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trembled with fatigue, she yearned for Max. Wanted his touch. His kiss. His possession all
over again.
When she was dry, he tucked his arm underneath her legs and lifted her into his arms
as he strode toward the bedroom. The covers were turned back, and he slid her onto the
mattress before promptly pulling the covers up to her shoulders.
He puttered around for a moment, undressing and turning off the bathroom lights. He
left the lamp on his side burning and then climbed into bed beside her.
As soon as he lay down, she snuggled into his arms. He held her and stroked his
palms up and down her sides, over her curves, her hips, her breasts, like he couldn t get
enough of touching her.
She nuzzled into his neck and kissed him just below the ear.  Love you.
 Love you too, dolcezza.
 There s so much I want to share with you, she said wistfully.
He pulled away and stared curiously at her.  Like what?
 My home. The mountain. All the places that are so special to me. As much of a
roamer as I am, my heart will always be on that mountain. It s a place I can always return
to and know that I m loved and accepted no matter what.
 I can t wait for you to share it with me. I m looking forward to seeing the things you
most cherish.
 I ll take you to Callie s Meadow. It s where I was born.
He went still against her and his hand stopped its progress over the swell of her hip.
 It sounds like a beautiful place.
 Oh it is, she breathed.  It s always been special to the family because it s where my
mom gave birth to me. But over the years it somehow became mine. My refuge. My
dream place. One day I m going to build my own house there. I ve designed it in my head
so many times that it s become real.
 And where do I fit in to this dream?
She pushed up on her elbow, her hair falling over her breasts as she stared earnestly
down at him.  Where do you want to fit in, Max? I m winging it here. I have no idea what
your plans are. You say you love me. I love you. For most people that means they re
going to try to have a relationship. A serious relationship. But we ve not talked about it at
all. I have no idea what you have in mind.
 You re mine, he said simply.  What that means is that you re going to be with me.
Whether it means a lifelong commitment or marriage on paper. I don t care. Those things
aren t as important as your promise to belong to me, to submit to me, to accept our
relationship and to wear the brands of my possession.
 But what does that mean? she asked softly.
Her heart was thumping so hard, she feared it would beat right out of her chest. She
hated moments like this. She wasn t versed in being all subtle and coy. She was too blunt.
Too demanding. Too damn honest for her own good.
 Where will we live? I assume you want us to be together. I don t want to leave my
life, my family. They re too important to me. So tell me, Max. What does that mean for
us?
He hushed her with a kiss, and for several long seconds, neither of them spoke as he
kissed her over and over until she nearly forgot what she d asked.
 It means you re mine and I m not letting you go. It means that your happiness is the
most important thing in my life. I ve promised to take care of you. To place your needs
above mine. To cherish your gift of submission. That doesn t mean that I ll fly in on
weekends so we can have a quick fuck before we go our separate ways. It means you re
going to spend every goddamn day in my arms, in my bed, underneath me, me inside you
as many times as I can get there.
She could barely breathe for the hope burning like a torch in her soul.
 We ll stay on your damn mountain if that s what you want, Callie. I m not going to
take you away from the place and the people you love.
 Oh Max.
She threw her arms around him, nearly sending him rolling from the bed in her
exuberance. She landed atop him, arms and legs sprawled as she peppered him with
kisses.
He laughed and tried to ward her off but she persisted until he put his hands up and
begged for mercy.
 Lord but you get crazy when you re happy, Callie.
She grinned, straddled him and stared down as her hands gripped his shoulders.  You
make me happy. I don t think it s possible to be happier than I am right now.
 I sincerely hope you re wrong, he said softly.  For me, I can only imagine how
happy we ll be on our wedding day. On the day you give birth to our first child. Our
fourth child. Or our fifth. Or maybe when you look at me in fifty years like you re
looking at me right now.
 You have to stop, she choked out.  You re going to make me cry again.
He reached for her and pulled her down into his arms.  We can t have that. I don t
like it when you cry. It makes me feel helpless, and I hate feeling helpless.
 Let s go home tomorrow, she urged.  I know you wanted us to spend a week here,
but we have all the time in the world. I want you to meet my family. I want you to see all
the things I love.
He hesitated a moment as he ran his hand over her hair. Then his chest heaved as he
sighed.  All right. We ll go back tomorrow. If we re going to build our future, it s
important that I meet your family and see the things that are precious to you.
Callie wrapped her arms around him and hugged him close.  You ll like my family.
They can be overbearing, but they love me and I love them.
 Anyone who loves you as much as I do can t be all bad, he said.
She raised her head to see his grin, and she smiled back as sunshine poured over her
soul. Perfect. Things were just perfect. They couldn t be any more so.
She wanted to bounce out of bed and call her mother as she d almost done in Europe
when she d first met Max. She wanted to tell her that she had indeed met the man she was
going to marry.
But she was too comfortable wrapped around Max like a blanket, and she yawned
broadly as she snuggled more firmly into his embrace. The call to her mom could wait
until tomorrow.
Chapter Twenty-Two
 I m thinking we should ditch your car when we get to Clyde and take my truck up
the mountain, Callie said as they passed the sign that signaled three more miles until they
reached their destination.
Max s mouth turned down into a grimace.  Your truck is on its last leg, Callie. I hate
that you still drive it. It s an accident waiting to happen.
She rolled her eyes.  You sound just like my dads. And my brothers. They ve been
nagging me forever to get something else. My dads are dying to buy me a new vehicle.
 You won t let them?
His expression suggested she was nuts, and yeah, her truck was old. It had definitely
seen better days. The idea of riding in such a thing probably appalled Max. His tastes ran
to the more refined. And expensive.
 I can t afford one, she said.
When he continued to look at her with a blank expression she sighed. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]