“Sorry,” she murmured hazily as she willed her fingers to loosen. It took a concerted effort with her body fighting her. He’d unmoored her, setting her adrift in a chaotic sea, and her mind wanted the assurance of an anchor. As soon as he was freed, Smith took the seat behind the desk. Then he scooped her onto his lap and held her close.
This is one of the perks of being your own boss, she thought. If she wanted to spend the afternoon being fucked by her husband on top of her workspace, there would be no human resources department to fire her. Once they hired more employees, her rendezvouses with Smith would have to wait. She frowned at the unwelcome thought. Lola always knew exactly when to hightail it out of the office. Perhaps, she would get lucky and the new staff members would have a similar sense of self-preservation. If not, Bless might have to find a new home where Belle could have an office with doors.
“What are you thinking about, beautiful?” Smith’s husky voice called her from her thoughts.
“The future,” she whispered, her words colored with happiness.
“Like round two?” he asked.
“Slightly farther than that,” she said dryly. If she only thought that far ahead, she’d never get anything done.
“That far? I hope I’m part of the vision.” There was an earnestness to the statement that surprised her.
“Forever,” she promised him. Her fingers were still trembling as she brushed her palm down his cheek. There had been dark moments when she thought she might lose him. Those memories were still too raw for her, so whenever he made any mention of what the future might hold she felt an overwhelming possessiveness take hold of her.
She’d never expected to find true love. Not after her first serious relationship had ended in betrayal. Maybe that was how she had found him: by not looking. However Smith Price had come into her life, she had no plans to give him up. They had been through a lot together. More than most couples faced in a lifetime. Some of it she had been able to put behind her. Other things she would carry with her always. Her solace was that he would be there to help her carry the burden. He nuzzled against her, his whiskers tickling her skin, and she giggled.
“You smell like me,” she informed him.
“That is my favorite cologne, beautiful.” He licked his lips to drive the point home. “Priceless.”
“I think it’s full of Price actually. Namely my price.” She pointed down.
“Rather mine, I think,” he corrected. Slanting his head, he kissed her deeply. His lips tasted of the heady mix of arousal and climax he’d drawn from her body. When she was younger, she would never have allowed a man to kiss her after that. But somehow Smith made the forbidden erotic. It was why she could never say no to him.
Still, if she wanted to get any work done, she’d have to start by cutting him off. Wriggling off his lap, she darted out of his reach and collected her trousers. Smith shook his head with disapproval.
“I think I have some mints in the drawer,” she told him, giving him a swift kiss on the cheek and wrinkling her nose.
“I like smelling like you,” he reminded her. “I’ll enjoy it all day and it will give me all sorts of ideas on what I should do to you tonight.”
“Don't you have a meeting? Your clients might take offense.” Part of her thrilled at the idea of marking her husband with her scent, but the other part didn't relish the idea of him running around London smelling like sex.
“You're no fun, beautiful. Are they in here?”
She glanced over to see him pulling open the left drawer.
“No, not there,” she said in a hurry, but it was too late. He was already rifling through it. Then he stopped, his hand on something and his expression unreadable before he pulled a thin compact out of the drawer.
“What's this?” he asked quietly.
He already knew the answer. It was written in disapproval across his handsome face. Belle tried to think of an explanation that would appease him. She could lie and pretend that she had no idea that they were in there, but he wasn't a stupid man. Plus, she'd tried to stop him from looking. She could say they were old, but it didn't matter. Her silence had already spoken volumes.
Smith collapsed into the desk chair, his shoulders drooping under the weight of disappointment. She'd never seen him like this. It was a quiet anger that rolled off of him. Usually he let his feelings be known in a much more vocal manner. The silence between them grew deafening until she couldn't stop herself from filling it.
“I don't know why,” she blurted out in answer to a question he hadn’t asked.
“So they are birth control pills,” he clarified, as he tossed them onto the desktop. “All these months, I thought that you or that I ...”
Smith trailed away. He had never seemed terribly disappointed when her period arrived each month. After their miscarriage the previous winter, they'd halfheartedly agreed to let nature take its course, but when Belle's doctor had offered her the prescription during her follow-up exam, she'd taken it and filled it.
“If you didn't want to have a baby, you could've told me.” Accusation sliced through his words. Apparently, she’d been terribly wrong about his desires. How could she have misread him?
“I d-d-do want to have a baby,” she stammered. Didn’t she? She hadn’t been prepared to have this conversation, but now she knew she’d been avoiding the subject entirely.
“It sure as hell doesn't seem like it.” He stood and strode across the room, grabbing his jacket from the hook and tugging it on.
When he reached for his coat, she couldn't stop herself. “I didn't think you wanted to have a baby. I thought you were just trying to make me feel better.”
He drew it on before turning to face her slowly. “Birds of a feather, remember? I want to have everything with you, Belle. I thought that was a desire that we shared. Maybe I was wrong.”
Then he was gone.
The study was quiet. He hadn't bothered to turn on any lights. Since he'd given up drinking, he didn't need to see to pour a glass. Instead, all he had to do was find a chair. Smith had driven around for a few hours trying to clear his head. When he got home, he half-expected to find her there, but the house was empty. It felt a lot like a metaphor for his life right now. How could she have lied to him for so long? He knew it was more complicated than that, but that was the crux of the issue for him.