Mirabella gave Jacob a dazzling smile and you could see his love for her sparkling in his eyes. My heart ached in my chest. I knew how that love felt. I also knew how it felt when it ended.

I stole a glance at Cade. He was looking at me, his eyes dark, his brow pulled together. His jaw set. I turned away. One day he would drape his crown pendant around the neck of another woman, and she would stare up at him with the same starry eyes as Mirabella. He deserved it. And I wanted him to be happy. Yet, the very idea of another woman wearing his crown made my chest ache. I closed my eyes, and hated that my heart still hurt for him. Hated that I still loved him. Hated that I couldn’t come back because I was too damn scared.

I opened my eyes and lifted my head. I looked at Jacob. He towered over his slender bride. He cupped her face in his big hands and looked lovingly into her eyes. The priest pronounced them man and wife, and he bent his head to kiss her passionately. We all clapped and cheered, and confetti filled the golden light of the afternoon.

Afterwards, we celebrated by the river. Chairs and tables were brought down from the clubhouse, and candles and flowers festooned the tablecloths. Caterers brought in food and cake, and wine that was drunk out of antique crystal glasses. The paper streamers and buntings made by Mirabella and the other old ladies were looped from tree branch to tree branch, gently swaying in the mild breeze.

As the afternoon wore on, the wine flowed and we danced to the sounds of a live band set up in the shade of the tree line.

I did my best to avoid Cade. But as the sun sank lower into the horizon, and the stars scattered in a twilight sky, he approached me while I sat talking with Tex and his wife, and asked me to dance.

And I’d had just enough wine to accept.

As he led me on to the makeshift dance floor, the band started a rendition of the Eagles “Wasted Time.” He pulled me close.

“You look beautiful,” he said, his bright blue eyes roaming my face.

“Thank you.” I felt awkward but drawn to him. “You look very handsome.”

And he did. He looked so damn handsome my heart ached.

He gave me a closed-lip smile and his beautiful blue eyes sparkled down on me. As our bodies swayed to the music his fingers curled into mine and my head spun with longing. Our bodies were close. Crushed together so I could feel every inch of him. It was wrong. Yet I couldn’t pull away.

“You smell good, too,” he said, his fingers untangling from mine to trail along my throat. He tucked my hair over my shoulder and I shivered. His breath on my skin was intoxicating and I was powerless against the allure of him. Instead of stepping away, I melted into him.

“I want to kiss you,” he whispered.

The gentleness in his voice tugged at my heart.

“Cade. . .” I breathed his name, but my own yearning cut me off, taking up a pulse at the very core of me.

“I know you’re not mine but you should be.”

“Please. . .”

He held me even tighter, his body hard and enticing, stealing the strength from me so I couldn’t pull away. I longed for his touch and the wine in me told me it was a good idea.

“Tell me you didn’t think about us when you watched Jacob and Mirabella become man and wife. Tell me you have no regrets.”

“Don’t do this,” I pleaded. “Let’s just enjoy tonight.”

His lips brushed my throat. “Tell me there is a chance for us.”

Before I could reply, Joker bumped into us and slung his arms around our shoulders.

“Bitches . . .” he cried. Too much bourbon had taken its toll on him and it wasn’t even seven o’clock. “Let’s dance! Whoa!”

I saw my chance to escape and I took it. I pulled away from Cade and walked off the dance floor leaving him to untangle himself from Joker.

Sitting down at one of the tables I poured myself a big glass of wine. I needed it. My heart was hopping all over the place. I downed it in three gulps and quickly poured another. I felt myself being pulled toward Cade and I couldn’t stop. I had spent too long running from my past. Now it had caught up with me and was all up in my face, forcing me to look at what I had left behind. And that was all of this. All of these people.

And Cade.

Sometime between running away and now, I had forgiven him. He was a good guy. Yes, he had broken my heart. But it was time to let it go. Move on. My heart was healed. I could leave Destiny knowing I was free of all the angst I had dragged around with me for twelve years.

Tags: Penny Dee Kings of Mayhem MC Romance
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