If he was, you would think he might have mentioned marriage, or hinted at it. But over the past month he hadn’t said anything. In fact, when I had asked him what he thought I should do about the money coming in and where I should deposit it, he suggested I go speak with the bank manager and get some insight on it.

He didn’t offer to go with me. He didn’t even bring it up again.

That didn’t sound like a man who was about to propose marriage.

I reached for the box again and studied the dust on it. He hadn’t just gone out and bought it and stuck it under here recently. The more I looked at it, I realized it had been under here a while. It was wishful thinking for me to pretend he had it under here for me. This couldn’t have been meant for me. It came off with the same ease it had gone on, and then I placed it back into the box just as I had found it. With a sad sigh I lay back down on my stomach and put the box back in its hiding spot.

I wasn’t in the mood to clean anymore.


Something was wrong with Blythe. I had asked her if she was feeling okay, and she had forced a smile, then reassured me she was fine. When she wasn’t better the next day and continued to seem moody, I had asked her if someone had upset her, and she had said she was fine. A week later, when she was still acting strange and even more withdrawn, I asked her if I had done something to upset her. There was a pause before she said no . . . she was fine.

She wasn’t f**king fine.

I just didn’t know what was wrong. But I was deciding it was my fault. For the first time in our relationship, Blythe was actually pouting. The only time I felt like we were good was when we were f**king. So lately I’d been doing that even more to reassure myself she loved me and I wasn’t about to lose her.

I heard the yelling before I even got to the steps. It was Matty . . . Shit. When he didn’t mention it all week, I figured the girl wasn’t going to tell him about Green. Sounded like she changed her mind.

I took the stairs two at a time. When I got to the first landing, where Green’s apartment was, the door was open and Matty was yelling something about Blythe needing to get out of his way.


I stormed into the room to see Blythe standing between Green and a very angry Matty. She had her hands in the air like she was shielding Green. “Do NOT f**king go a step closer to her,” I roared, shoving Matty onto the sofa and wrapping Blythe up in my arms while I glared daggers at my best friend, who had just let my woman be his shield.

“He FUCKED MY COUSIN! I’m GONNA KILL HIM!” Matty screamed, and I felt him move beside me.

I pushed Blythe behind me, then turned to block Matty. “You aren’t going to touch him with Blythe in this room. She could get hurt. And before you go committing a felony, let him talk.”

“Please!” a feminine voice begged, then started crying again. I jerked my head around to see Matty’s cousin and the cause of all this drama watching this unfold, her face red and splotchy. She sure as hell wasn’t saving Green with her body. She was letting Blythe do that.

“She’s my cousin,” Matty yelled. “I would have thought as my friend he would respect that!”

I agreed. But Green had never f**ked up like this before. The amount of time he spent going on about the girl’s hair and dimples made me think he was more attached to her than he wanted to admit.

“You had to tell him?” I snarled at the whimpering blonde. I didn’t get what he saw in that.

She shook her head frantically.

“Don’t yell at her! She was here with me and he followed her.” Green finally entered the conversation.

I turned my attention to Blythe. “I need you to go stand at the door away from danger. Can you please do that for me?”

She bit her bottom lip and looked like she had to seriously weigh the options here. Dammit, did she really think she was going to save Green?

“Love, if someone were to accidently touch you, I would lose my mind. This would go down very badly, and they both know it. Both of them need you to get out of harm’s way.”

Blythe finally nodded and glanced back at Green before going over to stand by the door.

I looked at Green this time. “Why was she coming over here? I thought this was a one-time thing and was over.”

Green paled some, then looked like he was angry. “I . . . I called her that day after, you know . . . to see if she was okay. We talked, and then she came over. She’s been over a lot this week.”

Fuck me.

“I’m going to motherfucking kill you!” Matty shoved past me now that Blythe wasn’t in the way, and I had to grab both his arms and jerk him back before he pummeled Green.

“Let them explain first, dammit,” I ordered. Then I glanced over at the girl. “Do you like Green? Did you flirt with him and come over here of your own free will?”

She nodded, then wailed. “Yes! I tried to tell Matty that. I tried to tell him I loved Green. But he won’t listen to me.”

Yeah, well, Green didn’t love her, so I was now understanding why Matty wanted to kill him. The chick was seriously naive.

“Green?” I asked, looking back at him. “Did you know she loved you?”

He ran his hands through his hair. Then shook his head. “Not until she yelled it at Matty.”

“Did you tell her or make her think at any time that you loved her?”

He shook his head. “No. I just . . . I like her.” He glanced at her. “A lot. I like being with her, and I like talking to her.”

“And you like f**king her!” Matty roared, trying to break free from my hold.

Green glared at him. “Don’t say that. It upsets her. Can’t you just shut up and stop doing this in front of her? She’s crying and you don’t even care. She’s scared and upset. Let Blythe take her and calm her down. Then we can get on with this.”

Well, that was interesting.

“He more than likes her, dude. Are you listening to this?” I whispered in Matty’s ear as I held him back.

“She’s too young for him. He’ll hurt her. Hell, she already thinks she loves him. How’s she gonna handle it when she sees him f**king a groupie?”

Green stalked toward us. “SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.” His face was bright red, and the vein on his forehead was standing out.

“Back up, Green, or I’m letting him loose,” I warned.

“Noooo, please!” the girl cried out.

Green glanced over at her and his expression softened. Damn. I almost laughed.

“It’s okay, Trinity. It’s okay. Just please stop crying.” His voice was softer when he spoke to her.

Matty’s tension eased some. He heard it too.

Green looked back at Matty. “She’s . . . different. For me. I’m trying to figure this out, but I don’t want to be with anyone else. It’s an exclusive thing and I respect her. I want to protect her and I don’t ever want to hurt her. I did that once, and I swear to God I won’t do it again. Just give us a minute, okay? She needs to calm down.”

