“What’s your truth?” I asked.
“My truth?” He sounded confused at first.
I nodded, not speaking, not even sure what I was asking.
He was silent for long seconds, and the sound of his even, calm breathing could have lulled me to sleep.
“My truth is you, Shiloh.” He held me tighter. “My truth is, I didn’t even know what love was until you came into my life, until I realized we were meant to be together.”
I closed my eyes and smiled.
“My truth is, without you I’m nothing, no one, because it’s always been you for me.”
“Kace.” I whispered his name.
“That’s my truth,” he whispered in return. “And it’ll always be that. I won’t let you go, Shiloh.”
“Good. I don’t ever want you to.”
Kace was so strong, so powerful. He could snap me in half with no more than a flick of his wrist. But with me he showed a gentler side. He made me feel like I was the only woman for him, that there was no world without me in it.
“I love you,” he whispered against my hair and I closed my eyes and settled further against his big, hard body.
“I love you, too. Did you really mean what you said about going with me to NYC?” I felt him move slightly and tipped my head back to look in his face. He stared at me, this groggy expression on his face because of what we’d just done.
For long moments he didn’t speak, but then he leaned down and pressed his lips to mine. “I meant every word. Wherever you go, I’ll follow. My family will understand, and if they don’t, well, it’s not their life. I have to think about my life, and when it comes to you, Shiloh, I’m a selfish bastard.” I felt his smile against my mouth. “I want you all to myself.” He cupped the back of my head and brought it to his chest. “Let me hold you like this.” His voice was low, deep, but there was that gentleness I’d come to expect from him … but only for me.
My life had gone from zero to sixty so fast I was surprised I didn’t have whiplash. But then again, when it came to life wasn’t that how it worked?
“I hope you’re sure about this, about us,” he said in a sleep-filled tone.
“I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.”
He made this gruff sound of pleasure. “Good, because I’m not going anywhere.”
My heart was pounding a mile a minute as I thought about what I’d be doing in just a few moments. I sat in my truck, staring at my parents’ house, knowing that I had to go in there and be honest with my father, tell him that I wasn’t staying, that I wasn’t going to run the family business, at least not for a while.
I was going with Shiloh. There was no question about that. Her leaving without me was too painful, and the very thought of not being near her, where I could make sure she was safe, make sure no bastard could mess with her, had every possessive instinct in me rising.
I exhaled slowly and turned off the engine, climbed out of the vehicle, and headed inside. As soon as I stepped through the front door, the smell of pasta filled the air. My mother was making her homemade spaghetti sauce, a family recipe that had been passed down from her great grandmother, a tradition every Sunday night.
Maybe I should’ve picked a different time to do this, not when we were all together as a family and it was our traditional get-together dinner. But I didn’t want to wait. I knew that would only make shit worse, harder.
I tossed my keys into the little silver bowl on the foyer table, headed into the kitchen, and saw my mom standing by the stove. The red gingham apron she wore was old, probably as old as I was, and something she wore every Sunday when she cooked the family meal.
And every time I saw her wearing it, I knew I was home.
The sound of her humming had me smirking.
She looked over her shoulder at me. “Hey, sweetheart,” she said and faced me, wiping her hands on her apron.
I stepped into the kitchen and walked up to her, looking down at the pot of homemade spaghetti sauce. Scents of garlic, tomato and basil, and all the good memories that came with it, slammed into me.
I really didn’t want them to be upset, didn’t want them to be disappointed in me. I wasn’t going away forever, just long enough for Shiloh to get her degree. But then again, if she didn’t get a job back home, I’d follow her wherever, no matter what.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, and that motherly concern dropped from her voice and covered her face.