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When Kate King learned her husband had to marry in order to collect a trust fund, it all made sense–his long hours and the fact that he’d picked her in the first place. She’d been an easy target, what with the crush she’d had on him since high school. But he’s stalling, and that doesn’t make sense–neither does the man she’s finally getting to know under the business suit.
My mind struggled to register what I was seeing. Three red-faced and sweaty people, two kids and one adult, laughing in a carefree way I hadn’t heard since before Mama died. My nephews peeled away, leaving Kate in the middle of the brown lawn. Her hair was a tangled flurry and her shirt had ridden up to reveal a patch of creamy skin above her yoga pants.
Her wide smile died and took the mischievous glint with it. I was tempted to back up, retrace my steps like I could rewind life, just to put that gleam back in her eyes. Sexy. Alive. Unreserved.
Kate was a mess. I’d never seen her in such a state. When we went to King’s Creek to work cattle, she kept to the fringes and made coffee runs. She came out the cleanest out of all of us. But in a trailer park in Billings, in the middle of a lawn, after she’d been wrestling—and I’d been here long enough to see that she knew what she was doing—she was the dirtiest of us all. And I fucking loved it.
She stood and dusted herself off. Randall rose, towering over me like usual. He was older than Dad by several years, but age hadn’t stooped his back.
“Jason,” Randall said. “Why don’t we go help your mom set the table.” He clapped a big hand on my shoulder but I couldn’t take my gaze off a stunning Kate. “You staying for a bite?”
I couldn’t tell from his tone if he wanted me to. Randall would offer to be polite, but he’d boot me the hell out if Kate asked him to. “I just want to talk to Kate.”
Kate glanced from me to her stepdad and gave a little nod. In less than a minute, I was alone with my wife. I stood on the porch and she didn’t move from her spot on the grass.
“Hi,” I said.
She pushed her hair off her face, but half of it fell over her eye again. “What’s going on?”
“We should talk.”
She crossed her arms. In typical Kate fashion, there wasn’t an ounce of cleavage showing, but my gaze was drawn to her breasts anyway. It’d always been drawn to her breasts since the first time I’d seen her. I’d always been drawn to her tits, and when she was naked and underneath me it was hard to keep my brain powered up enough to keep from doing anything but staring at them.
“You had a chance to look at the papers?”
Fuck the papers. “Not yet.”
She blinked and shoved her hair behind her ears. She didn’t wear much makeup normally, but today she didn’t have an ounce on. The natural beauty that made her stand out in a crowd kept me riveted.
“Then what’s wrong?” she asked.
I took the steps down to the cement landing and kept going until I reached her, my athletic shoes crunching through the grass. “I know the timing looked bad, and no, I wasn’t going to let that money go to the neighbors when Mama left it for us, but us—you and me—it wasn’t about that.”
If I’d expected her to fall into my arms, it wasn’t working. Her gaze grew guarded. “You’re going to have a hard time convincing me of that when fifty million’s riding on the divorce. I told you I don’t want it.”
“I don’t either. I’d rather have you.”
She took a step back, creating more distance between us. “You had four years to show me that you wanted to be with me. You did everything but be with me.”
“I can change.”
She worked her lower lip between her teeth and stared at the ground between us. What was she thinking?
“Please believe me, Kate.” I didn’t know what else to ask. I didn’t know how else to ask. Please look at me like you have been since I first saw you. The way only you ever do.
I was so far out of my element. There was a reason I’d left my messy emotions in my childhood.
“And then what?” The question overflowed with challenge.
“What do you mean?”
“You’re going to have the same job. Grams won’t trust anyone else in the inner office. If we take the trust out of the equation, you’re still married to your job, not me.”
“I’ll work on it.” I’ll work on me.
She tipped her head and gave me a dubious look. This was a side of Kate I hadn’t seen before. Just like the side that put her nephews in a headlock. How many other parts of her didn’t I know? How many times had she been hiding her real feelings around me?