Shivering, I waited for the cloth to touch my body again. But what I felt instead was better. Dewayne had soaped up both his hands and used them to wash my body thoroughly.

This man wrecked me with things like this. He never made me question if he loved me. He never made me wonder if this was forever. With every look and every touch, Dewayne Falco proved to me that I was it for him. That our story was going to be full of happiness and love. Our house would be full of laughter as we raised our children together. Then one day, when we were old and gray, we would sit on the front porch swing, holding hands and talking about all the memories we had made.

Cage And Eva from While It Lasts and Sometimes It Lasts


Today was my baby girl’s third birthday. I blinked and she had gone from being a tiny little bundle in pink to wearing tutus and tiaras—literally, and daily. Like all the time. Even when she went to preschool. They had just learned to accept the fact that Bliss was wearing what she wanted.

For a while she had looked a lot like me, but that was fading. Every day she grew to look more and more like her mother. Which only stressed me out. I couldn’t imagine dealing with this when she became a teenager. I now understood why Eva’s dad had wanted her to have nothing to do with me. I’d have locked Bliss up in her room and thrown away the key if someone like me had shown up sniffing around her.

Chuckling, I reached over and tucked my beautiful wife closer to my chest. She wasn’t awake yet. I was trying my damndest to let her sleep late since she had a birthday party to pull off today. I had tried to tell her we didn’t have to invite every friend we had and feed them all. But she had told me I was wrong.

I accepted her correction. Besides, it was my baby girl’s birthday, and she loved having everyone here giving her attention. She was three going on thirty. She talked like she was grown, and poor Eli Hardy was one of her loyal subjects. She bossed that boy around, and he just took it. His dad would chuckle and say Eli knew a pretty girl when he saw one.

That was funny now, but that shit wouldn’t be funny in ten years. Eli Hardy was Low’s boy, and I loved him. But he’d better never look at Bliss as anything more than a friend. My little girl was too good for any male out there.

“Mmmm . . . you feel good,” Eva mumbled in her sleepy voice as she stretched out, throwing a leg over me.

“Hell yeah, I do,” I agreed with her, and she let out a soft giggle.

When she was done stretching and making me horny as f**k, she tilted her head back to look up at me. She didn’t say anything at first. Then she gave me a teary smile. “Our little girl is three. How did that happen? She was just born.”

I imagined one day we’d be saying this when she graduates from high school, and then when we send her off to college. Then the day she gets married . . . Wait, no. That shit ain’t happening. No getting married. Until she was, like, maybe forty, or I was dead.

“She’s excited about it. Didn’t think she’d ever go to sleep last night,” I said, thinking about her telling me who all was coming and what games they were going to play.

“She likes to be the center of attention,” Eva said, then smirked at me. “A lot like her daddy.”

I bent my head and took a nip of Eva’s earlobe. “I have no idea what you’re referring to.”

She giggled and squirmed, pressing her br**sts to my chest. All the thoughts of today left me, and I was very focused on my na**d wife. Pulling her on top of me, I claimed her mouth with mine.

“Cage, we can’t,” she said, wiggling on top of me. “We will wake up Bliss.”

“We can be quick and quiet. Try not to scream my name,” I said, picking her up and sliding inside her easily. “Fuuuuck yeah, that’s the way to wake up,” I whispered in her ear as she made her sweet, sexy noises and then pressed her face into my chest to smother her sounds.

“You’re soaking wet. Someone else woke up horny too,” I teased.

She lifted her head and glared at me, then moaned. “Stop talking. I’m trying to be quiet.”

I reached back and tugged on her hair, then licked a trail up her neck.

“Cage,” she whimpered, then bit down on her bottom lip again.

“Ride me hard, baby. Make it fast,” I told her as I lifted my h*ps and pushed deeper inside.

Pleasure lit her eyes, and I covered her mouth with my free hand. Her teeth bit down on my palm. “Fuck yeah, bite me,” I encouraged.

She started rocking back and forth while moaning into my hand. “I said ride me, not play with me.”

Her eyes flashed. She lifted her hips, and the slaps of our bodies hitting each other filled the room. Over and over again, until she cried out into my hand and I followed right behind her.


