“That doesn’t explain why the man was holding his crotch like that. Who does that in a public place?” Connor asked.

“He has testicular cancer, and I know he’s frequently in pain. So that’s probably why he was doing that. Why are you asking about him anyway?”

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“Someone’s been sending text messages and flowers to my wife. The texts are sex related and when I saw this picture, I automatically assumed it was him.”

“Couldn’t be him,” Vinnie said. “Did I mention that he’s gay?”

Connor looked at me with a disappointed expression. I thought for sure it was the lighting man, and this would finally be over. A beep came from my purse, which alerted me that I had a text message. As I fumbled for it, I took out my phone and there was a text from him.

“I stare at your picture and imagine what it would be like to f**k you and hear you moan. I think about you all day, and I can’t stop. Your smile drives me insane and your mouth around my c*ck is what I crave and desire.”

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My panicked face gave it away that the message was from him. Connor grabbed my phone and I stood there as rage took over his face and settled into his eyes. He put his arm around me and pulled me into him. “When I find out who’s doing this, I’m going to kill him.”

We thanked Vinnie and left the gallery. When we stepped outside, Connor called Detective James and told him about the latest text message and how the man from the art gallery wasn’t the guy. The text messages were starting to get more graphic, and now I was getting more frightened than before. As soon as Connor hung up the phone with Detective James, he pulled me into him.

“Let’s go get some dinner and then we’ll head back to New York.”

I nodded my head and we walked down the street to a Mexican restaurant. I really wasn’t hungry, so I only ordered the tacos. As we were eating, I kept noticing two girls sitting at the table next to us, eyeing Connor. I had sort of gotten used to the fact that my husband was the sexiest man alive and that women appreciated his looks, but I drew the line when they wouldn’t stop staring at him, even though I was sitting directly across from him.

“Those two women keep staring at you,” I whispered.

“I know. I’ve noticed.” He smiled.

“It’s irritating, and I’m going to say something if they don’t stop.”

“No, you won’t. There will be no embarrassing me tonight. Now eat your tacos!”

I glared at him from across the table as I took a bite of my taco. He glared at me as he drank his beer. The waiter came over and asked if we wanted dessert. I took the liberty of ordering two desserts.

“It’s okay, Ellery, I don’t want dessert; I’m full,” Connor said.

“You can never be too full for dessert.” I smiled.

After a few moments, the waiter set our desserts down on the table. Connor looked at me and sighed. “I’m sorry, baby, but I really don’t want this,” he said.

“Good,” I said as I grabbed his and my desserts and took them over to the women at the next table.

“I would like you to have these desserts on me and my husband. I couldn’t help but notice your incessant staring at him as we were trying to enjoy our dinner. Kudos for making asses of yourselves!”

The women looked away as I winked at them, grabbed my purse, and told Connor we were leaving. I heard him apologize as he walked past their table. I stepped outside the doors of the restaurant and Connor caught up with me. I put my hand up as I walked down the street.

“Don’t, say a word, Black. They deserved it. I don’t appreciate gawkers, especially when it’s directed at my husband.”

“Where are you walking to?” he asked.

I stopped and looked at him. “I don’t know,” I said as I threw my hands up in the air and laughed.

Connor wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tightly. “What am I going to do with you?”

“The same thing you’ve always done. Love me forever, no matter how much I embarrass you.” I smiled.

“My dear, sweet wife. I will love you, no matter how much you embarrass me, until the day I die.”

Chapter 33

The next few days were pretty much the same. The text messages were becoming more frequent and more graphic. Denny was doing better and was expected to be released in a few days. Connor was working hard at the office, not only on trying to keep up with Black Enterprises, but he was also under a lot of stress trying to find out who was sending me the messages. My security guy, Justin, followed me everywhere I went, and Detective James wasn’t any closer to finding out who was stalking me.

Connor and I took Julia to the toy store one night. As we were walking around and Connor was showing Julia all the toys that made noise, my phone beeped with a message. I looked at my phone and read the text message that sat on my screen.

“My hunger for you is getting worse. My love for you is growing stronger, and I’m going crazy not being able to touch you.”

Connor was occupied with Julia and a singing toy, so he didn’t hear my phone beep. We were having a good night. I didn’t want to show him the message and worry him even more than he already was. Julia laughed at the singing bear that Connor held up in front of her. When he went to put it back on the shelf, she screamed.

“Look what you did; now you have to buy it for her,” I said.

“She can’t get a new toy every time she screams. She has to learn what ‘no’ means,” he said as he pushed the shopping cart away from the singing bear.

Julia wasn’t having it, and I knew he would eventually give in and buy it for her. As we walked down another aisle, Julia threw a temper tantrum. I walked behind Connor, whispering in his ear, “I want that bear, Daddy. Please buy me that bear.”

