filling his nostrils and driving him to the point of madness. His cock was begging for relief. Even using the term ‘relationship’ surprised the heck out of him. “I prefer to be completely honest.” 

“That’s wonderful because honesty builds trust and that is something I must have. To break trust even once is the worst sin and unforgiveable.” 

Antonio heard conviction behind her words.  

She darted a look over her shoulder, as if making certain no one could hear their conversation. “Let me recap. A man in this case, being in charge means making rules, requiring the little woman to abide and obey or risk facing the consequences? She, no doubt, has an allowance, limits on credit cards, friends she can see. That kind of thing.” She had a gleam in her eyes. 

“Honestly? Yes, although I don’t care about friends.” All the chats he’d been a part of with the other jumpers on the team, their time spent in what they called the Burnout club had been one sided for him. He hadn’t participated or had much to offer. What did he know about disciplining a woman? But he craved just that.  

She eased her hand down the length of her neck, the tips of her fingers moving back and forth in a slow and easy rhythm. “Truly fascinating.” 

“And your thoughts?” Antonio was mesmerized by her dazzling blue eyes, her high cheekbones and the beautiful cleft between her voluptuous breasts. He tried to force himself to look away, but she was far too captivating, igniting a fire from deep within.  

Hesitating, she leaned further over, until her face was within only a few inches from his. When she spoke, her tone had changed yet again, becoming huskier, sexy in an unassuming way. “Don’t tell anyone I told you this, but I agree. I think all women deserve and require a hard spanking from time to time.” 

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Now, his damn dick was pinched to the point he was going to have to find some sort of relief soon. “I think I’ve waited my entire life to hear a woman say that.” 

His reward was her hand floating across his knee. 

“Your turn. What do you like in a man?” The third drink had gone down way too easily, perhaps for both of them. 

“That’s easy. Dark and brooding with a penchant for danger. Dominating with a heart of gold. Unwilling to take my crap for any period of time.” She giggled again, tossing back her head as she swirled back and forth on the barstool.  

“I take it you’re a very bad little girl.” 

“Very much so. Wicked in fact.” 

“Then you do need a hard spanking.” He touched his belt on purpose, watching her reaction. 

A slight moan escaped her lips as she nodded. “Yes. God, yes.” 

Antonio’s heart was racing, electricity skyrocketing throughout every cell in his body. Taking a chance, he reached out, sliding his index finger down her cheek to her mouth. When she purred, he held his breath and traced a series of circles around her mouth. He could just make out her nipples pushing hard against her bodice, could see a hint of her lacy bra given one of the buttons had come undone.  

Pursing her lips, she darted out her tongue, dragging the tip down his finger. 

“Jesus,” he whispered and slid his hand around her neck, tightening his grip just enough as he pulled her further forward. “I can give you exactly what you crave, what you need.” 

She continued licking his finger, moving her tongue up and down in a lazy fashion. Grasping his hand, she held his arm in place as she pulled his finger into her wet mouth, sucking in an exaggerated fashion.  

“Would you like me to give you a spanking right here? Right now?” He kept his grip firm, his fingers digging into the flesh of her neck. 

Willa eased his finger out of her mouth. “Yes, please.” 

Hunger unlike any he’d known for years roared, sliding into every tense muscle. Tugging her off the stool, he crushed his mouth over hers, plunging his tongue inside, tasting her sweet essence.  

Clinging to him, she moaned into the kiss as their tongues entwined.  

The moment became intense with passion, his actions becoming more manic, even rough as he shifted to his feet, pulling her close to the heat of his body. He pushed his groin against her stomach, grinding as he sucked on her tongue. Everything about this felt so right, amazing to the point he was overheated, beads of sweat rolling down the back of his neck. 

Willa eased the flat of her hands up and down his back, her fingers kneading. She arched her back as he held her, rising onto her tiptoes.  

Breaking the kiss, he nipped her lower lip before sliding his mouth down to her chin and across her jawbone. He took a step back, grabbing her hand and pulling her behind him as he walked toward the shadowed hallway leading to the bathrooms. The bartender followed with his eyes, snorting before tipping his head to stare at the television screen behind the bar. 

There was no one to stop them or care what they were doing.  

He’d never done anything so reckless in his life, but at this moment, he wanted nothing more than to take this girl.  

Antonio strode into the woman’s bathroom, locking the door behind them. He towered over her as he walked her backwards, toward the small bathroom sink. “A very bad girl. Huh?” 

“The worst kind,” she whispered, pouting as she locked eyes with his. 

“Then we’ll have to take care of that.” He turned her around to face the mirror, pressing down on the small of her back. 

She responded by shifting her legs open and leaning over, a slight whimper pulsing from her mouth. 

