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  Emma Chase

  Copyright © 2016 by Emma Chase

  All rights reserved.


  No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

  This book is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

  Editor: Amy Tannenbaum

  Cover designer: Hang Le, By Hang Le

  This one’s for you, dear readers.


  Chapter 1: July

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3: September

  Chapter 4: November

  Chapter 5: December

  Chapter 6: January

  Chapter 7: February

  Chapter 8: May

  Chapter 9: June

  Epilogue: Seventeen years later

  Bonus Material

  Other Books by Emma Chase

  Chapter 1


  I still don’t use an alarm clock.

  My internal clock is as dependable as ever, but I don’t wake up at 5 a.m. like I used to—I get up even earlier. Because these days it’s not a run or the thought of fresh coffee that gets me going in the morning.

  It’s her.

  I sense Chelsea before my eyes open. The press of her hip against my leg, the feel of her long, delicate arm draped across my bare chest, the tickle of her breath along my collarbone, the scent of lilac in her hair. The promise of lazy kisses, soft moans, and tight, wet heat.

  We’ve been married for about two years and there hasn’t been a single morning when I didn’t wake with a smile tugging at my lips. Not one fucking time. Because she’s beside me—half on top of me—and the six little shits we love more than anything are tucked safely away upstairs. They’re all really good sleepers. That’s key.

  Getting laid with six awake kids in the house can be a challenge. It takes planning, stealth. When moments of spontaneous opportunity strike, they’re never without risk of discovery. They require awareness—attunement to the movements and sounds beyond the closed door. What the kids are doing, where they are—if they’re going to interrupt us with any one of a thousand ridiculous but urgent questions.

  It can be a pain in the ass—though I wouldn’t trade it for the world, wouldn’t change a single thing about the life we’ve made together.

  But here, now, in this bed, in the still darkness of morning—it’s different. We can move how we want, say what we want—fuck in any position or on any surface that we can think of.

  Because this is our time.

  In these moments we’re not a defense lawyer and a part-time museum curator, we’re not parents, we’re just Jake and Chelsea. A man and a woman who are crazy about each other.

  Without opening my eyes I slide out from under her arm and down the bed, taking the blankets with me as I go. Once in a while, she’ll surprise me and wake up before I do. Those are fun mornings. There is no greater wake-up call in the history of the world than the sight of Chelsea Becker’s thick auburn hair covering my crotch and her plump, pouty lips wrapped greedily around my dick.

  But today, I have the upper hand—and that’s fun, too. I flip to my stomach and push Chelsea’s thin nightgown up over her hips, exposing her to my now open eyes. She doesn’t wear underwear to bed—there’s really no point; it’d be on the floor come morning anyway. Her pussy is pink and perfect—smooth and bare except for a tiny auburn landing strip that never fails to turn me way the hell on. I rub my nose against the dusting of hair and inhale. And her scent—fuck—that gets me going, too. Clean and warm, like honeysuckle.

  Her leg shifts near my shoulder and she lets out a little sigh.

  Then I lick her.

  Slowly, firmly, deep between those waiting lips, before gently circling her clit with the tip of my tongue.

  Her foot slides up, bracing against the bed, her leg bent at the knee—and that little sigh turns into a longer moan. I open my mouth and kiss her, my tongue still dragging up and down, tasting her growing slickness.

  I fucking love that. How easily she gets wet. Sometimes she’s drenched before I even touch her. Once I asked if she dreamed about me going down on her, if that was why she was always so ready. But she just blushed and wouldn’t answer.

  I spear her with my tongue now—gliding in and out—sucking gently on that plump bundle of nerves.

  Her voice is husky with sleep and heat when she moans.

  “Fuck me . . .”

  I can’t tell if it’s an expletive or an order. Either one works for me.

  I crawl back up, turning Chelsea to her side and settling in behind her. My hand glides up her stomach to pull the top of her thin-strapped nightgown down so I can cover her breast and rub my palm against the peaked nipple.

  Chelsea’s hand comes up behind my head, guiding me to her mouth for a slow, deep kiss. I release her breast, lift her leg, and nudge my hips forward—my pelvis pushing against her ass and my cock sliding between her legs, hard and hot and searching. Chelsea breaks the kiss, turns her face toward the pillow, and pushes her hips back against me—telling me without words that she wants it and she wants it now.

  I grip myself at the base and drag the head of my cock through her wet folds—rubbing against her clit, teasing her hole. My little wife whimpers, then she digs her fingernails into my thigh. “Jake . . .”

  A chuckle rumbles behind my lips. Looks like teasing isn’t on the menu today. This also works for me. I line myself up and thrust hard inside her—deep to the hilt.

  Damn that’s good. So, so good.

