Macnamaraslady, p.15

MacNamarasLady, page 15



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  “I was the youngest. I had an older sister and two older brothers. My sister left when she was sixteen. Got the nerve to go to a shelter. They helped her finish school and get a job. My brothers were like my dad. They liked to drink and hit things when they were mad.”

  “Did they ever hit you?” Pure molten fury welled up inside him, almost exploding when she shrugged. That said it all.

  “I learned to hide, to stay away from home.”

  T.S. kissed her temple and silently offered her his strength. It was all he could do. There was no way to go back in time and change her past. If anyone understood that, it was him.

  She took a deep breath and continued. “From an early age I knew what I wanted. A life completely different from my parents’. My mom was like a shadow, always watching my father, trying to figure out his mood so she could do whatever it took not to make him angry. When he wasn’t around she drank to forget how hopeless her life was.”

  “That’s no way to live.” T.S. couldn’t imagine hitting a woman. His mother had raised him better than that.

  “No,” she agreed. “It’s not. That’s why I studied hard and rarely dated. I saw other girls my age getting pregnant and ending up in bad relationships just like their parents. That’s when the teasing started. I was uppity, cold, icy, frigid. I can’t tell you the number of guys who offered to help me with my problem.”

  T.S. wanted to find them all and beat them to a pulp. But that wouldn’t help Missy. “I’m sorry, babe.” His voice was rough with unvoiced emotion.

  She shrugged. “It made me strong. Determined. I left home as soon as I had my high school diploma. I worked while I went to college on a scholarship. I put my past behind me and made a new one. I learned how to dress, how to speak properly, how to conduct myself in a business situation. I educated myself about music, art, and theatre. I wanted to be someone.”

  The last word was said so fiercely it made his heart hurt. “You are someone.” He adjusted her so she was lying against his shoulder and he could see her face. “You’re a very special woman, Missy Sinclair.”

  She smiled through the sheen of tears in her eyes. She hadn’t shed one. Not his tough Missy. “You’re not so bad yourself.”

  He kissed her then because he had to. Her grace, her strength of will, humbled him. She opened for him on contact and it made his heart soar. She was his and he’d damn well take good care of her. Not because she needed him to. She was one hell of an independent woman. No, he’d do it, not because she needed him to, but because he wanted to.

  He tasted desire and acceptance on her lips. His tongue sank inward and she welcomed him. Their mouths met again and again as soft as a whisper. There was no hurry, no agenda, only the touch of two people who cared for one another and wanted to show it in the most pure way possible.

  “You’re a hell of a woman,” he told her when the kiss finally ended.

  A light flush covered her cheekbones. It was hard to tell in the dim light, but he knew it was there because he’d come to know her so well. She seemed uncomfortable with the compliment.

  “You’re strong and independent. Doesn’t mean you’re weak if you want to lean on someone else from time to time.” He placed a gentle kiss on her lips. A promise. “I have wide shoulders.”

  “I know.” Her words were softly spoken. “I have strong shoulders too.”

  Her offer warmed him to his core. “I know.” The words sealed the pact between them. The past was just that. The future was ahead of them.

  He shifted her so she was sitting on his lap again, his erection pressing against her back. She laughed. “Seems as though you have a slight problem. Again.”

  “Nothing slight about it, babe.”

  She pushed back against him and he groaned as his cock was trapped between her back and his stomach. “I know.” She sounded smug.

  It was his turn to laugh. “Then you have to help me out here.” He lifted her until she was on her knees and spread the globes of her ass wide, giving him a perfect view of her pussy. He angled his cock so it was pressed against her slit. “Are you gonna put me out of my misery?”

  “I don’t have much choice, do I? I can’t leave you like this.” She eased back, taking him into her tight channel. The candles flickered as she moved, casting erotic shadows against the walls. The water sloshed as she moved and threatened to overflow before receding.

  He sat up higher, pushing her deeper. She gasped and he stilled. “You okay?” Last thing he ever wanted to do was hurt her.

