“And you think that way is to move in with me and rub cream on my butt?” Sage asked, skeptical.

“If I move in for a few days, we’ll have time to talk, to figure out a way forward, to talk about this baby and how it will change our lives. We can discuss your expectations, my expectations, how we’re going to tackle this.” Tyce pushed his hands into his hair, frustrated. The adults in his life had lurched from crisis to crisis, had been reactive rather than proactive. By moving in with her, she couldn’t avoid him and he’d be able to find out what type of father Sage wanted him to be and whether he could live up to her expectations.

They could build something small but meaningful between them, some type of relationship that would help them to co-parent their child effectively. Yeah, it meant him stepping out of his comfort zone, opening up a little, but his child deserved his best effort. Tyce sucked in a deep breath. They needed a plan and with one in place, there was less chance they’d go off script and venture into unknown, scary, emotional territory. “Am I making any sense?”

Sage wrinkled her nose. “Unfortunately, yes.”

“Your enthusiasm is underwhelming,” Tyce stated, his voice dry.

Sage tried to swing her legs off the bed and groaned. She closed her eyes and Tyce’s heart contracted at her low whimper. “Dammit, that hurts.”

Thinking that the easiest way to get her onto her feet was to lift her, Tyce slid one arm around her back, the other under her knees, and easily lifted her into his arms. Backing away from the bed, he looked down into her lovely face. “Okay?”

“Yeah.” Sage curled her hand around his neck and lust skittered down his spine. “I’m okay. You can put me down.”

“I’ll keep my hands on you so that you don’t fall,” Tyce told her, keeping his voice steady and calm. After Sage was on her feet, he held her elbows and checked her face for pain. Seeing that she was coping, he leaned back and snagged the bag of clothes from the bed. He’d wanted, desperately, to remove her clothes but not like this. He’d intended to kiss every inch of her skin as he undressed her, inhale her scent, drive her crazy.

Sage’s eyes slammed into his and, despite her pain, he saw the flash of awareness, heard her quick intake of breath. He couldn’t help noticing that the gap between her thighs widened, that she’d subconsciously arched her back, a silent signal that desire bubbled under her pain.

He had to be the better person here... Sage was injured and he was sex deprived. But it would help if she stopped looking at him like he was a piece of fine Belgian chocolate that she couldn’t wait to sample.

“Stop looking at me like that,” he grumbled.

“Like what?” Sage asked, her face flushing.

“Like you want me to get you naked,” Tyce snapped. “You’re injured and I need to get some dry clothes on you. I shouldn’t be thinking about how it feels to hold you naked, up close and against me.”

Sage pulled her plump bottom lip between her teeth. “Are we ever going to get past this, Tyce?”

“Me wanting you?” Tyce clarified.

“And me wanting you.” Sage rubbed her eye socket with the ball of her hand. “We keep telling ourselves that we can ignore this heat between us but it’s constantly there, like the proverbial elephant in the room.”

Nailed it, Tyce thought. Forcing his big brain to think, he pulled out her clothes from the bag. “We have so much else to deal with that I think we should keep our lives as simple as possible. Sex always adds a layer of complication.”

“I suppose you’re right.”

He was but this was one time when he didn’t want to be. He wanted to have her, take her and damn the consequences, but he knew that those complications would come back and take a solid chunk out of his emotional ass.

Be smart, Latimore.

“Okay then. If you have a car waiting, let’s not worry about my clothes. I can handle the cold for a few minutes,” Sage told him, cradling her plaster-cast arm.

“Probably, but you’d be a lot more comfortable, and warmer, in yoga pants and a hoodie than in those scratchy scrubs the nurse found for you to wear.”

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