I showered with that water hose extremely early, and the idea that Ian had caught me made my stomach turn. “How did you know I was showering with the hose?”

“Because that’s what I would’ve done.”

He left me standing there in the open field with a million thoughts I wanted to decipher. Instead of wasting more time trying to understand the mind of Ian, I went to work. Thank goodness for the hard work at the ranch. It gave me zero time to overthink things.

It’s just a stray dog; it’s just a stray dog.

Those were the words I kept on repeating to myself as I heard rustling outside the shed.

Or maybe it’s a chicken who got out of the coop. Or a cow roaming around. Maybe Dottie is here for girl talk.

Or perhaps it’s a psychotic mass murderer who’s here to skin me alive and make a stew out of my body parts.

It was funny how during the day places could feel like the safest places in the world, but then when the sun set and the shadows of night took over, everything became horrifying.

I pulled my comforter up to my chest as the rain hammered against the shed and water leaked inside through a variety of holes that Ian hadn’t managed to cover. For the most part, I’d managed to stay dry, thanks to him ignoring me when I told him he didn’t have to fix the rooftop.

Note to self: thank Ian for not listening to me.

I heard more movement outside, and my stomach sat in my throat as the sound of voices became audible over the pounding rain. There were people outside. People talking around the shed, near me.

“Rumor has it there’s a chick crashing in here,” a voice said, forcing me to my feet. Then there was a pounding of a fist against the shed.

I looked around the space for something I could use to protect myself. Anything at all to beat off whoever was outside my door. I picked up a flashlight that Ian had left me a few days ago and held it tightly in my hands. I wasn’t certain if I was going to blind the people to death or beat them over the head. All I knew was the only thing currently protecting me was that metal flashlight.

Note to self: thank Ian for the flashlight.

“Let’s go get the others to check it out,” one said.

I waited a few seconds and listened to them hurry away. The moment I thought they must have departed, I swung the door open, dashed out of the space, and ran like Dottie across the field straight to Ian’s house. I rang the doorbell repeatedly, shivering from the rain and my dang nerves as I glanced over my shoulders in a panic again and again, terrified that there was someone following me.

I began pounding against his door as my heart rose to my throat. I tried my best to swallow it down, but my mind was spinning too quickly.

Knock, knock, knock.

Open the freaking door, Ian!

The moment it swung open, I released a breath of relief and rushed into the space without an invite of any kind. “Okay, you win. I’ll take the spare room,” I said, my voice shaky as I began pacing in his living room. His . . . very nicely furnished living room. His very nicely furnished and very warm living room.


Oh gosh, that felt so good.

“Uh, can I help you?” a voice asked. I finally turned around to see the person who’d opened up the door, and it was definitely not Ian. It was a woman wearing his clothes, though. At least I assumed they were his clothes. Otherwise she was wearing things fifty times too big for her body. I shouldn’t have assumed, though. I supposed I did the same thing.

“Oh, sorry. I thought . . .” I scrunched up my nose and rubbed my forehead. “Is Ian here?”

“What’s going on in here?” a deep, smoky-as-sin voice asked, making me snap my head toward the hallway. There he was in all his glory. A towel sat wrapped around his waist, his hair was dripping wet, and his body gleamed with water droplets as if he’d just walked out of a waterfall cover shoot, and oh my gosh, I was staring at the bulge beneath his towel as if his member were singing siren songs toward me.

I wondered if his lower half could hit the same high notes as his vocals.



I didn’t wonder that at all.

I spun on my heel away from him and covered my eyes with my hands. “Oh gosh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were otherwise occupied. Jeez. That’s gross. Okay, I’ll be going now,” I said, trying to walk away but bumping into a table, sending a lamp crashing to the ground. I peeked through my fingers and cringed. “Oops? Sorry about that.”

I looked over to Ian, and he was still in that dang towel and still giving me his displeased expression.

“What are you doing here?” he asked, raking his hand through his dripping hair.

“I thought—” I started.

He held a hand up to me. “Not you.” His eyes darted to the other woman. “You. What are you doing here?”

His eyes pierced into her as if he was beyond annoyed. He looked at her with even more hatred than he gave me—which said a lot.

She ran her hands over her outfit and gave him a sly smile. “Yes. I figured we could try to have that night together that we missed a few days ago.”

“You mean the night where I found out you had a husband?” he murmured.

“Listen, it’s complicated. My husband and I aren’t even intimate anymore.”

“Don’t care. Not my problem. The minute a spouse is revealed, I’m out. I don’t have time for your drama. Take it elsewhere. I don’t know how you got into my place—”