“He may get bored with me, but that isn’t your business. It’s mine,” Harlow replied.

I had already realized I would never get bored with her. She was so damn fascinating, no one could get bored with her.

“Grant likes to fuck. He isn’t into hand-holding and talking about your feelings. He likes it rough. Right here across this counter, he’s thrown me down and ripped my panties off and f**ked me. He loves it, and he’ll be back for more.”

Yeah. That was enough. I started walking toward Harlow to get her the hell out of there before Nan gave her any more details I didn’t want her to hear. She didn’t do well being reminded of my past sex life.

“Then I guess that makes you the slut, Nan. Not me. Because I’d never give you details. That’s just trashy.” Harlow picked up her mug, then turned to me. “Ready?” she asked, as if Nan hadn’t just given her a play-by-play of something I didn’t want her to know.

“Uh, yeah,” I replied, and glanced back at Nan, who was seething. That only made me smile. Damn, my sweet girl could cut deep with no drama. She just did it with ease.

I slipped my hand around her waist and led her to the door, where she grabbed her purse and keys. When we stepped outside, she moved away from my touch and looked back at me.

“That’s done now. I told you I could handle her. I missed tennis so I need to talk to Adam and apologize. Thanks for going with me yesterday. It meant a lot,” she said, then pressed a kiss to my cheek and started to walk toward her car.

What. The. Fuck?

I went after her and grabbed her arm to stop her. “Hey, wait. What was that?” Because it sure as hell felt like a brush-off. And that wasn’t f**king happening.

She smiled at me sadly and shrugged. “My way of putting distance between us. I need it.”


Distance? “What the hell? I thought after yesterday that we had moved past distance.”

She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I don’t do this. I’ve never done this. That’s probably why I’ll have the image of you jerking Nan’s panties off and screwing her on the counter forever etched in my brain. Before, it bothered me; now, I have visuals. So I need distance.”

I wanted to hurt someone. Particularly a certain redhead in that damn house. “Harlow, don’t do this to me. That was before. I didn’t know. I was f**ked up. It was after we found Jace’s body, and I lost it there for a while.”

“I’m sorry, Grant. But I can’t. I’ve been protecting my heart for years. I can’t stop now. You’re dangerous. That sexy smile and those sweet words are hard to resist, but I can’t let something that could possibly destroy me into my life.”

No. Fuck no. She was not going to do this. “I’m not going to go away. I want you, Harlow. Just you.”

She reached up and brushed her thumb over my bottom lip. “I believe you right now. What scares me is who you’ll want in a couple of weeks.”

Then she turned and opened her car door and got in. Had I not just told her this morning that I had never felt this way about anyone? Were Nan’s f**king words that powerful? My chest ached and I put my fist on it to ease the pain. I wouldn’t let Harlow do this. I just needed to find some way to prove to her that I was serious. Completely serious.


Iwatched Adam finish his session with a lady I didn’t recognize. I tried to focus on apologizing to him and not on what had happened this morning. The fact that I had just reacted like a jealous girlfriend was eating me up. I wasn’t that girl. I didn’t let something like Grant’s past sex life make me punish him. I could lie to myself and say I had meant what I said, but the truth was I did it to get back at him. For what? Screwing around with Nan? When had I gotten so shallow? Was I acting like Nan? Oh, God. I felt nauseated.

Adam glanced over at me and I smiled. I would think about Grant later. I would work this out in my head. He didn’t deserve what I had done this morning. We were seeing where things could go with us. I knew about him and Nan. It wasn’t a secret. I’d heard them my first night back here. I had just gotten all territorial and been a bitch about it.

I was horrified with myself.

Adam ended his session and he waited until the lady he was working with walked out of the gate before following her out. He came over to me.

“You’re late,” he said with a smile I didn’t deserve.

“I slept in late. I’m sorry. Long day yesterday. I had to see my dad about family stuff.”

“It’s okay. Life happens. I hope everything is okay.”

