I got into the SUV and glared straight ahead. “Take me to Sadie.”

He had music playing, and one of the songs I had written for Sadie came on the radio. “Turn off the radio,” I barked.

He quickly shut it off, and I leaned back in my seat, trying to figure out how I would handle it if she had an explanation for this. If I had been wrong and jumped to conclusions. Even if she didn’t have an explanation . . . what if she was pregnant? With my baby? What the hell would I do then? I wasn’t going to leave her and let her figure it out. As much as I hated that picture, I loved her. God, I’d always f**king love her.

The driver pulled us into the driveway of the house I’d bought for Jessica and Sam. Jessica’s Honda was parked outside, and so were several police cruisers. My army of protection pulled in around us, and I didn’t wait for them to secure things before I slung open the door and stalked to the house.

I didn’t even knock before Jessica opened the door and her eyes shot hot daggers of hate at me. “What the hell are you doing here? You don’t think you’ve done enough? You tossed her out like trash, and she’s done with you. So go back to your fancy house and fancy life, and leave my baby girl the f**k alone!”

Never had Jessica ever spoken to me this way. I was shocked, but her reaction only made my fear that I’d completely messed up more real. But with that fear was a hope that my Sadie was still the same girl I had thought she was until I’d seen that picture.

“I need to talk to her,” I said, ready to push past Jessica if I had to in order to get into the house.

“It’s Jax,” Sam’s little voice said excitedly as he came running around Jessica’s legs. “Sadie said he wasn’t coming back and he wasn’t her friend anymore. But he changed his mind!” Sam cheered and clapped his hands. “Want to come play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with me and Sadie?” he asked, staring up at me.

She was in there. She was playing with her little brother. Fuck. That didn’t sound like the woman I had accused her of becoming. God, what had I done?

“Go back to your sister. I’m sending Jax away. He makes Sadie sad,” Jessica told him, and Sam’s smile fell. “Is he why she keeps crying?”

His question was my last straw. “I need to see her now,” I said. I moved Jessica out of my way, then patted Sam on the head as I walked through the house looking for Sadie.

When I walked into the living room, she stood up from her spot on the floor with an army of turtles around her and backed away from me. “What are you doing here?” she asked, fear and pain shining in all over her face.

Her eyes were swollen and red. She wasn’t wearing any makeup, and her clothing was stuff she had bought for herself. The hardest thing to see was her bare hand. I’d grown accustomed to seeing my ring on her finger.

“Please go. You’ve said enough. I don’t want Sam to hear this. Just go. I didn’t take anything that was yours, or at least, I tried not to.”

She wasn’t making excuses. She was worried about Sam.

“Did you do it?” I asked her straight-out. What I should have done first.

Her back stiffened, and she lifted her chin in pride. “You don’t get to ask me that now. The time for that is over. You need to leave.”

Dread settled in my stomach. A sickness began to churn. “Sadie.” I took a step toward her. “I should have given you a chance to explain. I messed up. But I’m asking you now. Did you do it?”

She backed away, putting more space between us. “Will you leave and not come back if I tell you?” she asked.

Not if she didn’t f**king do anything wrong! Not if she hadn’t been making out with my damn drummer. I was going to beg like a damn dog if that’s what had to be done, but I wasn’t leaving her if what I now suspected was true.

“No,” I replied.

She frowned and moved her gaze to settle on something else across the room. She didn’t want to look at me. “The things you said . . . You’ll need to leave. Regardless of my answer, what we had is over.”

She hadn’t kissed him. I could see it in the pain shining in her eyes as she stared at the spot across the room that wasn’t me. “He was high. He doesn’t even remember it, I don’t think. He never mentioned it. But two years ago at an afterparty . . . he grabbed me and kissed me. I kneed him between the legs after it sank in what was happening. I should have told you, but I was sure he’d never have touched me had he not been trashed and out of his mind. I decided that it would save your friendship and that since nothing happened, it was pointless to tell you. I see now it was a mistake.”

