“You just have to be responsible,” he continued. “Just think about it. For me?”

“I’ll think about it.” Smiling, I looked at the TV. Some dude with a Mohawk was waving a CD around. “So, what were you doing at your dad’s house?”

Reece took a long drink and as he sat the glass down, the ice clinked around. A moment passed, and I wanted to kick myself. Reece . . . yeah, he was never a fan of talking about his dad. Shock rippled through me as he looked over at me and answered a second before I tried to change the subject.

“Divorce Number Three.”

I gaped at him. “What? When did this happen?” That was kind of a stupid question, because I hadn’t exactly been friendly with him for the last eleven months.

“You know, I really don’t know. Everything was fine at the beginning of summer. He and Elaine were going on vacation in Florida.” He tipped his head back against the cushion, flipping his gaze to the ceiling. He barked out a short laugh. “Then again, Dad doesn’t know how to be up front about anything. So him telling me or Colton that things were good doesn’t mean shit. The man’s nothing but a liar.”

I pressed my lips together for a moment. “Did he say what happened?”

His gaze returned to me. “What do you think?”

A sigh rose. “Did he cheat on her?”

“Yep.” A second passed and then I felt his hand in my hair, causing me to suck in a short breath. The touch was light, as if he was just running his fingers over it, but every cell in my body became hyperaware. “With a younger woman he met on a business trip. Told me that it was only a one-night thing and that Elaine was overreacting.”

“Overreacting to being cheated on? How does one overreact to that?”


“You know my dad. The man knows no wrong,” he said, shaking his head. “While I was there, he left his cell phone on the hood of his car. The thing rang. A woman’s name was on the screen. Never heard of her before. I’d bet my savings account it was the ‘one night stand’ chick. I’m not surprised his marriage is ending that way. By the time my mom wised up and left his ass, he’d been with five other women. And not a ‘wham, bam, thank ya ma’am’ kind of thing either. Five other relationships.”

“That’s so sad,” I murmured, lowering my chin. Franklin—his father—was a habitual cheater. At least, that’s what I had heard his mom saying once. “I’m sorry. I know you’re older now, so is Colton, and maybe it doesn’t hurt as much as it did when you were younger, but it still sucks.”

Instead of denying it, he smiled softly. “Yeah, it does.” His fingers had left my hair, but his arm was still there, warm and beckoning me to lean back. “I didn’t get too close to Elaine, but she seemed like a good woman. She didn’t deserve that. No one does.”

Taking a deep breath, I leaned back. His arm was right behind my neck. Not a second seemed to pass before his hand found its way to my shoulder. “Do . . . do you think he’ll marry again?”

“Probably.” He grabbed his glass, taking another drink. I’d completely forgotten about mine. “I think the worst thing, though, isn’t the fact that he’d stick his dick in anything that walked, but that he constantly lies about it, even when he’s caught. I don’t get that. Never will. Anyway,” he said, drawing out the word with a grin that didn’t reach the beautiful eyes I had such a hard time capturing. “So what have you painted lately?”

Holy shit, was he a mind reader? Blood flooded my cheeks as I searched in my head for something that didn’t include his face. “Um, well I’ve been doing a lot of landscapes. Beaches. Gettysburg. That kind of stuff.”

Good answer, Roxy!

His gaze tracked over my face, almost like a physical caress. “You still painting for Charlie?”

Of course, he’d remember that. Nodding, I wasn’t surprised when the familiar sadness washed over me as I thought of all those paintings hanging on his wall.

The hand on my shoulder tightened. “So when are you going to paint something for me?”

“When you become my official pool boy,” I retorted.

He stared at me. “You don’t have a pool.”

“I know. So it’s when I get a pool and you become my official pool boy.” I grinned. “You think I’m kidding.”

Tipping his head back, he laughed deeply as he used the hand on my shoulder to tug me over to him. One second I was leaning into him, and the next I was on my back, my head resting in his lap, and all I could think as I stared up at him was that was one hell of a smooth move.

“Did you learn that move while training to be a cop?” I asked, breathless.

“Yeah, they teach that special kind of takedown in the academy.” His thick, dark lashes lowered as he settled a large hand on the curve of my hip farthest from him. “Couldn’t wait to use it on you.”

I smiled up at him as my heart started jumping around in my chest. The hand on my hip seemed like an unconscious thing to him. “I feel honored.”

“You should.” Using his other hand, he carefully brushed a strand of hair out of my face. Something about what seemed like an absent-minded touch sent my heart careening. As his lashes lifted and all I could see were brilliant blue eyes, I knew in that moment that being satisfied with just a hookup here and there was going to be really hard.

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