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“One night?”

“One night,” he promised again knowing that it was all he could offer.

She nodded slowly then grabbed hold of his shirt and pulled him through the door shutting it behind them, allowing them to forget the world beyond the door.

Chapter Eight

Stillness encompassed the room. A small sliver of light crept through the dark curtains to tell Victoria that morning had broken.

A throbbing in her head reminded her of the night she’d taken part of. The drinking, the kissing, the love making.

Christian’s arm was draped over her and his soft breath was warm on her neck. She closed her eyes and breathed it all in, knowing that she needed to get out of that bed and get home as fast as she could. Nothing good was going to come from what she’d done. He’d asked for only one night and she was foolish enough to give it to him. Now she had to pick up where she’d left off when he approached her on that veranda. She had to pick up the kids and pretend that she hadn’t done the most foolish thing—sleep with Christian Keller.

The thought was only a memory when Christian’s lips pressed to her neck and his body to hers. The sign that parts of him had awakened before the rest of him was pressed into her back. His hands grazed over her naked skin. It was very obvious that one night was going to lead into one more time the next morning.

“I’m glad you stayed,” he whispered in her ear.

“Christian,” she started to speak, but he lifted his finger to her lips and rolled her onto her back.

“I want you to stay in my arms all morning.”

What is he doing, she wondered as he lowered his lips to hers and she accepted him, again. Her fingers pressed into his back. His body moved against hers. Her heart took a tumble and she knew she’d never recover.

When the moment was over, Christian rested heavy against her. His breath unsteady and his heartbeat rapid against her chest.

She had to admit that she had longed to hear the words she hadn’t heard from him in nearly a year. In her heart she loved him and would always love him, but she wanted confirmation that she wasn’t just a fling that had fallen into a trap.

But the moment of opportunity was gone when her cell phone rang. Christian rolled away and she reached for the nightstand and picked up her phone. It was Sonia.

“Tori, are you okay?” Her voice was bordering on frantic.

“Yes,” she said softly.

“It’s noon. Where are you?”

Victoria sat up quickly and the night’s binge smashed her brain into a million painful knots.

“I’m still at the hotel. I stayed. I’ll be there as quick as I can.”

“I’d let them stay, but the kids have a birthday…”

“I said I’d be right there.” She ended the call.

Victoria pulled away the sheets and stood.

“Is everything okay?” Christian sat up.

“I have to go. Where is my bra?” She began a frantic search.

Christian stood and looked around, finding her bra on his side of the bed. He held it up. “Let me get ready and I’ll give you a ride.”

“No. No ride. I need to get to my house and get my car. I can’t have any distractions. I need a cab. I need to call for a cab.”

Christian looked out the window. “There are cabs out front. But let me give you a ride.”

She had to weigh it in her head. She really couldn’t afford a cab and he did have a car. But as bad as her head throbbed, his had to be just as bad.

“I don’t want to owe you anything. I have to get the kids. Remember, the kids that are a burden? I don’t want them to be your burden.”

Christian watched her gather her clothes and run to the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.

He swallowed hard. He didn’t feel like that—anymore. Sure the kids were a burden. All kids were, in their own way, but he didn’t hold it against her. He never should have in the first place.

Tunneling his fingers through his thick hair, he let out a long breath. Those words had caused a tear in his future that he never could have imagined. One brief and stupid moment when the pain was too much from both the accident and the end of his career and he didn’t think before he spoke.

Christian looked for his pants and pulled them on. He could hear her in the bathroom and she was crying. He’d made her cry. Not this morning or last night, but nearly a year ago.

He hated the selfishness he felt in his heart. After the accident, she had to go through surgeries and intense physical therapy. She had to bury her sister and her brother-in-law and take guardianship of her niece and nephew. It had worked out that she’d moved into their house. That, he was sure, was more a benefit for the kids than for her.

Sonia had been there for her since her own parents had died. Victoria had been alone to deal with everything, because Christian had been having a pity party for years—the accident only had solidified it.

The scar on his forehead began to itch again. He rubbed it—cursed it.

He found his shirt and gathered up all of the remaining items they’d brought with them, though they hadn’t had much more than themselves.

When the door opened to the bathroom, Tori stood there as lovely to him as she had been the night before. Though her hair was unbrushed and her makeup was smudged, she was still radiant to him.

He wanted to compliment her, but he was sure she wouldn’t take it as such.

She reached for her purse and took it from him. “I’ve decided to let you give me a ride home, if you’re sober enough.”

“My head hurts, but I’m sober.” He took a step toward her and she took a step back. He didn’t like that. “I can take you to get the kids too.”

She shook her head. “No. Just a ride home please.”

With that she walked to the door, opened it, and headed to the elevator.

Victoria sat in Christian’s car with her fingers tightly laced together. She didn’t want to talk to him. She didn’t want to look at him, because she knew if she did either, she’d begin to cry like a blubbering idiot.

As soon as Christian turned onto her street she began to dig her keys out of her purse.

He pulled up in front of her house. “I’m glad you came to the wedding.”

“It was a very nice wedding.” She opened the door and he reached for her hand.

“I had a really nice time.” She didn’t respond. She didn’t know how. “How about dinner?”

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