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What did she expect? That just because Trent was her dream man, he wouldn’t be anyone else’s?

She shook off any feelings of jealousy. Trent was a hot guy who was constantly surrounded by beautiful women who would love to have his attention directed their way, but Whitney had never felt threatened or insecure. She knew he loved her. She could feel it with every ounce of her being. She had no reason not to trust him.

Angel was an employee. A coworker. And Whitney actually really liked her. She was an incredible manager and had helped take some of the pressure off Trent in recent months. She smiled at the woman as she climbed the stairs, then sat next to her on the bleachers. “Hi, Angel.”

“Hey, Whitney, how are you?”

The look of concern on the faces of family and friends Whitney expected by now, but seeing it on an almost stranger’s face made her stomach knot slightly. Had Trent told Angel about her accident? Had he mentioned Whitney’s stressful, busy workload?

The woman was eyeing her with a look of someone who might have some insider, intimate knowledge of Whitney’s relationship and personal life thatdidmake her slightly uneasy. Was Trent confiding in Angel?

It was probably just natural, though. Trent and Angel spent a lot of time together. Probably more than she and Trent did recently. They would talk and open up, share stories about their personal lives. Trent had told Whitney all about Angel, too—her messy divorce with some Hollywood exec, the way she was struggling with the boys, who were having a harder time adjusting to their new life…

But sharing things with a significant other was to be expected.

“I’m great,” she said, hiding her uneasiness. “Are those your boys out there?” She gestured toward the field, where two new teens played.

Angel nodded, shoving her hands into the pockets of her sweatshirt and shivering in the chilly, early evening breeze. “Those are my monsters,” she said with a laugh. She looked so at ease, so natural sitting in the stands of a small-town football field, watching her kids play ball. Unlike Whitney, who was still dressed in her work clothes and definitely seemed out of place among the parents. She wasn’t a parent and this wasn’t her natural environment—a place she felt comfortable, where she belonged. Would she ever?

She shook the thoughts aside as she asked, “Did they play football in L.A.?”

“No. This was Trent’s idea, actually,” she said, and once again a look of gratitude crossed the woman’s beautiful face. Whitney knew from Trent that Angel was in her late thirties or maybe forty, but she looked a lot younger. Soft, flawless porcelain skin and pretty green eyes, gorgeous hair.

“He’s such a great guy,” Angel said, then laughed awkwardly. “As you obviously know.”

Whitney nodded and forced a smile. Her gaze landed on him now. She did know. She also knew that a great guy like Trent wouldn’t wait around forever for her to commit. Time was running out, and she needed to tell him everything. That this lifestyle—sitting in the stands someday, watching him coach their own kids—might not be in her future.Theirfuture. It hurt to acknowledge, but she couldn’t keep pretending the life they’d once talked about was certainly in the cards.

He glanced their way, and a look of surprise registered on his face, seeing her there, before he offered a wave.

She waved back and tried to take comfort in the fact that it washerhe was waving to, but for the rest of the evening, it was difficult to shake the odd feeling of unease in the pit of her stomach. Trent was the perfect person for her, but maybe she was no longer the perfect person for him.


Lying on Trent’s chest on her sofa, Whitney felt an undeniable sob escape him as the credits rolled on the heartwarming, inspiring sports drama they’d been watching. She lifted her head to glance up at him with a grin as he quickly wiped the tears away with his forearm.

“Are you crying?”

He shook his head and scoffed. “No. ‘Course not.”

She peered at him. “Yes, you are.”

“Fine. I’m a big softie when it comes to these movies.”

She snuggled closer. “I think it’s sweet.” She loved that there were layers to Trent. On the surface, he looked like a two-hundred-and-fifty-pound man who nothing could touch, but on the inside, he was thoughtful and considerate and in his own words, “A big softie.” He was fantastic with kids, and while they hadn’t talked about it since the pregnancy scare, she knew he’d been slightly disappointed. He was older than she was and had made life and career decisions recently that put him on the path he ultimately wanted. She was still young and figuring things out…

“It’s just, that’s the kind of life I want, you know? A simple, quiet, small-town life running the bar and raising a family,” he said, confirming her thoughts. “It’s a big part of why I wanted to finally settle down and have my own business. I don’t want to be one of those parents who misses out on things. I want to be there for sports games or ballet or gymnastics… I don’t ever want to miss a birthday, and I’m probably going to spoil them with love.”

“I don’t think you can spoil children with love,” she said pensively. As an adoptee, she knew all too well how lonely it could be, feeling unloved. Luckily, she hadn’t had many years to feel that way, and her parents had more than made up for anything her early years may have lacked in the way of affection. “How many children do you want? Eventually,” she added quickly.

“At least five or six,” he said.

Her eyes widened, and her head shot up. “Five or six?”

He laughed. “I want a big family like the one I was raised in. We drove one another nuts and fought all the time, but there was also lots of laughter and fun. I couldn’t imagine what growing up would have been like without my sisters.”

She nodded. She was an only child, so she’d never experienced that, but spending time with Trent’s family definitely made her feel like that was a wonderful way to grow up.

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