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“Kennedy might actually like being held hostage by Griffin,” Bobby says with a laugh, which earns him his very own punch in the arm.

“So what’s the deal with Griffin? Are you guys dating or what?” Ted presses the button to bring the paper target forward. “And more importantly, are you going to be charging him by the hour or by the orgasm?”

They both start laughing like idiots and I cross my arms in front of me and glare at them.

“No! We are not dating, nor will we EVER be dating.”

Ted unhooks the target from the clips and sets it aside before attaching a new, clean one and hitting the button to send it back.

“What’s your problem with him? He’s a good guy and he roots for Notre Dame. What more could you ask for?” Buddy demands.

“He kind of told me he’s had a thing for me for eighteen years. Which I know is a total lie and he just did that to throw me off so he could get to McFadden first,” I complain.

Both of the boys are silent for so long after I say this that an uneasy feeling creeps over me. They are never this quiet. Ever.

“What?” I ask, looking back and forth between them.

“Nothing, it’s nothing,” Ted says as he picks up the pistol and busies himself loading it.

I walk up and snatch the gun out of his hand and smack it back down on the ledge.


“Ruff!” Bobby pipes up from behind me.

Without taking my eyes off Ted, I reach back and smack Bobby in the stomach, feeling satisfied when he lets out a painful oof.

Ted has always been the easiest one to break. Even when we were little and he was eight and I was four. All I had to do was glare at him and he would sing like a canary. Narrowing my eyes and putting my hands on my hips, it only takes a few seconds before Ted bursts.

“I don’t understand how in all these years you never noticed that he TOTALLY has a thing for you. He’s been in love with you since high school and only joined the army because you did and he wanted to make sure you were safe and then made sure to live close enough to you to keep an eye on you. Haven’t you ever wondered why he never got married himself? YOU’RE his dream girl, not stupid Megan Fox. Alex is such an asshole that he might have just married you so Griffin couldn’t have you.”

Ted finally shuts up and lets out a huge sigh of relief at having unloaded a huge pile of shit right at my feet that I have no idea what to do with. This cannot really be happening right now.

“Jesus, Ted. When did you grow ovaries?” Bobby complains with a sad shake of his head.

“Whew, that felt good. That’s been like a brick on my chest for years,” Ted says.

A smile. Like it’s no big deal. I don’t even know which part of that confession to process first. Could it be possible that Alex only married me so Griffin couldn’t? Thinking back over our marriage and all of the ups and downs, mostly downs, it could very well be true. And if Griffin really was in love with me, why the hell didn’t he ever say anything sooner? I mean seriously? Aside from my daughters, whom I wouldn’t trade for the world, there is nothing else even remotely memorable about my marriage to Alex.

“This is BULLSHIT!” I finally yell with a stomp of my foot. “He had plenty of time to make his move. Prom. FUCKING PROM! I had a crush on him. I was thinking about dumping Alex for him. We were going to go to prom together and everything would have been beautiful, but he ditched me and I married Alex!”

Bobby cocks his head at me. “Wasn’t that like, twenty years ago? Who cares about prom? Let it go.”

“Let it go?! LET IT GO?! I CARE ABOUT PROM! There is no statute of limitations on being angry about getting ditched two days before prom,” I argue indignantly.

Don’t judge me. I don’t care if it was eighty years ago. I had bought a dress and matching shoes. A DRESS. I was going to wear a fucking dress for him and most likely give him my virginity. I’m allowed to be angry about that for as long as I want. Plus, being angry about prom helps me to not think about the fact that he’s been carrying a torch around for me all of these years and never said anything.

Why the hell would anyone have a thing for me that long? I’m nothing special. I’m just me. Griffin is gorgeous, funny, sweet, helpful, a good listener, a great friend, beats up my ex-husband for me, and loves my girls unconditionally. He even puts up with my insane family. I love that about him. I love everything about him, even his stupid, cocky attitude.

Son of a bitch!

