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I compared every man to him...


I turned to find Wyatt, and my eyes slowly moved from the black combat style boots on his feet up his army green uniform, past his utility belt, which held a gun, and up to the badge on his chest, which read DNR. When I finally made it to his face, his brows rose.

Clearing my throat, I said, “Wow. I didn’t realize you wore a uniform.” Or that he carried a gun. Both were attractive.

His eyes seemed to be tracking my reaction to him—cataloging the higher pitch of my voice, the flush of my cheeks, and how I shifted in my heels. “I’m a state police officer but I protect the state’s resources and wildlife.”

“Right. Of course.” I nodded as my eyes narrowed on him. He was cockier than when we were together—his shoulders back, his feet wide, a gleam in his eye like he knew exactly how he affected me.

His eyes shot down to the black strappy stilettos I was wearing. “A bit much for Chestertown, don’t you think?” His lips twitched in amusement before his eyes slowly traveled up my bare legs, the tight black pencil skirt, and silky white button-down shirt I’d tucked into my skirt, and his eyes flared when he passed over the amount of skin showing where I’d left open the top few buttons.

He’d mentioned my outfit last time he’d seen me too, as if he’d judged me and found me lacking based on my style alone. “I’m working. I stopped in to discuss the wedding with Samantha.”

He shifted on his feet and cleared his throat. “Okay.”

“What, no more criticisms of my outfit?” I tilted my head to consider him.

“No.” Then he leaned in closer to me and I was so overwhelmed with his scent, his proximity, and thoughts of what he was going to do—touch or kiss me—that I felt it acutely when he pulled away.

I felt my face flush and his eyes flashed to mine. When I’d left his house the other night, he was so angry with me. Could he get passed what happened? I wanted him to forgive me but did I want him to move on to someone else?

“We should talk about the bachelor and bachelorette parties. Samantha wants us to handle everything—together.”

I took a second to focus on his words. “She told me. I can pull together some ideas and send them to you.”

“No. She wants us to both be involved and making decisions. Or I should say, Jack does. He doesn’t want the guys going to a spa.”

I rolled my eyes. “This might not be my regular job, but I know not to send grown-ass men to a spa.”

“Do you?” he asked.

“Yes, and you’re a lot more exasperating than when we were kids.”

“I’m a man.” His voice was low and sexy and rumbly.

When he said the word man my mind jumped to how he’d look without clothes and left me wondering just how different he was physically from the last time we were together. He was bigger now, his biceps straining his uniform sleeves, his jacket tight across his shoulders, and the best part was how his stiff uniform pants were taut over his muscular thighs. “I can see that.”

“Let’s get together on Saturday. Meet me at my house at five A.M.”

“Hmm?” I asked still distracted by thoughts of how his body had changed, how he had changed. Back then, he was so sweet and willing to do whatever I wanted. Now, he was an interesting combination of cocky, grumpy, and bossy.

“We’ll go fishing on my boat.”

“At five A.M.?” I worked crazy hours at my last job, but I never woke up at five A.M. “Is that really necessary?”

“Yeah, it’s the best time to catch fish.”

“Wait a minute, why are we catching fish? I thought we’d meet to go over possible locations for the parties. Or like I said I could just do the legwork and email you the options.” There’d be no escape in the middle of the river if things got tense, which they would.

“You’re home. You should do the things you used to do, remember what you used to love about living here.”

His voice was silky smooth, conjuring memories of long afternoons at the swimming hole, jumping off the hanging rope into the water over and over again, evenings spent riding bikes through town, down long dirt roads, and chasing each other before tackling the other to the ground. We had the best times then, when everything was simple and there was no pressure and no responsibility.

The memories washed over me, one after another, so vivid, I swayed on my feet. The idea of Wyatt helping me to remember what I loved about living here was both surprising and intriguing. I wanted to argue about how it was too early in the morning or how we couldn’t plan the parties while fishing, but I didn’t. I wanted to spend time with Wyatt.

Wanting to be with Wyatt was never the issue—or maybe it was. Maybe even in high school I knew if I continued to date Wyatt while we were in college, I’d move back home for him and forget about my dreams.

Was I the same person he knew, or had I become someone he couldn’t stand to be around? Even though I’d tried not to think about him over the years it didn’t mean I hadn’t. Every man I dated was compared to him, effectively ending those relationships before they’d begun. “I’ll go as long as we’re going to go over the party too.”

His eyes narrowed. “We can talk about it. I don’t think we need spreadsheets to plan a bachelor party.”

Actually, we did. I needed spreadsheets for everything. I opened my mouth to disagree, but he lightly squeezed my shoulder as he stepped around me.

“See you Saturday,” he called over his shoulder and I couldn’t help watching him walk away in that uniform, which clung tightly to his tight ass. I couldn’t wait to see him again.

Read it today on my shop or on other retailers.

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We were soulmates.

Our love was eternal.

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My future and my heart shattered the day he died.

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She’s the definition of forbidden, and I hate that I want her anyway.

Every chance Heidi gets, she’s testing the limits of my patience and my control. It should be easy to push her away; to convince myself not to trust her, or worse, give in to the intense pull I feel whenever she’s around

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