I fumble for my phone on the bedside table and turn it over.

When I first see the numbers 10:34, I close my eyes again. I wish I could sleep all day, but I need to call Savvy. If we’re going to try to make it to our noon spa appointments, I need to get a shower.

I look at my phone again. I missed a call from my mom.


I sit up in bed, and my stomach heaves in protest.

Note to self: move slowly.

I fumble with the lamp and light floods my room—no. Not my room. A massive luxury suite. Marston’s suite.

“Mars?” My voice is thick with sleep, but I don’t feel rested at all. My head is heavy. “Marston?” I close my eyes against the light, push the sheets back, and carefully swing my legs over the side of the bed. I shiver when the cold air hits my bare skin. Because, of course, I’m naked.

Fuck. Shit. Damn.

Not that I mind the idea of spending the night naked with Marston—I’ve imagined it many more times than I care to admit. It’s just that the reality is so much messier, and I wish I at least had some memories to take home with me.

I put the back of my hand to my mouth, and something hard tears at my lip.

A diamond.

On a ring.

A diamond ring on the ring finger of my left hand.

I extend my arm in front of me and stare. My internal organs can’t decide if they want to sink or surge into my throat or tangle all together, and my pounding head is giving me nothing to go on here.

Yep, memories would be great. Details like how that ring got on my finger would really come in handy right now. As would knowing the location of the guy who put it there.

My head pounds as I gingerly rise from the bed to hunt down my clothes. My breath comes faster and faster, and I start to count the beats of my inhales and exhales to force myself not to panic.

Did we have a clichéd drunken Vegas wedding?

I shake my head, then brace myself on the bedside table when the room spins. I never would have married Marston. That’s a childhood fantasy, and there’s too much at stake to indulge such whims now. And him? No, He wouldn’t risk his fortune on a whim.

Just one band, Brinley. Just an engagement ring. This isn’t good, but it could be so much worse.

I find my shoes at the foot of the bed, my bra and dress on the walnut dining table in the main part of the suite, and my panties . . . my panties are nowhere to be found.

I vaguely wonder if I lost them in the suite or long before we made it back here.

How much did I drink last night? Did someone slip me something?

I wriggle into my dress and loop the straps of my heels on two fingers. I need to get out of here. I sigh in relief when I see my clutch on the desk and find my wallet inside.

Where is he? And why didn’t I get his damn phone number?

But maybe it’s a blessing he’s not here . . . and that I have no memory of last night or his proposal. Maybe it’s easier this way.

I grab a pen and piece of hotel stationery and scribble a note to leave on the dresser.


I’m so sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking last night, but I can’t. We can’t.

Please forgive me.



When I pull the ring off my finger, I swear something tears loose in my chest, unraveling years of pent-up emotions. I shove them back down and drop the ring on top of the note.

The room spins, and it’s so tempting to go back to bed. Wherever he is, he’ll be back soon.

But my daughter is waiting for me at home, and if Marston knew about her, he never would’ve put this ring on my finger.

* * *


I practically race to the elevator to get back to my room.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything more gorgeous than Brinley tangled in my sheets, naked, with my ring on her finger. Except maybe her smile last night when we said our vows in that quiet little chapel, the way those blue eyes brimmed with happy tears when I said I do.

Alec told me I could skip the meeting this morning, which said a lot, since he knows I never miss out on business. Hell, if he’d known Brinley and I ended up getting married last night, he probably would’ve insisted I skip it. God knows I considered it.

I woke wrapped around Brinley, one leg thrown over hers, one hand between her breasts. She was clinging to that hand in her sleep, and I didn’t want to pull away. But this is who I am now. A man who’s true to his word. A man respected by the best in the business. I need to be that man now more than ever—to prove to her, to myself, that I’m not the screwed-up kid I used to be, that I’m worthy of her and this life we’re going to build together.

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