“He can’t fall in love in a f**king week. Give him time,” I said, and Matty sighed heavily. Then he nodded.

“Fine. She wants you. You’re gonna be good to her. What the hell am I gonna do about it? Her momma should’ve never sent her for me to watch over. My friends are all f**king dicks. Fucking horny dicks.”

I let go of Matty, and thankfully he didn’t lunge at Green. He turned to look at Trinity. “He’s a good guy. For the most part. But he’s not perfect, and as much as he doesn’t want to, he will f**k up.”

Green snarled, and I put up a hand to shut him down.

Matty shook his head, then headed for the door. He stopped when he got there. Looking back at me, he said, “I would have never touched him with Blythe so close. I’m not stupid.” Then he turned to Green. “If you do anything other than respect and cherish her, I’ll find you where Krit isn’t around to save your ass.”

We all stood in silence for a moment until we were sure Matty was gone. Then Green turned to the girl and she ran to him.

I was done with this drama. Blythe walked back into the room and I went straight to her. “Don’t you ever scare me like that again.”

She gave me a small smile. “I knew he wouldn’t touch me. I was the safest thing for Green.”

“You don’t have to save Green’s ass from being an idiot.”

She smirked. “You did.”


He knew something was wrong with me. I was trying so hard not to let the fact that he had a ring hidden under the bed with dust on it get to me. But all I could think was that he’d bought it for Jess. As much as I liked Jess, I was so freaking jealous. We had been together a lot longer than he was with Jess. He had been ready to propose to her after only a couple months. We had been together close to a year, and he wasn’t even mentioning it.

Today I had given in and cried about it. Every day that passed and he didn’t say anything about marrying me, I became more convinced that it wasn’t my ring. It was for someone else. Who was now married to another man.

GOD! I hated feeling like this. I loved Krit. Even if he never wanted to marry me, I would stay as long as he wanted me. I was that pathetic. Seeing him smile made my day brighter. When he kissed me, I would forget momentarily that he didn’t love me as much as he had loved Jess.

Then the awful fear that he was still in love with her would sink in, and I would be all kinds of screwed up for the rest of the day. Looking at my book sales no longer made me happy. My heart was breaking more and more every day.

I curled up on the sofa with a cup of coffee and covered myself with a blanket. Krit was still asleep, but dreams of him proposing to Jess, which was ridiculous, had woken me up. I needed to get away from him and get my head together.

He would wake up and be upset that I wasn’t there beside him. I felt guilty for not being there. His favorite part of waking up was sex. But images of him putting that ring on Jess’s hand did not put me in the mood for sex. I wanted distance.

Pulling the cover up, I snuggled up against the morning chill and sipped my coffee. There was no reason for me to be acting like this. I had a wonderful life. Krit did love me. I was sure of that. I had finished two novels, and it looked like maybe I was going to make a career out of this author business. These were dreams I’d had for so long: being loved and writing.

This stupid ring was ruining all of that. I was letting one pretty rock upset me, take away my joy. Maybe if I just told him I’d found it. Explained to him that I’m being a baby about it but that knowing he had been going to ask another woman to marry him bothered me. He would understand why I had been so moody, and then I could let it go.

His feet hit the floor in the bedroom. I could hear him stretch, and I knew exactly what that looked like. All those pretty muscles on display. I loved that view. And because of a stupid ring I was in here missing it.

I think I hated that ring.

When his gaze hit me, I lifted my head from my cup of coffee and looked at him. The frown on his face wrinkled his brow. “Why are you in here?” he asked with his husky sleepy voice.

I had lied to him all week and told him I was fine. It wasn’t fair to either of us. The ring was ruining things.

“I found the ring,” I blurted out, wishing I had thought that one out better.

His frown deepened, like he wasn’t sure what I was talking about. The moment understanding hit him, I saw it transform his face.

“I was cleaning. I wasn’t snooping. I just . . . We tend to lose my panties and bras and nighties when you throw them. And your socks. I was checking behind furniture and under the bed . . .”

Krit let out a frustrated growl and ran his hand through his messy bed head. “When did you find it? Is that what’s been wrong with you all week?”

He wasn’t denying that it was meant for Jess. He wasn’t telling me it was mine. He was upset. The look on his face was one of concern and maybe fear. Not good.

“Yes. It’s been a week. But”—I held up a hand—“it’s okay. I think I just needed to tell you. I’m dealing with it. Sure, that’s not easy to swallow, but I will. That was before my time.”

The confusion on his face was followed by “What do you mean, before your time?”

I didn’t want to talk about this, but it was good for us. We could discuss it and I could put it behind me. “I’m assuming it was for . . . Jess. She was before, uh . . . me.”

Krit’s nose scrunched up in a look that said he thought I’d lost my mind. Had there been another girl? One he hadn’t told me about? One he had loved more than Jess? I was going to be sick.

He stared at me for a few more moments before walking over to sit down on the coffee table so he was facing me. “Love, I never bought Jess a ring. Hell, I didn’t even consider it. Why would you think that?”

So there had been someone else. Someone so important he hadn’t even told me about her. This was worse somehow.

“Who, then? I thought she was the only serious relationship you’d had.”

Krit let out a small laugh like he was surprised by my question. “The only woman I’ve ever considered forever with is you.”

But the ring . . . Oh. Oh my.

“Yeah. You. Just you,” he repeated. Then he moved to sit beside me on the sofa. “Why would you assume that it was for anyone else?”

“Because it had dust on it. And you never mentioned getting married. Not even jokingly.”

He groaned and laid his head back on the sofa. “I have so f**ked this up.”

I waited for him to say more. His neck muscles and shirtless body were distracting me a little.

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