“Glad to hear you say it. I thought we were good friends, though.”
It took her a moment to focus as he played with her body, moving inside her, caressing her curves.
“A real friend listens. A real friend cheers you on. First you say you support me, next you tell me I should quit. That’s not what I want from you.”
He stopped his teasing. This was about her career again. “But doesn’t a real friend say something if you’re taking too much on? Not because he’s trying to call the shots, but because he cares what happens to you?”
She searched his gaze with her own. “If that’s the truth of it, then maybe. But you earn the right to do that by being a cheerleader first and foremost. You only doubt if doubt is really deserved.”
“I do care about you.” He brushed a kiss along her temple, his hand skimming her skin until it curled around her breast. He bent down to kiss its rosy tip. “I worry about you. I want to keep you safe.”
“Then trust me. Trust that I know my own strength.” Her eyes fluttered closed as he flicked her nipple with his tongue.
“Your strength, huh? I don’t know. You don’t look very strong,” he teased.
Her eyes flew open again. Before he knew what hit him she’d pushed him on his back and climbed on top. He took in the view with appreciation. Her breasts had definitely grown in the last month or so, their areolas wide and dark. He cupped them both and enjoyed the heft of them, growing hard again inside of her.
Mia took hold of his wrists and pressed them back against the bed, a move that brought her delicious breasts well within range of his mouth. “I’m weak, am I?” she said.
“Baby, you know you’ve got the upper hand on me.” But he took advantage of the situation to nuzzle first one and then the other of her beckoning nipples.
Mia rocked her hips, sliding up and down the length of him, making him harder still—something he’d thought was impossible. He didn’t think he’d ever seen a prettier sight than his girl enjoying him like this. Every rock of her hips set her breasts in motion and every touch of her skin against his set him further alight. When she increased her tempo with obvious pleasure it was all he could do to hold back.
Soon he didn’t need to. Mia came with a cry that rang in his ears and he quickly followed. Bucking against her, feeling her press down against him in equal measure, had his pleasure pulsing throughout his body until he was wrung out.
Mia collapsed in his arms with a passionate kiss.
“See what I mean?” Luke said. “We can’t stay apart when we’re this good together.”
She pulled away from him and rolled to her side, reaching up to cup his jaw and hold his gaze. “Then learn how to be my friend. Trust me to make my own decisions. Support me in them. That’s all I’ve ever wanted from you.”
A million thoughts ran through his mind—that he loved her, that he wanted to protect her, that she was doing too much, working too hard. He pushed them all away, staring back into her beautiful blue eyes. “All I can promise is that I’ll try.”
“Can I take your order?” Mia asked the cowboy in line some days later, ignoring the buzz of her phone in her pocket. She kept it with her in case of emergencies, but tried not to use it on Fila’s time. She took her job as the front woman for Fila’s Familia seriously. Besides, the restaurant was always packed. Today, however, her phone had been ringing off the hook and she wondered who was trying to get a hold of her.
Fifteen minutes later, when there was a lull in the action, she escaped to the ladies’ room and checked it, negotiating the tight space carefully now that her abdomen was taking up more space than it ever had before. Tracey had left a dozen messages. She tapped the first one with trepidation.
“Mia, it’s Tracey. The florist called and she says she can’t do the arrangements you sent me. She says some of the flowers aren’t available. I told her to send me photos of what she can do and I hate all of them. I really hate them!”
Mia clicked Tracey’s other messages to hear more about the florist.
“I don’t trust her, Mia. If she can’t even copy a bouquet and get it right, she’s bound to mess up on the day of the wedding. I don’t want ugly flowers!”
Mia’s heart was pounding by the time she heard all of the messages. She quickly called Tracey back, checking her watch to note that two minutes of her break had already elapsed.
“I know it’s just flowers,” Tracey burst out the second she picked up the call, “but I only get married once. I want it to look perfect.”
“I know, I know,” Mia soothed. “And it will. Trust me. I’ll talk to the florist on my next day off and get it all sorted out.”
“Tracey, I’m at work. I can’t talk right now. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“Call me when you get off.”
“That’ll be practically midnight.”
“I’ll be awake.”
But Mia would be exhausted. She was already. “I’ll call tomorrow. First thing.”
She hung up and hurried back to the counter where a line now stretched nearly to the door. She took orders as fast as she could, relaying them to Camila and Fila in the kitchen. Camila eyed the crowd through the pass-through. “I know I should be grateful we’ve got so many customers, but I don’t know how we can keep up.”
“I don’t think I can keep up,” Mia said as the front door opened and more people filed in. She sent Camila a pleading look and Camila nodded in return.
“We need to find more help.”
Luke stopped in surprise when he came home to find his mother seated at his kitchen table. He closed the door behind him, hung up his coat and flopped down in his seat, exhausted as usual. “Come for lunch?”
“No, I came to talk about this.” She waved what looked like a children’s book at him.
“I think you know. And I have to say I’m disappointed in you. I know you and Ned have your difficulties sometimes, but resorting to teasing him about his dyslexia is really a low blow.”
“Luke. Let me have my say. You’re a grown man. I can’t ground you or punish you anymore when you go astray. But this wasn’t worthy of you. This… I don’t like. I don’t ever want to see this kind of behavior again. Make things right with your brother. Family should stick together, not tear each other down.”