“Shit. I have to get back to work. I’ve got a meeting in a few minutes,” he tells me, regret heavy in his voice as he walks over and wraps me in his arms.

Reaching up, I press my lips against his quickly before pulling back. “It’s fine. I need to get home and start purging my house of Jordan’s stuff.”

A flash of anger clouds Collin’s features at the mention of Jordan’s name.

“It’s okay, he’s not coming back. I told him I’d pack up all of his things and drop them off at his mom’s house,” I reassure him.

He visibly relaxes as he tightens his hold on me. “I have to work the next forty-eight straight hours and then I’m off for a few days. I’ll probably spend the first one catching up on sleep, but after that, you’re mine. Can you stop by my place then? There are some things we need to talk about.”

I try to mask the worry on my face when he says this. I was under the impression that we’d already hashed everything out and that he understood how I felt. I assumed after what just happened in this room that he felt the same. Maybe I misread him and he isn’t ready to jump right into a relationship with me right now. I feel stupid for having these doubts, but I can’t help it. He said he thought about me every single day for seventeen years. That’s got to mean something, right? I hold onto that thought and refuse to let my fear ruin what we’re building once again.

“That’s fine,” I tell him, keeping the smile on my face as I kiss him one last time.

He grabs my hand and pulls me behind him to the door, unlocking it and moving us out into the hall. As we make our way down the stairs to the bay of the station, we pass other firemen and Collin calls out greetings and quick questions about the call they must have just got back from.

I watch his face immediately transform from possessive lover into commanding fire captain. He’s serious and all business as he talks to his men, asking questions and giving praise when needed. It reminds me again of just how much he’s accomplished since we were together. I’m so proud of him for following his dreams and doing what he was so obviously meant to do. I can’t help but feel a sharp pang of regret that I never followed through with my own dreams.

When we finally make it outside, I start to tell Collin how proud I am of him when a loud, piercing tone begins ringing through the bay before a voice announcing a fire emergency blasts through the speakers.

“Cap! We’re going to need you on this one.”

Collin nods his head in the direction of the man who took me up to the gym when I first got here, informing him to cancel his meeting before turning back to face me.

“Duty calls,” he tells me with a smile as the men who haven’t even had a chance to change out of their protective gear from the last call rush past us into the bay, climbing onto the rig, the rumbling roar of the engine echoing around the room so loudly that I have to shout for Collin to hear me.

“Go,” I yell with a quick kiss on his cheek. “Be careful. I’ll be waiting for you.”

His face lights up at my reassurance and I watch him turn and race over to a small closed-door room right off the bay. He races back out a few seconds later with all of his bunker gear tucked under one arm. Jumping easily up onto the side of the rig and holding onto the handle bar as the vehicle slowly pulls out of the bay, he tosses his gear into the open door of the jump seats before pulling himself inside as the truck disappears from sight.

Jesus, he’s so damn hot.

Just that little taste of watching him in action is enough to get my blood pumping again. I never thought I was the type of woman to get turned on by a man in the public safety industry, but now I can’t shake the image of him stalking towards me wearing nothing but his insulated pants, suspenders holding them up over his bare chest, completely covered in sweat and soot from a recent call. He would be like something right out of firemen’s calendar come to life.

Pushing the thought from my mind, I make my way out of the bay and over to my car, determined to get out of there before I get so lost in my fantasies that Collin comes back to find me standing in the same spot he left me.

I try not to think about the things Collin wants to discuss with me as I pull my keys out of my purse and hit the unlock button on the key fob, so lost in my thoughts that I don’t even notice I’m not alone in the parking lot. I jump when a feel someone push against my back, reaching around me to slam the door I was pulling open.

Turning around, I come face to face with Jordan.

“What the hell are you doing here?” I ask in shock.

“I could ask you the same thing, whore.”

His words slur and, smelling the alcohol on his breath, I scrunch my nose up in disgust and take a step back.

“What were you doing inside for so long? Fucking the entire house or just giving it up to that asshole McDaniels?” he continues.

My face heats with guilt and I immediately squelch it. He has no right to be jealous and I’m not about to stand out here in the middle of the street and feed into his bullshit.

“It’s none of your business what I do or who I do it with. Get away from my car and stay the hell away from me,” I fire back.

He’s on me in a second, his body pressed up against mine, shoving me back against the side of my car roughly. His hand quickly comes up, cupping my chin and squeezing my cheeks so hard that it makes my eyes water.

“You are still my wife. People are already starting to talk. They’ve seen you with McDaniels and they all know you’re fucking him. You’re embarrassing yourself and you’re embarrassing me,” he says angrily, his nose pressed up against mine.

Bringing my hands up to his chest, I shove as hard as I can. Considering he’s drunk and can barely stand, it doesn’t take much to get him off me He stumbles away and I quickly glance around, hoping someone from the station is nearby and sees what’s happening. Unfortunately, the bay is empty and there isn’t any sign of life in the windows of the house. Everyone must have gone on the call with Collin.

“This is the last time I’m going to tell you this. Stay the fuck away from me, Jordan, or I’m calling the cops,” I threaten, refusing to let him know just how much he’s scaring me right now.

I’ve never been afraid of my husband physically hurting me, but right now, with the anger radiating off of him and his blood filled with alcohol, there’s no telling what he’s capable of.

He smirks at me as I yank open my car door and quickly get inside, hitting the automatic lock as soon as I’m behind the wheel. As I start up the engine and peel away from the curb, I can hear him shout after my car through the closed windows.

“YOU CAN’T KEEP ME AWAY, FINNLEY!”

