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I waited for him to continue, the sound of my own heartbeat thundering in my ears.

“One night last summer, I got a little too f**ked up. And instead of walking home like I should have, or calling a cab, I drove my Jeep home. Or at least, I tried to.”

My hands clutched at the cement wall behind me, fighting for something solid to hold on to.

“I was pulled over and arrested that night for drunk driving. I had no business being behind the wheel, and I spent that night and most of the next day in jail. My brothers were terrified something horrible had happened to me. I’m all they have, and it was a huge f**king wake-up call that I couldn’t abandon them like everyone else had. I knew I could never do something that reckless ever again, but the damage was done. I was convicted of drunk driving, sentenced to community service, and ordered to see a counselor for anger management after smarting off with the judge. The counselor I saw diagnosed me with sexual addiction rather than anger issues, and referred me to SAA.”

I felt betrayed in the deepest way. Knox’s past had collided with my own, and the wreckage was overwhelming. “Why didn’t you ever tell me?”

“When I asked you about how you became a sex addiction counselor, I’d wanted to hear about your sordid past, maybe learn that you’d overcome this addiction yourself and turned your struggle into helping others. But instead, you were simply a good person who was stepping in to help. It made me feel like a f**king charity case. I couldn’t tell you then. And since I wanted to see where this was headed, I didn’t.”

Part of me understood why he didn’t open up with that information right away. But later, once we were together and he knew about my parents, there was just no excuse. And now him being here today, volunteering at a drunk-driving charity, it felt like a sorry excuse for an apology. I felt tricked and cheated. The man I’d come to love with my whole heart had hidden part of himself from me.

“Tell me what you’re thinking,” he said, his voice whisper soft.

“I’m going to need some time.”

Knox nodded, acknowledging my need for space and time to sort through the conflicting feelings inside me. I hated drunk drivers, despising the reckless, careless attitude that put them behind the wheel and endangered others. And I’d just learned the man I loved was one of them, and not only that, but he’d hidden it from me for months.

Tears streamed down my cheeks. “I need to go…”

He nodded. “Okay. I’ll tell the boys you had to leave. Just don’t give up on me, McKenna.”

“’Bye, Knox.”

Knox

In the moments before I told McKenna, her blind faith in me made it all the more painful. She’d watched me with those wide blue eyes, waiting for whatever I was about to say. And I knew it was going to f**king crush her. There was nothing worse than the feeling of hurting her. She was so sweet, so pure. She didn’t deserve the shit I put her through.

My troubles with the law—my court-appointed counseling sessions, the entire reason I’d met her—all of it stemmed from drunk driving. I’d just completely shattered her world. And I hated the sight of her face going completely pale as all the blood drained away. It wasn’t fair asking her not to run. Of course she was going to run. I was a monster of the worst kind. I couldn’t even be honest with the woman who owned the deepest part of me.

I headed back into the kitchen in a daze to face my brothers.

“What happened?” Jaxon asked, concern lacing his features.

“She’s gone, isn’t she?” Luke asked.

I nodded, confirming the worst. It was what I’d expected, but it stung more than I thought it would. The urge to hit something flared inside me. My hands curled into fists as I tried to calm the deep, searing anger burning inside me. I’d found the perfect girl—given her my heart—and it was all for nothing. Maybe this was punishment for all the girls I’d used and tossed aside over the years. Karma was a motherfucking bitch.

And now I needed to put on my happy face and be there for my brothers. Our little adventure today suddenly seemed so trite—we were f**king volunteering at a drunk-driving benefit. How in the world I ever thought this could make up for my lack of honesty with the girl I loved, I had no idea.

“Knox?” Tucker’s little voice broke my concentration from the spot I’d been studying on the floor. His brown eyes were flooded with worry.

“Everything’s gonna be okay, bud. I promise.”

I had no f**king clue if that was true, but I couldn’t admit that to him. If it wasn’t true, if she couldn’t forgive me, I was going to head into the nearest bar for liquor and pu**y to numb myself with.

Chapter Thirteen

McKenna

I was in love with a man I could never be with. We’d successfully hurdled his sexual addiction and that was the easy part. But this…I had no words. I never dreamed our shared, shattered pasts would be what stood in our way. We’d come too far. Lost too much. The universe was playing some sick joke on me, seeing just how far I could be pushed before I snapped. Well, this was it. I’d reached my breaking point. The score was the universe: one, McKenna: zero.

Knox hiding this from me the entire time hurt worse than finding out he’d been convicted of the crime in the first place. The very crime that killed my parents. My life was rocky enough. I needed a man who was capable of complete honesty, someone to build a stable foundation with. Someone I could trust and rely on. I couldn’t share my life with someone with dark secrets, living in constant fear of what he’d reveal next. Because something told me if I knew all the ways Knox had messed up, I’d run away screaming, no matter how big my heart was.

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