“I found what I could on the Internet and changed a few things. I haven’t shown it to a lawyer or anything.”
“That’s okay. I know what to look for.”
The next few minutes were quiet as Carl read through the document she’d given to him. He pulled out a pen and made some alterations as he read, but in the end he nodded.
“Pretty solid. I added a few things.” He pointed to some writing. “And I took out a clause or two that don’t really pertain, but I think this will do until you’re making enough money to want to pay for a lawyer’s time.”
“Thanks so much. I really appreciate it.” Mia tucked the contract back into her bag, flashing Carl a grateful smile.
“I have another assignment for you, if you want it.” Carl accepted the cup of coffee and slice of pie from Tracey. Mia waited for her milk and cobbler before she answered him.
“Can I get you anything else?” Tracey asked.
“We’re all set for now.” Mia winced when Tracey shot her another significant look as she walked away. Was Tracey the one spreading all the gossip that she and Carl were meeting? “What’s the assignment?” she asked.
“I want you to hone the way you sell your services. Come up with an elevator pitch.”
“It’s a description of what you do in a single sentence—or even a phrase. Imagine you step onto an elevator and spot a potential investor in your business. You’ve got about ten to fifteen seconds to make the sale. What do you say?”
“Ten to fifteen seconds? That’s not very much.”
“I hold patents for products that run everything from your wristwatch to the mechanical arm on the space station. Want to know more?”
Mia whistled. “That’s a great elevator pitch.”
“Let’s hear yours.”
“I create memorable weddings.”
Carl made a face. “So does everyone in the business, right? That’s okay—it takes time to come up with a good one. Think about it for a week and try to sell me next time we meet.”
“Will do. How’s the house hunting going?”
“Not great. The one I really want has already been taken.”
Coming over again. Won’t say a word.
Luke waited for Mia’s reply to his text late that night when all his work—and Ned’s—was done. It was later than he’d wanted it to be. He knew Mia needed lots of rest these days. The baby was growing bigger and bigger and so was her belly. Still, it was the earliest he could make it with all the ranch chores on his back. Ned was due to see a doctor again about his leg in a few days. Hopefully then they’d get a sense of when he’d be back to a hundred percent. Until then, Luke would keep on doing it all himself.
At least Amanda Stone wasn’t as much of a burden as she used to be. Not that he minded helping her, but he was grateful he didn’t have more expenses on his already overfull plate.
Hurry. Almost asleep.
He’d hurry. She didn’t need to worry about that.
Ten minutes later he let himself inside the guesthouse and locked the door behind him. He turned off the living room lights and made his way upstairs, happy to see a glow from Mia’s room when he reached the upper corridor. She was waiting for him under the covers, as naked as the day she was born, and Luke quickly joined her there, his body already humming with the need to bury himself inside of her. He’d come to anticipate each night they spent together. They still kept conversation to a minimum—their relationship was too tenuous to test with long discussions—but their lovemaking warmed his soul and kept him hopeful that they’d find a way to be together all the time in the future.
“How are you feeling?” he said as he climbed between the sheets.
“Shhh.” Mia kissed him long and hard and his senses leaped. All the fatigue from his long day fell away, replaced by a driving desire to worship every inch of her luscious body. He started with her breasts, nipping and teasing them until they were peaked and rosy under his mouth. Then he worked his way lower, and lower still until she parted her legs for him and welcomed his touch in an even more intimate place. Luke couldn’t get enough of her, and when she wrapped her fingers in his short hair and lifted her hips to his touch, he knew she couldn’t get enough of him, either. Later, when he was poised above her, just pushing inside, he knew that soon something would have to change. He wasn’t satisfied with slipping away to her room for silent lovemaking at night. He wanted all of Mia, all the time.
He wanted her to be his wife.
But they’d talk about that later. Right now he’d show her his intentions with his body.
He held her gaze as he slid into her right up to the hilt. She gasped, and he took advantage of the moment to swoop down and capture her mouth with his, plunging his tongue into her warm, wet depths. He moved his body simultaneously, sliding out and back into her again and soon he set a rhythm that had her gasping with pleasure, and kissing him back with a need that equaled his own.
Luke slid a hand beneath her body, lifting her hips, the better to deepen his access. With the other, he cradled the nape of her neck. He kissed her until he was breathless, then kissed her more, the whole time moving in and out of her until he could barely hold back.
“Luke.” That one word told him she was close, too. Luke redoubled his efforts, plunging in and out, revving her up to her own release, until she threw her head back and cried out with it, and he called out too, reaching his climax at the same time.
“Mia,” he said when he had tumbled down next to her, still entwined. To hell with his vow to keep silent. He had to talk to her. Had to tell her how he felt.
“Luke, no.” She pressed a finger to his mouth. He kissed it and moved it away.
“Yes. I want more than this. I want you. All of you.”
She pulled back, but Luke captured her in his arms. Held her close to him. They were still joined and he wasn’t willing to let that go yet.
“I need…” She gasped when he pulled out an inch and pressed in again, reminding her of what they’d just done.
“What do you need?” He kept his tone soft.
“I need you to be as good a friend as you are—at this.” She sucked in a breath when he moved inside her again.
“Am I good at this?” His mouth curved into a smile.
“You know you are.” She smiled, too. “You’re the best.”