Apparently, money is what talks with Madison as she starts to backpedal. “Declan… I did not mean any offense—”

Declan holds his hand up, cutting her off. “I’m done playing, Madison. And the reason I’m done is that you hurt the woman I love by coming here, and I simply cannot tolerate that. So sign the fucking documents, or I’ll see you in court.”

There goes that buzzing sound again. The same thing happened earlier today when Madison told me that she was Declan’s wife. I suspect it’s a massive rushing of blood into my head from receiving a shock. It’s an even greater and more intense feeling to try to process the fact Declan just said he loves me.

And he didn’t even say it to me. He said it to Madison.

Admittedly, it’s kind of sexy he did it that way. Declan looks over to his father. “I’m sorry you came all this way, Father. But you have no control over what I do. I love Bailey, and I intend to be with her if she’ll have me. Either get on board with it or cut me out of your life—I don’t give a fuck which you choose.”

I want to see how the great Alexander Blackwood is taking being put in his place.

But Declan’s hands on my face force me to meet his eyes. “You know the truth of it now, Bailey. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about my marriage, and I hope you can forgive me.”

And then, to my shock, Declan turns for the door. He strides across the suite, leaving me behind with two awful and horrid people.

The message is clear… the ball is in my court.

I bolt after Declan, not saying anything to Alexander or Madison Blackwood. At this point, I hope I never see them again.

I have to break into a run to catch up to Declan, and I come to a skidding halt that requires him to reach out and steady me.

Tipping my head back, I look up. “You love me?”

“More than I’ve ever loved anything in my entire life,” he says solemnly.

And I believe him.

“I’m really sorry you were hurt, Bailey. I can imagine a thousand different scenarios on how it must’ve gone when Madison told you she was my wife. Every single one had to have been crushing to you. I have half a mind to go back in there and strangle her just for that because I know how vindictive she can be. But please believe me… She is nothing to me. But you are everything, and I need you in my life. Can you forgive me?” he asks, and it breaks my heart to see how scared he is as he waits for my answer.

“In a million years, I never thought I would find out someone I was dating was married and forgive them so easily,” I muse with a small smile. “But this happens to be such an occasion. I get why you didn’t tell me. And yes, I forgive you.”

Declan makes a sound from deep within his chest. It sounds like a prayer of gratitude. Suddenly, his mouth is on mine as he kisses me. Hands diving in my hair and gripping me hard on the off chance I change my mind and try to slip away.

I kiss him back with all I have within me, needing him to know I feel the same way about him that he does about me.

No, I need more than his kiss. I need to give him the words.

Pushing my hands in between us, I give him a solid push. It breaks the kiss. His eyes are blazing as he questioningly regards me.

“I love you, Declan. So much.”

He grins, sliding his hand around the back of my neck and gripping it. “Let’s get out of here, okay? We have lots to talk about.”

I nod in understanding.

We have the rest of our lives—our future—to discuss.



My commute home from the construction site of the new Blackwood resort takes about thirty minutes, and it’s a good way to decompress at the end of the day. I don’t like bringing any negative shit home to Bailey.

We’ve both acclimated reasonably well to the San Francisco area over the last six months. Frankly, my life has never been better.

That’s all Bailey, of course.

The fact she took the leap by agreeing to follow me makes me the luckiest son of a bitch in the world. It was hard for her to leave her parents, but they were instrumental in getting her to go. Her dad stepped up to the plate, promising he had everything in hand with her mother. I told her that she could fly back whenever she wanted.

And when it came time to find a place for us to live, I decided on an actual house instead of renting an apartment during the construction phase of the Blackwood. Well, not a house—more like a mansion that comes complete with a guesthouse in the back on the far side of the pool, which means her parents can visit whenever and as long as they want while still having their privacy.

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