Faith was glad to be sitting because her knees went weak. “My god…”
Approaching the table, Miguel sat and dug into the food she’d plated for him. His gaze was determined and challenging. So like him. Romance was in his blood. At heart, he believed love conquered all.
She was breathless with the need to cry. He was a warrior prince, set upon a quest to save his fair princess from a life of toil. He wanted to spirit her away to his tower, where he would drape her in jewels and see that her every whim was met.
If only she wanted to be rescued.
Miguel wiped his mouth with a napkin, then drank from one of the bottles of water that had been artfully arranged in the center of the table. Pushing away from her place setting, Faith stood and went to him. He slid his chair back, making room for her.
Lifting her skirt, she straddled him, cupping his face in her hands and trusting him to support her back with his tender grip. Her fingers brushed his hair from his forehead. His eyes closed as if her touch soothed him, but she knew it invariably caused him pain.
“You’re so angry,” she whispered, brushing her lips over his brow, dying inside because she wished she could always be there to comfort him. She wanted that so much, she couldn’t help but doubt her refusal to try… To take the risk…
“I was,” he agreed, pulling her closer. “For a moment, I regretted ever meeting you. It pissed me off to think that way. The years we were together were the happiest of my life. I would never change them.”
“And I’ve been so scared that you would regret it. That there was no way to avoid us falling apart.”
His fingers kneaded into her hips. “I thought you grew out of being insecure about us.”
“I did. The comment about the supermodel… it wasn’t to say I was forgettable, just that first loves fade for most people.” She wrinkled her nose at his arched brow. “Well, they do. But really, I wasn’t worried about you being the problem. I was worried about me. I was worried that I’d screw it all up by being miserable.”
Miguel’s head tilted to the side, his gaze narrowing. “As if I would ever allow you to be.”
She smiled at his arrogant assumption that nothing could go wrong if he said it couldn’t. Placing her hand over his heart, she felt its strong and steady beat against her palm. A heart that beat for her alone, just as hers had been in his keeping for more than half her life. “Do you know why I work at the shop?”
“It supports your entire family and you’re damned good at fixing cars.”
“Yes, thank God, because I don’t know how to do anything else. I’m lucky that I enjoy it. I go to work every day knowing that my brothers are going to make me laugh, my mom is going to bring something delicious in for lunch, and I’ll get to fuss over my dad. I honestly have no idea what I’d do with myself if I didn’t work, and I couldn’t see how it would be possible for me to do so while you’re making multimillion dollar deals. I’m not sure I’d even enjoy wrenching if my family wasn’t around while I did it. And part of the magic might be that I work on the cars of people I know and grew up around. I don’t know. I just knew that imagining working in a cramped shop off a busy New York street with a bunch of guys I don’t know and cars belonging to people I might not see again… it made me unhappy just thinking about it.”
His hand began to stroke up and down her back, gentling her, which made her realize she was trembling. “I’m listening.”
Faith pressed a kiss to his firm mouth. “I hate to think that I’m one of those people who detest change. I do want to travel and explore. But I want to work, too. I just couldn’t see how I could be happy long-term trying to be the kind of partner a man of your stature needs. And my unhappiness would make you unhappy. It really came down to logistics: you couldn’t stay and I couldn’t go with you. But I knew you’d try to make it work, at great sacrifice to yourself. I was worried you might decide to stay here, for me, when I knew your heart was with joining your father. I wanted you to go to Princeton. I wanted you to do the things you always talked about doing. But most of all, I didn’t want us to make each other miserable. I would rather have us end with one bad memory between us, than with years’ worth of them.”
“We could have compromised.”
“How?” she challenged. “Like Persephone and Hades? Six months in New York and six months here?”
“Not a bad idea,” he said evenly.
“You see why I knew we couldn’t talk about this?”
“We’re going to talk about it.” He stood, lifting her as if she weighed nothing. He moved to the couch and settled with her still straddling him. “We’re going to make this work.”
