“I appreciate you bringing me home from the hospital, for watching out for me, but it’s time for you to go.”

Tyce just lifted one dark eyebrow in response. “No.”

Sage glared at him. This was her apartment; he was here only because she allowed it. “Tyce, I don’t like having people in my space, in my face.”

“I don’t either but—” Tyce shrugged “—tough.” He pointed at her stomach. “In less than six months we’re both going to have a new person in our lives—a very demanding creature if I understand the process correctly. So maybe we should try to, and get used to, the notion of sharing space so that we don’t die from shock.”

Sage’s mouth dropped open. What was happening? She was trying to push him away but he wasn’t budging. This wasn’t how this was supposed to go! When she pushed people away, most people were polite enough to give her the distance she needed.

Not Tyce.

Then again, she was quite convinced that God broke the mold after Tyce was born. One of him, she was pretty sure, was all the world, and she, could handle.

What could she say to make him leave?

“I’m going to be around for a few days so...you might as well get used to it.”

Crap.

Tyce continued speaking, utterly at ease. “So, while you were sleeping, I answered what felt like a million calls from your family.” Tyce took her empty glass and placed it on the bedside table. He sat down on the side of the bed, lifting his knee up onto her comforter, and resting his hand on the far side of her leg. His other hand gripped her thigh. “I don’t normally talk to that many people in a month, let alone in an afternoon.”

She was trying to keep up with the conversation, she really was, but his hand on her leg turned her brain to mush.

Sage could feel the size and shape, the heat of it through the covers and her yoga pants. If his hand moved a little up, and a little in, he’d find her happy spot—

Aargh! Really?

Sage mentally gave herself a head punch and pulled her focus back to their conversation. “Well, that doesn’t surprise me. You were never chatty.”

“Oh, I can mingle and make small talk when I need to, although it’s very dependent on whether I want to. I don’t often want, or need, to.”

“And, let’s face it, people like your surly and brooding attitude. It’s, apparently, sexy,” Sage muttered.

“Only apparently?” Tyce murmured, leaning forward, his eyes on her mouth. Sage’s breath caught and held as he moved closer and her heart rate inched upward. He hovered just above her, prolonging the anticipation, and then his mouth met hers in a kiss as seductive as it was sweet. There was passion in his kiss, but it was banked, restrained. This kiss was designed to give comfort, to rediscover, to seduce.

It wasn’t a kiss she’d received from Tyce before and Sage didn’t know how to respond. She wanted to urge him to deepen it, to take more, to stoke the fire but she also didn’t want the sweetness of this kiss to end. It was pure seduction, totally charming. And over far too soon. Tyce lifted his mouth off hers and leaned back, his black eyes glinting in the low light of the room. Sage was surprised to see the fine tremor in the hand he put back on her thigh.

“Seeing you fall... You scared the crap out of me, Sage.”

Her words had deserted her so Sage just nodded, unable to drop her eyes from the emotional thunderstorm in his eyes. It was the first time she’d seen Tyce without his reticent cloak, his barriers. There was so much emotion in those dark depths that it made her breath hitch, her heart rate accelerate.

Her hand lifted to touch his face. She longed to run her hands down his big biceps, to pull his shirt up and feel the definition in his chest. She wanted to crawl inside him, explore that steel-trap mind, his creative genius, peek into his soul. Tyce made her forget to keep her distance; he tempted her in ways that petrified her.

It was time to step back... Way back.

“So, the phone calls,” she said, her voice curt.

At her prosaic words, his shields came up. “Everyone said they would come over tonight to check up on you, so instead of them arriving in dribs and drabs, I told Linc to tell them to come around after work and to stay for dinner.”

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