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Austin paced his family room at midnight on Friday night. He’d long since dropped Bailey off at his parents’ place farther upstate and, at his mother’s coaxing, stayed for dinner. It wasn’t like he’d had other plans, and he hadn’t wanted to be home in the quiet house by himself. You’d think he’d enjoy the break from his usual routine with Bailey, and he did, but he knew if he was alone, his thoughts would turn to Mia. As they did now.

What was she doing at bars in Manhattan? How many guys tried to pick her up? Was she safe wandering Grand Central Station at night, and alone on the train ride home? He didn’t need to tell himself he was obsessed. He was.

Maybe he should have gone out with the guys and Ava, his friends from work, but then he’d have had to ask his parents to drive here to get Bailey, and he didn’t want to put them out. Which left him home, nursing a cold beer and wondering what Mia meant when she said she wouldn’t be out late. Because in his book, after midnight was late.

He shouldn’t have acted so overprotective when she’d told him she was taking the train, or worse, like an overbearing boyfriend, which he definitely was not. But thanks to his job, he was someone who considered all angles of any situation, and he always looked out for the people he cared for. And there was no doubt he cared about Mia. He glanced at the clock once more.

Finally, the alarm beep sounded at the side door, letting him know that Mia had returned. He closed his fingers around the armrests on his chair and remained in his seat. She had to pass through this room—and him—to get to her bedroom.

Having picked Bailey up from school and driven her to his folks’, he hadn’t been home when she left the house. So he was unprepared when she strode into the room, looking like a sexy siren wearing a pair of high wedge shoes and skintight jeans. A cropped black leather jacket completed the outfit with a sparkly low-cut shirt beneath. Her hair, normally pulled up in a messy bun, hung straight down her back, the long strands perfect for him to wrap around his hands and hold on to while he fucked her from behind.

He muffled a low groan, warning his dick not to stand at attention and give his reaction to her outfit away.

“Austin!” She raised a hand to her chest in surprise, obviously startled by his presence. She came to a stop in front of his chair. “I thought maybe you’d be out but the alarm was off so… I knew you were here. But I didn’t think you’d be downstairs.”

That she thought he’d have gone out tonight was interesting. He stored the fact away for later. “I’m just having a drink before I turn in.”

He rose from his seat and picked up the now empty bottle, walking across the room and tossing it in the recycling bin in the kitchen before returning to talk to her.

“How’d you get back from the train?” he asked, yet another thing that had concerned him. He’d have picked her up if she’d asked, but she hadn’t.

“I called an Uber. And I’m back home, safe and sound,” she said, clearly meaning to reassure him.

“Did you have a nice time?” He sat on the arm of the couch.

“I did. I don’t see my friends often, so it was fun.” Her eyes glittered as she answered.

Obviously she’d had a good time while he sat home and brooded. About her. Had she thought about him at all? Would it have bothered her if he’d been on a date?

“Why would you think I went out?” he asked, his mind returning to her earlier statement.

“I don’t know.” But her cheeks flushed pink, as if she knew something and didn’t want to admit to it.

“Come on, Mia. You can do better than that. Where did you think I was tonight, without Bailey here to keep me busy?”

She pursed her lips, the pucker a reminder of what he wanted to do to that mouth. Kissing her senseless was just the beginning of what he desired.

“I figured you were out on a date,” she finally blurted out, the frown on her face as she said the word a dead giveaway to her thoughts on the matter.

He shook his head and laughed, relieved at her admission and the fact that she didn’t like the idea of him with another woman.

She braced her hands on her hips, clearly annoyed. “What’s so funny?”

Pushing himself to a standing position, he stepped closer. Her scent, the citrusy aroma he’d come to associate with her, the same one his body automatically reacted to, wafted around him. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the fact that you think I could be with another woman when I can’t get that hot fucking kiss out of my head?”

Those same lips that were the object of his obsession parted in a surprised oh.

“Have you forgotten? Can you get it out of your mind? Or do you lie in bed at night thinking about me the way I do about you?”

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