Her eyes stung. Everything was different now. Her family was financially stable; Miguel had proven to be as lovesick as she’d been all these years. Anything should have been possible. But it wasn’t. Because she’d kept a secret from him for too long, and now, no matter when she told him, it was too late. The damage was done.
He caught her face in his hands, holding her gaze to his. “I need you, Faith. I’m miserable without you. If you’ll work with me on this, bend a little, we can do this. Summer school breaks in New York, the rest of the year here. I can commute twice a week. Fly out Sunday and come back Thursday night. We’ll start out slow, give me some time to become a fixture in your life, let Michael get to know me and see how much I love you. How much I’ll love him.”
Oh God. Her heart was breaking, crumbling into shattered pieces with every word he spoke. “There are things we have to talk about. Things I have to tell you.”
He searched her face, his thumbs rubbing softly along her jaw. “Can we discuss it tomorrow? It’s going to be my birthday in thirty minutes and I want to be inside you when midnight rolls around.”
“It’s not right for me to go to bed with you when this is between us.” Her heart was pounding, her palms damp. “I’d be taking advantage of you.”
“Please do.” He brazenly stroked his cock through his pajama bottoms. “The morning is only hours away. Soon enough to clear the air.”
He was giving her a reprieve she shouldn’t take. “This is important.”
“So tell me.” Untying the drawstring of his pants, he lifted his hips—and her—to tug them down.
“I’m not going to discuss this while you rock out with your cock out.”
Catching her wrist, Miguel pulled her hand down and wrapped her fingers around him. “I can’t think when I’m this hard anyway.”
He felt like warm marble in her grasp. She gave a tentative stroke and he groaned, tendons cording his neck. Her lips were suddenly dry and she licked them.
Sliding of the couch, she kneeled between his legs and lowered her head.
Miguel watched with heavy-lidded eyes as Faith’s tongue darted out and licked the tip of his dick. She made a soft noise of pleasure and reached between his legs to cup his balls. His head fell back into the sofa cushion, his breath heaving in and out. The sight of her between his legs always drove him insane. Seeing those lush pink lips stretch around the thick head, watching her eyes grow dark with desire. As good as it felt, it was the knowledge that she loved pleasing him this way that made it so damn hot. She got off on his hunger for her, got off on knowing that he was absolutely defenseless when she had her hands on him.
Tilting her head, she ran her tongue down the pulsing length of his cock, following the line of a thick vein. His hands fisted by his thighs. She swirled her tongue around the head, then fluttered the tip just beneath the crown.
“Fuck. Faith, your mouth…”
She gave him her mouth, parting her lips to take the top few inches into her.
His back arched with a serrated groan. The drenching heat around the most sensitive part of him nearly drove him out of his mind. Her gentle fingertips massaging his balls just about rolled his eyes into the back of his head.
“God, that’s good,” he gasped, his thighs trembling. “Yes, mi amor. Suck my dick. Ah… yes, hard and deep…”
Her hot little mouth drew on him with rapid rhythmic fervor. Her cheeks hollowed on every pull, her head lifting and falling in counter-tempo to her fist pumping at the base. The pleasure was vicious, tightening around his spine and pooling at his lower back. The erotic sounds filling the room—her low moans of pleasure, the wet suckling, his helpless curses as he felt the orgasm barreling through him.
“No more,” he growled, fisting her hair and lifting her head from his lap.
Her hands tightened on his cock and balls. “Miguel—”
“No.” He caught her wrists and urged her up. “In your pussy, mi hermosa. Deep inside you.”
Pulling her onto the couch, he pressed her back, sliding his hands up her silken thighs and beneath her skirt. She was hot and wet for him, just from sucking his cock. He parted her with his fingers, rubbing her clit with easy gentle circles. She gasped and arched into his touch.
With his mouth watering for her, he slid down and draped one of her legs over his shoulder; the other rested on the floor, opening her wide. She lay there, breathless beneath him, her pretty pink folds glistening with her desire. Her clit was hard and peeping out from its hood, silently begging for attention.
