“Then maybe she should start talking about it. I couldn’t be what she wanted then, and I’m not what she needs now. Going to see her now . . . that’s not the answer. She’s a fucking prize-winning masochist, and you knew it. You left her alone with some sick fuck, Remy.”


“I don’t deny that I failed her. Don’t you fail her now too.”

Blake took a breath and spoke evenly. “The answer is no. Call her parents.”

“I don’t know—”

“I’m on the road right now. I’ll text you their info when I get home.”

Blake ended the call without another word. A sick feeling settled over me with the reminder of how Blake had loved her once. Maybe that couldn’t compete with how we felt for each other now, but the reality of it still hurt.

“I’m sorry, baby.”

I stared out the window, reaching for the happiness I’d felt before Remy called. “You don’t have to be sorry.”

“She upsets you, and I swore I wouldn’t let her do that to you anymore. Of all days . . . Christ. I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine,” I lied.

I hadn’t let Sophia get under my skin for months, but somehow she’d managed to drive herself into our world again, whether she meant to or not. I scolded myself for caring, for cursing the woman who was hurt enough to be in the hospital. For Blake’s sake, I tried to feel sorry for her. I couldn’t imagine what could have gone wrong though. Within the walls of the club, where the most depraved acts could be acceptable, maybe even commonplace, the possibilities were many.

“What do you think happened to her?” I asked.

“Let’s not talk about it, okay?”

“Do you think she’s really hurt?”

His shoulders sagged. “It’s entirely possible. If the guy beat her badly enough that she landed in the hospital, it’s probably not good. The things you and I do . . . it’s nothing next to the things that happen at the club, Erica. The threshold for pain and acceptable behavior goes much higher than yours. For someone to take it over the line, to injure her . . .”

“Maybe you should go see her.” I forced the words out. But maybe she needed Blake more than I realized.

He pulled into the driveway, parked, and turned to me. “No.”

Relief and the inexplicable need to be sympathetic battled within me.

“It’s okay, Blake. I won’t deny that I completely despise Sophia, but you loved her once. This is an unusual situation, and I understand if you want to see her.”

He lifted his eyebrows. “But I don’t.”

“If you feel like you should . . .”

“You’re my priority. You’re my whole life. You and our baby, and protecting our future . . . That’s the only thing I’m worried about now. Sophia has problems that run deeper than I could ever fix. That’s why I left, and if she has any chance of getting better, she needs to face them. Me being there for her now does nothing to help her in the long run. Maybe now she’ll come clean with her family.”

“What if she doesn’t?”

He hesitated. “Remy will be there for her.”

“How do you know?”

He rested back into his seat. “Because he’s in love with her.”

In love? Though my interaction with Remy had been only mere minutes, he had left an impression. The man who owned the sex club Blake used to frequent was both intense and intimidating. But also handsome and charismatic in a way I didn’t have words for. Sophia had attended the club with Blake in the past, but somehow associating her with Remy seemed odd. He was a dominant creature, no doubt, perhaps equally or more so than Blake. But I couldn’t imagine Blake sharing a woman, even one as awful as Sophia, with anyone.

“How . . . if you were with Sophia?”

“He was honest with me about his attraction to her. Something about her fascinated him. He wanted to share her, at least physically. Suffice it to say, I don’t share. I refused, and he didn’t press the issue after that. After she and I split up, I gave him my blessing.”

“Were they together?”

Blake’s jaw tightened. “A few months later. Sophia made sure to let me know it, too. Last-ditch effort to stir my jealousy and try to get me back, I suppose. But as far as I know, nothing ever materialized between them.”

“Because she still wanted you.”

“I guess you could say they weren’t compatible.”

“But he’s a Dom.”

“Not all Doms are the same, as evidenced by the one who put her in the hospital. Let’s just say on the scale of intensity, Remy’s proclivities align a little more closely to mine. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. I’m sorry she’s hurt. I truly am, but I’m not letting her steal another minute of time away from us.”

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