All he could do was set into motion the partnerships and hope for the best. Words were useless. Until now his actions hadn’t supported his words, his promises. It was time to show Chessy instead of telling her. He refused to give up and go quietly away, allowing her to walk out of their relationship.

This would be the biggest fight of his life, but one he was fully ready to wage. There would be no holding back in his bid to win Chessy back. Her love, her faith, her trust. He wanted it all. And in return he’d give her his all.

TWENTY-THREE

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THE next few weeks were a test of endurance for Chessy. She was surrounded by Kylie and Joss as well as Jensen and Dash and their unfailing support, and God knew she needed it because Tate was persistent in his campaign to win her back.

Flowers arrived daily. Chessy had gotten on a first-name basis with the florist who delivered each bouquet. Equally prevalent were gifts. Earrings—she was admittedly an earring whore—a delicate necklace, and handwritten notes, each recalling a memory in their marriage.

She was at her breaking point emotionally. Tate had, for all practical purposes, declared emotional war. Everything he did pulled relentlessly at her heartstrings. Made her remember much happier times. If only he’d exerted half as much effort before as he was now they wouldn’t be living apart in separate beds.

What was she supposed to do?

Kylie and Joss had resolutely thrown their support behind Chessy, vowing to murder Tate in his sleep if he didn’t cease with the emotional warfare. It had gotten to the point where Chessy hated answering the doorbell to greet that day’s delivery. Perhaps what she needed to do was move into her own place and not give out the address.

It seemed like the cowardly thing to do, but she wasn’t prepared to face Tate. In the two weeks since she’d walked out on him, she hadn’t seen him. Oh, it wasn’t for lack of effort on his part. He’d gone first to Joss and Dash’s house, thinking she was staying there. Joss had immediately called to warn Chessy that he was likely on his way to Kylie’s and, sure enough, he’d knocked determinedly on the door only to be greeted—and turned away—by a scowling Jensen.

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It hadn’t deterred him, though. He’d continued his relentless assault and Chessy imagined had she left the shelter of Kylie’s home to go anywhere, Tate would probably make an appearance and cause an embarrassing public scene. Not that he’d intend to make a scene. He’d never do anything to humiliate her. But he would likely beg her to give him another chance and then make her look like the biggest bitch who ever lived when she refused. Publicly.

So she’d remained inside Kylie’s home, not venturing out for fear of running into Tate. And that pissed her off. She was a total coward. A spineless, gutless idiot for allowing him to dictate her every movement.

It was high time she took back control of her life and stopped living in fear of the inevitable confrontation with Tate. It would have to be done sooner or later. She couldn’t avoid him forever. But she simply couldn’t decide her own fate. One day she’d be convinced that she needed to set an appointment with the divorce attorney Dash knew and the next she’d back down from that conviction and float in the direction of not being positive of such a huge step yet. Once in motion, there was no going back. Having Tate served with divorce papers would be so … final. And she simply wasn’t sure if she was ready for that.

And added to that, she was coming down with some sort of ugly stomach bug. She couldn’t look at or smell food without gagging. She was listless, run-down and she wasn’t sleeping at night. And Tate’s daily onslaught was wearing on her.

Her anxiety had gotten so bad that she’d actually made a doctor’s appointment so she could be prescribed medication to help calm her. She cringed at the very thought of having to be dependent on medication for her emotional stability but at the same time she was desperate for some sense of normalcy.

Since Kylie was working, Joss was coming over to take Chessy to the doctor. Chessy had protested, saying she didn’t need someone to hold her hand through a doctor’s appointment, but Joss had firmly told her that there was no way in hell she was letting Chessy go alone. In the end Chessy had caved under Joss’s insistence and was now waiting for her to arrive.

When Chessy heard the car pull up, she went outside to meet her. Joss had just gotten out and looked decidedly green. There was a pallor to her face that made Chessy feel instantly guilty.

“Joss, you look awful, hon. Why don’t you go back home and go to bed? I can drive myself to the doctor’s office for God’s sake.”

Joss waved a hand in front of her face. “It’s nothing. I promise. Mornings are just terrible for me but I can’t stay in bed for my entire pregnancy even if that’s precisely what Dash would prefer. I swear he’s like a mother hen. One would think no other woman in the world has ever been pregnant before! He acts like I have a terminal illness. Although I will say being waited on hand and foot is a very nice perk of this pregnancy.”

Her eyes twinkled merrily, some of the color returning to her cheeks. Chessy hugged her just because. Joss’s good spirits were infectious. She was so sweet and kind it was impossible not to be cheered just by her presence.

“Well thank you,” Chessy said. “I’m always glad to have your company. We better get going. I don’t want to be late.”

Joss snorted. “As if you being late will make a difference. It’s not like doctors are ever prompt in seeing patients. You could probably arrive thirty minutes late and still have to wait.”

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