Being married to Cage York was never dull. This morning was just one example. I smiled as I flipped the chocolate chip pancakes Bliss had requested this morning. The fireworks Cage always managed to set off in my body still left tingles between my legs an hour later. He was just really good at that. And he was mine.

“Can I put on my new sparkly tutu now, Mommy?” Bliss asked from her chair at the table.

“No, sweetie, you could get syrup or chocolate on it. Wait until after you eat breakfast to get dressed for the party,” I told her.

She sighed dramatically. Bliss did everything very dramatically. Even sleep. She was impossible to sleep with. The moving and talking that went on was cute but kept us up most of the night.

“Can I wear my boots with my new tutu so I can go help Daddy feed the cows?” she asked.

As much as Cage would get a kick out of her strutting out there in her sparkly tutu and the work boots he had bought her for when she helped him feed the cows and spread the hay, I couldn’t let her do that. She’d be so upset if it got dirty before her party. Those were tears I didn’t want to happen on her big day.

I scooped her pancakes onto the pink ballerina plate she loved and walked over to set it down in front of her. “You could get the tutu dirty out there too. Maybe you could wear the tutu you wore to help Daddy outside yesterday.”

She scrunched up her little nose. “Um, no. That one needs to be washed.”

Yes, it did, and whichever one she wore outside to help Cage today would need to be washed too. “Well then, wear your blue one. It’s clean.”

Bliss picked up her fork and took a bite of her pancakes. “Okay. That works.”

The things that kid said sometimes. With a smile I went back to the stove to clean up the mess I’d made from Bliss’s special birthday breakfast. It was what she ordered every Saturday morning, but it was what she wanted, so I made them. I had apple cobbler to make and pasta salad to fix before lunchtime. I had made everything else last night. Including the cake. Cage was grilling ribs for the party because they were Bliss’s favorite food.

“Mmmmm, these are good, Mommy. Best pancakes in the whole universe,” Bliss said as she ate.

She used to say the world until she recently learned that the universe was bigger.

“That’s because I made them for my most favorite girl in the universe,” I told her, then focused on cutting up the veggies for the pasta salad.


Standing over by the grill with a beer in my hand, I took in the scene in my backyard. My best friend, Willow Hardy, was once again pregnant. She was sitting in the swing under the tree with her feet propped up on her husband’s legs. Willow and Marcus’s son, Eli, was with Bliss, sliding down the large inflatable water slide we had rented for the event.

Across from them sat Preston and Amanda Drake. Preston was leaning up against the tree, with Amanda sitting between his legs. They laughed at something Marcus said. They didn’t have kids yet, but knowing Preston, one would be along soon enough.

Dewayne and Sienna Falco were recently married as well, with a baby on the way. Their son, Micah, was over by the cows, feeding them some of the old bread we had left out for them, with Daisy May Taylor.

Rock and Trisha Taylor’s boys were throwing the football with their dad and uncle Krit. I had never imagined Krit Corbin would get married, but damned if he wasn’t engaged, with his wedding date set for next month. His fiancée had him so wrapped around her little finger it was comical. It was fun to watch. I understood completely. He thought it was bad now, but just wait until he had a daughter. I sure hoped he had one. All reformed players needed a little girl of their own.

“Those smell good.”

I turned my attention to the newest arrivals. Jason and Jess Stone were in town for the week, visiting her mother. Jess was another one who had surprised me. Jess had been trouble back in the day. The girl had caused all kids of shit. But then Jason Stone had rolled into town, and it had all changed. Jess’s diamond ring and wedding band flickered in the sun as she rested her hand on her pregnant belly. She was due any day now. At least, it sure looked like it.

“Sadie and Jax sent a gift too. They wanted to be here, but Sadie’s on bed rest still,” Jess said as she held up two presents wrapped in shiny pink paper.

“Glad y’all made it. Eva is over there, setting up the table with Larissa and Trisha’s help. Beers are in the cooler, and sodas are in the big ice bucket over under the tree.”

“Thanks. Need any help here?” Jason asked.