“Mine,” he whispered. “All mine.”
Surrounding the tender knot with his lips, Miguel worked it with the tip of his stiffened tongue, fluttering over it until she cried out and bucked into his kiss, coming hard and with such wild abandon he almost lost it.
He pulled himself over her, keeping one of her lithe legs high against his chest. He plunged into her, growling at the feel of her climaxing around his aching cock. Gripping the couch arm for leverage, he powered into her, his orgasm catching the tail of hers and ripping through him. He was rocked by the force of it, his body shuddering so brutally he feared hurting Faith. He clutched her to him, holding her still, his eyes stinging as she held him just as tightly.
“I love you,” she sobbed, her short nails digging into his back, where they belonged.
Where he intended to make sure they would always be from this night forward.
Miguel woke to the sound of the Corvette’s purring engine. Stretching, he opened his eyes and looked at the place beside him where Faith should have been. She’d left a note written on the bed and breakfast’s letterhead, telling him she’d be back in a couple hours, which would still give them time to talk before they had lunch with Michael.
Michael. The English version of his name. Faith would have known that when she picked it. He took some comfort in that small tie, what precious little he could glean from a situation that evidenced another man’s touch on her, a man who shared something profound—a child—with her.
Tossing back the covers, he climbed out of bed. He had a lot to do before Faith returned. He needed to extend his time off and make sure the bungalow was open for the next couple of weeks. He needed to talk with his father about a work week in which he teleconferenced as necessary on Thursdays and Fridays. He’d need to purchase a car for his use in California and talk to his mother about his altered circumstances.
In the end, after his shower, he headed to his mother’s first. He knew if he stayed away too much longer, she’d come looking for him, and the last thing he wanted was to be interrupted while enjoying Faith. He also wanted to talk with her about some of the things Faith had said. Meredith Santos had left her husband, whom she claimed to still love, to return to her hometown and raise her son. Miguel had been too hurt by the break-up as a kid to ask about it and later on it had seemed like none of his business, but now he saw parallels to Faith’s concerns. Any insight he could gain in understanding where Faith was coming from was very much worth it to him to explore. He knew what it was like to lose her; he didn’t want to live through that again.
But when he turned onto the street where his mother’s very out-of-place mansion was located, it was just in time to see her pulling out in her silver Bentley.
“Guess I’ll catch up with you later,” he murmured, deciding to head to the shop instead and reacquaint himself with Faith’s family. They were going to be his in-laws soon and the quicker everyone got on board with that plan, the better.
He followed his mother out of the residential neighborhoods and into town, just because they were heading in the same direction. As she turned into the parking lot of a drugstore, he slowed behind her by necessity, long enough that the classic Corvette in the parking lot caught his eye, as did the curvaceous woman beside it. Faith had changed into tight, low-slung jeans that showed off her magnificent ass and a black tank top that hugged her full breasts. He crawled by at a snail’s pace, staring like the lust and love-crazed fool that he was. When she lifted her hand and waved, he thought for a second it might be at him. Then he realized that it was his mother she greeted.
Pulling into the next driveway, Miguel parked his rental in the first available spot and got out, seeing this as a perfect opportunity to reintroduce the two women in his life—the two Mrs. Santos. It was also a chance to make sure Faith wasn’t at the store buying condoms. Yes, he was moving fast; he always had. But they had a lot of years to catch up on.
He was striding toward Faith when he spotted a lanky, dark-haired boy crossing the parking lot to her. She greeted him with open arms, while smiling at his mother, who brought up the rear.
Miguel drew to an abrupt halt, his heartbeat thundering. The boy looked to be a teenager, but couldn’t be. He also looked too much like Miguel had at that age. Spitting image.
Staring through unblinking, watering eyes, he watched as his mother rested her hand on the boy’s head while talking with Faith. Even with the mounting evidence, it wasn’t until the boy happened to glance at him that it all became crystal clear.
Michael straightened, his direct gaze piercing right through Miguel. Frowning, the young boy took a jerky step forward. “Dad?”