“With the guy she’s marrying?”

Thank Christ not. But fuck. Julian probably thinks of Cami as his by now, and how much worse would tonight have been if he’d heard me at the door and come to see who Brinley was talking to? This is a fucking mess. I blow out a breath. “No. She had her daughter in high school. Right after I left.”

“Well, shit. Yours?”

“No.” And I still can’t decide if that hurts more or if it’s a relief. But it was never really a question. Brinley may have kept her daughter a secret, but she never would’ve kept a child from me. She would’ve known I needed to be the father my sperm donor wasn’t, needed to prove I was better than a blank spot on a birth certificate.

“Fucking hell,” Alec says. “That’s . . . Shit.”

I sink onto a bench and look out over the water that’s sparkling from the lights all around the lake.

“What are you going to do?”

“I came here for my wife, not to suddenly find myself the stepdad to a ten-year-old kid, but they’re a package deal and . . . Fuck, I have to figure out how I feel about that before I push her on this marriage again.”

“No one would blame you if it changes things, Marston.”

I lean back and close my eyes, imagining the life I came here to fight for, the love I’ve never been able to cut from my heart, no matter how hard I tried. “Honestly? I don’t think it changes anything.”

Chapter Nine


“You keep making faces like that, and I’m going to encourage you to take up day drinking,” Savvy says, pulling a hoodie on over her open-backed tank top. She snuck in between personal training sessions and brought me coffee—and not just black brew but one of the concoctions from the kitchen with steamed milk and caramel. Since I’ve given myself permission to screw the diet for the time being, I’m enjoying every sip.

“What?” I ask. “Is my RBF flaring up again?”

She rolls her eyes. “You couldn’t pull off resting bitch face if you tried. I’m talking about the panic in your eyes.”

I look down at my planner, and that familiar dread coils in my stomach. “My parents are coming to town this weekend.”

Savvy tenses. “Well, that should make this whole situation even more . . . interesting.”

“First it was just supposed to be Mom coming to meet with the caterer, but then she and Dad decided they wanted to take Julian and me to dinner so he could meet some of their friends, and now it’s a whole thing.” I blow out a breath. “I can’t believe I forgot, but with everything else. . .” I shudder as I imagine facing Mom and Dad with the news. Surprise! I know you’re here about my wedding, but first I need a divorce!

“You look flushed. Are you sure you don’t have a rare but possibly deadly new virus? You might need to be quarantined for exactly . . . however many days your parents will be in the OV.”

I laugh. “You’re so awful.”

“What? I’ll vouch for you.” Smiling, she tilts her head to the side and studies me. “Did your fiancé come by to grovel yet?”

I shake my head. “He’s texted, but the in-person groveling has to wait. He’s in Atlanta meeting with a client and won’t be back until tomorrow.”

“Hmm. So the fiancé is out of town. What about the husband? Has he been by today?”

I grab the nearest pencil and fling it at her, but she dodges, and it hits the window and falls harmlessly to the floor. “Bitch. Don’t call him that.”

“Sorry. I meant to say have you talked to Marston since he showed up at your door last night?”

“Since he found out I could’ve starred on Teen Mom? No.” I look out at the lake and watch a black bird with a long beak dive for a fish. “I don’t even know if he’s still in town.”

“Oh, sweetie. This whole thing . . .” She shakes her head. “What a mess.”

“A mess I created myself.” When she opens her mouth—no doubt to object—I hold up a hand. “I know it’s not entirely my fault that I don’t remember my wedding, and it’s understandable I’d be cautious about telling Marston about Cami, but come on, Savvy. I screwed up. A lot. If I don’t own that, I’ll just feel like shit about it for longer.”

She folds her arms and huffs. “I don’t want you to feel like shit at all.”

“I’ll get over it. Just let me wallow a little.”


I look up and see Stella standing in the doorway to my office, her arms folded, her bottom lip trapped between her teeth. I know that look. That’s the look my friend has when she’s about to give me terrible news. She had that look on her face when the pipes in the steam sauna froze over. She looked like that when one of the staff members suddenly came down with the stomach flu and threw up all over a bridal party during their spa day.

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