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What if they got married only to discover that they really hated each other after a few months of marriage? What if he lost interest in her? What if he broke her heart? She wasn’t sure if she could survive having her heart broken by him and was even less sure that she wanted to take that chance on him, but not being able to walk for a day or two had helped her sort through everything.

It didn’t hurt that for the first time in years she got to relax, just relax. She didn’t have to get up before the crack of dawn, put in a minimum of twelve hours a day, wasn’t working herself into exhaustion to meet a deadline, trying to take care of someone, or running around trying to get errands done. She actually had time to rest and relax. She knew that she should have left the hotel as soon as the pain started to ease up, but she just couldn’t make herself.

She slept in late every morning, went to bed at a decent hour every night and took as many naps as she damned well pleased. She lounged in the bathtub, watched television while she pigged out on ice cream and junk food and when she wasn’t relaxing, she was thinking about Connor. She missed him and by this morning she couldn’t take it anymore and decided to end her vacation and come home to him. She loved him and she decided that she was going to tell him that. She was also going to marry him and she couldn’t wait, she thought with a small sigh as she closed her eyes and just enjoyed the hot water. She couldn’t wait to see Connor’s face when she told him that she loved him.

* * * *

“Time to wake up, baby,” that deep sexy voice that sent shivers down her spine said, pulling her away from one of the best dreams that she’d ever had and into one of the strangest dreams of her life.

How exactly did she end up in her bed? The last thing that she remembered was closing her eyes and enjoying a nice long soak in the tub that she decided was hers. It was possible that she climbed out of the tub and made it back to her room, but she doubted that’s what happened since she was still na**d and she wasn’t the type to willingly give the neighbors a show. That and the fact that her arms and legs were tied to the bed, putting her in a spread eagle position told her that she probably hadn’t got here on her own.

“What’s going on?” she asked, thankful that there was at least a sheet covering her na**d body. It wasn’t as if she was shy around Connor, but something about this position made her feel a little too vulnerable and she wasn’t exactly sure that she liked it.

“How was your nap?” Connor asked, sounding bored and drawing her attention to her left where she found him, half-naked and lounging in a chair where he watched her.

“Good,” she said, absently, wondering if this really was just a dream.

“That’s good, Rory,” Connor said, his eyes never leaving her face and she decided that maybe this wasn’t a dream since he looked kind of pissed and she couldn’t will the ropes away with just a thought.

“Why am I tied to the bed?” she asked, giving her restraints a slight pull, hoping the knots were loose. After a moment she came to the conclusion that Connor was definitely pissed and the man knew how to tie an excellent knot.

“No reason,” he said with a one shoulder shrug, still watching her expectantly.

“I see,” she murmured as she looked around her room, but she didn’t see anything out of place or anything to clue her into what was going on.

She did a quick sweep of the bed and was about to move on when something caught her eye and made her stomach drop. Her ring was gone. Oh God, she lost her ring. She looked around the bed anxiously, but it was useless. She couldn’t see anything and couldn’t move and she very much feared that the ring had fallen off when she was in the tub.

“What are you looking for, Rory?” Connor asked in that bored tone that she really didn’t appreciate at the moment.

“My ring. I lost my ring, Connor,” she said, yanking on her restraints as she tried to sit up, but she couldn’t move. “Let me go so that I can find it!”


“You don’t understand, Connor. I think I lost my ring in the tub,” she said, letting out a frustrated growl as she yanked on her restraints.

“You didn’t lose the ring in the tub, Rory, so relax,” he said, leaning back in the chair, appearing even more relaxed.

“Then where is it?” she demanded.

“It’s right here,” he said, gesturing lazily to the desk behind him.

“Why’s it over there? And why am I tied up?”

“Because I took it back,” he explained, getting to his feet.

“Why?” she asked absently as she tried to pull her hands through the rope, but there was no give.

“Because I decided not to marry you.”

Chapter 39

“What?” Rory asked, her voice barely louder than a whisper as all the color in her face slowly faded away.

A few days ago that hurt expression would have done him in and had him apologizing and saying anything and everything to make her happy, but not now, not after everything that she’d put him through. For three days he’d worried about her, missed her and all along she was less than five minutes away from their houses, shacked up in a hotel with another f**king guy.

When he needed her the most, she hadn’t been there for him. He could have used her support while he sat in that hospital waiting room, doing his best not to lose it as he waited for the doctors to tell him that Andrew’s body hadn’t rejected the bone marrow and that his best friend was going to make it, but she hadn't been there. She wasn’t there for him and now he knew why.

“You heard me,” he murmured as he walked over to the bed and ran his fingers over her sheet covered leg until his fingers touched the little toes that he loved to kiss. Slowly, he pulled the sheet away, revealing her body inch by inch until the sheet was pooled by his feet.

“What the hell is going on, Connor?” Rory demanded, not bitching that she was na**d and for some reason that made him wonder who the other guy was.

The thought of another man seeing her body, touching her and making her tremble turned his stomach. He had to force himself to focus on something else or he wouldn’t be able to see this thing to the end and he would damn well be the one to end this. After twenty years of playing games with her, he was finally going bring the game to an end. Then he was going to walk away from her. After today she was just going to be his neighbor and the woman that he was going to run out of business. She was going to mean absolutely nothing to him.

“The transplant worked,” he said, reaching out to toy with one of her toes before he could stop himself.

“I know that. I called the hospital. He’s doing well, but he’s driving the nursing staff nuts with his bitching,” she said, shifting her foot to the side and robbing him of the contact. “Now tell me why you’re acting so damn bitchy and give me back my ring.”

He ignored her, because there was no way in hell that he was putting that ring back on the finger of someone who didn’t love him. He’d worked his ass off for that ring. He’d been so damned proud and excited when he bought that ring and couldn’t wait to give it to her, to the woman that he loved, but that wasn’t her. She cheated on him and he couldn’t f**king believe it. If anyone would have told him that Rory James would cheat on him, he would have called them a f**king liar and broken their jaw for trying to start shit. Now he just wanted to kill the bastard that had touched her and make love to her one last time to show her exactly what she'd lost and because he just couldn’t say goodbye to her without having her one last time.

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