The adult Kit understood that those people had been vicious, sharpening their claws on a vulnerable target, but being constantly negatively compared to her parents wore away at a person. She’d never said that aloud to anyone but Noah, wary of appearing the “poor little rich girl.” But he got it. He knew it wasn’t about ego but about identity.

Kit didn’t want to be labeled as Adreina and Parker’s daughter. She wanted to be Kathleen Devigny, who was her own person quite apart from the two larger-than-life people who had created her.

“You are,” Noah had said to her the first time she admitted her frustration. “The world won’t know what hit it when Kathleen Devigny takes it by storm.”

She loved him for that and for his talent and his heart that was bigger than most people knew. He’d never told her, never mentioned it in even a single interview, but she knew he donated a large percentage of his income to charity. The only reason she knew was that she’d been in his hotel room one day when she’d picked up a piece of paper that had fallen to the floor. As she was putting it back on the table by the phone, she’d inadvertently read a few lines—enough to tell her the letter was from his accountant, itemizing donations made on Noah’s behalf. All the ones she’d seen had related to children.

Complex, beautiful, talented man, she thought, her heart hurting. She loved him, but she knew he was broken. Perhaps permanently.

“Let’s go sprawl on the couch and finish off this champagne,” he said after dinner.

Kit nodded because, broken or not, he was hers and she wouldn’t give up on him.

They’d just taken a seat on the sofa, Noah’s arm around Kit’s shoulders, when she got a text from Harper. Her mouth fell open. “Give me the remote.” Grabbing it, she switched channels.

“Blue Force?” Noah groaned as the iconic theme music came on. “I watched Dancing with the Stars. I should get to choose today.”

“I’m on it.” She snuggled close to his side. “It was taped three years ago, just before the series was put into temporary deep freeze—Harper just found out a few minutes ago that this is my episode.”

“Why the fuck would Harper put you on this piece of—” Clearly catching her warning glance, he smiled. “I must’ve been thinking of another show. This is pure genius.”

She made a disbelieving noise but stayed against him. “This was before Last Flight. I was still on Primrose Avenue and trying to break out into serious drama. These guys gave me a shot, so don’t you ever mock the show.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He ran his fingers over her shoulder. “What’re you playing?”

“A murdering junkie.” She grinned at the open disbelief on his face. “Wait till you see me—you won’t recognize me.”

Ten minutes into the show and there she was, lying in a dirty bed in a crack den, her face scarred by the pockmarks junkies created by digging into their skin, her hair matted and greasy. Her teeth, too, were yellow and cracked.

“Why would they spend all that time making a gorgeous woman look like a hard-core addict?” Noah muttered. “Why not just hire an actual junkie?”

“Watch, it’s a good episode.” It charted the descent of an Ivy League educated heiress into drug addiction and murder. “I get to be glamorous in some of the other shots, but I think I did my best work in the crack-den scenes.”

Noah watched quietly with her, and she could tell that despite his disdain for the show, he’d become hooked on the plot. Content and happy, she wasn’t prepared for him to suddenly jerk to his feet. Unbalanced, she braced one hand against the sofa cushion. “Noah?”

“I can’t watch this crap anymore,” he said and strode out.

Kit stared after him. She knew she should be hurt, but she was just confused. Sure, Blue Force was a spinoff of a spinoff, but it wasn’t trying to be anything but what it was—a quick police procedural that acted as brain candy after dinner. The writing was smart, plus the anchor cast had great chemistry. And it wasn’t as if Noah was a snob with this kind of stuff—she’d seen DVDs of action movies at his house, many of them far more cheesy than Blue Force.

Shrugging and deciding he was just in a mood for some reason, she returned her attention to the show but couldn’t focus, becoming more and more frustrated as the minutes passed. What was wrong with Noah, and why wouldn’t he talk to her?

Unable to let it go, she switched off the TV, then went looking for him. He was in the garden, beer in hand as he sat on the weathered wooden bench by the outdoor table. From the two other bottles lined up on the table, he’d started as soon as he left her. “Planning on getting blind drunk tonight?”

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