“I saw him at Smithy’s just now. He was drunk and looking for a fight. When you said things got ugly . . .” He looks away and blows out a long breath.

“What happened at the bar?”

He shakes his head. “Nothing. It’s fine.”

“Obviously not nothing.” It’s my turn to look him over, but he doesn’t appear to be injured.

“He took a couple of swings at me, but he missed.” His eyes search my face then drop to my bare ring finger. “You broke up with him.”

I shouldn’t like that he came right here. Shouldn’t relish the intensity in his voice. Shouldn’t be shaking in anticipation of his touch. “Yes.”

He steps into my condo and kicks the door closed as he prowls toward me. The heat in his eyes tells me exactly what he wants, and I want to give it to him.

I had to call off the wedding. I had to break it off with Julian. And tomorrow I have to tell my parents. If I can’t convince them to give me the trust anyway, I may very well have to give up my dream of buying The Orchid. I had to be strong earlier, and I’ll have to find even more of that strength later. But right now, I want to lean into someone else’s strength, if only for tonight.

His gaze locks on my mouth. “You canceled the wedding.”

“Yes. But Marston, I still don’t—”

He covers my lips with his thumb and shakes his head. “Let me have my moment, woman.”

I’m surprised to hear my own laughter. I’m so drained from today, so confused from seeing that video with Marston, and so worried for tomorrow, that I didn’t expect to have any laughter in me tonight. But there it is, and when he smiles, I’m glad for it. Marston Rowe’s smile is a thing of beauty.

I don’t fight it when he lowers that smile to my lips. I don’t fight myself. I let him kiss me, and I kiss him back.

I shouldn’t. Everything’s a mess and this won’t help, but his mouth is hot and hungry, and it feels so damn right to let him touch me that I give myself this moment of weakness.

He nudges me until my back’s against the wall, then slides his hands up my sides under my tank top. I let him. I moan into his mouth, knowing the sound will goad him on—wanting it to.

When Marston cups my bare breasts, he groans against my mouth. My nipples tighten under his warm palms, and he rolls them in soft, torturous circles, making the muscles between my legs clench tight.

My feet are on the ground, but I still feel like I’m floating. I need to get my head out of the clouds and focus. “We shouldn’t.” I gasp as he latches on to my neck, and my objection sounds even weaker.

“Tell me you want me to stop,” he murmurs against my neck.

“I don’t.” I tangle my hands in his hair, holding him close. “But this is going to make everything harder.”

His hands drop from my breasts, leaving them cold and aching. “You’re right about that.” He grips my hips and hoists me up, pinning me between himself and the wall and guiding my legs to wrap around his waist. The thick length of him presses into me through his jeans and my thin shorts.

I rock, desperate for the friction to relieve the growing ache between my legs. He tears his mouth off my neck and peels off my shirt, tossing it to the side before he cups a breast in one hand and lowers his mouth. He flicks my nipple with his tongue before sucking it into his mouth. He’s rough and then tender, sucking and then kissing, pulling and then licking, and I rock against him and thread my fingers through his hair again and again. I need more. I need to feel him on top of me, inside me, everywhere. I just want to lose myself and forget. I want . . .

I force my eyes open as reality descends. Nothing has changed, and the more of myself I give to him, the more it’s going to hurt when the inevitable end comes. “Marston, stop.”

He releases my nipple from his mouth and slowly kisses his way up to my collarbone. As he lowers me to the floor, he trails his mouth across my skin and up my neck before finally pulling back and looking at me. His eyes are dark, and he’s as breathless as I am—more so.

“We can’t.” My objection sounds weak even to my ears.

“You’re my wife. If you want this, we fucking can.”

I swallow. “We still need to get divorced.”

Marston steps back and shakes his head. “We don’t.”

“You don’t understand. My life is here. Cami goes to a great school, and I love my job and my friends. Everyone at The Orchid counts on me, and I like knowing I provide them with the security they need.” For now, I think, but I push back that thought. It’s tomorrow’s problem.

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