“Ellery, knock it off. That’s not fair. She needs to learn she can’t have everything she wants.”

“Why not? You get everything you want.”

“That’s different. I’m an adult.”

“Are you sure about that?” I smiled as I slapped him on the ass and walked ahead of them.

I could hear Julia from the next aisle over. As I was looking at the dolls, it suddenly became quiet. The sounds of a screaming baby were gone. I rolled my eyes and made my way back to where Connor and Julia were. I saw the singing bear next to her.

“Way to go, Daddy. I knew you’d give in.”

“She wouldn’t stop screaming. Next time, no means no,” he said.

“Yeah, right!” I smiled.

Dinner with Julia was out of the question. She looked really tired, and she was starting to get fussy. Both of us knew that if we took her to a restaurant, we wouldn’t be there long, so we headed home and decided to order a pizza. While I fed Julia in her highchair, Connor placed an order for delivery, and I decided to tell him about the text message I received earlier. After I made him promise not to get angry and go off on a tangent, I read him the message. He slammed his fists on the counter so hard, he made me and Julia jump. Julia started screaming and I looked at him, shaking my head.

“I’m so sorry, baby. Daddy didn’t mean to scare you,” he said as he walked over to her and kissed her head.

“Connor, I warned you. I begged you not to get angry like that,” I said as I slammed the spoon down on the table and got up.

“What the hell, Ellery? How do you not expect me to get angry when someone talks to you like that? Damn it. What if this was happening to me by some strange woman? How the f**k would you feel? Huh? Answer me that,” he yelled. “We have this same argument all the time. You tell me not to get mad, I do, and then you get pissed off, and it results in me yelling at you.”

Anger overtook me as I walked over to him. “Let me make one thing very clear to you. There will never be yelling or fighting in front of Julia. Do you understand me?” I said through gritted teeth as I pushed my finger into his chest.

While he stood there and looked at me, I could see him start to slowly calm down. “You’re right, and I apologize to you and Julia,” he said as he kissed my forehead and then Julia’s. “I’ll take her upstairs and get her cleaned up and ready for bed. The pizza should be here shortly,” he said.

The doorbell rang and when I answered it, I was shocked to see Phil standing there, holding our pizza.

“Hi, Phil,” I said as I gave him a strange look. “What are you doing here and why are you holding our pizzas?”

“Hi, Ellery. I was just down in the lobby and heard the delivery guy say he had pizzas for the Blacks, so I saved him a trip up since I was coming up to see Connor anyway.”

“Thanks, Phil.” I smiled as I took the pizzas from him. “Connor will be down in a minute. He’s changing Julia. How much do I owe you?” I asked as I reached for my wallet.

“Oh, please, don’t worry about it. It’s on me.”

Connor walked down the stairs and was surprised to see Phil standing in the kitchen.

“Phil, what brings you here, buddy?”

“I have some papers you need to sign,” he said.

“It couldn’t wait until morning?” Connor asked.

“No, I need to get these faxed over to Japan tonight, and when I went to your office earlier to have you sign them, you’d already left.”

“Why don’t you sit and have some pizza with us,” Connor said.

“Nah, I don’t want to interfere with your dinner.”

“You’re not interfering, Phil. Now sit down and let me get you a drink.” Connor insisted.

I took the paper plates and napkins to the living room. Phil followed behind me with the pizza boxes. Connor poured himself a scotch and made Phil a martini. I sat down on the floor, at the coffee table. Connor asked me what I wanted to drink. When I told him a coke, Phil jumped up and said he’d get it. We sat around the coffee table and talked while we ate.

“I’m surprised to see you sitting on the floor, eating pizza, Connor,” Phil said.

“Ellery likes things very informal,” Connor responded.

“Yep, I don’t like all that uppity shit.” I laughed.

“Well, Connor has changed quite a bit since he married you,” Phil said.

I looked over at Connor and smiled. “He sure has.”

“He’s a very lucky man to be married to such a beautiful woman.” Phil smiled.

When he said that, I blushed. “Phil, stop it.”

“No, I’m serious, Ellery. You are incredibly beautiful, and any man would be lucky to have you.”

“Well, thank you. But I’m the lucky one.” I smiled.

Connor got up and walked over to the bar to make Phil another drink, while Phil helped me bring the plates and pizza back into the kitchen.

“Thank you for inviting me to stay. It meant a lot to me, Ellery,” Phil said as he hugged me tightly.

As I stood there, astounded, I gently patted his back and told him that he was welcome. Connor walked in and handed Phil his drink.

“What’s going on in here?” He smiled.

“I was thanking your beautiful wife for having me.”

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