Yanking up her dress, he studied her expression as he caressed her ass cheeks. He was so alive, his body shaking from desire. He wanted nothing more than to shove his cock inside her sweet pussy, but not here, not in this rat role. “The sting of my hand.” 

The second the first slap was sliced against her naked ass, she moaned, the sound echoing in the dense space.  

He gritted his teeth as he smacked her several times, moving his hand from one to the other, every action methodical. “Women need to understand they have to follow rules,” he whispered and nuzzled against her neck, nipping her earlobe. 

“Yes, sir. I’m not good at following anyone’s rules.” 

Smack! Crack! 

“Then you will learn.” Antonio bit down on her neck before smacking her again. And again. He loved the sound of his hand as his palm slapped against her naked flesh. When he looked down, seeing the redness, he shuddered.  

“Hurts,” she mumbled, arching her back, her face glistening from perspiration. 

“Spankings are supposed to hurt.” 

Slap! Whack! 

With every hard strike, he could tell she wanted more, craved everything he would decide to give her. And he wanted to give her everything.  

“Yes. Yes. Harder, sir.” Her face was relaxed, her lower lip trembling.  

“Watch as I spank you.” 

She shifted her gaze, her eyes trying to focus. 

Antonio rubbed her ass, feeling the heat he’d created, knowing she would feel the spanking at least for a little while. The scent of her feminine wiles wafted up, creating another wave of longing. His pulse was racing, and he slipped his fingers between her legs, touching her pussy lips. Restraint. Control. Dear God, he wanted this woman. “So wet. Hot.” 

“Yes, sir.” Willa undulated her hips, her grip on the sink white knuckled.  

Crack!  

He continued spanking her, the rhythm picking up. When he knew she’d had enough, he smoothed down her dress, tugging her back into his arms. “I realize we don’t know each other but I want more. Much more.” 

She folded her arms around him. “I do too.” 

Exhaling, he kissed the top of her head before taking her by the hand, allowing their fingers to intertwine. He led her back into the other room, struggling to remove his wallet, dropping several bills on top of the wooden bar. Taking defiant strides, he headed toward the exit, pushing open the door with enough force the entire frame rattled.  

“I’m staying at the hotel,” he stated as he wrapped his arm around her. 

“More like a bed and breakfast.” She tipped her head, nuzzling closer. “And I am too.” 

He remained silent as they walked across the parking lot, waiting until the traffic passed. He knew he’d never see this girl again, understood what they were about to share was only for the weekend, but he was thrilled. This was exactly what he needed to cleanse his aching soul.  

Then again, there were times he wondered whether or not he actually had a soul. As he led her up the outside staircase, his mind shifted, thinking about the past. There were far too many haunting memories, wishes that he’d done things differently. A sadness crept inside, furrowing its way into his heart. If only things could be different. 

*** 

Willa. She actually liked the name, so much different than her own. Bethany Cooper inhaled, tingling from the mere smell of the man. Tony. The name suited him, strong and masculine with a hint of the unknown. She was certain he hadn’t given her his real name, nor did she care in the least. Finding such a sexy hunk, one with dark, almost luminescent eyes in a little bar in nowhere land must be caused by fate.  

If she dared to believe in such a thing.  

She’d left town, wanting nothing more than time for herself after another brutal argument with her brother. Snagging her only full time ranch hand to take care of the ranch at the last moment was easy. Begging her girlfriend to take care of her beloved dog would cost her. Payback would, no doubt, be a blind date. She rubbed her thumb across Tony’s hand as he walked up the stairs. A one night stand wasn’t her style, but everything about this man was exciting, scintillating every synapse in her body.  

Her pussy was wet, her nipples hard and the way her dress floated back and forth across her well spanked ass was incredible. How had the man known she would go for a spanking? She bit back a giggle as he slipped his room card into the lock. She could only imagine how hot the sex would be. 

The second he opened the door, he pushed her inside, grunting as he cupped both sides of her face, his thumbs rubbing against her cheeks. Slamming the door, he pressed kisses against her lips, her nose. 

Bethany kicked off her shoes, running her hands up along his arms. He was muscular in all the right places. She fell into the kiss, the way his tongue darted against hers. Her heart thumping, creating echoes in her ears, she eased one arm around his shoulders, running her fingers through his hair. When he pulled away, she tossed back her head, exposing her neck.  

Tony grunted as he peppered her with open mouth kisses, rubbing his lips against her heated skin.  

She felt so small in his massive arms, so protected, as if he’d save her from anything. Fumbling with his shirt, she tugged the hem from his tight jeans then slid her hands underneath, marveling at the muscles in his back. He was chiseled in all the right places. 

Bending down, he continued peppering her with kisses until he reached the bodice of her dress. Using his teeth, he tugged at the material of her dress, exposing her bra. The grunt becoming a growl, he open-mouthed her nipple, sucking on the thin material. 

