Our Kind of Love

By: Victoria Purman

‘Well, I don’t know about you but I thought last night was pretty damn good. Maybe we could do it again sometime.’

‘Joe, it was … well, it was what it was. Listen to me. What happens in Middle Point has to stay in Middle Point. Comprende?’

Joe scratched his chin. ‘Let me assure you. I can keep secrets.’

Anna shot him a sad look over her shoulder. ‘It had better stay secret. This was a big mistake. I’m married, Joe.’

And then she was gone.

Joe flopped back onto Lizzie’s bed, threaded his fingers behind his head and kicked his long legs out until his feet dangled over the end of the mattress. The faint sound of the shower, and more of Lizzie’s singing, echoed through the house. He was feeling frustrated as fuck and horny as hell. The most unpredictable, surprising night of his life was over.

And he had no idea how he’d got here. He wasn’t looking to hook up with anyone. Hadn’t even been on his radar since he’d got back to Middle Point. A fucked-up marriage tends to do that to a bloke. While some men saw it as a new-found freedom and chased everything in a skirt, Joe felt burnt by it and had vowed to stay away from women for a while. For a long while. Truth be told, he hadn’t even wanted to go to the wedding, but being back in his hometown came with certain obligations, including being present at the wedding of his little sister’s best friend. He’d watched Julia grow up, had probably tormented her over the years as much as he had Lizzie. The evil twins, as he liked to call them, had been inseparable then and still were. And since his family now only consisted of him and his sister, he couldn’t say no to a wedding in which she was the bridesmaid.

And as parties go, it hadn’t been too bad. Ry had opened the pub’s wine cellar, so the drinking had been excellent. The wedding ceremony had been low-key and casual, and the food was pretty good, too.

And the company? Unexpected. Unbelievable. Unstoppable.

But unavailable.

I’m married, Joe.

Anna’s parting words went round and round in his head. There was another thing they had in common. So was he, technically. Legally. In name only. His wife Jasmine has said goodbye to their marriage when she’d taken off with his best friend and walked out on him months before. As crushing blows went that had been like a wrecking ball. So he’d said goodbye to that part of his life when he’d driven out of Sydney last December and crossed the dry and dusty Hay Plain on his way back to South Australia.

There were footsteps in the hallway. The door opened and Lizzie peeked around, all little-sister curious. She was draped in a dressing gown and had a blue towel wound around her head. She looked scarily like Marge Simpson.

‘What are you doing in my room, Stinkface?’

Joe rubbed his hands over his eyes, trying to scrub away the memory. He’d dragged Anna there the night before, knowing it was a bit of a passion killer to bring a hot woman home to the bunk bed in the spare room. He’d seen Lizzie leave the wedding with Dan and knew she wouldn’t be needing her more accommodating queen-size bed.

And since Anna had stormed off, he barely had the energy to get up, thoughts about his own disaster of a marriage lying like last night’s dinner in the pit of his stomach. He found just enough enthusiasm to lie.

‘Give me a break, Mosquito. You weren’t here, so I decided to get a decent night’s sleep. For once.’

Strangely, Lizzie didn’t bite his head off. And unless he was imagining things, she was checking out her room, glancing from floor to pillow to window and back to his face. Like a detective inspecting a crime scene.

‘Good night last night?’ She twisted her lips in an attempt not to grin.

‘Yeah,’ he answered, trying to not make it sound like it actually had been.

‘I saw you getting into some no-strings-attached dancing with Anna.’

‘You did, huh?’

‘She’s a good dancer. Unlike you, you klutz.’

Joe scoffed. He’d been protecting his sources for years. Lizzie was dreaming if she thought she could get information out of him that easily.

‘Yeah.’ That was all he was going to give up. ‘But Mosquito,’ Joe sat up, swung his legs over the side of the bed and planted them on the floor. ‘I’m surprised you could see anything but the sun shining from Dan McSwaine’s eyes. Or was that his arse?’

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