She moved back from the door and wordlessly motioned them in.
Briggs stepped in and touched her back, setting her ahead of him. The front door opened to a large, welcoming living room. Hardwood floors glistened, warmed by large area rugs in bright colors. The furniture was mostly leather, deeply upholstered, and large enough that the three men who now filled the room would be almost comfortable in it. The couch and both chairs had pillows and a blanket each, and books—on the seat itself, or a nearby table. Kids’ books, like for a seven-year-old. And others, like a mother would read, to herself or to her child. A lot of books. A couple of them were authored by Briggs Henriksen, he happened to notice.
Gio pushed through and went to the photos Briggs had known would be there. On walls, tabletops, and mantle—to either side of the crystal Benny—pictures documented Maisy’s life from babyhood. Chase had stayed by the door. Briggs stuck close by Evvie in the center of the room, though she had moved away from his touch.
“You don’t know which of us she belongs to, do you, Evvie?”
Evvie looked back. “She belongs to me, Chase. Beyond that, I think of her as coming from all of you. And from Shepherd, too.”
Briggs could see what she meant. The thing that had driven all three of them to her that night was the loss of Shep. “Evvie,” he said. “We don’t intend to take her from you. But we should know who the father is. We should have done better by you.”
“It doesn’t matter to me who fathered her. I see all of you in her, including Shepherd. And I have done fine by myself. We have done fine.”
Gio spoke next. “We should have been there for you, Ev. One of us should have been. You should have told us.”
Evvie wrapped her arms around herself, looking forlorn. Gio had always been the gentlest with her, despite his temper. Getting chastised by him obviously hurt. Then she rallied. “Told you what, Giovanni? That the trailer park whore’s daughter had sex with three men in one night and doesn’t know who her baby’s father is?”
Gio’s temper flared back. “It wasn’t like that, Ev, and you know it.”
Briggs put an arm around Evvie’s shoulder and pulled her in a little. He touched his lips to her temple. “No. It wasn’t like that. We loved you.”
She kept her head turned down, away. “Did you plan it? The way you came, all three of you alone, that night?”
“No,” Briggs reassured. “We each came to you out of need, on our own, independently. None of us knew until just now that the others had done the same thing.
“We also each came to see you last Saturday, Ev, after what happened a week ago. Each of us wanted to see you again, and we all saw you with Maisy.
“Every one of us thought we were fathers, Ev, and that you’d kept our daughter from us.”
“I’m sorry,” Evvie said. “I didn’t mean to keep anything from you. You were all gone. Shepherd was gone. I just thought of Maisy as something of mine, like a gift from you all. She was what I had. All that I had.”
“We’re ashamed, Evvie, that we left you alone. Not one of us was responsible enough to check on you, to make sure there hadn’t been a problem.”
“There wasn’t a problem, Briggs. There was a baby. And she was mine. Is mine.”
Briggs nodded, understanding even though it didn’t relieve her of guilt. Or him, either. “She was all you had. But you should have had one of us, too.”
“I had Miss Victory. She watched Maisy while I went to school. I got my degree, and then I got a job. I’ve had all that I needed.”
“Evvie,” Chase spoke sternly. “We’ll get testing done. Then one of us is going to marry you.
Briggs and Evvie spoke together, and Chase raised a brow at them both.
He spoke to Evvie first. “Yes. One of us is that girl’s father, and none of us ever would have meant to have a child raised by a single mother. We might have behaved carelessly the night of Shep’s funeral, but we each would have stood up to our actions.”
Then he turned his attention to Briggs. “And yes, if you’re Maisy’s father, you’ll do the right thing. I promise you will.”
Briggs waved away Chase’s threat. “That’s not what I meant. I don’t care which of us is the father. What I meant is that I’d like to—” What? Marry Evvie?
Maybe, Briggs thought. He let the idea settle and didn’t find wild, panicky objections banging around in his brain. But he hadn’t seen her for eight years. It seemed a little unreasonable to be talking marriage.
“Evvie, would you—? I’d like to—”
“Wait.” Gio put down the photo he was holding and walked closer to Evvie and Briggs. “I’d like to, also.”
“Also what?” Chase walked closer, too. They pretty much had Evvie surrounded. “What are you guys suggesting?”
Briggs stepped over the cliff. He took Evvie’s hand and held it gently. “Evvie, you know I’ve always loved you. I’d like to see more of you. If things work out between us, I’d like to be Maisy’s father. I’d like to be your husband.”
Gio took her other hand. “I’d like the same thing, Ev.”
“Shit.” Chase tugged his hand through his hair and walked to a window.
“It doesn’t matter if Maisy is yours, Chase. If Evvie agrees, I’ll take her as my own.” Briggs was entirely sincere, sure of the truth of it.
