And somehow being with Cole had changed him. The two of them, when they took Sierra for the first time - that had altered him as well. And now, here he was, engaged to the one and only woman he had ever loved, and feeling as though he had just betrayed Cole. Hell, he had betrayed Cole.


Even with all of that, Luke still wanted the man. Desperately. They had yet to be together, just the two of them. Except for that morning in the shower in Vegas. That was the closest the two of them had ever been. Yet Luke wanted more. He wanted Cole to give himself completely. And Luke wanted to give back.

And maybe that’s what bothered him the most about Cole being with Lucie. He said they were just friends, and he had no reason to believe otherwise. Was it his way of pushing Cole away? Still?

Pushing to his feet, Luke looked around. Sierra was still in the shower. Knowing he couldn’t leave, nor did he want to, Luke resigned himself to figuring out the next step. It was time the three of them hashed this out. Cole would probably be pissed, but that couldn’t be helped. Come hell or high water, they were going to make this permanent. Tonight.

Twenty minutes later, when Cole walked through the front door, Luke was sitting on the couch, and Sierra was in the kitchen. Making tea.

Seriously. Tea.

Luke had turned down her offer. He’d prefer a shot of whiskey, but since she didn’t have it, he opted for nothing.

Keeping his eyes on Cole as he shut the door behind him, Luke felt his muscles tense, gearing up for a fight. He’d told himself they wouldn’t do this. They could talk this out like rational adults and figure out what they were going to do next. Sierra didn’t think it would be that simple. Or so she said while they waited for Cole to show up.

Luke had been surprised when she didn’t take the ring off of her finger. That little gesture lifted four tons of bricks from Luke’s chest. She wasn’t going to hide it. That said more than words ever could, although they both knew it could very well be the final shove in pushing Cole away. At the moment, thinking about where the man had just come from, Luke didn’t know if that was necessarily a bad thing.

“Where have you been?” Sierra asked when she walked in the room carrying a coffee mug.

Cole glanced at Luke, then back to Sierra. “I had to go talk to a friend. Sorry I missed your call earlier. Is everything ok?”

“No.” She said honestly.

“What’s the matter?” Once again Cole was looking back and forth between the two of them, but Luke didn’t say anything. He didn’t know what to say.

“I had a run in with Susan Toulmin – sorry, you know her as Susie Mackendrick. The woman had the audacity to blackmail me. She told me I had to quit, or she was going to sue me for misrepresentation.” Sierra rambled quickly. “But the thing is, she wasn’t worried about my professional abilities. She was pissed off that I’m in a relationship with the two of you.”

Sierra sat her mug on the table before sitting in the chair opposite of Luke. He wanted her to come over beside him, but he didn’t move from where he was. He was waiting for Cole to elaborate on just what the hell he had been doing at Lucie’s.

“Is your friend alright?” Sierra asked.

“She will be.” Cole said before taking a seat on the couch beside Luke. It was the only other place to sit after all.

“She? Do I know her?”

Luke didn’t have to say a word; apparently Sierra’s curiosity was going to get him the answers he wanted.

“Lucie Werner. She’s a bartender at Club Destiny.”

“Oh. The one who was caught stealing?”

“Yes.”

Chapter Thirty Two

For a moment the room was silent, no one was looking in any one direction and the tension was slowly increasing. This was the awkwardness that Luke tried to avoid. It was so much easier to sleep with a woman, or participate in a hot, steamy ménage, and disappear in the middle of the night. Instead, they had to work out their differences, after figuring out what they even were. When it finally got too uncomfortable for Luke, he turned his attention to Cole.

“Why were you at Lucie’s?”

“I told you. She needed to talk.” Cole said, his tone reflecting his sudden irritation.

“About what?”

“If that was your business, she would have called you.”

Luke had to hold back his anger. His first instinct was to walk out the front door and not look back. He’d gotten so used to avoiding confrontation that it was second nature just to walk away. He couldn’t this time. He had something to prove. And not so much to Sierra and Cole, but to himself. This was what he wanted. These two people. Relationships weren’t always wine and roses and Luke had to figure out a way to cope with it.

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