“Nah, I got it. Go get yourself a beer and relax. Soon enough you’ll have a kid to chase around.”

Jason grinned and turned to look at Jess. I had never pictured Jess with a preppy Harvard boy. But those two worked.

Bliss saw them arrive and jumped down from the slide in her new tutu swimsuit and ran for Jess. It was Bliss’s big day, and she was going to soak it all up.

“Hey, beautiful,” Jess said as Bliss got to her. “I love that swimsuit. I need one.”

Bliss did a twirl for her and then curtsied. “Thank you. It’s a birthday present from Amanda,” she said.

Jess nodded as if that made complete sense. “Amanda would find the perfect gift.”

“You can put my presents over on that table,” Bliss informed her. “And if you want some snacks, we have dips and chips and Goldfish.”

My little hostess. She was her momma’s child. Most of the time.

Eva glanced up at Jess and Jason and waved. They headed over toward the crowd.

“Daddy,” Bliss called out. She had stopped running back to her friends and was looking at me.

“Yes, sweetheart?”

“I love you bunches and bunches. Thank you for making me ribs.” Then she turned and ran back to the slide.

For that kind of thank-you, I’d make her anything she wanted.

Her mother called her a charmer and said she got that from me. Grinning, I figured maybe she did. It had taken some pretty damn intense charm to land Eva. I watched her as she talked to Jess. The way her dark hair blew in the breeze and her pretty blue eyes sparkled—God, that woman was beautiful. She’d taken my breath away the first time I saw her.

Glancing over to the front porch, I remembered the day she had walked out onto it, looking down her nose at me. Those shorts on, showing off all those legs. Her sassy mouth had been a f**king turn-on. My summer job working on her father’s farm had looked a hell of a lot brighter after getting a look at her.

Once I had thought I couldn’t be loved. Eva had proved to me I was, in fact, worthy of love. And anyone worthy of Eva’s love is f**king amazing. So therefore, I’m pretty damn special.

Eva’s eyes met mine across the yard, and she gave me that smile that was just mine. This was our life. We’d made this. Our friends were all here, and soon every last one would be married. Kids would be born, and our families were growing. Hard to believe four years ago every one of us but Rock was living the bachelor life. Looking for something but not knowing what we needed.

Just like magic, each one of us had had that someone special walk into our lives and love us enough to fight for us. Life is funny that way. Fate happens, and it’s better than what you had imagined in the first place.

Eva was so much better than anything I ever could have thought up for myself. She was more. So much more.

“Daddy, watch!” Bliss yelled, and I turned my attention to my little girl as she held on to Eli’s hand and they slid down the slide, laughing together, until they hit the water pooled at the bottom.

When they stood up, everyone clapped. Bliss, of course, did another curtsy. Because my baby girl was a princess, and she f**king knew it.

She was Cage York’s daughter.

Ten years later . . .

Bliss York

As much as I loved the big, crazy family I was a part of, when we all got together at Dewayne and Sienna’s beach house, things could be overwhelming. There was so much talking and kids were everywhere. It was like this bunch couldn’t stop reproducing. Jeez. At some point they need to stop doing it.

I wasn’t one of the oldest of the kids. Jimmy, Brent, and Daisy May Taylor were all in college now, and they didn’t hang around with the “kids.” They got to hang out with the adults. Micah Falco and Larissa Hardy were both driving now, and they were in their own little teenage world. So that left me and Eli to make sure Eli’s sisters, Crimson and Cleo, didn’t kill each other. There were only two years between them, and at ten and eight they seemed ready to start a war every time they were left alone together. It made me thankful I didn’t have a sister. But I had brothers. Three of them. Cruz, Cord, and Clay were all under ten. It was a miracle they hadn’t burned something down yet. Mother would just laugh at them and look at my daddy like these crazy males were wonderful. Only my daddy was wonderful. My brothers were out of control.

Then there was Hadley Stone. She was ten, and I’ll admit she did act older than most kids her age, but she was like a celebrity because her dad was famous. She couldn’t go out and play with the rest of the kids without a freaking bodyguard. It was weird. She had one sibling, Evangeline, who was only three. Copyright 2016 - 2024