“How did the photos go?”

“Good,” Julia said. “Martha kept him in the areas we talked about while Elle and I held down the couch in my office.”

He grinned at me, and it really wasn’t fair for a man to be that attractive. “You’ll have to excuse my wife. She’s a naughty thing.” His hand, which had been resting on her stomach, slid over her breasts.

I looked away. I should go. They probably had stuff to talk about. Mob defense strategies to coordinate. Hot people sex to initiate. I groped along the floor for my phone. “Do you know what time it is?”

There was a pause, while Brad checked his watch. “Almost six-thirty.”

“Crap.” I half fell off the couch as I dug through my purse. “My husband’s flight is landing any minute. I need to get home.”

“Why don’t you have him swing by here?” Brad ran his fingers along the top of Julia’s hair. “We can put steaks on. I hate to be a prick, but you can’t drive home. We can take you if he can’t come here.”

“Oh, no.” I found my phone and hefted upright, aware that my butt had been stuck in the air like a burnt offering. “That’s fine. I can get a ride.” Yep. I was officially the worst Realtor ever. They’d probably email me the minute I left. Sorry, Elle. Things aren’t working out. It turns out you’re an emotional train wreck who drooled all over our couch.

As if on cue, my cell vibrated. I glanced down, expecting to see Chelsea’s number again, but it was E. I hesitated. “This is my husband now. He must have landed.” So much for my plan to have started dinner.

“Give me the phone,” Brad ordered. “I’ll talk to him.” He looked at me, really looked at me—and I don’t know how anyone ever refused him anything. I tossed the phone toward him and he caught it with one hand, swiping across the screen and lifting it to his ear. Our eyes held as he said hello, and he winked at me. In between my legs, I clenched.

“He’s really bossy,” Julia apologized in a whisper loud enough to be heard in the kitchen. “But it’s sexy, right?” She laughed, and I laughed, and I’m glad she didn’t want a response, because she was right. It was sexy. My overeager fantasies began to churn and I killed that mental detour before it had a chance to take flight. Even drunk I could recognize that being this attracted to my biggest client was a bad thing. A very bad thing.

* * *

Easton showed up just after seven, his tie tight, concern etched on his handsome features. I launched myself into his arms and felt him stiffen, his arm circling my waist protectively. “Thank you for calling me.” He stuck out his hand to Brad and there was a minor skirmish of alpha male egos in the middle of the foyer. “I’ll get her home. Have a good night.”

“Wait, Easton.” Julia appeared in the doorway, and I felt him straighten a bit at the sight of her. Sober, I would have been jealous, but I was in the sort of love-everybody mood that was impossible to crack. “We just put some steaks on. You’ve got to be hungry. You’re on LA time, right? Please, stay for dinner.”

“She’s right. Come on.” Brad turned away and waved over his shoulder, eliminating the option to decline. “We can’t waste this meat. Besides, I’ve got a box of Cubans I need an excuse to smoke.”

“Are you okay?” Easton asked quietly, keeping me in place beside him.

“I’m fine. Slightly drunk.” I laughed. “Relax, babe. I promise, it’s all good.” Dipping out of his arms, I tugged at his hand and he reluctantly followed me through the great room and toward the outdoor kitchen.

* * *

Dinner was paired with drinks, and after two Scotches, Easton’s tension had mellowed and his bromance with Brad was in full force. As it turned out, Brad was familiar with his failed baseball career and had played himself, in college—not pro. Their conversation turned in the general and boring direction of sports, while Julia and I bonded over peppermint schnapps and books. It was almost ten before we found ourselves back in our respective couples, tongues loose and limbs languid, clustered across from each other on the circular seating that framed the dark fire pit.

Around eleven, the conversation turned sexual, and we laughed over Brad and Julia’s stories about sex resorts and awkward misunderstandings. They spoke freely and without shame, and I found myself less and less embarrassed of our own minor experience that seemed like a fairly tame drop in the bucket compared to their hedonistic adventures.

Brad blew a stream of cigar smoke into the dark night air. “Julia.” He patted his leg and she rose, stepping before him with confidence. I expected her to sit sideways on his leg but instead she straddled it, the hem of her skirt riding up to expose a toned and tan thigh. She bent her head and kissed—or maybe bit—the side of his neck. “How do you feel when I fuck other women?”

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