Love hesitated before she continued the story. “Then the concierge comes up to the room with a ring.”

“A ring?”

“Yes.” Love took a deep breath. “I married Drake in Vegas.”

Lana’s mouth fell open. “Get out of here.”

“Believe me, I wish I wasn’t telling the truth.”

“You and Drake got busy and married in the same night? After all these years of pure, platonic friendship, you just chucked all the unspoken rules out the window and did it?”

Love hung her head.

“This is too juicy not to share.”

Love shot her a death glare. “If you say one word, I will kick your ass up and down this hospital.”

Lana’s hands went up in surrender. “Okay, okay. I won’t say anything.”

Love pointed at her cousin. “I swear, Lana. Don’t play with me.”

Lana squeezed Love’s knee. “My lips are sealed. Calm down. But you have to admit, this is good tea. Blogworthy. You, Ms. Queen of Control, had sex and got married, while drunk, to your best friend.” She barked out a gleeful laugh. “No one would believe me if I announced it on the loudspeaker during rounds.”

Lana was right. No one would believe it. Love had to admit that, if she hadn’t been there, she wouldn’t have ever thought she was capable of being so reckless. She filled her cousin in on the plans for an annulment. “And there’s one more thing.”

“There’s more?”

“My mother found out.”

“Gloria knows?” Lana asked with wide eyes. “Oh, God. You must be mortified.”

It was no secret that her mother wanted Drake and Love together. She’d just given up on that hope after years spent denying they were anything more than friends.

“And she announced it in the middle of the family reunion    .”

“Oh, Jesus. Does Uncle Leon know?”

“No, thank God. I convinced Mom not to say anything to my father. But you know her. She is giddy with excitement. And when she’s excited, she’s crazy.”

Though Lana was her cousin on her father’s side of the family, she knew Gloria well. She still spent her summer vacations in Las Vegas with Love, even after Love’s parents divorced.

“This just gets better,” Lana mused aloud. “How do you feel?”

“How do you think? Drake can barely say the word sex in front of me, and I can’t look him in the eyes. It’s a nightmare.”

“I think you two should definitely talk about it. It’s going to be a huge elephant in the room. Not to mention awkward for everyone else around you. And if you don’t want Uncle Leon to find out about it, you best air this before it starts to affect your friendship.”

It was a truth that Love had been worried about since she’d landed at the Detroit Metro Airport the night before. Drake seemed normal enough, but their situation was anything but.

“How is Drake acting?” Lana asked, concern in her dark brown eyes.

“He’s Drake. Calm under pressure. He doesn’t look at me like we had sex.”

That fact alone made Love feel totally inadequate. Drake had told her he wanted her, but he never said he’d enjoyed their lovemaking. Just that he remembered it. She knew him. Had seen him when he was into a woman, heard him talk to El about women that he found entrancing and unforgettable. Her worst fear, which really shouldn’t even be a fear, was that she was a bland blip on his sex radar. The thought of being one of those forgettable women he never talked about made her feel sick. Especially since everything about that night was memorable for her.

What was more frightening? That he didn’t enjoy it, or that she’d enjoyed it too much?

“Love, it’s going to be all right,” Lana said, as if she sensed the turmoil inside her. “You and Drake will work it out. You have to. Life wouldn’t be the same if you and Drake weren’t…you and Drake.”

Love smiled and leaned into Lana, who hugged her. “Thank you, cousin. Love you.”

Love’s cell phone buzzed in her pocket. Hoping it was Drake, she grimaced at the sight of her father’s number. She unlocked the phone and read the text: In my office in fifteen minutes.

Something told her there was another wrench in her best-laid plan.


“El, we need to talk.” Drake barged into El’s office, closing the door behind him.

Dr. Elwood Jackson sighed and told his secretary, “Give us a minute.”

Drake hadn’t even realized there was someone else there, but he couldn’t care. He needed to talk to his uncle. “You need an hour,” he said.

“Block my calendar off for an hour,” El told the shy woman as she exited in a hurry. When the door closed, El tapped on the desk. “This better be good. You know I’m busy.”