Love Her or Lose Her

Page 8

She started at the vehemence in his voice. “I don’t know if there’s anything. Not now.”

The hollow husk of his stomach filled with acid. “Think about it,” he said firmly, stepping close enough that Rosie was forced to tip her head back. Fuck, he would have killed to kiss her in that moment, with the sun setting on the golden highlights in her eyes, her lips parted and plump from having him close. “While you’re figuring out whether to give me a second chance, Rosie, I need to know you’re not enjoying the interest of other men.” He wet his upper lip and watched her eyelids flutter. “It won’t be long before this whole damn town knows you’re not sleeping in my bed, and trust me, a lot of men would like to take my place.”

“Fine,” she whispered, her attention flicking to his mouth. “Same goes for you. Until we figure out if this marriage is really—”

“Don’t say it. Don’t say ‘over,’” he growled, lifting a hand to cup her face. When she flinched, he curled the fingers into his palm and let the hand drop away. “I’ve never had another woman and I’ll never want another woman. Bet the fucking bank on it.”

Her chest shuddered up and down. “You should go.”

“Why, honey?” Ever so slowly, he allowed his fingertips to brush the curve of Rosie’s hip and his cock reacted to the shape, the feel of her. “You starting to wish we’d gotten in one more Tuesday night?”

“No,” she breathed, swaying a little on her feet.

Dominic hummed deep in his throat, pretty sure they had an audience watching from the front window, and not caring. “You have a good hard think about letting me try this again. Us again. In the meantime, if you come knocking in the middle of the night—any night—I’ll scratch that itch, Rosie. It can be our little secret.”

Fire kindled in her eyes. “Don’t count on it.”

“We’ll see. I’ll leave the porch light on.”

Dominic had to physically restrain himself from carrying his wife to the truck. Taking her home and making her moan so loud, they heard it at the ridiculous club meeting. Instead, he catalogued her features one final time and left, his restlessness increasing with every step he took away from Rosie.

Chapter Six

Rosie passed a rinsed dish to Bethany, watching in a daze as her friend tucked it neatly into her stainless steel dishwasher. The meeting had ended twenty minutes ago and Georgie had stayed behind to help clean, leaving the three Just Us League founders to tidy up the mess. Now if Rosie could only tidy up her scattered thoughts, that would be awesome. She’d been in a trance since Dominic left.

Scratch that. She’d been in a trance since he arrived.

She’d married a stubborn son of a bitch, and she’d never imagined him showing up unannounced to ask for another chance. It just wasn’t like him. Was it?

Once upon a time, Rosie would have one hundred percent expected Dominic to fight for their relationship. When they were younger, he’d claimed the role of her protector, lover . . . all of the roles, really. They’d been consumed with each other. It wasn’t like that now, though. There was still a sexual attraction between them—a wild, pulse-pounding, feverish attraction—but that couldn’t sustain their marriage on its own. The fact that their sex life was mind-blowing had probably kept their relationship intact far past the point it had stopped being emotionally fulfilling. And that wasn’t okay with her anymore.

Come back to me.

Rosie could still hear the raw quality of Dominic’s voice as he said those words. Could still see the plea in his deep green eyes. God, she couldn’t remember the last time he’d looked at her like that. Like the fate of his universe hung on what she said next.

“Does that sound good to you, Rosie?” Georgie asked, breaking into Rosie’s thoughts.

“Oh. Um, yes. Sounds perfect.”

“Really?” The birthday party clown turned entertainment company mogul wiggled her eyebrows at Rosie. “Because I just asked if you’d have a three-way with me and Travis.”

Rosie almost dropped the plate in her hands. “What?”

Georgie burst out laughing.

“All right, you lunatic.” Bethany hip-bumped her younger sister while battling a smile. “Stop teasing Rosie or she won’t spill the goods about what happened on the porch.”

“Ah, I was only kidding. Travis is all mine.” Georgie chef-kissed her fingers. “Not that I wouldn’t be honored to tap that, Rosie—”

“Jesus.” Bethany laughed. “You’re sexually liberated now, Georgie. We get it.”