Nave had been in rehab eighteen months ago after he had hit an all-time low and almost killed himself with an overdose. He had been into heavy drugs back then. I didn’t doubt a word she had just said. It made complete sense.

“I’m sorry.” The words fell from my mouth, and even I knew it wasn’t enough. It never would be enough.

“Me too,” she replied, and finally shifted her focus back to me. “But you need to leave. It’s over, Jax.”

No. It wasn’t over. I wasn’t letting her f**king go because I’d made a jackass mistake. “I didn’t mean for you to leave. I thought I’d come home the next day and you’d be there. I thought—”

“You turned on me. You didn’t trust me. And I never want to go through that again. I can’t live in fear that something will happen again and you’ll toss me away without asking me for my side. I don’t trust you anymore.” She said the words and tears filled her eyes. “I’m sorry. But you need to leave.”

I wasn’t leaving. I had to figure out how to save this. To save us. “Are you pregnant?” I asked, praying to God she was.

She stiffened, and her hands went to her stomach, answering my question without her saying a word. Finally she nodded. “Nine weeks.”

When the breath went out of me, I had to grab my knees to hold myself up. The relief and joy were spun with pain and fear. She was pregnant with our baby. But she wanted me to leave her. I could never leave her.

“If you believe it is yours and want a part in its life, I won’t punish the baby by withholding a relationship with its father. You will get to be as big a part of our baby’s life as you want to be. But we won’t be a family. That is a dream I can’t trust now.”

If I believed it was mine . . . Motherfucker, she thought I still didn’t believe her about Nave. “Sadie, I know it’s mine. I should have listened to you and let you explain about Nave. I was just so damn hurt I let the picture and the note that came with it rip me open. I acted on jealousy and heartbreak. I was shredded by the belief that you had changed because of the life we live. I couldn’t think straight.”

“And when things like that happen, you have to trust the people you love. Not assume the worst of them. If you loved me the way I loved you, then you would have trusted me. You didn’t trust me. So you didn’t love me enough. I need more than that, Jax. I can’t let you destroy me. I have another life to take care of now. This isn’t about me anymore. It’s about the child inside me.”

“I love you more than life. I lost my mind because I love you so damn much. You’re wrong about that, baby. So wrong.”

She shook her head. “It doesn’t matter. We are over. Except for the child we share, that is all that will be between us. Now please leave.”

If it weren’t for the unshed tears in her eyes and the heartbreak all over her face, I would believe she really had closed me out. But I knew her too well. This wasn’t over. We would never be over. I just had to figure out a way to prove it to her. Words weren’t going to be enough. Actions had ruined us, and actions would have to save us.


The next morning I woke up to my mother sitting beside my bed again with another cup of coffee and another newspaper. “Good morning, sunshine. Today I am the bearer of good news. The media is no longer stalking us and Jax Stone has made a statement.”

I sat up and took the paper she was holding out to me. “You really should google it and watch the video of it, or just turn on the news. He does a fantastic job. But here is the print version.”

There was a photo of Jax with a microphone in his face, looking directly at the camera. “Jax Stone explains the rumors surrounding Sadie White’s betrayal. It’s false.”

I dropped the paper onto the bed, slung the covers off me, and headed for my MacBook. Opening it up, I googled “Jax Stone,” and it was the first thing that came up.

I clicked the YouTube link and watched.

“The rumors that came along with a photo of my drummer, Nave Anikin, kissing my fiancée, Sadie White, are false. Nave wasn’t in his right mind two years ago. You all already know that he’s gone through rehab since then and is in a better place now. But at that time he did things he wouldn’t normally do.

“Kissing my Sadie was one of them. She pushed him off her, and they never spoke of it again. What you see here is a surprised Sadie White being accosted by an out-of-his-mind Nave Anikin. Not a lover’s thing. Nothing romantic. Sadie is innocent of all the incriminations surrounding her, and I would appreciate it if my fans would stand behind her and support her through this cruel media stunt. Thank you.” Jax stepped away from the microphone, and reporters were yelling questions at him as the bodyguards surrounded him and they walked off. Toward his jet.

