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Sanctuary Hill

Written by Paula Graves

Chapter Twenty

"You're not just telling me what I need to hear, are you?" From beneath the blanket swaddling her, Lexie's voice sounded muffled and girlish. Mark smiled at the memories it evoked.

"Nope. They're both in police custody." He sat on the sofa beside her and tugged the edge of the blanket down so he could look into her sleepy baby blues. He'd been terrified, for the heart-stopping seconds it took to race from his truck to the edge of the overlook, that he wouldn't reach her in time.

Then his hands had closed around hers, her fingers had clasped his, and he could breathe again.

"If you hadn't gotten there when you did—" A shudder rippled through her slim body.

He put his arms around her, tugging her close. "I should have gotten to you a lot sooner than that," he murmured against her temple. "I should have gotten there twelve years ago."

She rubbed her forehead against his jaw. "I used to think you'd figure it out. You'd know I couldn't do what I was accused of—"

"I'm so sorry. I didn't believe it, not at first. But the evidence—" He felt sick, thinking about how hurt she must have felt, how alone. "And you confessed."

"I know." She pushed back the blanket and twisted in his grasp until she could lift both of her strong, cool hands to his face. "I expected from you the kind of trust I didn't give you myself. I'm sorry. I should have told the truth. I should have let Sable deal with the consequences. She might not have been slapped with the same sentence I was, and maybe the consequences would have saved her life."

"You can't know what would have changed."

"I'd be with you," she said, her voice rich with conviction.

"You are with me," he said with equal conviction, cradling her face the way she was holding his. "And if you think I'm going to let you go this time—"

Her lips curved. "I'm still nothing but trouble, Fitz."

"Oh, believe me, Lexie. That's what I'm counting on." He bent and kissed her. Deeply. Thoroughly.

She broke away a few moments later, gazing up at him with desire-drunk eyes. "I come with even more baggage now."

"Like Adelaide?"

She nodded. "I'm not going to stop trying to get custody."

"I always wanted to have kids with you, Lex. You know that."

"It's a lot of years later."

"Not so many." He kissed the top of her nose. "You want to be Adelaide's mother, right?"

She nodded. "I do."

"Then we'll make it happen."

She looked up at him, tears sparkling on her lower lids. "You're mighty sure of yourself."

"I'm a Marine. We never stop fighting."

"Never?"

"Never." He rested his forehead against hers. "I never stopped loving you, Lexie. I never will."

She smiled at him. "That's what I'm counting on."

THE END

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About the author

Down here in the American South, we don't hide our crazy people. We sh...

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Paula Graves

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