“She’s already gone.”

“Did I ask where Liv is? I’m looking for your boss.” Her mouth hanging open, she points to a nearby closed door. I knock once and let myself in without waiting for his response.

Chapter 53


Ally drops me off at the airport. “Be nice to my car. I’m coming back soon to check on it.”

“You better.” She smirks. We’ve been best friends a long time, she knows I don’t care about the car…I’ll be back to check on her.

“I’ll drive it back Labor Day when I come to visit for the long weekend.”

“If you change your mind…” Ally hugs me hard and then pulls back to look at me, concern evident on her face. “Our door is always open.”


Still another hour before my flight, I stop at the coffee bar before going through security, waiting in the long line, staring blankly at the television monitor behind the cashier’s head. Lost in thought, it takes a few seconds for the words my brain reads as they scroll on the bottom of the screen to register. Breaking News - A Daily Sun Times Exclusive - Senator Preston Knight has a love child. I watch in horror as seconds later a photo of Vinny flashes on the screen.

Numb, I stare at the TV, a real wave of nausea rolling over me. Cold sweat percolates from within, sheathing my body, while dread and sadness consume me. How? I’d destroyed the evidence and the only people that knew had everything to lose and nothing to gain by leaking the story.


Shock still keeping my feet firmly planted, my brain finally reignites and begins to fire on all cylinders. I need to get to Vinny. Warn him. Tell him it wasn’t me. Make him believe me. I’m not sure why it’s so important, I only know I need to do it. Now. Grabbing my bags, I turn and take two steps back toward the exit, stopping in my tracks at the vision a few feet before me. Vinny.

Bags falling from my shoulder, I stare, confused, feeling nervous and anxious to see him, yet relieved at the same time. Four feet of empty space between us, my words barely loud enough to make their way to him, I whisper with emotion blanketing my face, “I didn’t leak the story.”

Hesitantly, Vinny takes one step closer. “I know.”

“You know?” Confusion clear on my face.

Another step closer. “I did.”

Eyes wide, I hear his words but don’t understand. “Why?”

One more step, he closes the distance between us. Every hair on my body stands at attention, my body inexplicably drawn to him like every other time before. Nothing quells my desire for this man. Not anger, not sorrow, not years of separation.

“Traded the story for your job back.” Gently, Vinny reaches for me, brushing his warm hand softly over my cheek.

“But why?”

“You and Elle run off to D.C. to sell your silence to pay off my mother’s debt, seemed like the least I could do.” He pauses. “Although I should also put you over my knee for putting yourself in danger like that.” The corner of his mouth twitches.

A small smile bubbles to the surface, although it’s quickly extinguished when my heart reminds me of how I’ve hurt him. How he hurt me. Again. Thoughts of Vince with Summer cause physical pain in my chest. Looking down, I draw a deep breath in, stealing a few precious seconds to compose myself. The words pass through my lips tasting like bile, “You and Summer?” Head still bowed, I steady myself for his response. But nothing comes. Without words or seeing him, I feel the intensity of his stare burning into me.

“Look at me, Liv.” His tone firm, but words soft, I take a deep breath in. Hesitantly, I lift my eyes and find his. Our gaze locked, he’s quiet for a moment before he speaks. Eyes searching mine, I find my own sorrow and sadness reflected back at me. “Nothing happened with Summer.”

“But Summer said…”

His voice is low and calm, yet his tone is firmer, more commanding. “Nothing happened, Liv.”

I want so badly to believe him…my body aches to trust his words. He sees my internal struggle on my face.

“You need me to tell you the details?” The words sound cruel, but he’s offering them to me because he knows how I am. Even if I told him I believed him, visions of the two of them would consume me, subconscious doubt never allowing me to fully forget. I need the full story, so my imagination doesn’t make up its own.

I nod.

Vinny closes his eyes for a moment, reaching for strength. When he reopens them, I see torment and it breaks my heart. So badly, I want to reach out and hold him, make it better, take his pain away, but I can’t. I need to hear what he has to tell me. Pain in his words when he speaks makes tears sting my eyes, but I fight to keep them back. “Summer came to see me. Told me about the story you were writing. I told her to get out, I didn’t want to believe her. She left me her card, with her home address written on the back.”

Vinny pauses. The hope I had felt hearing him say nothing happened with Summer begins to flee.

“I was pissed, Liv. Angry. I wanted to hurt you back. I just couldn’t shake it, no matter how hard I hit the bag or how fast I ran. So I headed out to find some random woman to help me forget. And somehow I wound up at Summer’s.” I flinch at his words. Releasing me from his gaze, Vinny bows his head. His expression one of shame, he continues, “It’s what I’ve always done, Liv.”

Unable to hold it all back any longer, a lone tear falls from my eyes, just in time for Vinny to look up at me and gently wipe it from my cheek. His hands cup my face and pull me closer to him. “Nothing happened. I went there and she let me in smiling. It would have been so easy.” He shakes his head, thinking back, remembering. “But I couldn’t do it. And her big gloating smile, just made me more pissed. She was enjoying hurting you. So I left. Didn’t lay a finger on her. Think I might’ve put a hole in the wall behind her door, I flung it open so fast to get the hell out of there.”

Vinny leans down to me, his face so close I can feel his warm breath on my cheek. “I didn’t touch her, Liv.” His thumb brushes my cheek tenderly. “Do you believe me?”

I nod my head, because I do. It’s the honesty in his eyes that makes me believe him.

Closing his eyes with a look of relief, he leans his forehead against mine for a long moment. There’s less tension and anxiety in his face when he pulls his head back, but some of it’s still there, lurking in the shadows of tranquility. “Why didn’t you just tell me about the story, Liv?”

Most Popular