Sure, I was madly attracted to them. I was also conflicted about jumping into this unorthodox arrangement.

I’d loved no man but my ex for the past twenty years and see where it had gotten me. Was it okay to open my heart to another… no, three others this soon?

I then decided to take a small step.

I returned the ten thousand dollars Aunt Rebecca had given me. I told that cranky old woman I wasn’t going to leave Bellwood. I’d decided to settle down here, and there was nothing she could do to convince me otherwise. She just had to deal with it.

On the night I was supposed to give my answer, a surprise came to our doorstep.

Samuel Marsh stood at the threshold of the door.

I became guarded in an instant. I didn’t want to see him with his new girlfriend. Hadn’t he had enough of tormenting me? He’d robbed me of my dignity. He’d abandoned me to fend for myself. He’d broken our marriage vow to love and cherish for better or worse, rich or poor, sickness and health ‘til death do us part.

I still couldn’t forget the day he and his lover had ganged up on me in the lawyer’s office. I stiffened at the sight of him.

“You.” I narrowed my eyes. “Why are you here? You should contact my lawyer if you have any business with me.” I prepared to shut the door on him when he took out a paper from his Brioni suit jacket.

“You want this, right?” Sam waved the divorce paper.

I snatched it from him. The bastard hadn’t signed it.

“If you want me to sign it, all I need from you is a little of your time,” he said.

“Why?” I felt frustrated. “You got everything. What else do you want?”

“I’m sorry,” he said, which was rare for him, “but we need to talk, Simone. Now.”

“Now isn’t good. My lawyer isn’t here.”

“We don’t need lawyers. It’s about something else.”

I faltered. Behind me, I could feel the presence of Nate and Jamie. Luke wasn’t home yet. He’d called earlier to tell me he was going to be a bit late.

Nate touched my shoulder. “Hey, Sam. Long time no see. Can I help you?”

My ex’s gaze darted to the two brothers briefly. “I need to have a talk with my wife.”

“Newsflash, buddy. She’s not your wife anymore,” said Jamie sharply. He looked like he was after Sam’s blood.

“Until I sign this paper, she is.” My ex didn’t seem intimidated.

“Fine.” I quickly put an end on the pissing contest. “Let’s talk.” I pointed at the rattan tête-à-tête furniture on the veranda. “Make it quick.”

“I was thinking we should discuss this over dinner. Maybe at Massie’s? I’ve been driving for ten hours straight; I had no chance to eat. I’m starving.”

“Not her freaking problem,” said Jamie hotly. He could be hotheaded at times.

I touched Jamie’s arm. “It’s okay. I can handle this.”

Nate and Jamie didn’t look happy at all, but they respected my wishes.

“Fine, we’ll go to Massie’s. Let’s get this thing over with,” I said to Sam. “I’ll get my purse and my keys.”

“No. Just use my car.” Nate fished out his keys from his pocket. “Make it brief. If you don’t get back by nine, we’ll come to get you.” He said that to me, but the message was for Sam.

I took the keys from Nate’s hand. “All right.”

We drove to Massie’s Diner in separate cars. I sure as hell didn’t want to be in the same car as Sam. My ex had driven to Bellwood in a flashy Porsche that attracted everyone’s attention when he parked near the diner’s entrance.

We chose the farthest table from everyone else. Sam ordered chicken fried steak and a glass of iced tea. I didn’t want anything. I kept my silence as he demolished his dinner. I couldn’t wait to get this over with. Plus, everyone in the diner was secretly rubbernecking at us.

Finally, Sam finished his food. He gulped down his iced tea with gusto before he was ready to talk. I knew this habit a little too well. Sam treated all “talk” between us like he was negotiating his business. I knew he was planning some “spin” behind this discussion. I just didn’t know what—yet. Copyright 2016 - 2023