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But her last thoughts as she drifted off were of Gabriel. Why wasn’t he here with her? What had made him leave?

This time things had seemed different.

“I don’t belong here,” she sobbed, breaking free from her memories. But where else did she have to go?

***

After a long evening at The Center, Gabriel drove down to one of the local docks, unloaded the canoe he’d strapped in the truck bed into the water, jumped in, and began to row.

He rowed across the Pamlico, the oars slicing through the water with little resistance. When his arms and abs began to burn from the exertion, he braced his legs against the sides and pushed himself harder.

He rowed until his chest ached and his brain cleared, then he rowed even more, until he came to the bridge that led to the little town of Jessamine. The only time he ever rowed this far northeast was when he had excess energy to burn off, or when he had a problem to solve.

Only Summer wasn’t a problem. She was his wife.

With a great sigh, he began to row back to shore.

***

Once he showered and changed, he walked into the living room, only to find Summer asleep on the couch.

She was curled up in one corner of it, like a little girl, and every so often, she’d hiccup and sniff. She’d been crying, he realized, and everything he’d rehearsed while he’d been rowing flew out the window

She looked so vulnerable lying there, wearing a pale pink nightgown with butterflies on the hem. Another one of Jemma Leigh’s recommendations, he’d bet, smiling at little.

One of the thin straps slid down her shoulder, and he gently tucked it back in place. “Gabriel,” she murmured, turning to him.

“I’m here.” He leaned down, picking her up as she wrapped her arms around him. “It’s late. Let’s get you to bed.”

“I need you. Now.”

Her words were his undoing. She’d never needed him, at least not in the way he thought she meant it.

He searched the room, zeroing in on the table. Striding to it, he sat her on the edge. “This good?”

“Yes.” She leaned forward and licked a path up his neck. “Please.”

Tugging his shirt up and over his head, he fixed his gaze on her. “Are you sure?”

She nodded. “Take everything off.”

Not sooner than the command had finished being issued, he toed off his shoes, and rid himself of his socks and pants.

Her nightgown went flying across the room and then her very interested gaze locked on him once more. “Those too.”

“These?” He tucked his thumbs into the waistband of his boxer briefs, edging them down. She licked her lips, and he applied more pressure until the material caught on the tip of his cock.

“Now,” she ordered and he gave her a wicked grin before letting his boxer briefs fall around his ankles.

He barely had enough time to step out of them before she hauled him to her, locking her legs around his waist. The head of his dick brushed her silky thigh. She tackled him, grabbing his face, and kissing him with so much passion, it was like she was desperate. He kissed her back, sliding his hand under her bottom to fit her more fully to him. She moaned, her hands leaving his face to glide down his neck, his chest, over his ni**les, and further still to his abs.

He sucked in his stomach and she laughed a little, but the sound was sweet.

Her warm hands encircled him, down low at the base of his cock. She stroked him, plunged her tongue into his mouth, and had him groaning with need.

“You’re not wet enough,” he said, falling to his knees and worshipping her with his mouth, tongue, and teeth. Only joy and passion existed when he licked her, made her cry out his name and whimper. He reveled in her taste, closing his eyes and drinking her down. Her scent was as intoxicating as her taste.

Then she was digging her nails into his shoulder as her body bowed into him. He used his shoulders to spread her thighs wider, and she began to chant his name.

Suddenly her hands were on his arms, urging him up, and somehow she managed to impale herself on him. He eased out of her, and then drove deep, making her body jolt.

Her head fell back, pale hair spilling everywhere like a waterfall. He licked the tops of her br**sts, the side of her throat, and nibbled on her ear.

He rolled his hips, and she wound her legs tight around him. “Keep moving,” she gasped.

Barely able to speak, he looked to where they were joined, watching as he disappeared inside of her.

“Amazing how we fit together,” he said.

“Faster,” she said and he slowed his thrusts.

“I want to savor you, savor this moment.”

She let her head fall on his shoulder, wrapping her body around his. The movement sent him even deeper, but he didn’t succumb to the biting need to go faster. Instead, he made his strokes long and precise. He moved inside of her, firmly, consistently until he had to grit his teeth from coming. Her body flushed, a sign she was close. Hard ni**les scraped his chest, and he groaned.

No more savoring. He had to move, he had to give her what she wanted. So, he picked up the pace, bracing his arms on the table, and plunged inside of her until the table began to move across the floor.

“I have to… I need,” she panted as she slid a hand between them. “Watch me. Watch me.”

He did, and the sight of her fingers sliding over her pink flesh and over his made his hips jerk. He felt his orgasm bear down on him and when her inner muscles tightened around him, he let go, coming inside of her in white-hot spurts that had him growling her name.

Only a few heartbeats behind him, she said the one thing he’d been longing to hear for years. “Oh, Angel… my Gabriel… I love you.”

He smoothed back her hair, searching her face. “Please don’t take it back.”

“I can’t take it back, even if I wanted to,” she said softly.

Lifting her from the table, he carried her to the bathroom and turned on the shower. Once steam began to billow from the top, he stepped inside and lowered her feet to the floor.

She kissed him again. Sweet little kisses that made him hug her to him. “I’ve decided not sue for custody of Ivy,” she said.

“Oh sweetheart, I know that wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I’m so proud of you,” he said.

She blinked up at him, her lashes wet, and her lips trembling. “It still hurts.”

“I’m here for you. Whatever you need.”

“I don’t deserve you.” She hugged him tighter, the water seeping between their bodies. “I really don’t, not after all I’ve put you through over the years.”

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