Extra Whip (Bold Brew #8) - L.A. Witt
“Knock, knock.” I leaned into Tom’s office. “I’m ducking out for lunch.”
“Already?” My partner in our modest law firm looked up from his stack of papers and squinted at the clock. “Oh. Wow. It’s that time, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. You want me to bring something back for you?” I smirked. “Maybe the phone number of a certain—”
“Don’t you fucking dare.”
Chuckling, I showed my palms. “Hey, I’m just saying. If he’s there—”
“Just get me a sandwich and one of those bottled juices. Hold the phone number.”
“All right. The usual?”
“Yeah, thanks.” He glared at me. “And I’m serious about—”
“Yeah, yeah. I know.” I started down the hall, calling over my shoulder, “You didn’t say anything about his email address!”
“Damn it, Taylor!”
I just laughed and kept walking, especially since I was out of range of the stress balls he liked to throw at my head whenever I was a pain in his ass. Which was…pretty much daily, if I was honest. It was all in good fun, though. We both knew I’d never actually approach that gorgeous professor on his behalf—my husband and I were good friends with Max, so it wasn’t like I hadn’t had ample opportunity. It was just fun to poke Tom about it.
Hey, he poked me about things too. Sometimes that was the only way to stay sane in our line of work.
As I left the office, my humor faded. On the short walk through the cool, early spring breeze to Bold Brew, my stomach knotted with some all too familiar apprehension. Will and I had a standing lunch date at the coffee shop three days a week, and lately, apprehension had been a constant fixture whenever we were together. Things were mostly good between us—we didn’t fight, our sex life was great, I wasn’t hiding anything from him, and I didn’t think he was hiding anything from me. The elephant in our room wasn’t a secret. In fact, we sometimes talked about it openly. It was just uncomfortable and unnerving to discuss.
Rationally, I didn’t think we were in the kind of trouble that would put a permanent rift between us or haul us into divorce court. Still, any time there was something we couldn’t just talk through or put to bed, I worried. Even if the problem itself wasn’t a deal-breaker, what if the undercurrent of tension was? What if this was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back? Will already did so much for me as both my husband and my Dom. Who was to say this wouldn’t be what drove him to throw up his hands and declare that I’d finally asked too much and pushed too far?
I sighed into the cool-but-comfortable afternoon as I shoved my hands into my pockets. We could work through this. We would. There had to be a solution. We hadn’t invested twenty years in each other to give up over something like this. It was a hurdle, not a barrier.
Maybe Tom’s cynicism was rubbing off on me. Maybe I’d just overheard a few too many of his clients spelling out their irreconcilable differences. It was hard not to be irrationally worried my husband might leave me over something like this when Tom’s clients had filed papers over someone receiving a text from an ex (which they hadn’t even replied to), disagreeing over which preschool they should enroll children they didn’t even have yet, or just plain getting sick of each other after months of clashing during a home renovation. One thing was for sure—if Will and I ever renovated, we were bringing in professionals. I wasn’t risking my marriage for granite countertops.
But you’ll risk it for this?
I rolled my shoulders, trying to get rid of the tension that had set up shop there. We’d be fine. I was being irrational. Will and I had been through plenty of ups and downs, and we’d get through this one too. I was just overthinking this like I did everything else.
When I reached the familiar coffee shop, I swallowed my nerves and walked inside.
Max, the linguistics professor and well-known Dom who’d been the object of Tom’s distraction since forever, had a regular seat beside the fireplace when he wasn’t doing kink demonstrations in the back room. He was here a lot, usually grading papers or reading.
Today, he wasn’t here.
My husband, however, was. He sat at our usual table by the windows, glasses pushed up into his graying hair as he perused something on his phone.
My heart flipped when I saw him. After two decades