Not turning around, I kicked off my heels. “Yes?”

“You’re not okay right now.”

I opened my mouth, and a harsh laugh slipped out. “I’m fine.” I picked up my shoes, placing them in the bottom of my suitcase.

“Babe, you just walked out of your best friend’s funeral service,” he countered gently. “You’re not fine.”

Hands shaking, I grabbed the neat stack of jeans I know my ass didn’t fold. It had to have been Reece. I placed them in the suitcase.

“What are you doing?” His voice was closer.

I shook my head as I reached down, unhooking the silver button on my pants. I let them fall to the floor and then I carelessly tossed them in the suitcase. The blouse went next, leaving me in my undies and a black cami.

“Roxy,” his voice snapped. “Look at me.”

Against my will, I slowly turned around. Reece had gotten rid of the jacket and his tie. His dress shirt was unbuttoned, flashing golden skin. I dragged my gaze up to his stunning blue eyes. “I’m looking at you.”

His jaw flexed. “What do you think you’re doing?”


“I’m packing my stuff.” My voice shook as I waved toward my suitcase. “Seems pretty obvious, right?”

“Yeah, it does seem obvious, but what I don’t get is why are you doing it?”

Turning from him, I walked over to my shirts and picked them up, dropping the pile into the suitcase. “My place has security. I don’t need to impose on you any longer.”

“You can stay here as long as you want to, and you damn well know that, Roxy.”

“I know, but I’m sure you want your space.” Finding my yoga pants under my tote bag, I started to pick them up, but Reece grabbed my arm, spinning me back around. My breath caught.

His lips were thin as he spoke. “If I wanted my space, I would’ve told you. That’s something else you damn well already know. So don’t play this game with me and put this on me. You’re leaving because of—”

I didn’t want to hear him finish the sentence, and I wasn’t sure what happened next other than I lost it. All my control snapped like a band pulled tight. I yanked my arm free and then I planted my hands in his chest, shoving him.

Caught off guard, he stumbled a step, the backs of his legs bumping into the bed. His brows flew up. “Did you seriously just push me?”

I couldn’t tell by his tone if he wanted to laugh or push me back, and that pissed me off. I was no longer empty that was for sure. I was brimming to the top—full of anger, helplessness, and a million other things. So I pushed him again, and this time he sat down. I was breathing heavy as I stared at him.

“Did that make you feel better?” he asked, voice deceptively even.

“Maybe it did.”

Tipping his chin up, he raised his arms. “Babe, if pushing me around gets you to slow the fuck down and think about what you’re actually doing right now, then have at it.”

My jaw dropped. “You want me to push you?”

“Not really.”

I hesitated and then started to turn back for my pants, but his hand shot out and the next thing I knew he’d hauled me into his lap. “Oh no, you don’t. You’re going to tell me why you want to go back to your place. The real reason.”

“I already told you.” I pulled back, and he yanked me forward. We were chest to chest, my knees on either side of his legs, and he had an iron grip on my wrists. My heart was racing as our gazes locked. “Let me go.”

“That’s not the real reason.”

My fingers curled helplessly. “What? Are you also psychic? Did you hit your head on your gun belt?”

One side of his lips curved up. “No. I’m just not blind. Man, this wasn’t how I imagined today was going to go,” he said. “I know you got a lot going on in your head, but we need to talk it out.”

“There’s nothing we need to talk about.” His hold loosened enough that I was able to push off his shoulders to stand. Or try to. The moment my hands connected with his shoulders, he muttered a curse and held me tight.

“That’s such utter bullshit and you know it. There’s one thing I never thought you were, and that’s a coward. But you are acting like one now.”

“What?” I drew back as far as I could. Leaving him would require every ounce of strength I had. That wasn’t weak.

“Don’t do this,” he said again. “Stop acting like a coward.”

“I’m not being a coward! I just don’t want to do this anymore with you. It was fun, but that’s it. I want to go home. I want to move on with my life—”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake, you can lie better than this. You’ve wanted me since you were fifteen and now that you have me you aren’t willing to risk getting hurt for me? What kind of shit is that?”

Whoa. He just called me right on that. “W-what do you mean getting hurt?”

“You think I don’t know?” He shook his head. “You are afraid, Roxy. Afraid of getting hurt—ever since what happened to Charlie. You don’t want to feel that kind of pain again. I get that. But you can’t live your whole life like that, throwing everything away—throwing this away—just because you think you are going to get hurt. And it’s not just with me. It’s with everything.”

I didn’t know what to say to that.

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