TWO DAYS LATER, I’m still a jumble of nerves every time I walk out of the house to go to work. Collin has called a couple of times a day to check on me and just the sound of his voice through the line calms me down. When he isn’t out on a call, I curl up in bed with the phone propped against my ear, listening to his soft, baritone voice tell me stories about the crazy things D.J. did when they were at the fire academy and what his family has been up to since I last saw them. In turn, he listens to me ramble about my friendship with Phina, silly things we did in college and what my own family has been doing with themselves.

In the quiet of the night when he’s lying in his own bunk at the station waiting for the next call to come in, he asks me about my marriage to Jordan and I tell him everything—the good, the bad and the ugly. I tell him about how hard I tried to make it work, forgiving him over and over for the addictions he allowed to rule both of our lives and I admit to him that I don’t even know how long ago I fell out of love with him. He listens to it all and he never judges me for the choice I made to try and stick it out for as long as possible before finally reaching my breaking point. He tells me I’m amazing and that he wishes things could have been different.

I don’t know how many times I wished for the same thing. I never realized it until now, but everything happens for a reason. Maybe Collin came into my life at this point in time because I was finally ready for him. If I would have run into him again years ago, we probably would have just said a polite hello and continued to go our separate ways.

He’s so sweet and understanding as I explain everything to him, I just can’t bring myself to tell him about what Jordan has been doing. I don’t want to worry him and I certainly don’t want him getting into trouble by taking matters into his own hands. Collin is the type of man who would never stand idly by and let Jordan treat me this way.

For the past two days, I’ve seen Jordan’s car parked outside of the house more than once. I’ve seen it drive by my work when I’m walking out to the parking lot and I know I’ve seen it in my rearview mirror on my way home or on trips to the grocery store.

When the text messages started coming several times a day, each one telling me what a whore I am or how I’m going to pay for the mistakes I’ve made, I printed all of them out and put them in a file. When he sends a grainy picture of Collin and I pressed up against each other by the tree outside my office the day of the electrical fire with a particularly nasty message, I have the proof I need that he’s been stalking me. I take everything to the courthouse and file for a restraining order, making sure to install new locks on the house as soon as I got home.

I know this will all blow over eventually and there’s no point freaking Collin out about something that really has nothing to do with him. I decided to leave Jordan before we ever saw each other again and I don’t want to drag him into this mess any more than I already have. If he wasn’t in my life, I’d have to handle it on my own anyway. I’m a big girl and I can take care of my own problems. I know Jordan’s irrational behavior is due to whatever addiction that currently has him in its clutches and, even though I don’t care about what he does with his own life, I don’t want him hurting anyone around him.

I haven’t spoken to his parents since right after we separated. Every time his mother called me, she reminded me about the vows I took to stand by his side through the good times and bad. She told me that a wife needs to support her husband and that pushing him away was only making things worse. I stopped answering her calls after that. It was too hard not to scream at her and ask her about the vows HE took. Even though I don’t want anything to do with his family and their double standards, I did the right thing and called his mom to tell her about his behavior and the measures I was forced to take for my own safety. I was more than a little shocked to hear that Jordan only spent one week at their house before he moved out. They haven’t seen or heard from him since.

I push any concern I might have for him out of my mind when I get a phone call from the court telling me the judge had a cancellation and will see me first thing in the morning. It’s silly, but I know having that little slip of paper on file stating that Jordan won’t be able to come within a hundred yards of me will make me feel safer.

Hopefully he’ll finally get the message and he can get the help he needs so he can move forward with his own life.

Chapter 16—Hot

IT TOOK EVERYTHING in me not to drive straight to Finnley’s house when I left the station, but I know if I don’t get some sleep, there’s no way I’ll be able to function. After a quick shower, I toss on a pair of boxer briefs, flop down on top of the covers in bed and dial Finnley’s number.

She answers on the second ring. “How was work?”

Her voice is filled with the rasp of sleep and I feel bad that I woke her up.

“It was exhausting. I’m sorry I woke you.”

“It’s fine, I was dreaming about you anyway and hearing your voice is much better.”

I can hear her smile and the rustle of covers through the line and my dick starts to harden just thinking about her body all warm and soft under the blankets.

“I hope you’re naked while you were thinking about me,” I tease.

“I wasn’t, but that can easily be arranged,” she replies with a soft laugh.

My mind fills with all sorts of naughty ideas and the exhaustion of the last forty-eight hours of work quickly leaves my body.

We’ve talked a lot over the last few days. We touched on important things like her shitty marriage and why she never had children, my failed relationships and our families. I have loved every second of getting to know her again, but I want to know more. She slept with one man for most of her life and I find it hard to believe he was able to fulfill all of her fantasies. From the brief conversation we had about our past sex lives, I know there are a lot of things she’s never experienced. I want to know what she dreams about, I want to know what turns her on and I want to make every single one of those things come true. I’ve had a pretty adventurous sex life. I’ve dabbled in bondage and even experienced threesomes. Fucking two women at the same time would probably fulfill most guy’s deepest, darkest desire, but nothing turns me on more than the thought of finding out what makes Finnley burn. I could tell by the excitement on her face when my palm connected with her ass that it turned her on and she wanted more, but was afraid to ask for it. I don’t want her to ever be afraid to tell me what she wants.

“If you’re wearing underwear, take them off,” I demand softly into the phone.

I hear her breath catch, but the rustling of fabric through the line tells me she’s following my orders.

“Now, put the phone on speaker and set it down on the pillow next to you,” I continue.

She doesn’t say a word. While she situates the phone, I reach down under the covers and palm my cock.

“Are we seriously going to have phone sex right now?” she asks with a shaky voice before laughing softly.




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