  She practically purred. “I’m very okay.” She put her hands on the side of the tub and began to move slowly, her movements torturous as she glided up and down his shaft.

  “You’re killing me, babe.” But he meant it in the best way possible.

  “Want me to stop?”

  In spite of the fact he was harder than steel, ready to come at any second, he laughed. Only Missy could make him hard and have him laughing at the same time. “Stop and I’ll have to take drastic measures.”

  “Hmm. Do tell?”

  He couldn’t take any more teasing. Not now. He gripped her hips and began to move her over his cock. The angle made it more difficult for him to get deeper, but she gripped him tighter than a wet leather glove. “That’s it. So good. So sweet,” he encouraged as she caught the rhythm.

  Water splashed and this time it overflowed the side of the tub. Neither of them cared. His balls were pulled so tight they were practically climbing into his body. The lower part of his shaft tightened. The candlelight danced in the air, casting them in shadows.

  T.S. reached around her and found her clit, teasing it with his index finger. Her breathing hitched and then became faster as she continued to move.

  “Come for me, sweetheart. I can’t hold on.” Even as he said it he knew it was too late. It started in his balls and shot up through his cock. His orgasm exploded and he came inside her.

  She cried out, throwing back her head and keening. Her inner muscles gripped his cock hard, milking it until there was nothing left for him to give. Missy fell forward, splattering water everywhere. At the last second, he managed to grab her before she ended up face first. Moaning and laughing, she clutched the sides of the tub and turned toward him. “I love you.”

  T.S. froze. He hadn’t realized how badly he’d wanted the words until she’d said them. Those three tiny words filled all the lonely spaces inside him. He somehow felt like more than he’d been only moments before.

  “I love you too.” He cupped her face in his hands, leaned forward and kissed her. She shivered and he realized the water had cooled. “Time to take this elsewhere.” He pulled the plug, stood and dragged them both from the tub. He toweled her off before drying himself.

  Then he scooped her into his arms and took her back to bed.

  Chapter Fourteen

  “Do you think she’ll like me?”

  It was the tenth time she’d asked him that question since they’d gotten in his truck to make the drive to his mother’s home. It wasn’t like Missy to be so insecure. It was a testament to how important this was to her. To both of them.

  “She’s going to love you as much as I do.” He reached out his hand and she took it. As always, she twined their fingers together.

  It had been a week since they’d declared their love for one another, but it felt like a lifetime. Both of them had changed so much. Missy didn’t feel the need to be so regimented, so in control. And he no longer felt the need to protect himself behind a shield. In a way, that had been his form of control. Show the world a laid-back guy with good humor and it masked the deeper emotions that bubbled beneath. With each other they could simply be themselves. It was both liberating and scary as hell.

  They’d shared the news with their friends. Candy and Lucas had both been pleased. Lucas had insisted they come over for dinner to celebrate. It had been a different experience to kick back with friends and be part of a real, committed couple. He liked the feeling.

  “Are you g
oing to tell her we’re moving in together?” For the third time, Missy checked the flowers she’d insisted on buying for his mother. God, he loved this woman so much he could barely breathe, his chest was so damn tight, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

  “Yeah, I am. I’m not ashamed. Are you?”

  She scowled at him, wiping away the worried look that had filled her eyes the entire way over. Now she looked more like his Missy. “You know better than that.”

  He raised their clasped hands to his lips and kissed the top of hers. “I do.” He released her and concentrated on turning the truck into the driveway. His mother didn’t have a car, didn’t want one. She’d never learned to drive and had told him a hundred times she had no desire to learn at her age. The bus and her two feet did just fine, thank you very much. He worried about her, but she had refused to let him buy her a car.

  He glanced at Missy. She and his mama had a lot in common. They were both determined, stubborn ladies. Not that he’d ever tell them that. He did have some common sense when it came to dealing with women.

