“Oh, um, I figured I would just wait in the truck.” Mia looks at me with an anxious expression as I stand outside her side of the truck. I hadn’t mentioned that she would be walking inside with me, but she is well aware of that intention now. She hesitantly puts her hand in mine and allows me to help her down. “Ben, really, I don’t have to go inside.”

I close the passenger door, pulling her against me and inhaling her hair. “Baby, relax. There’s no reason to be nervous. You’re the first woman I’ve ever introduced to my son’s mother.”

“That’s supposed to make me relax?” she asks with a tenseness in her voice. “If anything, that makes me even more nervous.”

I gaze down at her, cocking my head to the side. “I’ve also never introduced any woman I’ve been with to Nolan before.” She seems to ease in my arms, her bottom lip finally releasing from her mouth. “That’s how much you mean to me. I want you to be a part of Nolan’s life as much as you’re a part of mine. He loves you and Angie’s bound to find out about you eventually. We might as well get this over with now.”

She shifts on her feet slightly while she stays in my arms, keeping her eyes on mine. “Is her son the only Kelly boy that feels that way?”

Wow. Leave it to Mia to put a guy on the spot. I’m certain there isn’t any question that is off limits to her. But that’s how she is. She isn’t afraid to call you out on anything. And I’d never want her to be any different.

“No.” I brush my lips against hers, teasing her with my tongue. “I’m sure my father loves you like a daughter.”

She smiles against me before planting quick kisses to my lips. “Oh, is that how you’re going to play this? What if I said it first, would you give it up then?” I arch my brow at her, daring her to make the first move. “I…” she kisses my jaw, “love…” her lips move to my ear, “sunflowers.” She chuckles against me. I bit back my smile, narrowing my eyes at her when she leans back. She wipes the grin off her face and shoots me a flirtatious stare.

“You know, I carry a spare set of handcuffs in my glove compartment that I won’t hesitate to use on you.” I grab her wrists and pin them behind her back, bringing our chests together. Her breath hitches and she purrs against me. “Mmm, you’d like that, wouldn’t you? Not being able to touch me while I have my way with you. Giving yourself up to me completely.” She nods and licks her lips. Damn parental duties. My dirty girl wants me to take her right here and the only thing stopping me is currently sitting in the backseat of my truck, swinging his sword around his head like a maniac. I release her wrists and kiss her once, then once more. “Later, pretty girl.”



We walk up to Angie’s apartment, Nolan running ahead of us. He knocks lightly on the door and then bangs on it several times with his sword. As Mia and I walk up behind him, the door swings open. Angie’s eyes are immediately drawn to Mia who is struggling to pull her hand out of mine. But I’m not having that. I hold on tighter.

Angie crosses her arms over her chest in annoyance. “Let me guess. Princess Mia?” Her eyes shift to mine. “Really, Ben? Did you have to bring your latest hook up to my apartment?”

Nolan runs past her into the living room which I’m grateful for. If we are going to have it out right now, I don’t want him hearing it. “Don’t be a bitch, Angie. I’m doing you a courtesy here. Our son is going to be spending a lot of time with Mia so I figured you two should meet.”

Mia steps forward as much as my grip on her allows and holds her free hand out. “Hi, Angie. It’s so nice to meet you. You have the sweetest little boy. I’m crazy about him.”

Angie glances down at Mia’s hand, refusing to take it. She turns her attention back to me instead. “Do you really think it’s wise to confuse our son by introducing him to your flavor of the month? And I thought we were trying to work things out between us, Ben.” She drops her hands then and wipes the irritation from her face, replacing it with a false hurt. “It really is what’s best for Nolan.”

“Maybe I should just go wait in the truck,” Mia says softly, dropping her hand.

I shake my head at her. “No. You belong where I am.”

“Oh, give me a fucking break,” Angie barks out in irritation.

I look past her and see Nolan at the kitchen table with a box of crayons. Dropping Mia’s hand, I step closer to Angie and she tenses up. “You’re lucky he didn’t hear that. And don’t ever take your bitterness out on Mia. She never did anything to you and she’s amazing with Nolan.”

“I’m his mother. And you should be more concerned with fixing our family than who your dick wants to play with.”

“Ben, can I please have the keys to the truck?” Mia asks, holding her hand out to me palm up. Even though she states it as a question, she isn’t asking me. But I don’t want her to leave. Fuck Angie. Mia has every right to be where I am. Unfortunately, I know now that Angie will never calm down as long as Mia is in front of her. I reluctantly pull my keys out of my pocket and hand them to her. “Thank you.” She turns her head toward Angie and offers her a smile. “I hope you realize how lucky you are to have Nolan.”

Angie grimaces at her comment. I wait until Mia is out of earshot before I tear into the woman who makes my life a living hell. “Don’t ever talk to Mia like that again. She doesn’t deserve to be disrespected by you.”

“What the hell do I care if I hurt your fling’s feelings?”

I step closer to her. “She is not a fling. That woman is it for me. Do you get that? She’s not going anywhere, so it would be in your best interest to accept her. Our son sure as hell has.”

She inhales sharply. “What does that mean?”

“He told her he loved her today. Does he tell you that?”

Her bottom lip begins to tremble, prompting her to pull at it with her fingers. “I just don’t understand why you can’t at least try to make this work.”

I am over this conversation. If she doesn’t understand that the two of us will never work by now, she’ll never understand it. I push past her and walk over to Nolan, kissing the top of his head. “I love you, buddy. I’ll see you soon, okay?”

“Wove you, Daddy. Look what I dwawed for you.” He holds up the paper he’s been working on. It’s three people, all looking like circles with stick limbs coming out of them. Two of them are larger than the third. He’s even labeled us in his chicken scratch handwriting. “Dats you, dats Pwincess Mia, and dats me.” He hands it to me with a smile before he runs his finger down my nose.

I repeat the gesture and hold the picture against my chest. “Thanks, buddy.” I rustle his hair before I walk toward the doorway. Angie avoids my eyes, looking down at her feet instead. I don’t have anything else to say to her so I walk out of her apartment and close the door behind me. I had a feeling she wouldn’t take meeting Mia very well. Angie still held on to the idea that we were going to wind up together. And considering that I’ve never introduced her to anyone before, I’m sure that only added to her delusion. But pining after me didn’t excuse her behavior toward Mia. And I’ll never let her treat my girl like that again.

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