Craving Him Page 45

I could still hear the blow-dryer running. “Yes.”

Fiona paused for a long moment, the sound of her breathing soft yet distinct. “Ben, does she know your past like I do? Does she know everything, including your little indiscretion from years ago?”

My mind reeled to follow her line of thinking. Then it came roaring back to me. My mistake two years ago. Of course I’d told Fiona about it at the time—as my manager it was possible she’d need to keep it from leaking to the public. I didn’t know why she was bringing it up now, however. My stomach dropped. Unless she planned to use it against me with Emmy. “Don’t f**king wreck this for me. I will walk away from your agency so fast.”

“Ben, I’d never do anything to hurt you. You should know that. I’m just asking a simple question. Does she know?”

“No. And I hope she never will. Now drop it,” I growled and hung up, resisting the urge to hurl my phone against the wall. Instead I let it fall from my open hand and onto the carpet with a soft thud. Fuck. I felt like punching something.

“Who was that?” Emmy asked, looking concerned and standing in the doorway.

I hadn’t heard her there. “Ah. Nobody, baby.” Nice lie, ass**le. God, what was wrong with me? She frowned. “Come here.” Emmy walked into my outstretched arms and laid her head against my chest. My heart was pounding like crazy. I couldn’t have anything ruin us. “It was Fiona, actually.”

“Oh?” She stepped back out of my arms.

“Yeah, she wanted to tell me she decided to have the paternity testing done after all.”

“Okay.” She visibly swallowed, her hands clenching at her sides. “So we’ll know something soon.”

“Yes, in one to two weeks.”

Emmy took two more steps backward. “Why is she doing it now? She said . . .”

“I know.”

Her arms crossed over her chest in a defensive stance. “If this is some angle to try and get you back. I mean, if you turn out to be the father . . .”

I tugged her close again, stroking her hair. “Hey, I’m not going anywhere. It’s me and you, babe.” I only hoped it stayed that way.

Watching Emmy move around my apartment, the striking force of realization that hit me was almost too much. I couldn’t lose her. I knew with certainty I would marry her tomorrow if she’d have me; I’d move to Tennessee if that’s what she wanted. Christ, it’d put us farther away from all the drama in my life and give us peace to just enjoy each other. I imagined us owning a country home that she could fill with beautiful things and delicious foods. I imagined watching her belly grow round with the life we created. It made me weak in the knees to realize how badly I needed something I didn’t even know I wanted.

I felt something powerful surge in my chest. As soon as Fiona’s test came back, I could have Emmy like I wanted. Like she wanted—marriage, a real commitment, a home we built together, and children in our future. Just us. No more drama. No more Fiona. I couldn’t f**king wait.

• • •

“Shit, man, I never thought I’d see the day.” Braydon shook his head, the beer bottle suspended halfway to his mouth all but forgotten. He stared at me, a look of surprise etched into his features, like I’d grown a second head. But I guess that’s what happened when you told your best friend you were thinking of popping the question.

He was right, I’d never wanted to commit, never wanted to have someone in my life—until now. I used to love my life—coming and going as I pleased, jetting off to exotic cities, adding stamps to my passport, and not having to answer to anyone, except maybe Fiona. Now it all seemed so incredibly empty. And dull. And meaningless. I wanted more. And having Emmy by my side provided a certain comfort, a feeling of being loved and cared for that I had never known was missing. God, I sounded pathetic. If I actually said these things out loud, Braydon would probably tell me to grow a pair. And rightly so. I needed to have my man card checked. But shit, love made a person do crazy things. And I wanted to put a big old diamond on my baby’s finger, see her eyes light up, and take her to the bedroom to make love to her slowly, to make her understand that she was mine forever.

He took a slug from his beer. “Ben mother-fuckin’ Shaw settling down, committing to one woman, just one pu**y to sink into for all of eternity. Damn, bro.”

I shot him an angry scowl. His words were meant to scare me but they had the opposite effect. Knowing Emmy would be mine for the rest of forever sounded pretty f**king perfect to me. Although I hated knowing he’d been inside her, too. He knew just how perfect and sweet she was. The thought didn’t sit well with me. I downed the shot of bourbon and held up the empty shot glass, signaling the bartender for another.

“Although it is Emmy. Shit, if she looked at me like she does you, I’d probably be getting down on one knee, too,” Braydon said, looking contemplative.

“Yeah, right.” We both knew Braydon preferred his single life way too much to make a commitment like that. His one serious girlfriend f**ked him up pretty royally, too, so I didn’t see him jumping on the relationship train anytime soon.

“Wipe that angry-ass look off your face. I’m happy for you, man.”

“Thanks,” I bit out.

“Can I be best man?”

“You promise not to talk about my future wife’s pu**y ever again?”

A lopsided grin lifted his mouth and he chewed on his lip as if deciding whether he could live with my request. I slugged his shoulder and the grin disappeared in a damn hurry. “Ouch. Fuck, man, you’re touchy.” He rubbed his shoulder. “She’s all yours. You have nothing to worry about. That girl is crazy in love with you, too.”

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