“Let’s get you to bed, sweetie,” Jensen said in a gentle voice. “You look like you’ve reached the limit of your control. Get some rest. Tomorrow you and Kylie and Joss can have one of your terror … er … uh I mean girl lunches where y’all threaten the demise of the male population. If I wasn’t so pissed off at the ass**le for what he did, I’d actually feel sorry for Tate about now. But he made his bed and now he has to lie in it. Alone.”

“You know,” Kylie said thoughtfully.


“Uh oh. I recognize that voice,” Jensen said in a dry tone.

“We get up with Chessy whenever she’s ready to go over and tackle packing whatever she wants to take. Then I’ll call Joss, give her the 411 and have her meet us back at your place. And you can be the sweet, adorable guy who gets us takeout so we don’t have any messy upsetting issues in a public restaurant. You’d be invited of course,” Kylie said teasingly.

“It’s a good plan and I certainly don’t mind getting all my girls something to eat, but you’re going to need to give Joss a heads-up before we go over there because I have to call Dash to tell him neither you or I will be in the office and I’ll have to explain why. And then Joss finds out important information about her best friend from a third party, which will hurt her feelings and cause her to instantly freak and run out the door to go and help with the packing. I think we can all agree that doesn’t need to happen.”

“Then it’s a plan,” Kylie said, hugging Chessy to her once more. “Now let’s go get you into bed. You look like hell, Chess. I can only imagine how exhausted you are right now. I’ll stay up and talk to you as long as you want.”

But as soon as Kylie returned from the bathroom after taking the towel from her hair and combing it out she saw that Chessy was already passed out on the bed, her expression one of sorrow.

Kylie’s heart clenched. She knew all too well how much love had the power to hurt but also to heal. The question was, which would it do for Tate and Chessy?


KYLIE wrapped her hands around the mug of coffee as she stood in Jensen’s kitchen. Though Chessy had slept fitfully, Kylie had barely slept at all. She’d lain awake, worried and heartbroken for her friend.

Jensen walked up behind her and wrapped both arms around her body, pulling her back against his chest as he nuzzled one ear.

-- Advertisement --

“How did Chessy sleep?” he asked, concern edging his voice.

Kylie sighed. “A lot better than I did.”

She set the mug on the bar and then swiveled in Jensen’s embrace, wrapping her arms around him in a hug. She rested her cheek against his chest and sighed.

“What are we going to do, Jensen? This has devastated Chessy. She was so full of hope and optimism after their disastrous anniversary night that Tate finally saw how unhappy she was and he vowed to make amends. And yet at the very first opportunity he allowed business to interfere?”

“He didn’t just allow it to interfere,” Jensen said darkly. “He put Chessy in harm’s way over a f**king business call. He should have left the damn phone at home and devoted one hundred percent of his attention and energy on his wife. I know you have fears over Joss’s and Chessy’s lifestyle choices, but honey trust me, what happened last night is never supposed to happen. I would have said that Dash and Tate would cut off their right arms before ever allowing their wives to come to harm, but I don’t even know what to say regarding Tate’s actions. I have no idea what he was thinking. But what he did is unforgivable, and you need to prepare yourself for the possibility that this is truly the last straw for Chessy. She’s going to need you and Joss more than ever. I’m proud of her for standing up for herself. It took a lot of courage to tell Tate she was leaving.”

“I know,” Kylie said sadly, her heart aching for her friend. “Chessy is such a good person, Jensen. She doesn’t deserve this. She’s so generous and sweet. She has a heart of gold but she hasn’t been truly happy in a long time. I wish I could say that I hadn’t seen this coming, but Joss and I have honestly been expecting this, though we never imagined it going down like it did because, like you, I would have never imagined Tate allowing anything to hurt Chessy. No matter how far he has his head stuck up his ass, I never truly thought he would allow harm to come to her. I hate him for that,” she said, anger bubbling up in her chest.

Jensen squeezed her more tightly against him and brushed a kiss over her hair. “I’m not a fan at the moment either. I’d like to beat his ass for what he did.”

“I’d like to watch,” Kylie muttered. “Maybe you could hold him down while I kick him in the balls.”

Jensen chuckled. “I love when you get all ferocious. It’s very sexy.”

She grinned up at him. “I love you.”

He looked inordinately pleased by her declaration. His features softened in answering love and he kissed her, long and sweet. “I love you too,” he said, his voice thick with emotion.

A noise from the entrance to the kitchen had Kylie whirling around to see Chessy standing there watching Kylie and Jensen kissing. She looked as though she’d been slapped, her eyes drenched with sadness.

“Sorry to interrupt,” Chessy said in a low voice.

“Not at all,” Jensen said in an easy tone, allowing Kylie to slide from his grasp. “How are you feeling this morning?”

“Come sit down and let me fix you a cup of coffee,” Kylie urged, going over to where Chessy stood and ushering her back to the bar.