Love MeOlivia Cunning
One Night with Sole Regret #12
by Olivia Cunning
Table of Contents
Love Me (One Night with Sole Regret, #12)
Also by Olivia Cunning
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems—except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews—without permission in writing from the author at [email protected].
This book is a work of fiction. The characters, events, and places portrayed in this book are products of the author’s imagination and are either fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intentional.
For more information on the author and her works, please visit www.oliviacunning.com.
Copyright 2019 Olivia Cunning
Published by Vulpine Press
Cover Design by Olivia Cunning and Charity Hendry
Cover Photo by info.zonecreative.it at depositphotos.com
Edited by Beth Hill at www.anoveledit.com
Sinners logo by Olivia Cunning
Sole Regret logo by Pamela Sinclair
Exodus End logo by Charity Hendry
Also by Olivia Cunning
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Also by Olivia Cunning
on Tour Series
Backstage Pass (Book 1)
Rock Hard (Book 2)
Hot Ticket (Book 3)
Wicked Beat (Book 4)
Double Time (Book 5)
Sinners at the Altar (Novellas 6.1 through 6.4)
Take Me to Paradise (Novella 7.1)
Almost Paradise (Novella 7.2)
Lost in Paradise (Novella 7.3)
Three’s Paradise (Novella 7.4)
One Night with
Try Me (Book 1)
Tempt Me (Book 2)
Take Me (Book 3)
Share Me (Book 0-A Prequel)
Touch Me (Book 4)
Tie Me (Book 5)
Tease Me (Book 6)
Tell Me (Book 7)
Treat Me (Book 8)
Thrill Me (Book 9)
Treasure Me (Book 10)
Trust Me (Book 11)
Love Me (Book 12)
Tame Me (Book 13)
World Tour Series
Insider (Book 1)
Outsider (Book 2)
Staged (Book 3)
Encore (Book 4)
Lindsey rolled over onto her side and stuffed a pillow between her knees to alleviate the ache in her hips and her lower back. Who knew that having a baby hurt before labor even began? Who knew she’d get so little sleep that she’d be walking around like a zombie for months even before the horror of late-night feedings? She’d had no idea in either case. But that wasn’t why she couldn’t sleep. The rhythmic thumping coming from across the hall told her that Owen and Caitlyn were going at it again. Those two were like a couple of rabbits in the spring. She didn’t want the couple’s sexy time to make her heart ache, but she couldn’t help it. She wanted Owen for herself, but all he cared about was Caitlyn.
Lindsey curled around her huge belly, hugging Owen’s baby with one arm. “He’ll come around once he holds you, little one,” she whispered. “He’ll love us both. I know he will.”
It wasn’t like she had anyone else. And maybe once her son was in her arms, she wouldn’t need anyone else to care about, but right now, when she was huge and destitute and so alone, she could really use someone she could depend on. Owen filled that role better than anyone, even if he was fucking another woman in the room across the hall.
The rhythmic thumping was now punctuated with moans and cries of passion. Lindsey loved the honey oak doors and the polished hardwood floors in Owen’s cottage, but she hated the lack of thresholds. Sound carried as if both her bedroom door and his were wide open. She pulled the pillow from between her knees and crammed it over her head, hoping to drown out the sounds. The sounds. Ugh, the sounds.
After a few minutes, she cautiously lifted her pillow, rubbing her back with her free hand, and strained her ears to hear if they were done. Maybe now she could finally get to sleep. She just hoped that sleep wasn’t plagued with that really disturbing erotic dream about every guy in Sole Regret having Joe’s face as they held her down and took turns fucking her. The dream wasn’t anything like the fun, sensual night she’d shared with them all on Christmas Eve. And Joe sure as hell hadn’t been there. She hated that guy. It was bad enough that she’d had to tolerate him at work when she’d had a job. A well-paying job with medical benefits, opportunities for advancement, and steady work hours. She’d even put up with that office creeper staring at her constantly if it meant she could have her job back.
Across the hall, Caitlyn giggled. Owen’s low voice rumbled. A moan. His soft laugh. The mattress squeaked, and then the thumping began again.
I need to find my own place, Lindsey thought. And as nice as it was for Owen’s parents to rent her the apartment over their garage for pennies on the dollar, she couldn’t truly find her independence there either. But where could she go? Her attempts to find a new job in a different state after being fired from her last place of employment—with no good professional references because of it—and within a few months of becoming an unprepared, dead-broke single mother had all met with regretful no’s. Not that any member of human resources would say her pregnancy was the reason for their rejection. After the baby was born, she could double her efforts to find work, and she vowed to repay everyone who had helped her there in Austin. Maybe she could figure out a way to make money from home for a while. At least until the baby was born. Or until Owen realized he was in love with her and married her. She would love to make his house a comfortable home and take care of him. Caitlyn wasn’t the kind of woman who would make that kind of sacrifice for him. Couldn’t he see that?
