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Holy crap. He was protecting me. And Dad. And Meredith.

Wow.

“So you’re here just to um… be here?” I asked.

“That and make sure you sleep.”

Uh.

Wow.

It was getting harder and harder to battle the squishiness.

He went on. “And get some sleep with you, I’m f**kin’ wiped.”

Uh.

Wow.

SuperHawk, World’s Greatest Lover and Major Badass got wiped.

Interesting.

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“Babe,” he called.

My body jerked out of its amazement and I asked, “What?”

“You gonna do that?”

“What?”

“Sleep.”

No. No I was never going to get back to sleep. I’d got my second wind after standing in the cold when he left earlier and I’d managed to blow through a huge amount of work, staying awake and fresh until my concentration started waning around a quarter to midnight. I’d closed down and hit the sack feeling an exhaustion I knew would mean I’d sleep deep. The minute my head hit the pillow, I was out like a light.

Now I was wide awake.

“Yes,” I lied.

His head dropped and he did something new, something he’d never done except in the lead up to something else. And that was to lightly kiss the indention at the base of my throat in the middle of my collarbone.

Then he slid off me, turned me to my side, curved his body into mine, hitching one of my knees up with his so his heavy, warm thigh was resting on mine. His arm stayed tight around my belly, he leaned in and kissed the skin behind my ear then his head settled on the pillow.

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Guess Cabe Delgado didn’t verbalize his goodnight, he acted it out.

Mm.

I laid there in the warm curve of his body under his arm, feeling his breath on my neck thinking, Holy shit, MM is spooning me!

Tracy would do cartwheels of pure joy for a mile if she knew this. Cam might have a heart attack.

I didn’t know what to do except let the feeling my body was communicating to my brain penetrate and that feeling was, I really, really like this.

My ex-husband Scott never spooned. I spooned his back but he never cuddled into me. Even after sex. He was a slam, bam, thank you ma’am type of guy. He took his orgasm, pulled out, rolled away, turned off the light and fell asleep.

And he snored.

He didn’t cuddle. He didn’t sweet talk. He didn’t do any of that. Not even in the hopes of priming me for round two. With Scott, there was never a round two. This was, I would discover later, because by the time he had sex with me, he was too exhausted to do it again because he’d already had sex with someone else that day. Or two someone elses. Maybe even three, who knew, that was how much of a horndog he was.

Hawk’s weight settled into me, his arm relaxed, his breathing evened and I knew he was asleep. Asleep spooning me.

What did I do with this? How did I make us be over when I liked this? And what he said outside by his car. And the fact he didn’t like the thought that me or my family might be targeted and he did something about it.

This was not a man who would crush Troy like a bug and boss me around. This was a man you’d make up in a daydream.

And this was what filled my head until it drifted through my head until my body started to relax into Hawk’s and then I fell asleep.

I could have been in dream world for awhile but it felt like seconds before I felt Hawk’s arm get so tight it nearly hurt, cutting off my breathing, my eyes opened and in that instant the heat of him was gone.

I rolled, seeing his shadow by the bed, he was pulling on his cargos.

I got up on an elbow and opened my mouth to say something when he moved again, his knee hit the bed, his finger rested lightly on my lips and I watched as his shadowy head shook in the negative once.

Uh-oh.

Then he was gone.

About a nanosecond later I heard a scuffle, some exerted gasps then a hard, loud thump as if someone’s body hit the wall.

Then I heard my sister Ginger’s unmistakable shriek, “What the f**k!”

I threw back the covers and leaped from the bed, seeing the lights going on in the hall.

“Ginger! Jesus!” I heard my Dad yell before I hit the hall to see Ginger pinned against the wall with Hawk’s hand in her chest, Hawk standing in cargoes with the top button undone, Dad in the hall wearing only pajama bottoms staring angrily at Ginger and Meredith joining late, like me, but unlike me she was wearing one of her long, lacy, satin negligees, what she always wore, even when I was a kid, though some of them were short, and I always thought she was quite, simply it because of her sexy nightwear.

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“What are you doing here?” Dad asked Ginger, his eyes narrowed on her, apparently unsurprised and unconcerned that Hawk was standing in his hallway in the middle of the night, bare-chested and barefoot with the top button on his cargos undone.

For my part, I was unsurprised that Ginger was dressed like Darla had been yesterday except she was wearing a camisole laced up the front and it was at least one, maybe two sizes too small so the lacing gaped and it showed skin and a hint of boob. She also wasn’t wearing fishnets but tights that had big holes and runs in them everywhere. And she also really needed a refresh on her makeup since her mascara and eyeliner were giving her raccoon eyes. Lastly, her curly strawberry blonde hair was the definition of a rat’s nest.

My sister. Serious skankage.

“I grew up here,” Ginger snapped back and Hawk stepped back, dropping his arm and moving to me.

“Yeah, but the last time you were here I think I made myself clear you weren’t welcome back,” Dad returned and my eyes slid to Meredith to see she was standing there, both arms wrapped around her belly, her pixie-pretty face pale and her lip quivering.

Seeing that, my gaze moved back and I mentally speared my sister with imaginary giant, African tribal lances.

“Fuck, I just need a f**kin’ shower and somethin’ to eat. I’ve got some shit goin’ down, you can’t even let me have a f**kin’ shower?” Ginger shot back.

“Mouth, Ginger,” I warned because Meredith hated it when we cursed. She said ladies didn’t curse. Of course I cursed in my head and sometimes they came out of my mouth but I never did it in front of Meredith.

Ginger leaned toward me and hissed, “Fuck you, Gwennie.”

“It’s the middle of the night,” Dad butted in to inform her.

Her head jerked toward Dad. “So f**kin’ what?” Ginger returned.

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