Abby opens her mouth. I brace myself for whatever she’s going to say and don’t hear a single word. I don’t hear anything at all, except the deep, rumbling laugh that rolls through the soundstage.
My stomach does cartwheels and every single hair on the back of my neck stands pin-straight. My anxiety before? It’s got nothing on the nerves that are about to knock my knees right out from under me.
That laugh—his laugh… It’s as potent today as it was the first time I heard it.
My eyelids flutter shut. All worries about first-day nerves and my shitty ex-husband and career recovery vanish. Into that mental void rushes a series of images, ones I’d mistakenly sworn, hoped, prayed, I’d forgotten.
A sweltering summer night. Low whispers and lurid words.
Large calloused hands finding the secret, most sensitive parts of my skin.
Lips made for sinning and promises whispered in a voice that sounded like salvation. A voice that belongs to a man who vanished without a word.
A man who, if I’m reading my friend’s—no, strike that, former friend’s expression correctly, has just claimed a starring role in the horrifically-timed comedy that is my life.
Abby’s eyes dart between my face and the person behind me. Plastering on a smile, she swivels her finger in what I’m assuming she thinks is the “turn around now” sign. “Annika, this is Mr. Hesse.”
I pivot, thrust out my hand, but can’t unglue my eyes from the ground.
M. G. Hesse.
G. As in Grayson, the quiet, kind, insanely hot carpenter I met on my first network design job.
As in the only man I’ve ever fallen for so hard, so fast, I didn’t stop to ask his last name before tumbling into his bed. Hell, I didn’t even care.
As in the guy I thought, against all the odds, would disprove my mother’s lessons about how untrustworthy men are—only to become the poster child by morning.
A broad palm slides against mine, fingers curling into a warm grasp. A jolt of awareness lights up my nerves, and my eyes finally lift to a face I haven’t seen in six years. Since the day I woke up in his bed, naked, in love, and alone.
She’s mom to two boys whom she loves to bits but wishes would sleep a lot more than they do, and wife to a man whose reading habits are far too serious. Katy and her family reside in Washington, D.C., a city in which she never planned to live and loves so much she’d be happy to talk about it for hours. Just ask.
Katy is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Washington Romance Writers.
About the 425 Madison Series