Page 6 of Stealing the Bride

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“Yeah, that case was a bear.” He nods, and I begin to relax. “You know she called me twelve times yesterday because you blocked her.”

“I’m not surprised. Taking her on as a client was a mistake,” I hurry to agree.

“Told you so,” Mack says and takes the bait I laid out for him. He complained the whole time after I agreed to take on the case, so I knew he was waiting to get in his dig.

“Why don’t you go up the lake?” Dad offers.

This was exactly where I wanted to end up, and I try to keep my breathing even as I play it cool. Lifting one shoulder, I shake my head. “Nah, it’s okay. I’ll just hang around the city and get some stuff done at home.”

“If anyone gets it, Lawson, it’s me.” Dad smiles and comes over to sit on the couch. “Go up to the house for a few days and get some fresh air. It always did me a world of good after a big case.”

“It wasn’t exactly big,” Mack grumbles. “Ouch.” He rubs his arms where Mom poked him.

“You could check on things while you’re up there. Your mom and I won’t have time before our next trip, so you’d be doing me a favor.”

“You’re sure?” I pretend to think it over and nod slowly. “Yeah, I guess I could ride up there and stay for a few days.”

“Perfect, it’s all settled.” Dad claps his hands together and goes back to the card table with Ari.

“You guys think you can manage without me?” I direct the question to Ari, and he’s quick to wave it off.

“Sure, don’t worry about it. Hell, I might join you.”

I stiffen at the possibility, but thankfully, I’m quick to recover. “That’d be great, but don’t you have to be in court this week?”

“Shit.” He sighs and then tells Dad all about our client needing him to testify. Ari and Mack talk, and I use the time to think over my next move. This is crazy, I know it is, but I can’t stop the downward spiral. I’ve done some shady shit to nail a client's ass to the wall, but nothing on this level.

Taking out my phone, I pull up the picture of Vanna and stare at it. Sure, she might be engaged, but she didn’t seem happy about it. All I can think is that if she were mine, she’d never stop smiling.

Kidnapping is definitely against the law, but what’s a little felony for love?

Chapter Five


The man in front of me isn’t the one I grew to know. Nick doesn’t have the easy smile or gentlemanly manner I’m used to. When I saw him naked for the first time last night, there was another side of him that I’d never seen before.

I’m starting to see that I was the agreeable one because I always nodded and went along with whatever was needed. We never had a reason to fight, and the only time I ever gave some pushback was when it came to sex.

It’s a small chip to my ego that he never pushed for more, and as horrible as it sounds, I wanted him to. I wanted him to have an uncontrollable need for me, but I’m sure that goes back to my abandonment issues. Nick never cared when I canceled one of our Friday nights, and maybe all of this is the reason why.

Beyond that, there was never a need to spend time with me. He was casual about time together, and I never made a big deal about it. I didn’t blow up his phone and ask how his day was, but he never did to me either. Our routine was mostly hands-off.

When I really think back, Nick did make a few small remarks that we could do other things than sex, but he always let it go when I paused even a little at the idea. I never felt the lust or need other girls in school talked about. Nick was just there and fit into the cookie-cutter role of what I thought was a good boyfriend. I wonder if on some level I knew I would never love him the way other couples love each other. That way he could never hurt me if he left.

Aren’t I used to people always leaving? I hadn't let myself form any friendships in college either. I grew close to a few people during my time in foster care. Then one of the kids would get moved, and that was another person taken from me. It was easier to keep everyone at arm's length.

Now I see that Nick didn’t care about our sex life because he had his needs met somewhere else. I was just his virginal wife waiting to be deflowered. What year is this? As bad as I know it is to cheat, I don’t blame him for that part of it. I wasn’t there for him in that way, and it's a natural human reaction to want affection. I guess unless you're me. I might understand what he did, but I can’t respect it. If I loved someone so deep inside my bones, I would never do anything to hurt them.