sex would blow any chance we had of something deeper.”
                  “I’m trusting your instincts,” he told her. “Women are much better at intuitive living.”
                  Ivy’s eyebrows arched. “Where did you get that phrase?”
                  He shrugged. “My sister may have used it a time or two.”
                  “In relation to what?”
                  “Whom,” he corrected. “Like I said, I wasn’t good about timing. At setting a foundation and building up. She told me I need to slow down and feel . Get a feel for the woman I’m with, for what she wants. So I’m doing that.”
                  “Giving me what I want,” Ivy affirmed. “And taking time out of the equation.”
                  He leaned across the table. “What do you think about time and us?”
                  She met his gaze. “I think more about now, this minute, than I do tomorrow,” she admitted. “But I’m open to possibility.”
    Chapter Nine
                  “Tell me more about your childhood,” Jake invited.
                  “The way to my heart is through my psyche, Dr. Freud?”
                  “We have two hours to learn the most important things about each other,” he corrected. “Enough’s been said that I think our childhoods rank significantly in shaping who we are today.”
                  “So you start then.”
                  He nodded. “Ok. I have an older sister named Jenna. Our parents were older than the norm, back then anyway—thirty-three and thirty-seven when I was born. My father was a contractor. I don’t have any meaningful memories of him. Some feelings—like being excited when he was due home. Anticipating adventures, so I’m pretty sure he was an active dad when he was around.”
                  “What happened?”
                  “He was killed in an overseas bombing. He was one of the early contractors who traveled to Saudi Arabia to aid in the emerging. I was four years old.”
                  “I never knew my father,” Ivy admitted. “I have no memories of him, good or bad. I
    guess I always thought of him as selfish. He left us. He had to know our mother was a drunk, that she couldn’t keep a job.” She felt herself falling back into memory. “She told us he went back to Mexico, where he was born. Holly thinks this part is true. My sister is two years older than me and has a few memories. But the way our mother remembered it, our father was supposed to return. Three months tops. Holly says he was as good as gone the minute he walked out the door.”
                  “Why does she say that?”
                  “They fought a lot, our parents. It wasn’t the first time our father walked out.”
                  “Where is Holly now?”
                  “She’s the reason we found each other.”
                  “I visit two weekends every month,” Ivy said. “I don’t miss it. Ever,” she underscored.
                  “Those weekends are usually my only days off.” She sifted a hand through her hair. She’d let it out of the ponytail clip earlier and the wind off the ocean was sweeping it across her eyes. “She needs me right now.”
                  “Then you never miss a visit,” he agreed.
                  A frown pleated the skin between her eyebrows. “Has it really been two years since you’ve seen your sister?”
                  “Two years and two months,” he confirmed. “I need to be better about it. My nephews are growing up fast.”
                  “How old are

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