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That was how I was able to get Finn to dance with me all those years ago.

That was how I began to fall in love with him way back when.

My eyes darted around the room for Jackson, and I started in his direction as I saw him still standing near the bar, but my heart landed in my throat as I heard the words, “Gracelyn Mae, may I have this dance?”

I turned around to see Finn standing there in a suit and tie. He looked so handsome, and I hated him for it.

“No,” I barked, turning away, but he kept talking.

“It’s tradition, though. You can’t say no.”

I groaned.

“He’s right, you know,” an older woman stated, walking by us with a young man who looked underwhelmed. It was clear he didn’t choose her. “It’s tradition.”

I rolled my eyes and looked at Finn. “One dance. That’s it.”

“That’s all I want.”

“That’s all you’re getting.” We walked to the dance floor, and he tried to place his hand on my lower back, but I didn’t allow him to do so. His hands sat on my shoulders, as if we were at a middle school dance.

“Thank you for this,” he said, his breath dripping with whiskey scents.

“You’re drunk,” I remarked, staring into his glassy eyes.

“I had a few drinks, yeah. I was just trying to build up the nerve to talk to you, to ask you for this dance. I thought it would bring back some memories of us.”

I didn’t reply.

“Well?” he questioned. “Does it?”

“Finley, where’s Autumn?”

“I don’t know. I don’t care about her. I care about you.”

“Since when? Since I started talking to Jackson?”

He grimaced. “It drives me crazy to see you with him, you know? It drives me batshit crazy.” His eyes watered over, not from the alcohol, but from his emotions. “Grace. It kills me seeing you with another man.”

“Now you know how I felt.”

“I’m so sorry, Grace. I really am,” he told me, tears rolling down his cheeks. I couldn’t think of the last time he’d cried in front of me. “After the first miscarriage, I lost myself. It hit me hard, and I had to try to hide my pain because I knew you were hurting so much. I just needed space to think and clear my head.”

“Using other women’s bodies? How long did you expect me to wait for you? How long did you think I’d sit here praying for you to love me again?”

“You don’t understand. After everything that happened, I couldn’t breathe.”

“I like how you’re using the miscarriages as an excuse for your disloyalty when it should’ve been the complete opposite. I…” I blinked my eyes and took a sharp inhale. “When I needed you most, you weren’t there for me. When I needed you to catch me, you watched as I began to fall, and right as I was seconds away from hitting the ground, you turned and walked away.”


“I’m done, Finn.”

“This isn’t you. This is that guy getting in your head. You love me,” he told me. “You do, and I know you do. You can’t just give up on us, Grace. You can’t—”

“I want a divorce,” I cut in. I was tired of him coming and going as he pleased. I was tired of him trying to tell me who I was and what I stood for. “I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to beg you to love me. I don’t want to sit up at night wondering if you’re loving someone else. I don’t want you to want me just because you believe someone else does. I want to be free from the chains, Finley. I want to let you go.”

“What? No.” He tensed, trying to keep his hold on me, but I pulled away.

“You’re the only woman I’ve ever loved, Grace.”

I didn’t know why, but that stung me. “Then I don’t think you know what love is.”

I turned to walk away, and Finn’s hand landed against mine. “Gracelyn, please.” His grip was a bit tight, and his eyes were pleading. I stared into those crystal blue eyes for a moment. Those same eyes I’d thought I’d spend the rest of my life gazing into. Those same eyes that I’d thought would always bring me peace during my darkest storms…

“Finley James…” I whispered, looking past him to where Autumn had just entered the room. She looked beautiful in her golden dress that somewhat showed her curve. Each and every one of her curves. “Let me go.”

He dropped his hold and looked over at her.

“Dammit,” he muttered.

I walked away quickly, trying to shake off my nerves. As I was going to escape, Jackson walked over to me. He gave me a halfway smile, and I gave him the other half.

“What’s wrong?” he asked me.


He narrowed his eyes. “What’s wrong?”

I shook my head. “Really, I just need a bit of air. That’s all.”