“This guy must mean something to you to go that next step.”

“I really don’t know. I like him. He’s … different. Yeah, he’s different, and when he looks at me, he sees me.” She smiled recalling how intensely Richard watched her, the heat in his gaze.

“You’re a sexy woman, Tempe, and he doesn’t even know the real you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked, chuckling.

“I know how much you like to have fun, and experiment, and I’ve also seen you in action. Don’t forget I had you first.” Jay stroked her cheek, and she smiled at him.

“Very true. You were my first corruption.”

He laughed, pulling his hand away. “If this guy has any sense, but I don’t think he does as they’re all the same. Rich, wealthy, with very little dick.”

Temperance shook her head. “He’s rich, wealthy, smart, and he’s very well endowed in that department.”


Jay was not acting how she imagined. “What’s wrong?”


“So, do you have someone to replace Friday?” Temperance frowned. “What about Monday and Wednesday? I know you had a big argument with them a couple of weeks ago. Are you letting them go as well?”

“Yeah, I guess I’ve been a bit lax in my judgment lately.”

“What’s going on? What have you done with my friend?” She touched his cheek, laughing as she did so.

“I’m fine.”

He held onto her hand, locking their fingers together. They had done this a lot growing up. Their parents had found their friendship to be sweet at first, and then become a little uncomfortable. Neither of them had seen that they were developing, and that they were no longer allowed sleepovers. Of course, Jay was the first to lose his virginity, and he told her all about it. She never felt jealous though.

Jay was her best friend, and she loved him.

“I’m going to head to bed. I’ve still got to work tomorrow.”

“Didn’t he drop you off?” Jay asked.

She finished her wine and winced. “Not really. Afterward, he went into the bathroom, and I did the whole disappearing act. I didn’t really think it through.”

“Do you think he could come here?”

“I hope not.”


Shit, she had found someone.

Jay’s heart raced as he stared at his best friend. What the fuck was he to do? He didn’t want to lose her, and yet, he saw the look in her eye. She wanted Richard, and it went far beyond just fucking. Was there a way he could share her? He’d never been averse to sharing a woman, but Temperance had shown no desire for it. Jay was willing to do whatever it took to win her over.

“Do you want him to come here?” Jay asked.

“I’m not sure. How about you? How has your night been?”


He didn’t want to talk about how he’d been pacing the apartment, scared out of his mind about losing his best friend, and the only woman he’d ever loved. “I watched some television.”

Lies, all of it.


“What do you do when the woman you fucked runs out on you?” Richard asked, pulling up his pants.

He was so fucking angry finding her doing the disappearing act.

“Why are you asking me?” Lewis asked.

“I called Russ, and he’s busy.”

“So? I’ve got business to take care of.”

“Everyone knows you’ve been dealing with Mandy. Give a guy a break and help me out.”

“There’re seven other men you can call who’ll help you out.”

“I’m not looking for just any opinion. I want yours or Russ’s.”


Tugging on his suit jacket, he glared at his cell phone. He had it on speaker, and his so-called friend was starting to really piss him off. “You know what it’s like to connect to another woman.”

“I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.”

“For fuck’s sake, Lewis. You’ve just spent every moment of your adult life hunting for a woman who went missing years ago. Mandy is not just some kind of pussy to you. She means something.”

“What are you trying to get at?”

“Are you being obtuse on purpose? I’ve just had sex with a woman, and she’s more than just some random pussy.”

“Oh, okay, now that makes sense. She ran out on you?”

It seemed like a switch went off inside of Lewis’s head.

“Yeah, she ran out on me.”

“Who is she?”

“She works for me.”

“Wow, you’re breaking your own code there.”

“Yeah, I don’t need you to spell it out for me. I know I broke my own code.”

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