SEED – CHAPTER 4
“Have a seat,” I said, motioning to the chair next to my bed.
She flashed me a warm smile as she took a seat. “I wanted to see you to apologize for…your leg,” she began, her eyes focused on her hands, which were clasped in her lap.
“No need to apologize. Unless you’re the one who shot me. Did you shoot me?”
She finally looked up and narrowed her eyes at me. “Do you really not remember any of it?”
I bit my lip as I took in the feisty look in her eyes. “Not a single bit of it,” I replied. “Though, it seems like we must have had some fun.”
Her eyes widened. “What do you mean?”
I laughed at her expression of shock. “I mean that it must have been a helluva wild time if I ended up in the hospital.”
She let out a sigh of relief.
“Wait a minute,” I continued. “Are you telling me you don’t remember anything that happened?”
She focused her gaze downward again, almost as if she were ashamed, then she shook her head. “I just remember seeing…seeing them trying to hold you down and then I just…blacked out and woke up in the hospital. But…”
I waited a moment for her to continue. “But what?” I finally asked.
She looked up again. “Dylan sort of filled me in on the rest, and he told me…” Her eyes were locked on mine, as if she was waiting for me to interrupt her and finish her sentence, but I had no clue what she was going to say. She opened her mouth again, pausing for a moment before she said, “Dylan told me that you said something to me when they put you in the ambulance. You said…I love you.”
The mild amusement I’d been feeling, the joy at seeing Laurel’s beautiful face, vanished in an instant. But not because I was embarrassed by this information or worried that my ill-timed confession might cause problems between Laurel and her husband. I was afraid that Laurel was here to clarify that she would never feel the same way.
“I don’t remember that,” I replied.
My next instinct was to apologize for any trouble I may have caused. But that would be disingenuous.
I didn’t want to cause Laurel any pain, especially after everything she’d been through. But what little I’d learned about her over the past two months told me that she might be better off without Jack. Though, I conceded I probably didn’t know either of them well enough to make that sort of judgment.
Maybe it was selfish, but I didn’t want Laurel to end up like me. I sure as hell wished someone had warned me about Nicole before I planned a future with her. I wished someone had the guts to tell me about her betrayal before I walked right into the center of it.
“I’m sorry if I caused you any trouble with…with your husband,” I began, forcing the word husband out carefully. “I hope I didn’t make things worse for—”
I stopped mid-sentence when a silhouette appeared in the doorway. Speak of the fucking devil.
Laurel opened her mouth to say something, but she quickly noticed my gaze fixed on something behind her. As she turned her head, I savored the look of surprise on Nicole’s face.
Did she know what had happened at Laurel’s house last night? Did she know I’d told another woman I loved her? Did she know that woman was sitting at my bedside?
I hoped to God the answer to all those questions was a resounding yes.
“I’ll come back,” Nicole said, her voice cracking on the last syllable.
Laurel stood up quickly. “Oh, no. You don’t have to go. I was just about to leave. Please come in.”
Nicole took a few careful steps inside as my nephew, Ethan, slowly lifted his head from her shoulder. “It’s okay, sweetie. You can go back to sleep.”
“I’m thirsty, Mommy,” Ethan said in his tired toddler voice.
My eyes flitted toward Laurel’s face to see her reaction to this intrusion. I’d told her enough about Nicole for her to guess who this visitor was. The painfully forced smile on her face as she watched Nicole straightening the front of Ethan’s T-shirt broke my heart.
“He’s beautiful,” she whispered to Nicole as she made her way to the door.
“Laurel, wait,” I called out as she stepped out into the corridor, but she didn’t stop.
***end of excerpt***
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ABOUT THE BOOK
The explosive continuation of the Evergreen Series from New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo.
The seeds of doubt have been planted.
Two to six weeks. That’s how long it takes, on average, to get a divorce in Oregon.
With Jack convinced I betrayed him, I expect to be served divorce papers within hours of moving out. But weeks pass without word from Jack, and the papers never arrive. Though my heart isn’t ready to give up on him, I can’t shake the feeling that we may be better off apart. And Isaac is more than happy to help me move on.
But just as I begin to build some semblance of a life and career, a new and improved Jack arrives on my doorstep. Divorce papers are the furthest thing from his mind as he delivers news that both shatters me and restores my faith in the love we shared. But is it too late for us?
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