“Oh, God,” she whispered as she wiggled in his arms. She lifted her head, watching every move he was making and crawled his shirt half way up his back.  

Tony jerked the other side of her dress and her bra, releasing her nipple. “So damn beautiful.” Taking her tender flesh into his mouth, he swirled his tongue around her hardened bud, the sound exaggerated. 

Blinking, her pussy clenched, forcing her legs to quiver. She flexed her hand open and slid it down, cupping and squeezing his groin. The man was rock hard, throbbing in her hand.  

His hands moved to the hem of her dress and as he took a step back, his lust filled face highlighted in the stream of moonlight, he yanked the silky material up and over her shoulders. 

Bethany moaned as she struggled to free his cock, her fingers working on the heavy buckle. Swallowing, she fingered the thick leather belt, running her fingers along the smooth grain. She was suddenly embarrassed, as if revealing her desire for a dominating man was a turn off. 

Gingerly he used his thumb and forefinger to grip her chin. “Everything about you is beautiful, including what you want.” 

Allowing a slow breath to escape, she gave a single nod as she unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans, peeling away the material.  

Tony rolled the shirt up and over his shoulders then gripped her ass cheeks, squeezing, a grin on his face. “The things I will do to you.” 

“The things I will let you.” She wrapped her hand around his cock, freeing his entire shaft, a whimper slipping past her lips. He was long and thick, filling her entire hand.  

“Mmm… Be careful. I might not be able to wait.” He slid his hands up to her back, unfastening her bra, freeing her of the tight restraint. Cupping and caressing both breasts, he pinched her nipples. 

“Yes.” The flash of pain was incredible, creating goose bumps. She pumped the base of his cock, twisting her hand back and forth. “I don’t want you to wait.” 

“A tease. You are a very bad girl.”  

“You have no idea.” 

Tony picked her up into his arms, tossing her onto the bed. Standing at the foot, he finished undressing, his eyes never leaving her. 

She lifted her arms over her head, reveling in the way the bed felt, the softness and simply watched, enjoying the view even in the slender strip of light. Her mouth watered, longing to suck his cock. 

When he was finished, he dropped to his knees, lowering his head against her lace covered mound. 

“Oh!” Jerking up, she panted as he sucked on her pussy through the cloth. 

He snaked his finger just under the thin elastic, ripping away at her panties until he was able to remove them. Gathering her legs into his arms, he buried his face into her cunt, wiggling his head back and forth.  

The sensations were electrified, driving her into an instant state of bliss. Moaning, she clamped her hands around the bedding as he dragged his tongue up then all the way down. She opened her legs as wide as possible, giving him complete access. Closing her eyes, she turned her head, pants turning into whimpers. 

He swirled his finger around her clit as he thrust his tongue just inside her pussy, taking his time to lap up her cream. 

“God!” She knew she would climax quickly and wanted this to last.  

After sliding a single finger just inside, he moved in an orchestrated fashion, his tongue darting in and out. Adding a second then third finger, he pumped harder. Faster.  

Bethany tossed her head back and forth, unable to think clearly. Her entire body was on fire, her skin tingling, and she had difficulty breathing. He was feasting on her, taking everything that he wanted.  

Tony lifted his head, wiping his mouth on the skin just above her pussy. “Pinch your nipples for me.” 

She did as she was told, moving her hands to her breasts, pinching then twisting her nipples until she cried out in pain. Through her hazy vision, she could tell he was watching, contemplating what he was going to do. And she adored every minute. 

He thrust in and out, keeping his fingers flexed open as he licked around her clit, nibbling and sucking, biting down.  

Her legs were shaking, and she jerked up from the bed, arching her back. “I’m going to… Come.” 

“Mmm…” He pressed his face into her cunt, flicking his tongue before plunging as deep inside as possible, his fingers pumping with wild abandon.  

There was no way to hold back, no stopping the orgasm. She panted, trying to obey his orders but she was lost to the moment of ecstasy. “I… Yes!” The climax turned into an almost violent wave, forcing her entire body to tense.  

He refused to stop licking, grunting as he shook his head back and forth, covering every inch of his face with her cum.  

As the last orgasm began to ease down, she flopped onto the bed, spent yet more satisfied than she’d been in years.  

Easing her legs onto the bed, he pressed a series of kisses on her inner thighs before crawling on top of the covers, hovering over her. “I’m going to fuck you.” 

“Please.” Reaching out, she lifted her legs. 

Tony planted both hands on either side, using his strong upper muscles to lower down, kissing her eyelids and nose, dragging his tongue around her lips. Shifting between her legs, he lowered his groin, grinding back and forth.  

She wrapped her hands around his neck as he slipped the tip of his cock inside. 

