I trail off, not quite done telling him what I need to in order to reassure him. But there are bottled feelings inside of me, wanting to break loose, so I add on, “I love—”

Walsh rears up and looks down at me with hard eyes. “Don’t you dare say that, Jorie. Don’t even think it. You say that to me, and I’ll want to tell Micah. I’ll want to destroy him to have you, and you can’t put me in that situation.”

“Okay,” I tell him quickly. “Okay. I won’t tell you.”

Walsh’s eyes fill with pain, and he drops his forehead to mine. “This is so fucked up, baby. So goddamn fucked up.”

My arms go around this man I love. I love him still in all the ways I used to, and I love him more for all the things he’s given me. But I keep that inside, and I’m truly okay with not saying it to him. I don’t need to. Walsh’s reaction tells me he already knows.

His proclamation that he’d be willing to destroy his relationship with Micah also tells me he loves me, too.

I let that be enough for now.

Perhaps over time, we can come up with a way to make this work. It would deepen the lie, but maybe Walsh can revisit the subject with Micah in a more old-fashioned approach. We could remold the lie and start over. He could tell Micah he wants to ask me out on a date and would like his permission.

It seems so sordid all these webs we’ve woven, but it could work. Micah would never know about me at The Wicked Horse. He wouldn’t blame Walsh for having me there.

“What are you thinking?” Walsh asks as he lifts his head up and stares down at me.

“I’m thinking that you and I have a really good thing going right now,” I tell him with as much confidence as I can muster up. “It will be fine. We’ll be fine. I promise.”

The smile of relief that comes to Walsh’s face tells me that this is the right path.

For now.

“Listen,” Walsh says, and I can tell by the tone of his voice he hates what he’s about to tell me. “Micah wants me to take him to The Wicked Horse.”

My eyes flare wide as I never considered this possibility. I assumed, wrongly, that the three of us would hang out again.

Oh, God.

Oh… God.

“Jorie,” Walsh says urgently but I barely hear him. “I swear to you I won’t do anything. I don’t want to do anything with anyone but you.”

I try to wiggle out from his hold, but his arms lock tight around me.

“Jorie,” Walsh says as he brings a hand to my jaw, forcing me to turn my head to face him. “I swear to fucking God, you’ve got nothing to worry about with me. But I can’t say no to him. I promised he could talk to Jerico, the owner. They want to talk business, and well… before you and I started, Micah had me promise I’d take him on his next visit. He’s already asked about it.”

“Oh, God,” I mutter out loud this time and try to pull away from Walsh. His arms again lock tight, but then they immediately loosen when he hears the hysteria in my voice. “Let me go, please. I need some space.”

Walsh releases me, and I roll from the bed. I feel completely vulnerable right now, so I grab my small duffle and pull out a t-shirt and panties. I quickly don them and turn to face Walsh, who still sits unabashedly naked on the bed. His expression is worried as he watches me like a hawk.

I take a deep breath, and let it out. “I don’t want you going there without me.”

“I don’t want to go there without you,” Walsh says, and I can hear the truth in his voice. “But I have to. It’s for one night, and I’ll fake a fucking migraine or something so he won’t expect me to participate—”

“Wait,” I practically screech. “Participate? You would participate with Micah?”

“With another woman,” he clarifies, and that makes it even worse.

“Oh, God,” I say again with a trembling voice. “I don’t think I can handle this. Have you done that before with Micah?”

“Yes,” is all he provides me.

“And he expects you tomorrow, to what?” I ask tremulously. “Fuck a woman with him?”

“He’ll expect it, but I won’t,” Walsh says firmly as he rolls out of bed and comes to stand before me. God, he’s so fucking beautiful and perfect.

“It’s a lot of temptation,” I say angrily. “And let’s face it, you don’t want Micah to know about us, so why wouldn’t you do that just to make sure he’s got no suspicions?”

Damn, I know I sound completely unhinged right now, but I seriously am having a fit of jealousy so powerful I can’t seem to calm down.

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