Anticipation quickened her steps as she trotted down the hallway. Trent looked up when she entered the living room.
With a squeal, she flung herself into his arms. “I’m so happy to see you!”
He fell back slightly until he hit the wall, accepting her noisy kisses all over his face. “I’m happy to see you too. I really missed you, baby.”
The low rumble of his words spread through her. It made her heart soar to hear him say the same thing she was feeling. She looked at his suit in surprise. Usually he just wore slacks and maybe a tie. Since he was such a casual guy, he probably wouldn’t like it if he knew how arousing she found his corporate look.
“I missed you too. And I’m really looking forward to having you home for a while.”
“Come with me while I unpack. I just want to look at you.”
She followed him into the bedroom. He sat on the edge of the bed, and in that moment, she could see how exhausted he was. It was all over his face, in the tight line of his lips and the pinched skin around his eyes. He looked awful.
“Why don’t you take a shower? I can help you unpack.”
A smile lifted the edges of his lips. “I think I’ll do that. Thanks. You’re the best.”
He stood and yanked his shirt over his head. She followed him with her eyes, enjoying the flex and play of the muscles in his back as he disappeared into the bathroom.
She turned back to his duffel and unzipped it. Layers of clothes sprang from the bag. With a muffled curse, she forced them back inside and tried to arrange them in some semblance of order. The sight of the jumbled clothes reminded her of the conversation they needed to have. Trent was usually a neat freak.
It was confirmation of what she knew instinctively.
Something wasn’t right.
She folded the clothes as the sounds of the shower filtered out of the bathroom behind her. By the time the water turned off, she’d created three neat piles—one for underwear, one for his dress shirts, and another for casual clothes.
Trent stood in the doorway to the bathroom, a towel tucked snugly around his waist. Even as her mouth watered, she had to remind herself of her plans. Dinner first, then they needed to talk.
She was determined to keep her head on straight so they could have a conversation. It wouldn’t do to get lost in passion and ignore the lingering tension between them. So Trent and his mouthwatering abs would just have to wait for a few hours.
“Matt and Penny are coming over for dinner. I have to go to the store to pick up a few things. If I’d known you were coming in so early, I would have done it last night.”
“That’s fine. You. Go. On.” He punctuated each word with a mind-drugging kiss.
By the time he was done, Mara was ready to rip his towel off. Especially since his skin was appealingly warm and still slightly damp from his shower.
“I’m going to get some work done while you’re gone, then I can give you my undivided attention tonight. Actually, can you bring me my laptop case? I must have left it on the couch.”
He pulled her up on her toes to meet his kiss, anchoring her against him in the way that never failed to turn her to mush. He was so handsome with his sun-kissed blond hair and those piercing blue eyes that always made her melt.
By the time he released her, she could barely remember her own name, let alone what he’d asked her to do.
Laptop, then grocery store. I’m supposed to be going out.
“Okay, I’m going. I love you.”
She hugged him tighter, suddenly overcome with emotion. It was easy to assume the worst when he wasn’t home, but she just couldn’t believe the emotion he showed toward her was feigned. No one had ever treated her the way he did or so openly showed his affection.
There was probably something bad going on with work which would explain why he was suddenly traveling so much.
Guilt tightened her belly. She’d been stewing in her own insecurity this whole time and assigning him false motives when he was likely just trying to keep from losing his job.
Trent had always had weird hang-ups about money. Her brother had given her a sizable loan to buy the town house, and when Trent found out about it, he’d been furious.
Like a lot of men, he seemed to think that if he couldn’t financially support her, she wouldn’t love him. But Mara didn’t need that from him. She’d been supporting herself since she was old enough to work.
Trent pulled her closer and kissed her forehead the way he always did. “Be careful out there. You know I love you more than life.”
A smile on her face, she left the room and headed back down the hallway to the living room to grab her handbag.
When she spotted his laptop bag and suit jacket on the chair, she remembered that he’d asked her to bring his stuff. The jacket was one of her favorites on him, a pale gray pinstripe that brought out the intense color of his eyes.
She folded it over her arm carefully. Something bulky poked out of the fabric.
With one hand, she slung the laptop case over her shoulder and then reached into the inner pocket. Her hands met what felt like heavy paper. She pulled it out. It unfolded in her hands, showcasing the bright colors of what was obviously a child’s drawing.
But that wasn’t what turned her heart to ice. It was the childish scrawl at the bottom, My familee, right above a painstakingly written name.
Quickly, she pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and took a photo. Her hands shook as she refolded the drawing and tucked it into the inner pocket of the jacket where she’d found it. She dropped the laptop case and coat jacket back on the chair and then grabbed her own handbag. Her mind was in a whirl as she let herself out, locking the door behind her.
Different scenarios ran through her head as she drove through the familiar streets of New Haven. She soothed herself with the sight of the cheerful red awnings of the businesses on Main Street and the graceful arch of the trees that bordered the road.
It wasn’t until she pulled into the parking lot of the grocery store that she spoke the words aloud that had been screaming through her brain for the entire drive.
“Trent’s middle name is Travis.”
The Alexanders and Friends
A steamy, suspenseful novel where no one is who you think they are…
Mara Simmons knows two things for sure: her instincts are always right and Trent Townsend is The One. So when she starts to suspect his frequent business trips have nothing to do with business, she knows what she has to do.
Trust her instincts.
Trent Townsend is living a lie and his worlds are on the verge of colliding. He’s done so much to separate his small town life from his past that one day he realizes he can’t tell what’s real anymore.
When Mara starts digging, she sets in motion a chain of events bigger than she can imagine and discovers that the man she loves just might be a stranger.
Warning: This book contains brazen lies, meddling sisters, encounters with the one percent and really hot domineering billionaire bachelors. Just saying…