Lindsey lifted the pillow from her head again to discover that him falling for her wasn’t happening anytime soon. He was still lost in Caitlyn-land across the hall. If that woman would just go away, then Lindsey and Owen would have the chance to get to know each other better. Their one night of passion six months ago hadn’t afforded much opportunity to do anything but bang. Lindsey could make him happy. She knew she could. Maybe if she tried harder, he’d notice ho
w pleasant and easy she could make his life. He already enjoyed her cooking. She kept the house neat and tidy. She even did his laundry. When they had time to talk, they got along well and even laughed together. And she already knew from that fateful tour-bus orgy that they were sexually compatible. So why wasn’t he interested?
Across the hall, Owen emitted a satisfied groan that made Lindsey’s toes curl and a sheen of sweat break out all over her body.
I have to get rid of Caitlyn.
Caitlyn’s answering cry of bliss made Lindsey doubt the older woman would give Owen up without a fight. She flung her pillow across the room. Something solid bonked against the surface of the dresser, rolled, and then hit the floor with a shattering crash.
“Dammit,” she muttered, hauling her ungainly body out of bed.
The door across the hall opened, and footsteps crossed to her door. “Are you okay, Lindsey?” Owen asked. “I heard something break.”
“I’m fine. I just hope it wasn’t something dear to you.”
“Can I come in?” He was very cautious about opening doors without warning after he’d caught her naked emerging from the shower a few days before. She hadn’t meant for that to happen, but she wasn’t sorry it had.
“Yes,” she said, smoothing her hair as best she could and turning on the lamp beside the bed. Her nightgown was semi-transparent when lit from behind. Hopefully, he’d notice, though maybe it was better that he didn’t. She wasn’t exactly in her sexiest physical shape at the moment. The door creaked open, and when he flicked on the overhead light, she definitely noticed that he wasn’t wearing anything but a pair of shorts. The man had the muscle definition of a fitness model, and the gorgeous sight of him—especially the concern in his bright blue eyes—made her already chaotic hormones swirl out of control.
No one had warned her about how flipping horny she’d be while pregnant either, and she hadn’t had sex since some wayward sperm had produced the life growing inside her.
Fuck my life.
Owen squatted and lifted the pillow from near the dresser. A gray and blue decorative vase lay in pieces on the floor. Lindsey winced.
“I’m sorry. It wasn’t a family heirloom, I hope.”
“Nah,” he said, offering her an encouraging smile. “Got it at Pier One a couple of years ago.”
God, that smile did things to her. And he was so freaking nice to her. How could she not be completely in love with the guy? Not many men would have given her a place to stay, helped her get medical care, and patiently encouraged her to find her way without pushing or belittling her or expecting anything in return. Especially not a man who was unsure if he was the father of her baby. But Lindsey was sure. She knew in her heart that the man crouched by the door picking up shards of pottery was meant to father her children. And not just the one kicking the hell out of her bladder at that very moment. All of her children.
“Careful,” he said as she approached. “You’re barefoot. Don’t cut yourself.”
“You’re barefoot too,” she pointed out. And nearly naked. She released an internal sigh of joyful bliss. How great would it be to live with this gorgeous, talented sweetheart of a man all the time and be his love, his lover, his partner, his best friend, his champion, his confidant, his everything? Caitlyn had no idea how lucky she was.
“But I can actually see my feet.” He chuckled at her miserable condition.
She leaned over and shoved his shoulder, nearly toppling him backward and saying, “Hey, that wasn’t very nice.” But she loved that he teased her. It meant that he liked her, didn’t it? Maybe not romantically, but . . . Hopefully, someday soon he’d see the light.
“Sorry,” he said, standing with the majority of the vase pieces in his hands. “Never doubt that you’re beautiful.”
She flushed, dropping her gaze. Her belly fluttered with happiness and optimism. His being nice gave her so much hope for a future together.
“I think I want a sandwich,” he said. “Are you hungry?”
She grinned. “I’m always hungry. This son of yours is going to come out huge.”
The warm smile disappeared from his face, replaced with a worried scowl.
Stop bringing up the baby, she said to herself. They’d have the results of the paternity test in a few days, and then she and Owen could focus on the child they shared, the love they should share. Until then, she vowed she wouldn’t bring his son up again, because she didn’t like to see Owen scowl.
“Do we have any more of that mango sherbet?” she asked.
“With pickles?” A flash of a smile eased his tension.
“Ew, no. That’s gross,” she said. “I was thinking jalapeños.”
He laughed. “Now that is gross.”
“Everything okay, Owen?” Caitlyn called from the open bedroom across the hall.
