He knew it was but he suddenly needed the words. “Yes. But...”

Yes. It was a small-sounding word but it had huge consequences. He was going to have her again, and soon. As soon as she gave him the green light he’d kiss her and then he’d pull that thin cashmere jersey off her slim frame and he’d flip open the button to her jeans. They’d be naked and on the way to heaven.

“But it can’t be more than sex, Tyce,” Sage said, rushing her words. “It’s what we’re good at. The rest of the stuff, we aren’t good at that.” She crossed her arms and rocked on her heels. “I don’t want to be hurt again, Tyce. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“I hear you, Sage. I don’t want to hurt you either. But we don’t have to label this, define this. We don’t have to put on restrictions, shove what we have into a box. No expectations, no pressure,” Tyce told her. “We’re just two people who think the other is hot, who are having a baby together and who are now sleeping together.”

Tyce couldn’t help but notice the relief in her eyes but sighed at the worry one layer down. Sage was still so damn vulnerable, and he’d have to be careful with her and for her. He’d have to be the one who kept an eye on how far and fast this went because there was, no matter what he said, always the possibility of this situation blowing up in their faces. They had a baby to raise together and they couldn’t do that effectively if they ended up hating or resenting each other.

It was important that he looked at this situation clearly. He’d been alone for so damn long, hell, he’d spent his life alone and he didn’t know how to make the emotional connections that people needed. Only now, as an adult, did he realize how tired and drained he was when he was younger from constantly living in a state of fight-or-flight. Yeah, he’d take Sage’s offer of sex—what man wouldn’t?—but he’d put himself in a situation of feeling out of control and desperate.

But, for now, he’d enjoy her, take what she was so generously offering because making love with Sage was earth-shattering.

Tyce lifted his hand to touch her, to connect, but she shook her head and stepped out of his reach. Damn, she wasn’t done talking...

“I know that we are equally responsible for me being pregnant but I have this crazy urge to apologize, to say sorry for messing up your life with a baby.”

God. That was what she was thinking? That her being pregnant was something he regretted? Man, she couldn’t be more wrong. He regretted many things, particularly his inability to be the type of man she needed, but he had no regrets about their still-baking baby.

Maybe that was because he was starting to see their child as a bridge back to some sort of normality, a way to modify his ideas about families and what they meant. He was being given a second chance, as an adult, to create a unit that had all the people in all the right roles. He and Sage wouldn’t live together but his child would have a mother and a father and they would be the adults and their child would have the freedom to be a child.

And yes, maybe he was looking at this baby as the one soul with whom he could reconnect emotionally; a safe place to try that. His kid would be his kid, would be a big part of his life for the next eighteen years at least, right?

Tyce placed his hands on either side of Sage’s face, thinking that her skin was so soft, that she smelled like a field of gently scented roses. Her blue eyes locked on his and he took a step so that her breasts just touched his chest. He needed to get closer, needed to feel her in his arms, needed... God, he needed her. His head started to swim but he knew he couldn’t afford to be distracted; his answer was too important to mess up. “We’ve made a muddle of a lot of things, Sage, but you having my baby? That’s not one of them.”

“Are you sure? He, or she, is going to flip our world.”

“That’s not always a bad thing and I’m strapped in for the ride.” He kissed her nose before pulling her closer, hugging her tight. “The baby is a gift that I haven’t said thank you for so...thank you. I have many regrets, Sage, but this baby will never be one of them.”

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