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His neck bent and his forehead touched mine then slid to the side, his cheek hit mine and that slid down too and then his face was in my neck and his arms got tight.

In return I circled his shoulders with my arms and pressed close.

“They need a minute,” I heard Luke say in a way that was kind of a suggestion but more a get your asses out of here.

I felt people move around and I heard a door close. Then I turned my head and put my lips to Hawk’s ear.

“You think you could make a call so the Feds don’t do a cavity search on Troy?” I asked.

Hawk lifted his head and looked at me.

“Yeah,” he answered, his lips twitching.

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“You think, before Ginger goes back to the Feds, Dad and Meredith can visit with her?”

His eyes warmed and he repeated, “Yeah.”

“Okay,” I nodded, relaxing into him. “Now do you think, since you’ve been close enough to touch for at least five minutes and you’re safe and healthy enough to get pissed at me, you could finally kiss me?”

His eyes got warmer and he added intense.

“Yeah.”

My hand slid up to cup his head. “Then kiss me, baby,” I whispered.

He stared into my eyes then his head slanted and, just like Hawk, he gave me what I wanted most in the world.

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Epilogue

Give Me the Dimples

Cabe Delgado waited while the garage door opened then he pulled his Camaro in beside Gwen’s Mustang. He parked, grabbed his workout bag from the seat beside him and folded out of the car.

He walked in front of the Mustang and saw the Expedition sitting on the other side of the ‘Stang. Gwen called it the “station wagon” and hated driving it because it was so huge. However Hawk had a rule. She had their boys in the car with her, she was in the Expedition. She was off on her own, she could take the Mustang. She gave him lip, told him he was too damned bossy but only because that was what she did. She knew the Expedition was safer and Gwen would do anything to keep her boys safe.

He walked in front of the Expedition, through the door that led into the house and dumped his bag in the utility room on his way to the huge, open plan kitchen. She’d left the under the counter lights on for him. He moved through the space and turned off the lights, heading to the wide, carpeted staircase that had a nightlight lit in an outlet halfway up. He didn’t need her to light his way but she did it anyway partially because, if one of the boys got up, she wanted them to have light and partially because, when her man got home she wanted him to know she was thinking about him.

He’d lied to Gwen although he didn’t know it at the time. He needed space. Or, more accurately, he needed a Hawk and Gwen zone, he needed to give his boys their zones and they all needed a family zone. So he’d moved his family from Gwen’s farmhouse to this five bedroom, three car garage “monstrosity” as Gwen called it. She only allowed the move because it came with Janine cleaning it. She said she had a life rule and that rule was that she refused to live in a house that it took longer than two hours to clean. Now she lived in a house that took longer than two hours to clean, Hawk just made it so she didn’t have to clean it.

He silently climbed the staircase, turned right and moved through the large open space at the top, one of the many family zones. He didn’t see the pictures but he knew they were there. Gwen decorated in photos. She wasn’t a knick knack sort of woman, thank f**k.

Hawk liked the way his wife decorated. There were pictures everywhere, on every surface, on all the walls, hell, you could barely see the fridge for the photos tacked to it. There were pictures of her, of him, of their two boys, their families, their friends – alone, in pairs, in huddles, all candid, nothing posed, nearly every photo everyone was smiling.

Or laughing.

And there were pictures of Simone and Sophie. Gwen had conspired with his mother and made certain Simone and Sophie had their places amongst her décor and his woman decorated in family.

It took awhile to get used to this, it took awhile for the pain of seeing them every day to dull. Then it dulled. Then he saw what was in the photos instead of felt the loss of it. And what was in the photos were memories. Those memories were bittersweet but, with time, and with Gwen’s guidance, the sweet outweighed the bitter.

Hawk turned right again at the first door.

He walked in and saw Asher asleep in his bed on his belly wearing loose shorts and a t-shirt, his black hair a mess, his limbs splayed, taking up more space than any four year old kid should in a double bed. The covers had been kicked off. Even as a baby, he’d kicked off his covers. Ash liked to be free. No restraints. Even in sleep. Hawk’s Mom said he’d done the same thing and Hawk learned not to be surprised at this.

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Asher was his boy in more ways than one. Ash was intense, always had been from nearly the instant he left Gwen’s womb. And if Hawk was home, Asher was with him. From the second he could crawl, when Hawk opened the door to the house, Asher would be sitting on his ass, staring at the door, waiting for his Dad to walk in. It wasn’t clingy. Even as an infant, Asher had been able to entertain himself.

He just liked to do it close to his Dad.

Hawk walked to him and bent, doing what he did frequently, in fact every night he got home when his boys were asleep. He rested his hand light on the heat of his son’s back and felt him breathe. Once his son’s life communicated itself through Hawk’s hand, he lifted that hand and slid it over Asher’s thick hair. Then he left the room, crossed the hall and entered another door.

Bruno was on his back, one arm thrown wide, one knee up and dropped, the other leg straight, hand on his belly. Covers half-on, half-off. The stuffed bear with an ill-fitting Broncos t-shirt had fallen from his outstretched hand.

Bruno sat quietly on his Granddad’s lap during every Broncos home game. It was f**king uncanny but Hawk could swear his two year old son’s study of the game was more intense than Bax’s. Even if a game was on TV, Bruno would stop, sit his ass down and stare at it. If he was awake, he was wearing a football helmet and if Hawk or Gwen tried to take it off him, the kid pitched one helluva fit. So they let him wear it everywhere but to the dinner table and to bed. This was a good call considering when Bruno wasn’t eating, watching football on television or wrestling with his brother, he was tackling shit.

Hawk bent, his hand going to Bruno’s chest, resting lightly and his eyes roamed his son’s face as his hand felt his son’s heartbeat.

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