“I prefer the term ‘bonkified.’”

Rosie snorted into the back of her wrist, grateful she’d come to stay with Bethany rather than check into the local motel. The banter between the sisters was a nice distraction from the sudden upheaval of her life. And when Georgie went home to her fiancé, the companionable silence she shared with Bethany was nice, too. Rosie didn’t want that silence tonight, however. She wanted to be distracted.

“Have you ever . . .” Rosie pursed her lips at Bethany. “Had a three-way?”

“Rosie Vega, as I live and breathe. The nerve it takes to ask me such a thing.” Bethany swiped some cookie crumbs into her hand and brushed them into the garbage can. “Of course I have. You have to kiss a few frogs to find Prince Charming. Might as well test them dicks out two at a time.”

“Oh my God. My ears.” Georgie snatched her car keys off the kitchen island. “That’s my cue to head home.”

Bethany leaned a hip against the sink, waving a paper towel at her sister’s retreating back. “Look at that. And here Georgie thought she was bonkified.”

“No one likes a one-upper!” Georgie called on her way out the door.

When only the two of them remained in the kitchen, Bethany and Rosie cleaned in silence for a few minutes, washing the larger serving trays and setting them out to dry, sweeping up chip particles and napkins. Rosie could feel Bethany’s gaze stray to her several times and knew her friend would probably let her escape without giving the details of what went down with Dominic. But Rosie had been bottling up the problems with her marriage for so long, she couldn’t do it any longer. And hell, now things with her husband were up in the air—and she didn’t have a clue what to do about it.

Rosie set aside the broom. “He wants another chance.”

Bethany dove across the kitchen island and propped her chin in her hands. “Oh my God. Tell me everything.”

“I’m glad you’re enjoying this.”

“It’s not enjoyment, so much as I’m utterly fascinated by relationships and how they work. You know, since I can’t keep one going to save my life.”

“You will.” Rosie gave her friend a look until that sunk in. “He asked me to come home. I said no. I think.” She winced. “I think I said no?”

“I understand. His sex-death-ray eyes wiped your memory clean.”

Rosie’s laughter was pained. “You saw that, right?”

Bethany straightened and crossed herself. “Woman, we all saw it.” She slumped back onto the island. “The chemistry is clearly still alive and kicking—that’s for damn sure.”

“Yes. But like I told you, everything else is . . .” Rosie made the sound of a cartoon piano falling and crashing on the sidewalk. “It’s supposed to be over. I’ve even dropped a few lines with people at work about available apartments in town. And now . . .”

“And now?”

“Now Dominic is asking for another chance. I’m supposed to have a good hard think about what he needs to do to earn one.”

Bethany rolled her lips inward. “Do you want to give him another chance?”

A line formed between Rosie’s brows as she thought back over the past five years since he’d been home for good. Moving around her own house like a ghost, trying to lure Dominic into conversation and failing. Wanting more professionally—personally, too—and not knowing him well enough anymore to broach the subject. She definitely could have tried harder. The more time that passed, the easier it had been to let sleeping dogs lie. Focus on the daily grind and let her aspirations slip further and further until they were unreachable. Now the situation had reversed and the success of her marriage was the thing that felt unreachable.

“No,” Rosie said, guilt settling on her shoulders. “I don’t think I can try again.”

Her friend gave her a sad look. “I’m sorry.”

“That being said . . .”

Bethany perked up. “Yes?”

“I’m kind of surprised, but . . . I don’t think Dominic is going to give up that easily. He wants his chance.”

For long moments, the only sound in the kitchen was the clock ticking on the wall. Until Bethany inflated one cheek and let out a “Hmmmm.”

“What?” Rosie narrowed her gaze at Bethany. “What was that?”

Bethany picked up a rag and started to clean off the counters. “Nothing. It was nothing.”

“You’re not saying something.” Rosie searched the kitchen with a sweeping look and picked up one of Bethany’s favorite fresh-cotton-laundry candles. “Spill or the candle gets it.”

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