I drag a hand over my face.

My phone’s ringing—no, Veronica’s phone. I stare at it.

“You should answer that,” Teagan says.

The call is coming from my cell, which means there’s a good chance it’s my sister. Or some other random relative person in Jeffe who got their hands on my purse. I swallow hard and shake my head. “I can’t. I’m not ready.”

After a few rings, it goes to voicemail, and I exhale. I’ve never been good at telling my sister no, even for the smallest thing, like taking a call.

“Nobody can blame you,” Teagan says. “But you two are going to have to work something out eventually, right?”

“But not today.”

The phone beeps, alerting me that I have a voicemail.

“Do you want me to listen to it for you?” Teagan asks.

I shake my head, swipe the phone to unlock it, and tap the voicemail notification. I put it on speaker because knowing Teagan can hear it makes me feel a little less alone.

“Hey, Nic. It’s Veronica.” Just the sound of my sister’s voice makes the backs of my eyes sting. It sounds like she’s been crying, and that tugs at my heart and pisses me off at the same time. I cling to the anger. I’m the one who should be upset. I’m the one who should get to cry.

She’s the one who’s pregnant.

“I know you took my flight to Michigan,” Veronica says. “I don’t blame you, but I need to call the Jacksons and tell them I can’t come, and all the information is on the phone. I was going to get it from you so I could call them, but you’re not answering my calls.”

Teagan rolls her eyes and reaches over to punch pause on my voicemail. “What bullshit. Has she ever heard of Google? Ethan’s a doctor. She could find his office number with minimal effort.”

I curl my hands into fists. How many times have I stepped in for Veronica when there was a tough call or meeting she didn’t want to take? I thought it was my job to get through the hard parts of life for her. No one else was around to do it.

I take a breath and un-pause the message.

“I understand if you don’t want to talk to me, but I was thinking about it, and if you want to stay in Jackson Harbor for a while . . . I know I don’t have the right to ask you any favors, but the little girl I’m supposed to be working with is such a sweetheart. The position is only for three months. Would you think about stepping in for me?” She pauses a beat. “The money is yours, of course. I just don’t want to leave the family in the lurch.”

“How thoughtful of her,” Teagan grumbles.

“Talk it over with Kathleen—that’s the woman who arranged this. She’s the little girl’s grandma, and I was supposed to meet with her at noon today. The information’s in the calendar on my phone.” I hear a noise in the background that sounds like someone speaking over an intercom. “Listen, I’ve gotta go. Our flight leaves—” She cuts herself off, and I can practically hear the wheels turning in her head as she carefully restructures that sentence. “Marcus and I are going to go ahead and go on the honeymoon. It’s not what it seems. We just need to get away so we can work some things out. It’s not like I’m taking your place, it’s just . . .”

That’s exactly what it is. I close my eyes. I just want to go back to bed and stay there for as long as possible.

“This is hard for me, too,” Veronica says. “I hope you can understand that someday. I don’t expect you to understand it now. I love you. Bye.”

Teagan gapes at the phone. “So, you took her plane ticket to Michigan, and she’s taking yours to the Bahamas?”

I nod, my stomach rolling. “It appears that way.”

“And she took your fiancé and you’re taking . . . her job?”

I make a face. “Why would I want her job?”

She shrugs. “I don’t know. What else are you going to do? Go back to Jeffe?”

That sounds terrible. “No. I’m not going back there. Not for a while, at least.” I meet Teagan’s eyes. We were friends in college, but I lost touch with her while I focused on one toxic relationship after another. I would have been better off focusing on my friends. “It was so terrible. Everyone was staring as I ran away. I’m just not ready to face that yet.”

“Then stay here. Take Veronica’s job with the doctor, and have free room and board for a few months.”

“Easier said than done, Teag. I’m not sure this doctor is going to think one sister is as good as the other. He hired Veronica. Why would he want me?”

Tags: Lexi Ryan Erotic
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