  He turned off the engine and undid his seat belt. Beside him, Missy hadn’t moved yet. He undid her restraints and took her hand. “Everything will be okay.”

  “Easy for you to say,” she muttered. “You don’t have to meet my family.” They’d discussed that at length. Missy hadn’t had any contact with her family other than her sister for years. She’d flat-out told him her father was a bigot and wouldn’t like him because he was white. He couldn’t care less about what her father thought. He only cared about what she thought.

  They’d decided not to bother to contact her family. She’d made a life for herself that didn’t include them. T.S. could understand that. He’d talked to his mother several times this week, telling her all about Missy. She couldn’t wait to meet her. She had more than enough love to share.

  “Let’s go.” He climbed out and came around to the passenger side. As usual, Missy hadn’t waited for him, but was already standing there waiting. He frowned at her but she just laughed and patted his chest.

  The wrapping around the flowers crinkled in her hand. She took a deep breath. “I’m ready.”

  He shook his head. Missy had never known the love of family. Luckily, he had. That and Lucas’ friendship had been the only things to get him through the dark time in his life. His brother had wasted his life, losing it far too soon. T.S. hadn’t made the same mistake.

  He put his hand on the small of her back and led her to the front door. He unlocked it and let himself in. “This is another one of my buildings,” he told her, hoping to take her mind off her nervousness.

  “How many buildings do you have?”

  “Six, including the one I live in. Seven, once we find something you like.”

  Missy stopped and stared up at him in wonder. “What does that mean?”

  “It means, I want you to have the home you want. We’ll go looking at buildings. When we find something you like, I’ll buy it and we’ll renovate.”

  “We’ll buy it,” she corrected. “I’ve got money and I’m part of this relationship.”

  “Whatever you want. Whatever makes you happy.” He dropped a kiss on her luscious mouth.

  She shook her head. “Buy me a building,” she muttered. “Are you crazy?”

  He spun her around, crushing the flowers between them. “Crazy in love,” he agreed as his mouth captured hers. He was sizzling when he released her a few moments later. “We’ve got to get going or my mother is going to be down here any second. I know she was watching and saw us drive up.”

  Missy practically shoved him away. “Ohmygod. Do I look okay? Did you mess up my makeup?”

  “You look beautiful, as always.” The compliment was nothing less than the truth. Beneath her coat, Missy was wearing a black skirt that hugged her hips and a white silk blouse that made her chocolate skin look utterly delectable. The gold necklace she wore matched the hoops hanging from her earlobes. She looked cool and poised and confident.

  And if they’d been going anywhere but his mother’s place they’d have never made it out the front door of her apartment.

  They started up the stairs again until they hit the second landing. “This is Mama’s place. Not too many stairs, but she’s above the ground floor, which is safer.” He reached out to knock on the door. Before he’d barely had a chance to do so it was whipped open.

  His mother stood there in one of her Sunday dresses, the ones she kept for church or special occasions. Her dark hair was styled and there was a huge welcoming smile on her face. “Come in. Come in.”

  Missy stepped in beside him. To take some of the pressure off her, he reached for his mother and gave her a hug. “Hey, Mama.”

  She cupped his cheeks in her hands. “You look so good. I hope you’re hungry. I made plenty of food.” She turned to Missy, who was still clutching the flowers to her chest. “And you must be Missy.”

  “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. MacNamara.” Missy thrust the flowers toward her.

  “Flowers. How lovely.” She took them and held them to her nose, inhaling deep. “Such a thoughtful girl. Come in. Theo, take her coat and hang it up.”

  “Yes, ma’am.” His reply brought an approving look from his mother and a smile from Missy. She liked seeing his mother boss him around. That wouldn’t last. Wouldn’t be long until his mama was trying to boss her around too. It would be interesting to see who ended up managing whom. With his luck they’d both gang up on him.

  He grinned to himself. He couldn’t wait.

  “Missy. You are such a pretty girl. Thin. We will fix that. Come.” Not waiting to see if they were following, his mother turned and headed to the kitchen.

  He almost laughed. Missy looked slightly dazed. He helped her out of her coat, helping himself to a kiss at the same time.

  “Stop it. What if your mother sees?”

  “She’d just start planning the wedding.”

  Missy’s eyes widened and she swallowed hard. “What are you talking about?”

  “You. Me. Together forever. I hadn’t planned to do this here, but…” He took a deep breath. “Marry me. Share my life with me.”

  “Are you sure?”

  “More sure than I’ve ever been about anything in my life.”

  Missy didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or both. Her nerves were shot. She’d been more frightened about meeting T.S.’ mother than even he realized. He and his mother were close. She’d have to be a total idiot not to see that. If his mother didn’t like her, it could really put a strain on their new relationship.

  She’d been so focused on this meeting and the fact she and T.S. were moving in together, she hadn’t thought any farther. She, who planned everything, hadn’t had any plans other than getting through today.

  Already he’d surprised her with the idea of buying a new place together. She liked that. It wouldn’t be her place or his place but their place.

  But this. This was crazy. “You want me to marry you?”


  She caught a twinge of uncertainty in his eyes before he masked it. They were both getting better but had a ways to go. But they would do it together. Certainty poured through her. “Yes.”


  She nodded. “Yes.”

  T.S. grabbed her into his arms and spun her around. As he kissed her, Missy could hear the sound of clapping. His mother. How had they forgotten his mother?

  He set her on his feet, grinning like a loon. She was happy, but a bit more reserved. What would his mother think?

  “A wedding. We’re going to have a wedding.” She swept Missy into her arms and hugged her. Missy was taller than Mrs. MacNamara, but the woman’s hug was fierce.

  She broke away and glared at her son. “Is that any way to ask a woman to marry you? In your mama’s foyer?”

  “I got carried away.”

  His mother clapped her hands. “Ah, young love. We must celebrate.”

  “You’re okay
with this?” Missy asked. “I mean I can understand if you have some concerns. We’ve known each other for months but have only been dating a short time.” No way was she telling his mother they were practically living together.

  He had his mother’s eyes. That thought struck Missy full force when Mrs. MacNamara turned to her. “The fact that you would ask shows me you are a good girl. You love him and that is all a mother can ask for.” T.S.’ mother patted at her eyes with a handkerchief she pulled out of her pocket. “You will be the daughter I never had. We will have such fun planning the wedding.”

  “Mama,” he warned.

  “Pah.” His mother waved him away. “This is for women to discuss. Yes?” She questioned Missy.

  “Yes. Absolutely yes. I’d love to have your help, Mrs. MacNamara.”

  “First, you must call me Sophia.”

  Missy shot T.S. a look before turning to his mother again. “Can you tell me his name? He refuses to tell me what T.S. stands for other than Theo.”

  His mother laughed. “It was always such a big name for a boy. He changed it to just his initials when he started junior high. Such a shame.”

  “Mama,” he groaned. “You don’t need to tell her that.” T.S. wrapped an arm around each woman.

  “You’re marrying the girl, Theo. She will see it on the marriage certificate.”

  He sighed and nodded. He hadn’t thought about that.

  Now Missy was really curious. “My middle name is Grace,” she offered.

  “Such a lovely name,” his mother praised. “Theo was named after my grandfathers.”

  He groaned and lowered his head. “It’s Theophilus Samuel.”

  Sophia patted her son on the cheek and smiled at Missy. “I must check on dinner.” She hurried to the kitchen, giving them a moment of privacy.

  Missy caught T.S.’ face in her hands. She’d never seen him embarrassed by anything before. He was so strong, so sure of himself. She could easily imagine him as a little boy, being teased about his name. “I love you, Theophilus Samuel.” She kissed him. “Theo.” And again. “T.S.” And yet again. “It doesn’t matter what your name is. It doesn’t matter what your past is. I love the man you are.”

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