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“Good evening, Mr. Blake.” The pilot firmly shook Gavin’s hand. His gray hair spilled over his forehead. “Everything you’ve requested has been prepared, and we should arrive in Playa del Carmen in just over four hours, sir.”

Gavin gave a weak nod and headed into his private cabin. He closed the door, and his eyes immediately landed on a bottle of bourbon screaming his name on the minibar. He gazed at it with contempt. Darkness seeped in around him. He peeled off his coat and tossed it onto the bed. Trying to stave off the evil angel invading his thoughts, he strode across the small space and reached for the mind-numbing amber liquid. Deciding to forgo a glass, he twisted off the cap and brought the bottle to his lips. The alcohol burned down his throat, offering up not an ounce of reprieve from his pain.

It was then Gavin knew there would never be a time in his life he wouldn’t be aware of Emily’s absence. Drunk or sober, she would riddle his heart and soul until the day he died. He loved her. Breathed her in as if she were the air around him… the air he would be deprived of forever. He placed the bottle down, ran an exhausted hand through his hair, and attempted to cast visions of Emily’s beautiful eyes staring back at him from his memory. He walked over to the window, peering out at the city below, and knew it didn’t work. Nothing would. Neither soaking his pain in alcohol nor running from her could mend what he was feeling.

She was gone. As the twinkling lights faded with the jet’s climbing altitude, Gavin’s heart continued to mourn the woman he’d lost while his mind wondered how long he would be at her funeral.

With the morning light sucking the last of the stars from the sky, and without a minute of sleep claimed, Emily sat up and made her way into the kitchen. Nausea filled her stomach. She reached for the refrigerator door, pulled it open, and grabbed a bottle of water. She sank into a seat at the table as Olivia rounded the corner.

“Hmm, I see Douchenugget dropped you off early this morning,” Olivia clipped, giving Emily a quick once-over. She walked over to one of the cabinets and tugged it open. “How nice of him to allow his bride to actually get ready on her wedding day at her place.”

“Olivia, I’m—”

“Before you defend Dillmonster, or your delusional thoughts, Emily, I want you to know how upset Gavin was last night.” Olivia slammed the cabinet closed. “I’ve never seen him so hurt.”

Emily closed her stinging eyes, her heart constricting at the thought of the pain she’d caused Gavin. She shook her head. “Olivia, please. I’m not—”

“I know, Emily. You’re not in the mood to talk about this,” she huffed, yanking open another cabinet. “Or let me guess, you’re not delusional thinking you should marry Dillon because you don’t believe Gavin?”

“Olivia,” Emily let out, rising. “You’re not listening to me. I’m not—”

Olivia whipped around, her brown eyes narrowed. “I fucking hate saying this, Em, but I can’t be a part of this today. You love Gavin, and Gavin loves you. Done deal. I believe Gavin, and even if you don’t, you’re forcing me to choose.” She placed one hand on her hip and rushed the other through her thick blonde hair. “I’m sorry, but I’m not going to the wedding today.”

“Good, because neither am I,” Emily whispered, sitting back down. “I’m not marrying Dillon.”

Eyes wide with shock, a smile split Olivia’s face. “You’re not?” she gasped, rushing to Emily’s side.

Emily shook her head as a fresh round of tears seeped from her eyes.

Olivia kneeled beside her and wrapped her arms around Emily’s waist. Her words tumbled out against Emily’s stomach. “Oh my God, oh my God. You’re so not on my shit list anymore. I fucking love you to death right now!”

“I hurt Gavin.” Emily nearly choked over her words. “I wanted to believe him, and part of me did I guess, but I was afraid, and now it’s too late.”

Confusion peppered Olivia’s expression as she stood, bringing Emily with her. She cupped Emily’s cheeks. “It’s not too late. As soon as you call him, he’ll forget everything. Gavin loves you. He was pissed last night, but he would die for you. Believe me. That’s all he kept saying.”

Trembling, Emily sucked in an unsteady breath. “No. I went to his penthouse last night, and he didn’t open his door.” She backed away from Olivia and tucked herself into a seat at the table. “I called his phone a few times, and he didn’t answer. He’s done with me, and I deserve every bit of pain coming to me.” Emily shook her head, her voice trailing off. “I can’t believe I let this happen.”

“He didn’t have me take him home last night.” Olivia dropped to her knees again and grabbed Emily’s hands. “From the rehearsal dinner, he had me bring him by Colton’s house. What happened sobered him up a little, but I’m pretty damn sure homeboy’s still knocked out. Think about how tanked he was. It’s only seven in the morning. He probably didn’t hear his phone. I’ll call him in a little while, but you need to try to calm down, okay?”

Emily slowly pulled her hands away and pressed the heels of her palms against her eyes. She reluctantly nodded, swallowing down some of the worry coursing through her mind. “Okay, I’ll try to calm down.”

A slow smile touched the edge of Olivia’s mouth. “I’m proud of you, Emily.”

“Proud of me?” she questioned, wiping her nose with the back of her hand. “For what? For hurting Gavin? His face, Olivia. I can’t get his face out of my head.”

Eyes softening, Olivia brushed her hand against Emily’s jaw. “I’m proud of you for finally seeing you deserve a better life with a man who honestly loves and cares for you. Again, you may have temporarily hurt Gavin, but the two of you are going to be fine. You’ll see.”

Emily stared at Olivia and allowed a flutter of hope to settle through her limbs. She nodded, praying Olivia’s statement would prove true.

“All right,” Olivia said, standing and looking at her watch, “your un-wedding day is supposed take place in a little less than four hours. What do you need me to do, other than go get us some coffee because there’s none here? You definitely look like you can use a cup, and I know I can, too.” Olivia walked to the hall closet, pulled out her coat, and slipped it on. “Do you want me to call your sister?” She halted midstride. “Better yet, can I call your ex-future husband and tell him to fuck off?”

Emily rose and moved across the kitchen. She grabbed a paper towel and blew her nose. The thought of Dillon waking to find her gone sent chills up her spine. “He doesn’t know yet.”

Confusion pinched Olivia’s forehead. “What do you mean? I thought—”

“I left after he fell asleep,” Emily interrupted, rushing her hands over her face. “He has no idea. You’re the only one who knows.”

Olivia’s jaw dropped open, her eyes wide. “Umm… okay. I could be wrong, but shouldn’t the expectant groom know this?”

On a sigh, Emily walked past Olivia into her bedroom. She started rummaging through her dresser drawers. Other than Gavin, the only thing she craved was a long, hot shower. “Yes, Olivia. I need to clean myself up, and when I’m done, I’m going to call him.”


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