I nodded. It wasn’t, but telling him the truth wasn’t going to happen. “Everything is fine. I just wanted to make sure you knew why I wasn’t here. I didn’t want you to think I was just blowing this off and had no thought to your time.”

He grinned. “How do you expect anyone to get frustrated with you? Has anyone ever? I’d find it hard to believe.”

I thought of Nan. He had no idea.

“It happens,” I assured him.

“Send them my way and I’ll correct that.”

Adam really was nice, and so less complicated than Grant. But the excitement and bone-melting passion weren’t there.

“I was about to grab some lunch. Want to eat with me? Make it up to me that you stood me up?” he said.

I was hungry, and company during lunch sounded nice.

“Yes. I’d love to,” I replied.

“Good. The restaurant here okay with you?”

I had never actually dined in the restaurant here. “Sure,” I told him. I just needed food. I wasn’t picky.

He held out his arm for me to take it. So nice. I slipped my hand over his arm and he led me up the stairs and toward the doors to the club.

The hostess obviously liked Adam. She couldn’t keep from smiling at him. I was worried she was going to trip walking us to a table.

“Your server will be with you in a moment,” she told Adam. As far as she was concerned, I didn’t exist.

When she walked away, I picked up the menu and tried to hide my grin.

“You find that amusing, don’t you?” Adam said, smiling over at me.

I pressed my lips together to keep from laughing and nodded.

“She’s cute and we went out once, but she isn’t really my type.”

No wonder she’d ignored me. I just nodded again and went back to looking at my menu.

“The boss is on his throne,” Adam whispered, and I glanced up. What was he talking about? He tilted his head slightly to the left. “You see the dark-headed guy up there in that round booth talking to Rush Finlay?”

I didn’t want to look. Especially if Rush was up there. He would see me staring. I gave it a few moments, then quickly glanced over my shoulder. Rush wasn’t paying attention to us. He was talking with the dark-headed man. I had seen him before. “Yes,” I replied.

“That’s the boss, Woods Kerrington. He owns the whole damn place. Nice guy if you don’t piss him off.”

He was young. I wanted to look back again just to make sure I had seen him correctly, but I didn’t. “Is he young? He looks really young.”

Adam took a drink of his water and nodded. “Yeah. Like twenty-five or something. His dad owned the place and died of a heart attack a while back. Now the place belongs to Woods. Finlay is a good friend of his and is on the board of directors. Rumor is so is Dean Finlay. When that got out it was really good for business. Everyone wants a glimpse of the famous drummer.”

I didn’t know all that. Interesting.

“Good afternoon. My name is Jimmy and I will be your server today. Can I get you mineral water or sparkling?”

I looked up at the tall, attractive blond who was smiling at me. “I would love mineral, please,” I replied.

“I’m good with this,” Adam replied. “What is the special today, Jimmy?”

“A cold crab bisque with raspberry salad and seaweed-wrapped grouper, fresh off the boat.”

Adam frowned and I decided I was sticking with a sandwich.

“I’ll let the two of you look over things and I’ll be back with your mineral water,” he said, then quietly walked away.

“You into seaweed?” he asked me with an amused smirk.

I laughed and shook my head. He must have been thinking the same thing. I had eaten some strange things while living in L.A., but seaweed was not one of them.

“I think I’m going with the chicken pecan salad on a croissant,” I told him.

“I may have moved to pecan country but I still don’t eat them,” he replied.

I closed my menu and glanced up just as Grant walked into the dining room. His eyes were focused on someone else and it gave me a moment to prepare myself. Would he say anything to me? Or had I made him mad? Did he decide my drama wasn’t worth it? I watched him as he walked over and sat down beside Rush at Woods Kerrington’s booth. Woods said something to Grant and he forced a smile that didn’t meet his eyes.

I had started to look away when his head turned and his eyes met mine. We both froze. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but why did it feel as if I was? His eyes flickered to Adam, then back to me, and a hard edge transformed his face. He wasn’t happy. Well, crap.

