A/N: Just a bit of sauciness in this chapter. Enjoy!

When Ryker showed up on the stoop of Emmie's apartment Wednesday evening, he brought more than just an artisan crust pizza

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When Ryker showed up on the stoop of Emmie's apartment Wednesday evening, he brought more than just an artisan crust pizza. Under the Marty's Pizzeria box was another, fancier box; inside, an embroidered pink bra and panty set that probably cost more than what Emmie earned in a week peeked out from folds of glossy tissue paper. The silk was smooth against her skin. Miraculously, he'd gotten her size exactly right. She put the set on only to have it removed a short time later, but that time had been glorious.

The next week, he gifted her with a lace corset as well as a new set of Egyptian Cotton sheets for her bed. Along with the material gifts, Ryker gave her something else of indescribable value – repeatedly. Setting her gently upon her bed, thousand thread count sheets now gracing it, Ryker kissed her bare skin from belly downward until his lips and tongue found the most sensitive of flesh. She gasped as fireworks lit inside of her, her pelvis arching up towards him.

This was the fourth time in a week he'd brought her to climax in this manner. She could get used to it. She could get used to all of it—the fancy lingerie, the trophy-worthy climaxes, the feel of Ryker's taught skin against her own. It worried her. Ryker didn't understand how numbered their days together were. She wanted to pass this all off as "fun while it lasted." But it was increasingly difficult to think in those terms. She saw him every day except for Tuesdays, which she spent downstairs with Trisha and the others bonding over art and wine while artfully whining. Six out of seven days were spent with him. Her life had begun to carve a Ryker-shaped space into it. Soon, though, that space would have to be emptied.

Focus on the fun, she told herself. Stay present.

Three weeks after her arrangement with Ryker had been forged, he bought her an opal pendant. The luminescent stone, set amidst a ring of diamonds, dangled seductively from a rose gold chain.

This was a breaking point for her

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This was a breaking point for her.

"I can't accept this." She resisted the urge to place it around her neck and make a selfie-filled spectacle of herself. Instead, with more than a little reluctance, she handed the box back to him. "This goes against our agreement. It's too... personal."

"But the corset wasn't?"

"No...well, yes you're right. It was. I shouldn't have accepted anything, it's just that this..." She pointed to the box. "You found out opal is my birthstone, didn't you?"

Ryker didn't even try to cover up the sheepish grin on his face. "It's not like your birthday is some big secret."

"Maybe not, but you still had to figure it out and then go to a jeweler and select this particularly stunning and thoughtful necklace. That's... something boyfriends do. That's not something you do. Because you're not my boyfriend."

His face fell, but soon the corners of his mouth managed to turn themselves up into a strained half-smile. "I'm not trying to act like your boyfriend. I'm just trying to be nice. God, Emmie, it's not like it's a diamond ring."

Maybe not, but there were still close to forty diamonds involved in this gift. "You're taking this all wrong. I like the necklace and the gesture is appreciated, but we've been seeing a lot of each other over the past few weeks and we must be sure we maintain clear boundaries. For both of our sakes."

"Is it for our sakes or for Sam's?"

"Sam?" Emmie had almost forgotten that Ryker had met him. "What does he have to do with this?"

Ryker glanced away from her, eyes grown dark. "Never mind, you're free to do what you want with whomever you want."

"Damn right, I am." Trisha must have said something to him. He must think that she and Sam... "But that fact doesn't mean I'm running around with every eligible bachelor in Oregon. I don't know what you think is happening with Sam, but the terms of our agreement haven't changed. I just want to make sure it stays that way. If either of us feels we're getting... entangled, we should talk about it."

"I suppose that's what we're doing right now, isn't it?"

Emmie studied the curve of Ryker's lower back as he sat on the edge of her bed, elbows on knees. Reaching from behind him, she ran her hand along his side, over his thigh to his groin. Firmly taking hold of him, she pressed the bare skin of her chest to his back. "Do you want to end this, Ryker?"

"It's so not fair for you to ask me that right now." He moaned softly and began to respond to her touch. "Do you?"

"I want this to go on for as long as possible."

Without warning, he broke from her hold, flipped over and brought himself on top of her. "I can definitely go on for 'as long as possible.'"

She laughed and then gasped as he entered her. Slowly, he thrust, and after she'd been worked up to a frenzy, he surprised her by pulling out, leaving her right on the cusp. She squirmed under him, pressing on his backside, begging him to enter her again – hard, fast, however he wanted it, just as long as he was inside of her again.

Finally, after what seemed an agonizing length of time, he gave her what she wanted – a powerful thrust followed by many more, bringing her to the height of ecstasy.

Afterwards, they laythere together, knowing they should separate, both unwilling to get up or movearound. Emmie let herself drift off, the athleticism they'd exerted and theconfusing conversation that proceeded it leaving her spent. When she woke tothe jarring beep of her alarm, Ryker was gone. On the silver sheets in hisplace was a red jewelry box, Emmie's birthstone tucked into the satin pleatswithin it.

So, what do you think: is Ryker's steady stream of pizza and gifts an indication that he's developing feelings for Emmie? She seems hesitant

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So, what do you think: is Ryker's steady stream of pizza and gifts an indication that he's developing feelings for Emmie? She seems hesitant... but do you sense some emotion from her as well?

Votes this week are appreciated, as always. I'm just so happy you're reading! If you don't mind, I think I'll collect them all and deposit them in Emmie's willpower fund. Turning down that opal necklace was not easy!


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