I started around the table. “I’m sorry. I know that sounds lame, but I am so sorry. It’s just at first you weren’t talking to me and then so much time passed and—”

“And you didn’t know how you’d be able to talk yourself around that lie? Sounds fucking familiar,” he spat. I knew at once he was talking about his father. “Honest to God, Roxy, I never thought . . .”

He didn’t finish his sentence, but he didn’t need to. He’d never thought I’d so brazenly lie to him, and I had. Pain sliced through my chest. I wanted to crawl under the table, but I forced myself to stand there and take it like a grown adult.

Reece opened his mouth, but the muted sound of a phone ringing interrupted him. Pivoting on his heel, he stalked over to where he’d dropped his bag last night. He yanked his phone out of the side pocket.

His eyes were on me as he answered the phone. “What’s up, Colt?”

It was his brother on the other line, and I wasn’t sure if it was personal or cop-related.

“Shit. You serious?” Reece raised his free hand and scrubbed it through his hair. He dropped his hand. “That’s not good.”

I had no idea what was going on, so I turned and picked up his empty plate. Opening the dishwasher, I almost dropped the plate.

A pair of my undies was in the utensils holder, stuffed into the square cubby. My hand shook as I stared at them. They were—oh my God—they were the black lacy thongs that I wished I’d worn last night.

How in the world did they end up in the dishwasher?

I hadn’t opened the dishwasher since Sunday, if I remembered correctly. Yesterday, I hadn’t used any dishes and I’d left the cup I’d used in the sink.


Shaken, I placed the plate inside, but I didn’t grab the undies. I didn’t even want to touch them. Casper was haunting me, and he was a pervert. If I’d placed them in there having no recollection, I needed to get an X-ray of my head. Maybe I needed to take Katie up on that séance idea.

“Yeah.” Reece’s voice startled me. “I can do that. Talk to you soon.”

Closing the dishwasher, I left the undies inside. The last thing I wanted to do was whip them out. I had enough explaining to do than try to explain that. Turning around, I caught the tail end of Reece pulling a shirt out of his duffel bag and slipping it on over his head. He wasn’t looking at me when he buttoned up his tactical pants.

“Is everything okay with your brother?” I asked.

Reece lifted his head as he straightened out his shirt. His handsome face was blank, devoid of all emotion as his clear blue eyes met mine. “Yeah. Everything is cool.”

The knot in my throat expanded at his apathetic tone. I opened my mouth, but he turned away. “Look, I’ve got to go,” he said, heading down my hallway.

For a moment, I was absolutely rooted to the floor. He was leaving? We hadn’t finished our conversation. Springing into action, I hurried after Reece, finding him in my bedroom, sitting on the edge of the bed, pulling on his socks and boots.

All I could see was the rumpled sheets and comforter. The indents in the two pillows. The shirt he wore last night, the one he’d used to clean me up, a messy ball on the floor.

My heart was pounding so fast I was afraid it would burst like a balloon stretched to its limits. “You really have to leave? Right now?”

“Yes.” Tying up his boots, he rose to his full height, a good two heads taller than me. “I’ve got to go let Colt’s dog out.”

I silently mouthed the words back, because I almost couldn’t believe that’s why he had to leave. I mean, I didn’t want the doggie to go potty anywhere inappropriate, but we so needed to finish our discussion. “He can’t . . . he can’t wait for a little while?”

“It’s a she,” he replied, bending down and grabbing his used shirt. “Her name is Lacey, and no, it can’t wait.”

My chest clenched as he straightened once again and then stepped around me. The back of my eyes burned as he left the bedroom and I was . . . I was left staring at the bed. The morning together felt like years ago.

Wheeling around, I followed him out to the living room. He already had his duffel bag in hand and had pulled on a black baseball cap. It was pulled down low, shielding his eyes.

“Reece, I . . .” Words left me as he opened the front door. “Are we okay?”

The muscles under his white shirt rolled as if he was working out a kink in his shoulders and then he faced me. The sculpted line of his jaw was as sharp as a blade. “Yeah,” he replied in that same flat tone. “We’re okay.”

I didn’t believe him, not for one second. That ball was at the back of my mouth now and I blinked several times. I couldn’t speak, because if I did, the ball would come out.

Reece looked away, jaw working. “I’ll call you, Roxy.” He started out the door and then stopped. In that tiny second, hope kindled to life like a match dropped on a pool of gasoline. “Make sure you lock this door.”

And then he was gone.

I exhaled roughly as I gripped the door and watched as he hung a right at the sidewalk, disappearing from my view. Numb, I closed the door. I locked it. And then I stepped back. My cheeks were damp. Hands shaking, I pushed my glasses onto the top of my head and then pressed my palms against my eyes.

Oh God, this had gone as bad as it possibly could’ve gone. Shuffling over to the couch, I plopped down as I lowered my hands. “Oh God,” I whispered.

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