I quickly looked back at my menu and counted to ten. My heart was beating fast, which was ridiculous. I shouldn’t be nervous. We hadn’t left things in a good place this morning, thanks to me. So me sitting here, having lunch with Adam, was no big deal. Right?

The chair beside me pulled out and I swung my gaze up to see Grant sitting down.

Okay . . . wrong. This was apparently a big deal.

He didn’t look happy but the tight smile on his face was trying to say otherwise.

“Hello, Adam,” Grant said before turning his intense blue gaze to me. “You could have asked me to lunch,” he said simply.

Technically, I hadn’t asked Adam. He’d asked me.

“You’re here with friends,” I told him, hating how my voice gave away how nervous I was.

Grant leaned closer to me. “I would drop anyone and anything the moment you called.”

There were those words again. The ones that managed to slide through you and turn you into a bowl of jelly.

“I, uh, Adam asked me to lunch. I was hungry,” I said, unable to look at Adam. I had no idea what he was thinking and I didn’t want to know right now.

“Looks like we have three guests now,” Jimmy said as he set the water in front of me.

“Mr. Carter, would you like me to get you something to drink?” Jimmy asked.

Grant didn’t take his eyes off me. “A sweet tea, please, Jimmy,” he replied.

“Yes, sir,” Jimmy said, and left without taking our orders.

“I guess I need to make sure I ask before Adam next time,” Grant said, then leaned back in his seat and put his arm around the back of mine in a possessive move. “So, Adam, how’s tennis going? Like the new job?” he asked in a polite tone.

Adam looked nervous. He glanced back at Woods’s table then back at Grant. I wondered if they were watching us. “Yes, sir. I’m enjoying it. The town is great.”

Grant touched my bare shoulder and he began to trace circles around it in a gentle caress. Adam noticed. This was becoming more and more awkward.


Icould feel Woods and Rush staring at me. They had tried to stop me. Not that I listened. It wasn’t like they wouldn’t have done the same thing. Sitting here eating and letting Adam the tennis pro hit on my girl. Hell, no. That was not happening.

Harlow was stiff as a board. I hated that she was so uncomfortable, but she shouldn’t have come to lunch with Adam, the f**king tennis dude. This morning had f**ked up my day. If Harlow thought we were going to bed tonight with this shit unsettled, she was wrong.

I listened as Harlow ordered a sandwich and ignored Jimmy’s amused grin. He knew what was going on. He probably talked to Rush and Woods about it when he was filling their drinks.

“I want to show you something when lunch is over. Do you already have plans?” I wanted to add that she needed to take a break, but I didn’t want to sound like an ass.

Harlow glanced at me. “No, I don’t have anything to do.”

“Good,” I said, leaning in to wrap one of her strands of hair around a finger so I could feel its silkiness. “I’m sorry.” I said the words without thinking about them. But I was sorry. I was sorry about this morning. I was sorry about how uncomfortable she was right now. But I wasn’t sorry that I was making sure Adam knew Harlow was not available.

“Adam,” Woods’s voice caught my attention and I looked up to see that he’d walked over to the table. “Nelton is double booked. It was an accident. He needs help with Mrs. Venice before she causes a scene. If you could please help, I will have your lunch brought to you. It’s on the house today.”

He’d just made that bullshit up. I had to cough to cover my laugh. Guess he did have my back after all.

“Yes, sir,” Adam replied, standing up and looking over at Harlow. “I gotta go. Next time,” he said, then turned to leave.

Woods didn’t say anything else before he went back to his table. Rush was staring down at his drink, grinning. He was in on this, too. I coughed again to cover my laughter.

“That was a setup, wasn’t it?” Harlow said, looking at me with her eyebrows drawn together.

“I assure you, when Adam gets out there he will have someone to teach,” I told her. Woods would’ve made a phone call to be sure of it.

“But Woods made that happen,” she said. Harlow wasn’t stupid.

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