“Kiss me like you love me, ace,” she challenged. “I dare you.”

I remembered saying those words to her and how she’d kissed my breath away.


Lowering my head, I sealed my mouth over hers.


I’d been dozing more than sleeping when I heard my bedroom door open. After spending a weekend at the beach, the sounds of energetic Manhattan filtering into the apartment had both soothed and excited me. I had a long way to go before I could call myself a New Yorker, but the city already felt like home to me now.

“Rise and shine, baby girl!” Cary shouted. A moment later, he bounded onto my bed, nearly bouncing me off.

Sitting up, I shoved the hair back from my face. Then I shoved him. “I’m sleeping in, if you hadn’t noticed.”

“It’s after nine o’clock, lazybones,” he drawled, settling on his stomach with his heels kicked up behind him. “I know you’re unemployed, but don’t you have a shit-ton of stuff to get done?”

As I drifted in and out of sleep, I’d been thinking about everything on my to-do list. There was so much to scratch off, it was overwhelming. “Yeah.”

“Such enthusiasm.”

“I need coffee for that. What about you?” I looked at him, noting that he was dressed in olive cargo pants and a charcoal V-neck T-shirt. “What’s on your agenda today?”

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“I’m supposed to take it easy, so I can be ready to hit the catwalk tomorrow. For now, I’m all yours.”

Reaching behind me, I propped my pillows up and scooted back against them. “I need to call the wedding planner, the interior designer, and get the invitation thing sorted out.”

“You also need a dress.”

“I know.” I wrinkled my nose. “That’s not on my list today, though.”

“Are you kidding? Even if you bought a dress off the rack—which we both know you can’t—if it needs any alterations whatsoever, Mrs. Big Boobs and Voluptuous Ass, you’re pushing it timewise.”

Cary was right. I’d realized I had to find something custom after photos of Gideon and me kissing on the beach had spread all over the Internet on Sunday. The number of “steal this look” blog posts on my beachwear boggled my mind. Since the bikini I’d worn had been discontinued, prices for used ones on resale sites were staggering.

“I don’t know what to do, Cary,” I admitted. “It’s not like I have any designers on speed dial.”

“Lucky for you, it’s Fashion Week.”

That woke me up and sent my thoughts racing around in circles. “No shit? How did I miss that?”

“You’ve been mostly wallowing in misery,” he reminded dryly. “You know your mom will be hitting a few shows, rubbing elbows and spending thousands. Go with her.”

I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes. “I’m afraid to talk to her about anything after she flipped out yesterday.”

He made a face. “Yeah, she had a full-on Monica Meltdown.”

“I swear we just had a conversation about her turning my wedding into a publicity op and now she’s acting like any press is a nightmare.”

“Well, to be fair, she was specific about tabloid coverage.”

“Is there any other kind nowadays?” I sighed, knowing I was due for another talk with my mother. That wouldn’t be fun. “I don’t know what she’s so upset about. I couldn’t have asked for a better picture of Gideon and me if I’d tried. It’s perfect for making Corinne Giroux look desperate.”

“True.” His grin faded. “And honestly, it’s good to see Gideon so into you. He had a stick up his ass most of the weekend. I was starting to think he was cooling off.”

“Too late for that.” I kept my tone light, but it had torn me up to see how uncomfortable Gideon was with any sign of affection. Friendship seemed to be the closest connection he could tolerate outside our marriage. “It wasn’t personal, Cary. Remember how he acted at the Vidal Records party at his parents’ house?”

“Vaguely.” He shrugged. “Not my problem anyway. Do you want me to reach out to some friends and see if we can’t put the word out while we’re strutting our stuff this week? Your bikini blew up the Internet. I can’t imagine any designer turning down the chance to design your wedding dress.”

I groaned. How amazing would it be to knock Gideon’s socks off with a glamorous, made-just-for-me dress? “I don’t know. It would suck royally if word got out about how soon it’s all going down. I don’t want a media circus. It’s bad enough we can’t even go out of town for the weekend without some creepy photographer following us.”

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