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Eric paused the tape and began to jot something down in his notebook. He stared down at the paper, pencil poised. After a few seconds, he gave up and tossed the pencil down. The hell with it. He rubbed his eyes with his thumb and fingers. Instead of seeing the game, his mind focused on the house with the gorgeous kitchen, the amazing master bedroom, and the excitement in Tami's eyes wither when he'd said no to their dream house.

He was damn lucky to have Tami, and it killed him when he couldn't give her this dream home. Eric gnawed on the inside of his cheek and tossed the notebook onto the floor. When he couldn't give her anything. Her love and understanding almost made it worse. If he could, he'd give her everything.

Eric pushed on the arms of the recliner, tilting back and sinking into the cushions. When they were first married, they had made great plans. He would have his dream job coaching at a division one school and he'd build her the castle she deserved. Thirty-five came and went while Eric coached as an assistant on the high school level. They struggled to make ends meet, and Eric had to supplement his income by taking on young kids who had a shot at a scholarship and honing their quarterback skills.

Eric blinked out of his musings as he heard footsteps in the kitchen. Even without turning to look, he knew it was Tami. Her step sounded different than Julie's. There was less shuffle to it. Besides, he was pretty sure that Julie was already asleep. She'd complained of a headache and had gone to bed early.

The footsteps approached the recliner and a tumbler of scotch dropped in front of his face. Eric leaned back and looked up at Tami, smiling at the flirty tilt of her eyebrow while she offered the drink.

"Thanks, babe." He took the glass and levered the recliner up as Tami stepped over to the sofa, sitting on the end closest to him. The scotch cut a fiery path down to his stomach, and he closed his eyes, relishing the heat. "Ah." The ice cubes clinked as he lowered the drink. "I needed that."

She shrugged one shoulder and tucked her hair behind her ear. "I thought you might." Raising her own glass of white wine, she took a sip. "Hon? Thank you for looking at the house again with an open mind. I appreciate that."

Eric took another swallow of his drink and stared at his sock clad feet on the footrest. After a few moments, he said, "I'm sorry. If there was any way..."

"Shh...I know." Tami stood and leaned down, putting one finger across his mouth in a shushing motion. "Not another word about it. Someday, we'll find our dream house, and when we do, we'll be ready. It's not a dream house if it causes nightmares."

Kissing the finger still resting on his lips, he reached up and put a hand on her waist, urging her to turn. She complied and he tugged her down across his lap, her legs crossed at the ankle and dangling over the arm of the chair.

She laughed. "I'm gonna hurt you."

"Not likely." He drained the glass and set it on the floor beside the chair. "You're amazing, do ya know that?" Eric nuzzled her neck, loving the taste of her skin beneath his lips. Her fingers played in his hair and he shivered.

"I meant what I said. I don't need a fancy house."

Eric pulled back and searched her eyes. She meant it. He knew she did. "I know, but you deserve it. I wish--"

Her mouth covered his, silencing his words as her body melted against him. He slid his hand up beneath her gray Dillon nightshirt. "Let's go in the bedroom."


Tami gasped as Eric's mouth traced a path down her neck, his five o'clock shadow a rough contrast to the soft heat of his lips. She ran her fingers through the back of his hair, loving the texture. His mouth moved lower, meeting the neckline of the t-shirt. He gave a growl of frustration even as his hands moved up, stripping the t-shirt over her head in one smooth motion. Tami felt her body quiver as he captured the tip of one breast. Her hands tugged at his polo shirt. She wanted to feel his skin against hers. He moved to the other breast, flicking it with his tongue before pulling his shirt over his head.

She ran her hands up his sides, loving the soft groan he made as he leaned forward, burying his face in her cleavage. His beard prickled her skin and felt so incredible, so male, and yet his skin was warm and silky, his muscles bunching with each movement. Tami had always loved his skin, and relished the heat he gave off. She tugged his shoulders, urging him higher. He kissed his way up, and Tami squirmed and arched her back. When he reached her mouth, she skimmed her hand up his back and pulled him down, swirling her tongue against his lips and delving deeper. His hand moved down her stomach, reaching underneath the waistband of her shorts. She lifted her hips, allowing easier access.

After teasing her for several minutes, circling with his hand and caressing her legs, she almost died when he finally touched her. His mouth left hers and took a leisurely path down her body, tasting and exploring. She shivered when her reached her belly button and took a deep breath. His musky scent enveloped her, and after twenty years, even just a tiny hint of it in passing made her want him. She never tired of it. Never tired of being with Eric.

His tongue felt hot and slick against her and she couldn't help squirming, her fingers tangling in his hair, urging him even closer, not that it was possible. His beard chafed the inside of her thighs, and his hands went beneath her, tugging her closer. She arched, pushing herself against his mouth, then, like a bolt of fire shooting through her, her skin tingled and her body spasmed in exquisite pleasure. Gasping, she pulled away, the sensation overpowering now. Eric lifted his head and smiled. He moved up and entered her, filling Tami and giving a new kind of pleasure.

Afterwards, he rolled off her and collapsed on the bed. She knew that try as he might, he would be asleep in seconds. She snuggled against him, inhaling his scent and seeking his warmth. Tami tried to envision the dream house, tried to pretend that for a moment, she and Eric were there. It was hazy and even the gorgeous master bedroom refused to take shape in her mind. She saw Eric lying in the bed, but the room around him wouldn't form in her mind's eye. Only Eric, smiling that smile he saved for the bedroom. The one meant only for her.

Tami felt her body relax, and she turned over on her side, away from Eric. In less than a minute, Eric rolled too, spooning behind her, his arm draped over her waist. She smiled. She knew whereever he was, she was home.