Walsh’s words pierce through me. “Go with Micah, Jorie. It’s over.”

“No,” I say again as I move toward him. He takes a step back and holds his hands up in a silent statement that he doesn’t want me. It infuriates me so greatly, I snap. I literally fucking snap. As tears start free-falling down my face, I scream at Walsh. “You can’t do this to me. Not after everything we shared. It’s not fair.”

Micah comes up behind me and puts his hands on my shoulders, but I’m so pissed at him for making Walsh do this that I jerk free. I take a step toward Walsh and lower myself to utter begging. “Please, Walsh… don’t push me away. Don’t do this to me.”

I can see the pain on his face, but I can also see the deference he’s giving Micah for all the sins we just got busted on. He merely whispers, “I’m sorry,” and then he walks away.

CHAPTER 21

Walsh

I look at Jorie’s latest text to me—Please just talk to me—and I can barely stand to read it. I should block her number, but the thought of doing that tears me up from the inside out.

At least twenty times a day, I consider calling Micah up and telling him to go fuck himself… that there’s nothing wrong with me being with Jorie. I want to tell him nothing has ever been more right in my life.

But I don’t, because I’m way too deep into my head with misgivings about everything. Micah is so fucking adamant that it’s wrong for me to be intimate with Jorie that he’s got me questioning my feelings. What if I only wanted to fuck her for the wrongness of it? I’m a kinky son of a bitch who gets off on taboo things. Is it possible that Jorie turns me on because it’s wrong?

And what if what Jorie and I have is nothing but sex? That’s how it was with Renee. Just fabulous fucking all the time. Now granted, what Jorie and I have together is about a million times more intense and personal than what I had with Renee, but still… what if I’m only addicted to the sex?

More importantly, could I ever look past the sex to the other things that Jorie needs? Family, children, and commitment? I’ve never wanted to have that with a woman, so what about Jorie is different?

Lastly, and still important to me, is that I need Micah’s forgiveness. He can say he isn’t all he wants, but he is my brother in every way that matters. Nothing has come between us before, and if I were to tell him to go fuck himself and take his sister for my own, I would never get the forgiveness I want.

No… need.

I need it because what I did was wrong from the beginning. In hindsight, sure… we should have handled it differently, but we didn’t, and Micah got tremendously hurt in the process. I’ve got to have that forgiveness from him or I’ll never be able to move on.

I delete Jorie’s text like I have the others she sent me over the past five days. At first, she called me. The voice mails were awful to listen to, but I did. I made myself hear her pain and let it score me deep like a thousand paper cuts to my soul.

When Jorie showed up at The Royale as I suspected she would, she caused an understated scene outside the locked door that led to the private elevator. I’d changed the code, and when she couldn’t get in, she slid to the floor and cried. My understanding from the direct report I received from Bentley was she sat there for almost half an hour before she finally left.

I also let that cut me deep, the pain in my chest excruciatingly brutal. But I didn’t let it sway me. Jorie would eventually move on and find someone who would love her right. That would have a genuine care for her heart. I kept the wall up around me and didn’t let her in, knowing that ignoring her pleas was the worst kind of cruelty I could bestow upon her and yet the best favor she could get from me.

I can’t give in. If I were to see her… talk to her… fuck, if I were to respond to a single text, I’d give in and tell Micah to go fuck himself.

And I just can’t do that.

That would be wrong, too, because he didn’t deserve what we did to him.

With a sigh, I roll off my couch and head over to my wet bar. Alcohol has provided some balm to the pain, but I have to get pretty drunk for it to work. Which is fine.

I have no desire to do anything else. The thought of The Wicked Horse repulses me, and I wrote to Jerico that I was canceling my membership. He emailed me back and tried to poke and prod into the issue, but I ignored him.


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