He waited, holding his position then thrust the entire length of his dick inside, tossing his head back and roaring. “Yes!” 

Curling her legs around his thighs, she interlocked her feet, shaking from the intensity.  

Easing his cock out, he chuckled darkly before plunging into her again. And again. The force rocked the bed, the headboard hitting the wall. He kissed her lips, darting his tongue just inside. 

The taste and feel of him was so perfect, so amazing and she fisted his hair as he drove hard and fast. Her pussy muscles clenched around the thick invasion, drawing him in deeper. She’d never felt so jazzed, so beautiful being with a man.  

A slight growl pushed past his lips and he stopped moving, studying her eyes.  

“Oh!”  

He rolled over, gripping her legs and bringing her with him. “Ride me.” 

She palmed his chest and rocked forward and backward, breathless at the way he filled her. Beads of perspiration trickled down both sides of her face, dripping onto his chest and for some reason, the sensations were cathartic, as if she belonged with him and no one else. 

Gripping her hips, he dug his fingers into her skin, grunting as she rode him, her legs clamping against his sides. “So tight.” 

“Yes…” The word was almost inaudible, and she clenched her eyes shut, wanting him to come, to explode deep inside. Seconds later, he shifted again, this time dropping her onto her hands and knees and moving behind.  

Tony fisted her hair, tugging back her head as he smacked her ass several times. “You belong to me.” 

Even the hoarse whisper created such a reaction, leaving her panting, sweating and wanting to have every inch of this man. When he shoved his dick back inside, she opened her mouth, issuing a silent scream.  

He pumped into her several times, his rhythm more savage than before.  

Crack! Slap! 

Slapping her ass randomly, he continued thrusting long and hard, his grunt becoming feral.  

She could tell he couldn’t hold back much longer and squeezed her cunt muscles as she met every brutal plunge, jutting her hips back, skin slapping against skin. Breathless, she closed her eyes as she clawed the bedding.  

Growling, Tony ground his hips and leaned over, pressing kisses on the base of her neck, tugging back her hair. “I’m going to fill you with cum.” 

“Yes. Yes!” She squeezed again as another climax raced up from the tips of her toes.  

His fingers digging into her hips, he began to shake and the moment he exploded deep inside her pussy, he let out a howl. 

She shivered, ecstasy filling every cell in her body. This was almost paradise and far too close to everything she wanted. 

And what she could never have. 

*** 

“Where do you see yourself in ten years?” Bethany asked as her eyes remained locked on the fire. The cozy bed and breakfast was perfect for a lover’s weekend. Lovers. She sighed as contentment gave her a smile. The corner fireplace was the perfect addition to the room, creating a wonderful backdrop.  

“That’s a powerful question,” Tony pulled the blanket around their naked bodies. “I don’t know. I wish I could say I have everything mapped out, but the truth is, I can see only the next few years.” 

“Hmmm… No passel of kids?”  

Pretending to choke, he pinched her nipple as if for emphasis. “I’m not certain I’d make a very good father. I have zero patience.” 

“You know what they say, having children changes a man.” 

“I thought that was gall stones.” 

Shoving her elbow into his ribs, she let out an exclamation. “You’re incorrigible.” 

“Truthful and mischievous.” He laughed softly then allowed the sound to die off. 

She could tell how much the question troubled him. There was a complexity about him that almost frightened her. He was hiding, perhaps from someone or something from his past. The weight on his shoulders was crushing. She only had to look into his eyes in order to gather a reflection of his soul. Whatever had occurred had changed him forever.  

“What do you want?” he whispered, the tone guttural. 

“In the number of children?” 

“I see another spanking is in order.” 

Wiggling, she couldn’t help but laugh. “I don’t know what I want. I always thought one day I’d leave the city, maybe move to the East Coast, but I’m a country girl at heart. Family is important to me, but that can mean so many things. Family is the people who you long to spend the majority of your time around, people you’ll do anything for. They are a core group that no matter where you are, how many thousands of miles away, you’ll stop at nothing to find a way to make them happy or keep them safe. Family means love that stands a test of will, not just time. That’s what I really want in my life.” 

Rubbing her arm, he rocked back and forth. “That’s…” Another sigh escaped his lips. 

Bethany tipped her head, studying his intense eyes. The sadness in them was troubling, haunting. She wanted nothing more than to take his pain away but knew there was no chance. 

“Perfect,” he finished. “A beautiful. Perfect. Family. And something I’ll never have.” 

As she settled against his chest, she grasped the understanding that after this weekend, they’d never see each other again. A single tear slipped past her lashes. Without making any sound, she wiped the salty bead away, fearful of breaking the passion. 

And she knew, a part of her family and perhaps the most important member, would be ripped away forever.  

Dear God. She was falling hard for this man.