“Did I wake you?” Stokely opened the door wearing nothing but a pair of basketball shorts. I’d stopped by my sister’s for a few drinks and decided that I didn’t wanna go straight home to listen to the silence and the ceiling fan while Khassidy was at Khembrell’s. “Nah.” He lied, his voice still groggy from sleeping. “You’re good. Come in.” He stepped to the side with the scent of Irish Spring leaping off his chest into my nose as I brushed past him making my way into his home. I knew the man had to be exhausted after working a sixteen-hour shift. But I wasn’t gonna get a wink of sleep until I laid eyes on him and dumped this guilt off my chest. It was unnerving, how bad I felt for lying to him about Khem’s wife being at the meeting. The shit was crowding my mind like a little consciousness angel on my shoulder. I hadn’t felt this bad about withholding information since the last time I lied to Khassidy about her Christmas gifts being hidden at her Grandma’s because she was acting up at school the week before Holiday break. “Is Jace here?” I asked, sitting my purse down on one of the hardwood side tables in Stokely’s living room. He kept his place spotless—or at least the cleaning lady did. “Nah, he’s with Chara this weekend?” He cleared his throat, walking into the kitchen and pulling the frig open. “You thirsty? You smell like wine coolers.” He teased, turning his back to me and reaching in to grab two bottled waters. “It’s Hen and coke.” I lied. It was definitely a damn wine cooler since that’s all I could handle. “And yes, I’ll take a water.” He held the waters and pushed the refrigerator closed, then turned around and approached me at the counter. “Something on your mind?” He asked, unscrewing the top on one of the bottles and sliding it in my direction. “What? Why would you ask that?” My voice squeaked with guilt. “Camille, it’s one in the morning.” His tired eyes blinked and his head leaned to the side. “Either you’re horny or worried. And since you ain’t wearing them heels I like, I’m assuming it’s the latter.” “You know what, maybe I should just come back tomorrow.” I said, suddenly regretting what I came for. “Or you could tell me now and avoid that crease over your forehead.” He ran his thumb across my forehead, then trailed his hand down the side of my face. And why did that have to feel so damn good? “Khem’s wife didn’t show up.” I grabbed his hand and blurted it out. “She’s asking for a divorce and just… it was a mess, baby.” “And why didn’t you tell me?” He tried to pull his hand away but I had a strong hold on it—well, as strong as a tiny hand against a much bigger one could muster. “Because of that look on your face.” I said. “I didn’t want you assuming shit like you’re probably doing right now.” “If I’m assuming shit right now, it’s because you lied.” He said, now successfully pulling his hand away. “Without that, I wouldna had nothin to assume.” “Stokely, nothing happened.” I voiced as he picked up his water and went back into the living room to flop down on the couch. “Shit got awkward and I left early. Now I’m here.” “What do you mean shit got awkward? Did he touch you?” He turned his head to look at me as I took a seat next to him. “No. No, it was nothing like that. Khem’s not that guy.” “Then what guy is he?” He asked, eyes sleepy and angry but still too gentle to be intimidating. “Baby, just… can we just talk about this in the mor— “ “Camille,” He cut me off. “You just showed up at my door at one in the morning. I’m living off twenty minutes of sleep. Whatever you drove over here to tell me you need to say it right now or be prepared to feel me tossing and turning all damn night, because I’m sure as hell not letting you leave.” Damn. The demanding Stokely was even sexier than the lenient one. Think I got a little wet between the legs at the bark in his voice. “Khem’s not over us.” I said, turned on and willing to submit to his demands for that reason alone. “I mean, I am, but he’s not. And I had to put him in his place. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you the whole truth but I rushed over here—well after calming my nerves with a wine cooler at Veda’s. But I rushed over here to tell you the truth because I… I umm…” “You what?” He reached up and placed a finger against my chin, turning my head to look him in the eyes, melting me all to pieces without even trying. “Earlier, when you said you loved me,” I started, heart racing in my chest and pussy dripping wet in my jeans because he looked and smelled so damn good “Did you mean that? Like really mean it? Not on some, “I don’t want her to be mad at me so I’ma just say it” type shit, but on some “I never thought I’d fall in love with a woman after she massaged my scalp” type shit.” “Is that a serious inquiry?” Stokely smirked at me. Those juicy ass lips sent even more heat traveling down my center, remembering the last time they landed on the most sensitive parts of my skin. “It is. So, answer me.” I smirked right back, straightening my posture and waiting for his response. “Camille Delila Rose.” “Baby, that’s not my name.” I stopped him. “Well that’s what I call you when I’m making up songs about you in the shower.” He said without flinching. “What? Why?” I squinted. This man might just be certifiable. Too bad I’d already fallen head over heels in love. “Why not?” He shrugged, eyes bucking at me like all of this made perfect sense. “Anyway, that’s off subject. And the answer is yes, I meant every word. I love you. I knew I would from the moment you leaned my head back in the bowl. You got strong forearms for such a small woman and that’s all I’ve ever wanted.” “Stokely.” I looked at him like he couldn’t be serious. “What? A man wants what he wants.” He said. “And you know what else I want?” He got up from the sofa and stood right in front of me, dick visibly hardening beneath the thin fabric of his shorts. “What’s that?” I bit down on my bottom lip looking up into his deep brown eyes. “I want your body all over my body like LSG.” He reached down and grabbed me by the hand. “I thought you were tired.” I stood up putting my head at chest level with this tall glass of chocolate goodness. “I am.” He nodded, leaning forward to drag his teeth down my nude glossed lips. “That’s why you’ll be doing all the work.” He trailed a kiss from my lips and down the side of my neck. “This is what I like to call apology sex, baby. All I’m expected to do is lay there and all you’re expected to do is everything else. You good with that?” He slanted his eyes down at me, lips parting into a cunning smile as he dared me to say no. “Fine. But can I shower first?” I asked, pulling his hands together as he roped them around my waist. “Nah, you know I like it salty.” He grinned, reaching down around my thighs to pick me up and wrap my legs around his waist. “Khas coming home in the morning?” He whispered against my neck, suckling at my skin like a fiendish blood hound. “No. She’ll be at Veda’s til Sunday.” I purred, grinding against Stokely’s erection as he pulled me harder against him. “Good. You’re mine til Sunday.” He decided without asking my permission. And God knows I didn’t mind. With my legs wrapped tightly around his waist, I leaned back to get a better look at the man I was so lucky to be loved by and in love with. I hadn’t had the best experiences to begin with, but all the hope, stability, and kept promises my heart desired were right there in his eyes. I was literally looking at love, and it felt better than I’d ever imagined. “I love you, Stokely.” I said, having no other word to articulate how I felt. “And I believe you.” He winked. “But I think we should go in this bedroom and get you out of these clothes to make sure.” Always the damn comedian!