Chase turned around. “That’s not what I meant. I meant, shit, I want the same thing.”
“She’ll need to choose.”
“Now, I mean.” His voice was rough, harsh. He had her jacket open, and he ran his fingers under the lace of her bra to swipe at one already pebbled nipple. But just that fast his hands were sliding up under her skirt, brushing her clit on their way to finding the elastic of her panties. “Now.”
“Yes,” she said again, emphatically, like she understood what he meant and consented to it, even though he didn’t, couldn’t, fathom that she did.
No matter. He tugged her panties down, knocking off at least one of those red high-heels in his urgency. “I have a condom,” he offered, determined to be not quite the idiot he’d been eight years earlier. He’d better find it, like now, because he already had his dick in his hand, hard and eager to find heaven.
“You don’t need it.”
“Wha—” He wasn’t all the way sure what she’d said—she’d been talking around his tongue.
“It’s okay. The timing’s—”
Good, he hoped she’d been about to say. Not right. He hoped it a lot, because he was inside her now, thrust deeply, buried balls-deep, just like he wanted.
It took them both aback, that sudden, abrupt incursion. He paused, shuddering at the sweet bliss of it, the profound sense of coming home. He growled in ecstatic pleasure.
He thought she was okay. Certainly, she was wet for him, her hot pussy a tight, tight fit but still slickly giving way. And she shuddered, too, letting out a satisfied moan. She had her arms wrapped tightly around his neck, and her mouth opened readily for him when he thrust his tongue in again.
She sucked on him, more enthusiasm than skill, and he lifted her up so she could circle her legs around him.
He leaned back once to look at her. Last chance. “You sure?”
She had a hard, greedy grip in his hair now, and he fucking loved it.
“Yes,” she said. She put a little attitude into it.
He couldn’t help but grin. “I’m going to fuck you now.”
“If you’re done talking about it.”
Okay, that was a little pissy.
Like he had a job to do, if he was man enough for it.
He fucking was. In-fucking-deed he was. He fucked into her, a long stroke out and back in hard, even deeper.
It was fucking spectacular. He growled again, rolling his head in the glory of it. She whimpered some encouragement, and then he was gone.
He flailed into her. He got one hand free from behind her and found a breast. He palmed her, loving the feeling of lace against his hand, then tore it aside to have her flesh. Her breast was full and firm, the nipple hard against his palm. He took it with finger and thumb and rolled it gently. Then firmly, vigorously, even, because she loved it. She gave him a rough, encouraging little “yes” and said his name with a helpless plea each time he went harder.
Until finally there were no words but only his grunts and her mews of pleasure, more and more urgent until they weren’t mews anymore but rough, urgent wails, and she was coming. She rocked back hard against the door, doing her best to ride him, to meet him and open herself to his thrusts.
She was a wild, incredible fuck, so quick to come. She drew him with her, the sweet spasms of her cunt bringing on his own orgasm. He growled and then roared, fucking ruthlessly into her, barely thinking to wrap his arms around her to keep from pounding her back hard against the door. He burrowed his face into the crook of her neck, breathing her scent in, tasting her. Leaving his mark.
Shuddering, he gave her his cum. He thrust deep and held, spurt after spurt bursting from him in wrenching spasms, filling her. She seemed aware of it, stilling her own movements, her wailing breaths quieting to gratified moans.
He had wild, outlandish, unlike-him thoughts about the symbolism of that exchange, the giving of his essence into her body.
It shook him a bit.
Maybe he’d finally succeeded in fucking his own brains out.
He still held her hard, still breathed her in with his face pressed into her neck. Struggling to get his head about him, he straightened a little. Without looking at her, he lifted her a bit so he could disengage and then set her on her feet.
A couple more calming, centering breaths and he raised his head.
Then, looking at her, he wanted her all over again. She was fucking sweet-hot-sex. Her breath was still a bit labored. Her breasts lifted with each inhalation, the one still cupped by her bra and the other bare, the nipple red and ripe from the working over he’d given it. Her skirt was still gathered up over her hips, her pussy just hidden from view, but the line of her shapely thighs pointed the way nonetheless.
She looked back at him, her hands fallen now to rest on his arms, bent as he steadied her—or himself—with a grasp at her waist. Her lips were a little swollen, her eyes a little dazed.
She looked replete, very well fucked. He knew he’d satisfied her. There wasn’t a shadow of doubt.
“I have finer moves than that. I swear I do.”
She laughed, a sweet sound.
“I can do better.”
With a gentle caress, she held her hand against his face. “Better might kill me.”
He held back a grin—maybe. “Me, too. But that’s not going to stop me.”
He wanted to show her he knew how to be a gentleman, that he knew something about loving a woman besides a quick, needy fuck against a door. He wanted to be tender, gentle with her.
Most of all, he wanted to be inside that sweet body again.