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“And you know, I was so wrapped up in Ben and I hated his relationship with Fiona.”

I nodded, fearful of where this was heading.

“I felt this strange competitiveness with her and I hated that she’d shared an experience with Ben that I hadn’t. I couldn’t have her one-upping me. I decided if she’d had Ben and Braydon together, then I needed to, too.”

Holy shit! “Emmy . . . what are you saying?” I held my breath.

“Ben arranged the whole thing. We went out to dinner and then back to his hotel room . . .” She paused. “And . . . I went to bed with both of them.”

All the air was vacuumed from my lungs and I let out a gasp of surprise. I felt like someone had sucker-punched me in the gut. What the f**k? “Why didn’t you ever tell me?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. It was out of character, something I never thought I’d try—and of course I never imagined you’d start dating him.”

I wasn’t dating him, but I was too stunned to correct her. Nothing about this situation seemed within the realm of anything I’d ever imagined from my conservative best friend and her ultra-possessive husband. “How was Ben possibly okay with that? I can’t imagine him agreeing to share you with another man.”

“You have to remember, Ben and I weren’t together at that time—not exclusively. And by agreeing to it, he was trying to convince himself that our relationship was just a sensual fling and nothing more. But after that night, everything changed. That night sparked something in him. He realized that he couldn’t share me, that he wanted me for himself. And for that reason alone, I’m glad I went through with it. Not to mention, he trusts Braydon completely. I think that was part of the reason why he allowed it.”

Wow. There was so much more drama to Ben and Emmy’s relationship than I ever imagined. If they could get their happily ever after, there was hope for all of us.

“Say something, Ells.” Her eyes were pure agony, lines etched into her forehead like she truly felt horrible she’d slept with Braydon and kept it from me. Good. I wanted to let her suffer for a few seconds more.

“It’s so weird to think you know how he is in bed.”

She chewed on her lip. “Yes and no. I’m sure you don’t want to hear all the gory details, but to be honest, I was more focused on Ben during the whole encounter. The sad, haunted look in his eyes is the thing I remember most.”

That filled me with the tiniest amount of relief.

“But yes, trust me,” she continued, “I know Braydon is smoking hot and very talented. I knew he’d make some girl very happy someday. I just wasn’t her.”

I hated that she had firsthand knowledge of just how good he was between the sheets, that she’d seen his sexy piercing. I had to remind myself that they didn’t share the off-the-charts chemistry that he and I did. Their relationship was much more like brother and sister, which made it even weirder. I forced it from my mind. Dwelling on it would amount to nothing good. I could either make it into a big, awkward deal or I could accept that it happened and move on. Man, I needed a glass of wine.

• • •

After learning so many new things from Emmy—that she had had a threesome with Ben and Braydon and that he was, indeed, fiercely private—I decided to test Braydon a little that night. I wanted to see if he’d invite me to his apartment. I was sharing my body, my time, and my bed with this man. I needed to know that we were on equal footing. Emmy was convinced he was a good guy. We’d see about that. Plus it’d provide a private place for us to talk—if I was brave enough to ask him about his adventures in Paris with Ben and Emmy. I still hadn’t decided about that.

I dialed his number and waited while it rang. Braydon answered on the third ring. “Hey, kitten.”

“Hi there. Got any plans tonight?” I tried to sound easygoing and light. I didn’t want to seem too demanding or pushy. At least not straightaway. But I was hoping to get my way.

“If I did, I’d cancel them for a chance to see your sweet ass.”

He could be so sweet and playful when he wanted to. “Actually, I had something in mind. . . .” I let the rest of my thought go unvoiced—a subtle attempt to entice him.

“Hmm. I like that. I’ll come over.”

“No, I haven’t cleaned,” I blurted out, losing some of my nerve.

“I don’t care about that. I’m not coming over to inspect the vacuum lines in your carpet. I’m coming to see you.”

“Yes, but I’m sick of my place. I’d rather go out—or really anywhere but here. How about your place?” I needed to take a stand. We’d only ever met up at my apartment. I crossed my index and middle fingers, awaiting his response. He’d either open up and share a piece of himself with me or he’d blow me off. I had to know.

Braydon was silent for a moment. “I’ll get us a hotel room—downtown if you like.”

I was completely thrown off by his suggestion. A part of me wanted to argue, but the prospect of not seeing him forced an answer from me before I could think it through. “Sure, why not.”

“Great. I’ll text you the hotel and room number. Hop in a cab, babe.”

“See you soon.”

As soon as I hung up the phone I regretted agreeing to his offer. True, I’d said that I wanted to get out of my apartment, but meeting up at a hotel for sex was worse than being in my own space. And I was left wondering, more than ever, why Braydon wouldn’t let me into his apartment.

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