I’m an idiot.
“Babe!” Asher yells across the room.
I turn my head in the direction his eyes are facing and see a beautiful woman smile and walk towards us holding a little girl in her arms.
“You called?” she asks, rolling her eyes.
“You know Conner, baby, and this is Kathleen,” he tells her.
When she reaches his side, his arm goes around her waist and her eyes come to me. “Kathleen,” she mumbles. The look in her eyes is making me wonder if Mike ever told her about me.
“Nice to meet you,” I tell her, wanting to break the awkward moment.
Conner’s hand goes to my back and my body stiffens at the contact. November’s eyes look between Conner and me and a smile starts to spread across her lips.
“Nice to meet you, too,” she says then looks down at the girl in her arms. “This is June,” she says, lifting the little girl higher up on her hip before stepping out of her husband’s grasp.
November pulls me in for a one-arm hug, forcing the little girl in her arms between us. When she starts to pull away, the little girl grabs on to the front of my shirt. I look down at her and smile.
“She’s adorable,” I say, looking up at November.
June doesn’t let up. Instead, she seems to hold on tighter to me as her mom starts to pull her away.
“Can I?” I ask.
November nods, and I take the girl completely from her, pulling in a lungful of her baby smell.
“Your dad around?” I hear Conner ask as I run my fingers down June’s chubby cheek.
“Yep. He’s manning the grill,” Asher tells him.
“I’ll be back,” Conner says, squeezing my side before walking away.
I feel a singe across my skin and turn my head, looking around the room full of people before locking on Mike. Even from the distance between us, I can see his jaw grinding.
“So you’re the one who has my dad all messed up?” November asks.
I pull my eyes from Mike and look at her. “Sorry?”
“My dad,” she says, looking behind me. “He’s been moping around for a while. He spoke about you to me about a week ago when I threatened to sic Grandma on him if he didn’t tell me what was going on.”
“I’m sorry,” I whisper. This is not what I wanted.
“Don’t be,” she whispers back, her smile catching me off guard.
I feel a hand at my back and don’t even have to turn my head to know that it’s Mike.
“You’re here with Conner?” is growled near my ear as Asher reaches over, plucking June from my arms, giving me a soft smile before wrapping an arm around November’s waist and leading her away.
“Nice to meet you, Kathleen,” November calls over her shoulder before looking at her dad and shaking her head.
“Mike, I—” I start to tell him that I’m sorry when he cuts me off.
“No. Actually…” He shakes his head. “Fuck no. You didn’t even give me a second to work shit out in my head,” he says, his voice low, and my hands begin to shake.
“Don’t do this here,” I whisper.
“I wouldn’t have to do this shit here, but seeing’s how you ain’t returning my calls, I got no choice.”
“Don’t Mike me, baby. I’m pissed the fuck off right now.”
“You have no right to be mad.” I frown.
“No?” He looks at me, top to toe, shaking his head. “I’ve had my mouth and hands on every inch of you. And you show up at a party at my kid’s house with a date.” He shakes his head again.
“Don’t be a vulgar. And I had no idea this was your daughter’s house,” I tell him, feeling my face heat in embarrassment.
“You may not have known, but Conner knew this is my daughter’s house. As for being vulgar,” he says, his face dipping even closer to mine, his voice dropping, “your body knows me, craves me.”
“Not anymore,” I bite out, becoming pissed off.
“You’ve been mine since you walked back into my life.”
He cuts me off, ducking his head so he’s face to face with me. “I know what I said, baby. I thought that you were cool with how we were. You told me you wanted to keep things simple ‘cause your boy. I had no clue that you were feeling like you weren’t important to me.” His hand comes up, his fingers wrapping around the back of my neck.
“You didn’t stop me from leaving,” I say quietly, still hurt by that.
“I was caught off guard. I thought I had time. Then I saw you out on a date and was pissed but happy the guy was a loser.” He smiles and I narrow my eyes. “Then I called you. I wanted to laugh about it with you, but that’s not what happened.”
“No,” I agree. “I was really mad at you. I am really mad at you.”
“You think weeks of silent treatment hasn’t shown me that?”
My heart starts to feel lighter, and then guilt starts to kick in. “I’m here with Conner.”
“You were here with Conner. Now, you’re here with me.”
“Mike,” I whisper-hiss his name.
“Babe, I’ll talk to Conner.”
I shake my head. “You’re not talking to Conner.”
“Did you know Conner knew I was seeing you?”
“Every man in town knew I was seeing you. They all knew you were off-limits.”
“What?” I repeat, stunned.
“You never wondered why the fuck no one ever hit on you?” he asks, his thumb sliding down my throat.
“No,” I answer, swallowing at the intense look in his eyes.
“They knew you were off-limits. Just ‘cause our relationship wasn’t out in the open doesn’t mean I hid that shit.”
“Oh my God,” I breathe.
“That’s why me and Conner are gonna talk,” he states, and anxiety fills my chest.
“I’m still mad at you.”
“Don’t matter. I’m still talking to him.”
“Don’t be a jerk,” I hiss and try to break out of his grasp.
His hand wraps around my waist and his hand at my neck slides farther back into my hair, holding me captive as his mouth comes down on mine, pulling the air from my lungs. I gasp in surprise, and he takes the opportunity to slip his tongue between my lips. His familiar taste fills my mouth, and my body, which is completely owned by him, leans in until my chest is pressed firmly to his. When he groans and I feel his arousal at my stomach, a whimper escapes into his mouth.