Hot Summer Nights (Lucas Brothers #7) -Jordan Marie Page 0,2

then was that Bryant and I were making each other miserable. He was trying and me? I felt like I was dying.

I was the reason we got divorced. I was the reason it all fell apart. I gave up.

Bryant never did—at least not until I made him.

Two months ago, after years of being apart, I should have walked out of that bar alone. I shouldn’t have flirted back with Bryant. I should have refused the drink he offered. There’s so much I should have done differently—anything but climb into his car and have sex like a damn teenager who didn’t know better.

If I had done that, I wouldn’t be here right now… terrified.

My hand is shaking as I reach up to knock on the door. It’s Sunday and after eleven. Bryant should be home from the gym. It’s weird how I know his schedule like the back of my hand. Heck, I probably know his better than my own.

My heart beats harder as I hear Bryant stomping across the floor to come to the door. I wring my hands together, wishing I didn’t have to do this, wishing things were different… wishing I could erase years and Bryant and I still had our beautiful angel.

So much would have been different if our baby was still alive…

“Maggie?” Bryant murmurs as the door opens.

His face is so precious to me. I don’t think I ever told him that. I have it memorized so closely that all I have to do is close my eyes and I can see it. If I’m honest, it’s the last thing I see before I fall asleep every night—and I realize how fucked up that is. Then again, I’ve always been fucked up. I used to be terrified that I would turn into my mother. That was my biggest fear as a stupid teen. Now, I know my mother is a hero—a crazy one—but a hero all the same. Turns out, I’m more like my grandparents—pushing people that love me away.

I force myself to stop twisting my hands.

“Hey, Bryant. I uh… I was hoping we could talk.”

He doesn’t hide his groan from me, and guilt fills me.

I’ve done this.

Of course, he doesn’t want to talk to me. Two months ago, we had sex and I walked away threatening to cut off his dick. I’ve ignored his phone calls since then and avoided him like the plague—which isn’t easy when you live in a small town like Mason.

“Maggie, I really don’t—”

“It’s important, Bryant,” I respond finally. I’m starting to feel defensive and when I do, I usually speak first and regret it later.

Bryant studies me and takes a step back, opening the door wider, so I can get inside.

I walk by him, ignoring the shiver of awareness that floats through me whenever I get close to him. I used to say that was just a reaction that stemmed from Bryant being the man to take my virginity. Later, I tried to explain it away because he’s the only man I’ve ever been with. Now, I know that it’s just Bryant—just my reaction to him, my need for him.

I glance around his house quickly. He sold the one we lived in together. I asked him why and he told me the memories there haunted him. I understood that, but it still hurt me because it was the only home where our daughter had lived.

Bryant’s home now is a Craftsman full of dark woodwork and windows that are inviting and beautiful all at the same time. He keeps the colors neutral, but then that’s what he likes. I was always the one throwing in pops of yellow or red. If I wanted to really make him lose his mind, I’d do lime green or orange.

The memory makes me smile a half-second before I remember I painted Brylee’s room lime green, and he loved it…

“What’s all this about, Maggie? If you’re here to tell me you regret fucking me outside of Dusty’s, I think I got that during the last couple months of silence,” he grumbles, rubbing his jaw and chin, his body tight with tension.

“It’s not, although, I think we both can admit it’s something we should regret,” I mutter, feeling uncomfortable and nervous all at the same time.

“That’s where you’re wrong. I’ve never regretted one damn thing with you, Maggie. Regrets were always your department,” he says, and I guess he’s right about that.

I wonder what he would say if he knew that my biggest regret was leaving him?