“Are you finished ridiculing me or should I take longer?”
“All done.” I took his dress shirt and moved toward the house.
“Let’s find you a woman,” E said, as if we were replacement parts on a conveyer belt. “I got the perfect girl. Super athletic. Loaded. Single.”
I paused just before the back door, curious to see who he was referring to.
“She’s that client I’m working on. Nicole Fagnani. The tennis star.”
Aaron mumbled something I couldn’t catch.
“I’m just starting with her. She’s tall, man. You guys would have Amazons as kids.”
Nicole Fagnani? I glanced at Aaron, trying to look at him through unbiased eyes, but confirmed what I already knew. He was hot. Really hot. Take a Southern gentleman and put him through ten hours of manual labor each day and you had Aaron—just refined enough to hold open your door but rough and strong enough to fuck you against it.
I’d Googled the tennis star out of pure insecurity, wanting to know who my husband was going to be working with, and let out a relieved breath when the thousands of search results had produced an ordinary looking woman. Mildly pretty, but nothing I needed to lose sleep over.
Aaron pulled out his phone, assumedly to do his own search of the woman. I lingered in the shade of the patio, busying myself with picking dead blooms off my daisy plant.
“She’s okay.” His words were muffled behind a beer and I took a subtle step closer. “Not Becca.”
“It’s not her looks,” my husband said. “She’s just one of those women who have something about them, you know?”
My right shin collided with the edge of the pressure washer and I bit back a yelp of pain, one hidden by the clatter of the spray wand as it hit the floor. They both turned to look at me.
“You okay?” Easton squinted at me.
“Oh yeah,” I said breezily, attempting to step forward without hobbling. “I was just cleaning up out here. Thought we could eat outside.”
“In this heat?” He waved his beer toward the house. “We can eat in the kitchen.”
“Oh.” I lifted my shoulder as if I didn’t care either way, as if my shirt wasn’t sticking to my back from the ridiculous temperatures outside. “Whatever.” I moved to the cooler and lifted the lid, grabbing out a bottle of beer and twisting off the lid. “So, she has something about her?”
My husband looked at me as if he had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.
“The tennis player,” Aaron prodded.
“Oh. Yeah.” Easton turned back to him. “Like a sexual chemistry. Just meet her. You’ll see what I mean.”
“A sexual chemistry,” I repeated, glaring at him.
He laughed. “Not with me. Just in general.”
“Uh-huh.” My comfort level with his new client suddenly took a sharp right turn.
“To be honest, I can’t even think about meeting someone else right now.” Aaron opened the grill and peered at the steaks. “I think—”
“Wait.” I pointed to Aaron and turned back to Easton. “Is this client going to be a problem?”
“Babe.” He set down his beer and placed both hands on my shoulders, looking into my eyes. “No woman is ever going to be a problem.”
“Don’t flirt with her,” I instructed.
“You told me to flirt with her,” he reminded me, and it was an excellent and annoying point. I cringed at the memory of me shoving him out the door with instructions to close the deal. Flirt with her if you have to. “That was before.”
“Before I found out that she has some sort of potent sexual chemistry that you feel the need to scamper off and tell Aaron about!” I snapped. “He’s right, you know. She’s okay. Barely pretty.” I could hear the insecure cruelty in my words, but didn’t care, not in the alarming awareness that my husband found his new client attractive.
“Scamper off?” Easton cocked a brow at me. “I don’t scamper. Confidently stride.”
“Stroll,” Aaron suggested.
“I like that one.” E pointed at Aaron. “March. Very authoritative and decisive.”
They’re lucky I didn’t have that beer still in my hand. I would have dumped it over their heads. I let out a highly controlled exhale and watched Easton’s smirk soften. He leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss on me. I twisted away. “You have nothing to worry about,” he said quietly. “You’re everything to me.”
I knew it, believed it, but still felt a knot of stress unfurl at the words. Feigning irritation, I pushed away from him. “I’m going to get the corn ready. Don’t burn the steaks.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Aaron called out. I glared at him in response, then bit back a smile when he laughed.
I decided somewhere around the middle of my ribeye that I hated Becca. Vehemently hated her. The cheating was one thing, and unforgivable in itself. But it was her attitude about it that was sending my fury into a new direction. She was being dismissive to Aaron, as if she didn’t have to explain herself to him, as if the last three years of their marriage didn’t grant him the right to ask questions about her reasons for filing for divorce. In love with another man? THAT WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH.