Betrayed (Whiskey Nights #4)

By: Suzannah Daniels

Rachel pushed herself off the stool, swept her palm across my shoulder, and left.

“So what’s the story with her?” Evan asked.

“She’s looking for a husband,” Cade responded.

“She is not,” I corrected him. “Just a little companionship. Try to remember what it was like before you were married.”

“I’m just keeping it real, Pax,” Cade said. “If she gets half a chance, she’ll have a ring on your finger.” He took a swig of his beer. “You do know she wants kids, right?”

Cade was well aware that I had no desire to have kids. “Not gonna happen.”

“Yeah, well, you might want to tell her that,” he urged, “before she gets her hopes up.”

I rubbed my fingers across the amber glass of the beer bottle sitting on the coaster in front of me. “You have a valid point,” I agreed. “I’ll let her down easy tomorrow.” The truth was, while I enjoyed Rachel’s company from time to time, she and I would never be anything more than what we were at this moment. She was a gorgeous girl, but something was missing from our relationship. There was no spark, no aching desire to spend copious amounts of time with her. And the fact that she was desperate to be a mother was just one more reason why we would never work.

“Okay,” Evan called from the other side of Cade, bringing me out of my reverie. “She’s gone. Where were we?”

“I was talking about Gulf Shores,” Cade said, pulling off his camouflage cap and putting it on backwards, the bill covering his nape.

“You’re leaving in the morning?” I asked, remembering that I would have to work late at the gym tomorrow to cover his absence until Evan came in for the evening shift.

Cade nodded. “Yeah, and Flanagan’s pretty damn excited.”

For some reason, he called his wife by her maiden name, not that it mattered to me. Hell, I once had a girlfriend who called me Max from time to time.

Making love to her had been the pinnacle of all my relationships with women. It still was.

But the higher one climbs, the greater the risk of death and destruction when he falls.

And in the end, I fell hard. The very love that had raised me to that pinnacle in the clouds had just as quickly trampled me into the ground.

I shook my head, willing myself to think of something else—anything else.

“Me and Flanagan plan on getting a lot of R&R while we’re there, so if you need me, don’t call,” Cade said, a grin cracking the serious expression on his face.

I wasn’t surprised by how much marriage agreed with him. Seren was a great girl, one that I wouldn’t have minded capturing myself, and believe me, I tried. But a man had to know when to throw in the towel, and it hadn’t taken me long once I’d seen the two of them together to know that I didn’t have a snowball’s chance with her.

A short time later, I started dating Rachel. We were both alone, and she was kind and attentive. I suspected Cade wasn’t far from the truth when he said she was hunting a husband.

Working in the gym I owned with my brothers, I’d seen plenty of bodybuilders hit plateaus, unable to see any physical changes despite the fact they worked out regularly.

My relationship with Rachel had hit a plateau, too. I liked her. I liked spending time with her. But she wasn’t the one, and I needed to let her go, so she didn’t waste any time thinking I might be the one for her.

“How long are you going to be gone?” Evan asked.

Cade shrugged. “At least a week, but who knows? Once we get down there, we might decide we don’t want to leave.”

The corners of Evan’s mouth tilted upward. “You do kinda look like a beach bum.”

Cade rubbed the stubble on his jaw. “I can’t think of a downside to sleeping on the beach. Especially since I’ll have a hot beach bunny by my side.”

“You better not let her talk you into skinny dipping,” I warned him. “You never know when you might find yourself wearing nothing but a towel and a cool breeze.”

Evan barked out a laugh, and Cade groaned. “Y’all are never going to let me live that one down, are you?”

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