  Chelsea’s back bows and she breathes out a welcoming groan. I lift her leg and start pumping in and out—smooth, shallow, building jabs. Her inner muscles squeeze me fantastically, while the rest of her body goes slack with pleasure, her spine relaxing back against my chest.

  I kiss her shoulder and lick her neck and bury my face in the waves of her silky hair. The sounds of our pants and slapping skin fill the air and our bodies grow slick with exertion—her pushing back against me as I withdraw and stroke up into her. And time stands still. Or more—it loses meaning. All that we know, all that matters, is the growing, electric pleasure coursing through us, sparking between us.

  Making love sweetly has its place; long hours of endless foreplay are great, too. Hell, I can even get into the romance stuff—candles and rose petals and warm baths. But hard, fast fucking should never, ever be underestimated—’cause it’s awesome. Even for married people, even for couples with kids.

  Maybe especially for them.

  There’s something primal about giving into this base need—being rough and dirty and fast. There’s something so intimate and comfortable and fucking honest about just wanting to come, and come hard, with the person you love.

  It’s a feeling I’ve only ever known with this woman in my arms—something I’ll only ever share with her. Till death do us part.

  “Please, Jake, please, please, please . . .” Chelsea chants mindlessly, and I know she’s right on the edge. I let go of her leg and bring my hand to the juncture of her thighs—rubbing her clit in feather-light circles—providing the added pressure she needs.

  She lifts her head and gasps when she comes, every muscle contracting and squeezing. My breaths are harsh and my hips push without a rhythm, until I roll us over so Chelsea’s fl
at on her stomach and I cover her back. I thrust into her once, twice, and then my vision goes hazy as I come—the feeling so intense, all I can hear is the pounding of blood in my ears.


  Seconds, minutes, later we recover our breaths. I roll onto my back and wipe the sweat from my forehead with my arm. Chelsea rises up on her elbows and looks at me with sparkling blue eyes.

  “Good morning.”

  I kiss her lips gently—because she’s so fucking pretty. Because she makes me so stupidly happy.

  “Good is an understatement.”

  I open my arms and she curls against me, giggling. We stay like that for only a few minutes because now it’s a little after five—time to officially start my day. As usual, Chelsea drifts back to sleep as I kiss her forehead, ease out of bed, and get dressed for my morning run.


  “I’m not gonna make it.”

  “Yes, you are.”

  “I’m gonna die.”

  “No, you’re not.”

  She starts to sing, “If I die—”

  “Stop quoting frigging country songs, Rosaleen. You’re not dying.”

  Frigging isn’t typically part of my vocabulary, but after a conversation with Chelsea—several conversations—and a few unfortunate imitations in preschool by Ronan, I’m making a concerted effort to tone down my language.

  My running partner for the last two weeks, Rosaleen, gasps for breath as she jogs beside me, blond curly pigtails bouncing in the wind. She’s eleven now. I can’t fucking believe how fast she’s changed from the little blond Shirley Temple look-alike I first met, who thought thirty was so old.

  Well . . . she probably still thinks thirty is old, and thirty-four must be goddamn ancient.

  Anyway, she’s still short, still has those corkscrew curls and big, innocent blue eyes. But she’s grown, changed—matured. A few months ago she started worrying about her weight, because she’d put on a little.

  She also started wearing a training bra.

  So not going there.

  Chelsea explained it’s just her age—that she’d arrived at the “awkward stage” and in a few months she’d hit a growth spurt and that extra weight would disperse the way it’s supposed to. But Rosaleen didn’t want to wait. So after I run seven miles on my own, I circle back and do an extra mile with her. She’s improved—her running form and her stamina. Though you wouldn’t know it by listening to her.

  “After I’m gone . . . give Regan . . . my iPad.”

  I can’t help but laugh as we turn the corner onto our street.

  “Come on—there’s the house,” I coach. “Dig deep and get there.”

  Labored breathing is the only response I get.

  I’m not the kind of guy who sings. Like—ever.

  Almost ever.

  The exception being when the kid beside me plucked my man-card from my death grip years ago—and pathetically begged for a lullaby while suffering a stomach virus.

  And I caved. Spectacularly. With a One Direction ballad.

  Humiliating? Sure. But since the damage has already been done . . .

  “Da na nanana na na na nanana. Da na nanana na na na nanana. Da na nanana . . . nananana.”

  It’s the Rocky theme song in case you can’t tell. If you ever need an inspiration boost when working out? The Rocky sound track kicks ass.

  “Da na naaaa, da na naaaaa!”

  She laughs.

  But damn if she doesn’t pick up the pace.

  “Da na naaaaaa, da na naaaaa! Gonna fly now . . .”

  Rosaleen crosses the threshold of the house, arms raised like a mini–Rocky Balboa at the top of the Philadelphia steps.

  And seeing the pride on her face?