All thoughts of Steven Lawson/Sven Mendleson fly from my mind. When in the hell did I fall in love with Griffin Crawford??

GD Griffin Crawford!


Sitting all alone in the dark on the floor of Fool Me Once at midnight on a Wednesday should tell you just how fantastic I’m doing right now. As soon as I left the shooting range, I sent a text to Alex and told him he was keeping the girls for a few more days because I had work to do.

It wasn’t completely a lie. I did have work to do. But I also had thoughts to think. Lots of thoughts. Important thoughts. Thoughts that couldn’t be thunk with a twelve-year-old complaining that I’m the worst mom in the world and a nine-year-old begging me to send her to military school.

It’s not their fault their father is an asshole. They deserve a man in their lives who will put them first. Griffin would put them first. Griffin does put them first. He also manages to somehow put me first as well. How could I have been so blind?

As I continue to beat myself up, my thoughts are interrupted by a soft knock on the glass door to the building. Pushing myself up off the floor, I rest my hand on the butt of the gun in my holster as I head toward the door and wonder who the hell would be knocking this late at night. I stop in my tracks when I look up and see Griffin standing on the other side of the glass.

How the hell did he even know I was here?

The streetlight on the sidewalk shines down on him and I cover the remaining distance to the door in a trance, my eyes never leaving his. He stares down at me as I reach up and turn the deadbolt on the door and push it open for him. I take a few steps back to give him room to come in and he relocks the door without looking away from me.

Why did I never see this before? Why did I never notice the way he looks at me: like I’m the most important person in his world? Why did I never appreciate him and love him like he deserved?

“I drove by your house but didn’t see your car. Took a chance that you’d be here.”

He opens his mouth to say something else and I quickly reach my hand up and place it over his lips. His eyes soften as he looks down at me.

“No more talking. Not right now,” I whisper to him.

Right now I don’t want to argue with him and I don’t want to hash out all of the details. I just want to feel.

Griffin nods his head in agreement and I drop my hand.

Come tomorrow, I am most likely going to do something really, really stupid. Something I swore to Ted that I would let the police handle. Tonight, I want to do something smart.

Standing up on my tiptoes, I wrap my arms around his neck and pull his head down to mine. When our lips connect, I can’t help but sigh in relief. It feels like forever since I kissed him last and I don’t even care that I’m thinking like a sappy, lovesick girl right now. I am a sappy, lovesick girl.

Griffin’s hands grab onto my hips and he effortlessly lifts me up against him. I wrap my legs tightly around his waist as he begins walking us through the office.

I move away from his mouth to pull my shirt up and off my body, flinging it into the middle of the room before fusing my lips to his, our tongues tangling immediately. My back is suddenly slammed against a wall and I don’t even care when I hear a painting fall off and crash to the floor. Griffin leaves me leaning against the wall and sinks down onto his knees in front of me, pushing my jeans, along with my underwear, down to my ankles in one rough yank.

I have just enough time to pull my feet out of my jeans and clutch his hair before his mouth is on me. There’s nothing slow and gentle about the way he delves between my legs and that’s perfectly fine with me. He devours me with his lips, tongue, and fingers all at once, everywhere. With each swipe of his tongue and swirl of his fingers I’m pushed closer and closer into a mindless ball of need. My hips thrust frantically against him as I hold his head in place, aching to reach my release that throbs so close.

With his lips firmly attached to my clit and a thrust of two of his fingers inside me, I explode fast and hard around him, letting my head thump back against the wall while I shout his name. As my orgasm ebbs and flows out of me, his tongue leisurely slides against me until I’m spent. I let go of the death grip I have on his hair and he kisses his way up my body until he’s standing before me.

I love this man. And not just because he gave me yet another mind-blowing orgasm. I love him because he’s Griffin.

Grabbing on to the hem of his shirt, I yank it up and over his head, dropping it by our feet before quickly unsnapping his jeans. Reaching my hand inside his pants, I palm his thick erection.

