A muscle in his jaw starts to tick, but he remains committed to finding the truth. “I take it you’re not married anymore?”

“What makes you ask that?”

“Because the Jorie Pearce I know wouldn’t step out on her husband,” he says simply.

“We’re separated,” is all I’m willing to give.

“And you’re what… here to break the single life back in?”

“Something like that,” I mutter.

“Bullshit,” he says harshly. “Now quit screwing around and just tell me why I had the hottest, dirtiest sex imaginable with the one person I should have never done that with?”

“Because I don’t think I’m any good at it,” I yell, then immediately cringe with embarrassment. My voice drops about ten decibels to a mere whisper. “I’m here to find out if that’s true or not.”

Walsh’s head jerks in surprise. “Why would you think that?”

“Vince told me that when he kicked me out of our house,” I mutter as I turn my face to the side to stare at the lockers.

“I’ll fucking kill that bastard,” Walsh growls, and my eyes snap back to him.

His face is awash with fury. I know from very personal experience that Walsh may not kill Vince, but he’d beat him so bad he’d wish he were dead. Walsh has done it before to a man on my behalf.

“It doesn’t matter,” I say upon a long, tired sigh. I drop my gaze once again, suddenly feeling a million years old and wanting nothing more than to climb into bed.

To my surprise, Walsh steps back from me and gestures toward the door. “You should get going.”

My eyes slide up and lock with his for a moment. Then I nod and turn for the door.

“Jorie.” My name comes out on a sigh, and I turn to look over my shoulder. “You were magnificent. Best sex of my life.”

I give him a small smile. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but that is the Walsh I know. He would be the one who would do whatever he could to take away my pain.

I also know that from personal experience.

“Thanks,” I say before I walk out the door.

CHAPTER 5

Walsh

I pour myself some vodka and add a few ice cubes to the glass. As I sip at it, I flip through my playlist, choosing some Fiona Apple. She filters through my apartment on Bluetooth speakers.

My mind is all kinds of fucked up over what happened tonight.

I wasn’t lying to Jorie. Best sex ever.

Most wrong sex ever.

I don’t want to even think about the fact I sent her brother a fucking picture of her.

Picking up my glass, I pad through my living room with its floor-to-ceiling glass walls that look out over Vegas, then into my bedroom. I should take a shower but sick bastard that I am, I don’t want to wash the smell of Jorie off me just yet. I’ve lusted after her for as long as I knew what true lust was, and when that first happened, she was way too young for me to be thinking those things. The differences in our age assured that.

Jorie had been a constant in my life for a very long time, right along with her brother Micah. Even though there’s an eight-year age difference between Jorie and me, there’s just a two-year gap between Micah and me. We were neighbors and because Jorie’s mom died having her, Micah had a lot of babysitting duty as he got older. It was unfair to put that burden on a kid, but Jorie’s father, Gregory, was practically absent from their lives.

He was an attorney who had met and married Micah’s mom, who was a Vegas showgirl. She left the life to move to the suburbs of Henderson, bringing her five-year-old son with her. Gregory never did really take to Micah even though he adopted him and gave him his last name. He was more interested in the beautiful wife he got in Rhonda Webb, and I’m guessing he adopted her son to make her happy. Micah and I talked about that a lot as we were growing up because he spent most of his time at my house next door. His biological dad had been a one-night stand, so he never knew who he was. Micah’s mom died so young that my parents naturally took him under their wing. That was just their way.

I have no clue if Gregory ever really wanted Rhonda to get pregnant, but she did, and Jorie came into this world looking just like her mom and brother. In fairness to Gregory, he may have ignored Micah most of the time, but he doted on Jorie whenever the nanny was off duty.

And Micah never held that against his little sister. On the contrary, he was and still is very close to her, despite their age difference. Because Micah was often left in charge of Jorie whenever Gregory was too busy to be bothered, I was right there alongside him, helping to watch the little black-haired, green-eyed terror who grew into an immense beauty. She may have been a pain in our asses on most occasions, but I adored her the same as Micah.



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