  Humiliation’s got nothing on that.

  Once inside, Rosaleen immediately crumples to the living-room floor in a comatose heap. And stays there.

  I grab two bottles of water from the kitchen, drink one myself, and put the other in her hand. “You want to come downstairs and lift weights with me?”


  I pat the back of her head.

  “Next week, then.”

  After lifting weights in the basement and a quick shower I head to the kitchen, where I’m greeted by chaos. Noisy, vibrating, bickering, laughing chaos.

  Because the gang’s all up, eating breakfast at the kitchen table.

  “Can I have some more bacon?” Rory asks with his mouth full of scrambled eggs, his brown wavy hair falling over his forehead as he hunkers over his plate.

  When I first met Rory McQuaid he was a pissed-off, stubborn little punk who was picking pockets and stealing cars to deal with the anger and devastation over his parents’ sudden death. He’s better now. Happier. Still a smart-ass, still gets a kick out of torturing his siblings, but he’s steering clear of activities that could land him in juvenile detention.

  “God, that’s like your third serving,” eighteen-year-old Riley complains. “Just eat the whole pound, why don’t you?”

  Rory and his twin brother, Raymond, are thirteen-year-old, growing boys—emphasis on growing. Either one waking up a quarter inch taller—and half a shoe size bigger—than they were the night before is fairly common. And like bats, they pretty much eat their weight in food.

  Rory opens his mouth wide, flashing his sister the half-chewed horror on his tongue.

  “You’re so gross!”

  “I’d rather be gross than a nag!”

  Riley flings a piece of toast like a ninja star.

  Before Rory can retaliate, Chelsea gives them The Look, then hands Rory three more pieces of bacon. I pour a cup of black coffee at the counter, turn around, and almost trip over tiny Regan, standing next to me with a hairbrush and elastic tie in her hand.

  “Can you do my braid, Daddy?”

  Regan and Ronan are the only two who call me and Chelsea “Mom” and “Dad”—too young to have any real memories of their parents, Robert and Rachel. To some, it might seem weird that the kids call us different names, but for us, it works.

  I run the brush through her hair—it’s getting really long—and weave the light-brown strands into a French braid in record time. She smiles, her top two teeth adorably missing, then sits at the table to finish her eggs.

  On my right, I catch Chelsea giving me a different look than the one she tossed the kids’ way. It’s of the I-want-to-drop-to-my-knees-and-blow-you-so-bad variety.


  She shakes her head and steps closer. Her perfect breasts jiggle just a little beneath the lettering of her black San Diego Chargers jersey—and I lick my lips. I should’ve given her tits more attention this morning. I mentally promise to make it up to them tomorrow.

  Chelsea’s voice is low, so the kids can’t hear. “There will never be anything sexier than watching you—with your muscles and tattoos—braiding a six-year-old’s hair.”

  I shrug. “My braids are awesome.”

  “They are.” She laughs. “And I love you.”

  “I love you, too.” I lean down and kiss her.

  Until Rory complains. “That’s enough face sucking. You’re married for God’s sakes—act like it.”

  Chelsea giggles against my lips. But then whispers, “We should talk later.”

  Huh. She wants to talk. Great. Cool.

  Said no guy ever.

  “Everything okay?”

  “Yeah. I think so. Just . . . later.” She gives my forearm a squeeze—right over the tattoo with her and all the kids’ names on it—and walks to the table to replenish the eggs.

  I sit down at the head of the table, snag a piece of whole-wheat toast, and ask, “What are the plans for today, team?”

  Riley pipes up first. “I’m going to Peter’s.”

  Peter Wentworth is Riley’s boyfriend of the last six months. He seems like a decent kid—doesn’t piss his pants in my presence, like some of her past suitors. So I give him points for bravery. But . . . he’s just such a fucking dork. A cosplaying,
World of Warcraft–obsessed, could-be-an-understudy-for–The Big Bang Theory dork. Even for puppy love, I just don’t think Peter’s good enough for her.

  Raymond raises his hand. “I have to go to the library to meet my group to finish a summer project for astronomy.”

  Rosaleen goes next. “I have piano.”

  Then Rory. “I have baseball practice.”

  And Regan. “I have ballet and tap today.”

  Then, finally, Ronan, his sandy-blond hair sticking up because no one’s gotten around to brushing it for him. “I got nuffin’.”

  I point my finger. “Then you’re with me today, kiddo.”

  Chelsea sits down at the other end of the table.

  “You’re going to see the Judge?”

  I nod. “I’ll take Ronan with me, drop Rory at practice on the way, and pick him up on the way back.”

  “Rosaleen can come with me to Regan’s dance class,” Chelsea says. “We’ll make it back home in time for her piano lesson.” She turns to Riley. “And you can drop Raymond off at the library when you go to Peter’s.”