“Fuck, Kennedy,” he groans as he leans his body into mine and buries his head against my neck. I slide my hand up and down his smooth length, firm and slow. “We need to stop. I am not taking you up against a wall. A bed. We need a bed.”

His voice is broken and filled with need and it’s the hottest sound I’ve ever heard. Squeezing him tighter and moving my hand faster, I distract him long enough to reach down with my other hand and push his jeans far enough down his hips so that his cock is no longer constricted.

“Fuck the bed. We can do that later,” I tell him as I hitch one leg around his hip and use my thigh muscles to pull him in closer.

I move my hand out of the way as his erection slides against me. One of his arms wraps around my waist and holds me tightly and the other hand smacks against the wall by my head to brace himself. We both let out a groan and he drops his forehead against mine, holding it there while he pushes and pulls his length through my wetness.

“I know you said no talking, and that’s fine. You don’t have to talk. In fact, I don’t want you to say anything,” he tells me as he slides the head of his cock back and forth over my sensitive clit. “But you need to know, right here, right now, that I love you, Kennedy O’Brien. I have always loved you.”

It’s a good thing he told me not to speak because I couldn’t say anything right now if I wanted to. I can feel my eyes welling up with tears and I try to blink them away as I stare up at him. Without saying a word, I move my hands up to either side of his face and pull him against my mouth. I tell him everything I can’t say out loud with my lips and tongue. I pour everything into this kiss and I hope to God he knows and can feel it. I moan into his mouth when he pulls his hips back slightly and then slowly pushes himself inside me. The dream I had about this moment the other night pales in comparison to the real thing.

He’s thick and full inside me, his body is pressed up against me, and his hands move slowly over every inch of me that he can reach. I feel him everywhere and when he begins plunging in and out of me, I match his movements thrust for thrust until he’s pounding into me at a feverish pace. We’re slamming against the wall so hard that I’m waiting to feel myself crash through the drywall at any minute. I don’t care if we tear this wall down or the entire building comes crashing down around us.

Another orgasm barrels through me at a shocking speed, this one just as explosive as the first one. I try to move my mouth away from Griffin’s so I can scream and moan my satisfaction, but he keeps his lips pressed to mine and swallows my cries. His tongue pushes slow and deep into my mouth as each wave of my release washes through me. Within seconds he slams into me one last time and holds himself still as he quickly follows me with his own orgasm. It’s my turn to hold his lips against mine as he moans into my mouth and pulses inside of me. He rocks his hips against me slowly until his body sags against mine and he pulls his mouth away so we can both breathe heavily.

I rest my cheek on his shoulder and hold him as tightly to me as possible while I catch my breath and he presses several kisses to the top of my head.

After a few minutes, he pulls out of me, scoops me up into his arm, and carries me into the back room, where there’s a very roomy couch that is in desperate need of being broken in.

No more words are exchanged between us for the rest of the night. We might not have a bed like Griffin wanted, but that couch definitely served us well.

It served us well four more times before we both passed out.

GD man and his stamina.


I’m a coward.

Go ahead and say it. I already know it’s true, so you may as well validate me. I got dressed and left the office at the crack of dawn. I snuck out of there with Griffin still naked and asleep on the couch.

I know I shouldn’t have done it. I know I should have woken him up and told him I love him. Hell, I should have told him last night before we had sex the third or fourth time. I’m stubborn and pigheaded and fiercely independent. Griffin already knows this about me so when he wakes up and finds me gone, he shouldn’t be too surprised.

All of this dating nonsense revolved around a bet. A stupidly sweet bet that Griffin came up with as a way to get back into my life, but still. A bet’s a bet and I do not lose bets. Plus, if I’m going to date anyone, it’s going to be because I choose to do it and not because I had to do it to hold up my end of the bargain.

In the wee hours of the morning, when I can still feel the scratch of Griffin’s five o’clock shadow between my thighs and every muscle in my body aches deliciously from overuse, I am pulling into the driveway of a farmhouse in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere.