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Mother Faker: Chapter 23

Liv

My brother continues throwing figurative daggers at me as we bead bracelets alongside my kids.

“You married the jackass!” he’d howled when we went for a walk and I finally admitted that I did, indeed, marry Beckett in Vegas.

Even after I assured him it was temporary and only for show, he was pissed.

“He took advantage of you while you were drunk?”

I stuck to the idea that Beckett has been nothing but a perfect gentleman, even if I can’t remember the events of that night—during the ceremony or after. Never mind our encounter this morning. My brother did not need to know about my shower snooping.

“Want me to make you one, too, Mommy?” Finn asks, holding up a multicolor bracelet that says bossma.

“I’m the bossma?”

Beside me, Winnie giggles.

God, that’s a good sound. Her mood has lifted so much in the last hour.

“No, he’s making it for Bossman,” Winnie explains.

“Bossma has a good ring to it,” Beckett says, wandering back into the living room with a Diet Coke in hand.

He slides into the seat beside me and pushes the soda in my direction.

“You don’t want it?”

With a smile, he shakes his head. “Nah, got it for you.”

“What? Why?”

“You have one every day at three.” His brow furrows as he assesses the can. “Do you not want it?”

I’m too surprised to not speak the truth. “You noticed that?”

His green eyes hold mine. “I notice everything when it comes to you.”

Oh.

Butterflies take flight at the tenderness in his expression.

He takes the can back, pops the top, and pushes it toward me again. All the while, I can feel my brother’s attention focused on us, like he’s trying to figure out what’s going on. You and me both, Declan.

Addie’s cry jars me from the haze I got lost in, but before I can get up, Beckett squeezes my shoulder and stands. “Relax, I got her. Hang out with your brother.”

And then he’s pushing off toward her Pack ’n Play and lifting her up. “Hey, Little One,” he coos. “You feeling left out?” His smooth tone settles my girl immediately.

She snuggles into Beckett’s sweater-clad chest as he heads back to the table and situates himself beside me.

“Beads are a choking hazard,” Declan grunts.

Beckett smiles. “That’s why I won’t let her near them. We’re just gonna watch, right, Little One?”

Finn holds up his finished bracelet with a big smile on his face. “Look, Bossman. It’s finished!”

Beckett holds out his fist, and without instruction, Finn bumps his against it like he’s done it before. “Awesome. Slide it on me, Huck.”

My little guy pushes it over Beckett’s hand and settles it against the one that Winnie gave him. The way the green and pink beads complement his olive skin turns me on in a way that is wholly inappropriate. Why is this so hot? My boss wearing bracelets made by my kids?

Your husband, my wicked mind taunts.

I lick my lips and dip my chin. While I have no idea what’s going on with this man today, I can’t hide that I like it.


“You sure this is okay?” We’re sitting across from one another in a booth, the fire in the oversized hearth blazing nearby.

Beckett grins. “Why wouldn’t it be?”

I shrug. “They don’t have steak, or your regular wine list.”

Though he shakes his head, his smile remains. His posture is more relaxed, his mood more breezy than ever. I’m not sure what to make of it.

“Don’t need anything but time with you, Livy. That’s all that was in the rules.”

The freaking butterflies from earlier erupt in a flurry inside my chest. I have to make a conscious effort to remember the other rules. Licking my lips, I quip, “No PDA. That was another one.”

He frowns. “Not really a fan of that one.”

The flutter turns to unease in an instant. “Beckett, what are you doing here? Really? If it’s about this morning⁠—”

He slides his hand over mine on the tabletop and squeezes. “Can we just focus on tonight? On our date.”

“You don’t date,” I whisper, trying to remember all the reasons I can’t fall for my husband.

His green eyes dance. “Well, I didn’t before you.”

“Sabrina,” I start.

Was not you.”

With a gulp, I lower my chin. Looking at him full-on like this is dangerous. But from this vantage point, I’m met with the bracelets he’s still wearing. Bossman and Duck are spelled out in black letters against pink string, accentuated with pink and green beads.

Closing my eyes and trying to ignore the pull this man has on me, I count to ten while I breathe. Four isn’t going to cut it.

When I look up again, he’s moving around the table.

“Then why did you keep seeing her?”

Beckett slides in beside me and turns so he’s facing me. He rests one arm along the back of the booth. The other arm—the one with my kids’ bracelets—is resting on the table. The man is practically caging me into the space between him and the wall. “I like companionship. I like dependability. To know precisely how things will go. It’s why I’m so hard on my employees. If things don’t go as planned, my mind spirals. I need control.” He flexes his hand like he’s uncomfortable with that thought. “Dating? The anxiety that comes with the unknown—what a person is looking for, what their expectations of me are—is too much. Sabrina knew me, knew what I needed and gave it. And I knew how to keep her happy. Until it wasn’t enough anymore.”

He talks about her in the past tense, but is it really over between them, or just on pause while we’re muddling through this thing?

“And now?”

“Life with you is complete chaos.” He flattens his palm against the table, like somehow admitting that calms him.

I lower my gaze to the wood grain and nod. “Right.”

With that relaxed hand, he nudges my chin up until I’m forced to look at him. Stroking his thumb back and forth, he hovers a breath away. “And I’m having a ducking blast.”

My heart stutters, and my eyes find his.

He chuckles as he presses closer. “I should have tried for the chaos earlier.” Then his lips brush against mine. “Because I ducking love it.”

His tongue swipes against my lips, seeking entrance, and there’s no fighting my natural response. I moan into his mouth as electricity zaps through me and heat blooms in my belly. Strong arms snake around me, pulling me close, causing a whimper to escape my throat. I can’t stop kissing him.

I don’t ever want to stop kissing him.

This need, this thirst for him, I have no idea where it came from, but God, I don’t know if it can ever be quenched.

I pull back, because I need to see him, need to know this is real.

The desire swimming in his eyes leaves me breathless. He presses his thumb against my bottom lip and dips back in to lick at it.

“What are we doing?” I ask, delirious. My brain caught in a fog of lust, my limbs heavy.

His lips brush against mine as he smiles. “Doing what I should have done years ago. Kissing you, Livy. I’m kissing you, and I don’t plan to stop.”

Breathless, I edge back and study him. “Why?”

The warmth in his expression steals my last breath. “Because so long as you’re my wife, you’re mine.”


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