“Looks like he’s gone and so are the vultures,” Jessica said, standing behind me.

“Yeah, it does.” I had told him to leave and he had left. This was his apology to me, and I knew I forgave him. Even without this, I had forgiven him yesterday when he apologized. But I was so scared of being hurt by him that my fear hadn’t allowed me to give him a chance to fix this. Instead I had pushed him away and he had let me.

“Are you going to be okay? Maybe since the road and driveway are clear you can go visit Amanda. She’s called several times the past two days.”

I needed to visit Amanda. I had to get out of this house and clear my head. I nodded, then reached for the cup of coffee in Jessica’s hands and took a long drink.

“FYI, this is decaf. You can’t have the real thing now that you’re pregnant.”

I hadn’t thought about that. “Thanks.”

“Hey, you took care of me when I was pregnant with Sam, so it’s my turn to return the favor,” she teased.

If I could still smile, I would have.


Two hours later Amanda Hardy opened her apartment door and threw herself at me. “Ohmygod, I’ve been so worried about you,” she said as her arms wrapped around me.

“I’m sorry. I should have called. I just needed some time once I got here,” I said, and she pulled back from me, holding on to my shoulders.

“He was in town yesterday, wasn’t he? That speech he made that’s gone viral was outside the Sea Breeze airport.”

I nodded.

“Did y’all talk?” she asked almost cautiously.

“Yes,” I replied.

A sadness touched her face. “So it’s really over, then?”

I nodded again.

She grabbed my hands and pulled me into her apartment, then closed the door. “We need ice cream. I have cookies and cream and birthday cake. Which one?” she asked, walking toward her kitchen.

I followed her. “I’m not hungry,” I said.

“You don’t have to be hungry to eat ice cream,” she informed me. She stopped at the window and froze. Then she turned back slowly to me. “Are you sure he’s gone?”

“What?” I asked, confused.

She pointed out the window. “That’s an expensive SUV parked out front, with one of the large men who follow him around standing outside of it. I don’t know anyone other than Jax Stone who gets around Sea Breeze that way.”

The doorbell rang and we stared at each other. It was Jax. I knew it without going to the door. What was he doing here?

“You want me to get it?” Amanda asked with a look of hopefulness.

I could say no and we could sit here while Jax stood outside the door, but that might draw a crowd. I didn’t want more media attention. And if I admitted the truth to myself, I wanted to see if it was really him.

“I’ll get it,” I told her.

“Okay, um . . . I’ll just stay here. Unless you need me.”

I went to the door and opened it slowly, preparing myself for the fact that this might be Jason or just one of Jax’s message boys. But when Jax filled the doorway, my heart squeezed. He hadn’t left.

“I went to your mom’s and she said you were here,” he said, his gaze locked on me like he was trying to memorize my every feature.

“I thought you left,” I said before I could stop myself.

“You’re here, Sadie. I don’t belong anywhere else.”

I didn’t know what to say to that. “Why are you here? Now?”

A sad smile curved his lips. “You don’t have your phone. And I wanted to know if you’ve gotten an OBGYN here, and if so, when your next appointment is.”

He had come to Amanda’s to ask me about my doctor’s appointment. . . .

“Oh, um . . . no. I have to apply for Medicaid first. I don’t have insurance anymore, I guess.” I stopped there. Jax had paid for me to have Blue Cross and Blue Shield. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do now. I didn’t expect him to keep paying for it. Even if I was pregnant with his baby.

He scowled. “Even if I didn’t love you with every fiber of my f**king being, I would still make sure you had health insurance, Sadie. I know you think I’m some evil monster now, and I damn well deserve it, but I’m not. You will have the best and so will our baby. I love you both. You’re my life even if I’m no longer yours.”

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