“Yeah, it was just a vase. I’m going downstairs to make a sandwich. Do you want one?”
“I want you,” she called.
“Again? You just had me.”
“And I’ll never get enough. But a sandwich would be nice.”
Lindsey forced her jealousy down into the pit of her stomach where it rumbled around and made her crave chocolate. She was the one to follow Owen down to the kitchen, though. She was the one he cautioned on the stairs. She was the one he scooped ice cream for. Not Caitlyn.
“I thought it was the woman’s job to make sandwiches after sex,” she said as she dumped chocolate syrup over the top of her huge bowl of mango sherbet.
Owen chuckled. “Yeah, well, Caitlyn is different.”
“Masculine,” Lindsey said, and then she bit her lip, wishing she hadn’t said that. Insulting Caitlyn’s femininity would only make him defensive of her.
“Strong. Capable. Independent. But not masculine. Not at all.”
“So you like strong women?” Lindsey asked. She hadn’t shown him much of her own strength over the past week, but then she’d been so relieved to finally have someone to depend on, she’d relished allowing the burden of staying strong to falter a bit. Maybe that had been a mistake.
“I like Caitlyn,” Owen said, slathering Dijon mustard on grainy slices of bread. “Love Caitlyn,” he corrected, a crooked grin twisting the corner of his mouth.
Ugh. Lindsey did not want to talk about that. “So why hasn’t Kellen been over to visit? I thought you two were close.” And with Owen’s big brother, Chad, in the hospital, Lindsey figured Owen could use a little support from his best friend. Also, Kellen had promised emotional support to Lindsey, and she hadn’t seen him since the day they’d gotten news of Chad’s injuries.
Owen went stiff, as if suddenly stricken by a vicious strain of tetanus.
After a moment, Lindsey laid a hand on his wrist. “Owen?”
“I’m pretending that Kellen no longer exists,” he said, slapping several cuts of deli ham onto the stack of bread. He added cheese slices and picked up the plate of partially assembled sandwiches. “Do you mind cleaning up?”
He didn’t wait for her to agree, just turned to leave the kitchen with her gaping at his perfect, retreating back. What the hell was going on between Owen and Kellen? She’d thought it odd that the two hadn’t been hanging out together, but apparently, she’d missed something huge.
Shrugging, she scooped a bite of sherbet into her mouth, her eye twitching as the tartness clashed with the sweet chocolate she’d dumped on top. She wouldn’t wash it down the sink, though. She’d finish every bite. She settled into the bench that ran along one side of the breakfast table and reached for the laptop Owen had let her borrow for her job search.
She checked to see if any new postings had been listed in banking and finance since she’d checked before bed and sent her resume to a few positions she wasn’t actually qualified for just in case they were as desperate to hire someone as she was to be hired. While she was online, she couldn’t resist logging into her mock stock portfolio. She wasn’t sure why she felt compelled to play around with fak
e funds in the real stock market using the simulator program she’d discovered—she obviously sucked at buying and selling stocks at the right moment or she wouldn’t have been fired. But she loved the excitement of making money grow and used to think she had an eye for trading trends. For her mock trading, she’d started with a generous hundred thousand dollars of fake investment money, and after only five days of simulated trading, she was up six grand. If it had been real money, she could make it on her own. Until she made a mistake again and lost it all in one bad trade. Cringing at how that thought made her belly queasy—or maybe that was the mango and chocolate combination in her stomach—she closed the lid to the laptop and dug the small notebook out of the purse sitting on the table beside her bowl. She flipped it to Owen’s page and entered an IOU of seven dollars for the mango sherbet and forty dollars for the vase she’d broken.
The list of what she owed Owen was growing frighteningly long. Would she ever get out from under her debts to the man? As she tucked her notebook back into her purse and stuffed another bite of tangy sherbet into her mouth, she decided she’d never be able to truly pay him back for his kindness to her. That kind of altruism was priceless. She might be able to pay him back with her love, if he’d let her, but the returning rhythmic thumping of the headboard against the wall made her doubt she’d ever get the opportunity. The baby kicked her in the side, and she couldn’t tell if her son was agreeing with her skepticism or encouraging her to have faith in possibility. She rubbed her belly and smiled, choosing to hope for her chance, even if the odds weren’t in her favor.
Chad gripped the sheet on either side of hips as his bed spun around a corner and through a set of double doors.
Why did these assholes insist on moving him all over this godforsaken planet? Was it asking too much that he be allowed to rest for five damned minutes before they wheeled him onto yet another helicopter or airplane? Wasn’t that what injured people were supposed to do? Rest?
“Your family will be here in a few hours, Sergeant Mitchell,” the young nurse said as she bent to lock the wheels of his bed. “Would you like me to clean you up a little before they arrive?”