Published: November 15th, 2022
Their love was supposed to last forever. But when life delivered blow after devastating blow, Yasmen and Josiah Wade found that love alone couldn’t solve or save everything.
It couldn’t save their marriage.
Yasmen wasn’t prepared for how her life fell apart, but she’s is finally starting to find joy again. She and Josiah have found a new rhythm, co-parenting their two kids and running a thriving business together. Yet like magnets, they’re always drawn back to each other, and now they’re beginning to wonder if they’re truly ready to let go of everything they once had.
Soon, one stolen kiss leads to another…and then more. It's hot. It's illicit. It's all good—until old wounds reopen. Is it too late for them to find forever? Or could they even be better, the second time around?
Discover the romance everyone is raving about!
I knock and wait for Josiah’s deep baritone telling me to enter. He sits behind his desk, eyes trained on the laptop in front of him. He doesn’t look up, but keeps typing. The silence persists, stretches to awkwardness, so I drop into one of the armchairs in the center of the room along with a sofa and coffee table, and set my purse on the floor.
“Harvey’s on his way,” he says, still not looking away from the screen. “His last meeting ran a few minutes over, but he’ll be here soon.”
“Oh. Sure. Great.”
I run damp palms over my legs, the jeans smooth and cool beneath my hands. Fidgety and looking for something to do, I tighten my topknot. I got box braids last weekend because I was tired of messing with my hair. This morning they’re studded with a few gold cuffs scattered throughout the strands. All in all, I feel pretty. And confident, and I won’t be shook by the pissy mood Josiah seems to have saved just for me. Finally, he closes the laptop and walks over to the sitting area. I study my nails, taking my turn to ignore him.
“I like the braids.”
Surprised, I glance up to find him sitting on the arm of the leather sofa across from me. I didn’t expect him to say anything personal. Definitely not about my appearance. When I meet his eyes, they’re cool like they’ve been for weeks, and his face remains unreadable.
“Thanks.” I scour my mind for something else to say. Gone are the days when I couldn’t get the words out to him fast enough. We’d watch couples eating dinner in absolute silence and promise each other that would never be us.
“Yeah.” He frowns. “I can’t believe she got a C in English.”
“It used to be her best subject. It’s not just the grade itself, but I worry she’s spending too much time on social media.”
“I think she’ll find the balance without us having to come down hard. Your relationship with her is already strained enough and—”
“Strained?” I ask, my voice dropping to a quiet warning.
“You’ve said that yourself, Yas.” He crosses his stupid muscular arms
across his stupid broad chest. “Let’s not fight over how we need to handle things with Day. Have you given any more thought to Kassim playing football?”
“You mean since I said never when you asked last time? No. Besides, he has soccer.”
“He really wants to play football too.”
“A kid can really want a lot of things that aren’t good for him, like literally ramming his brain into a brick wall over and over again and risking his life, his mind, for what? A game? With all that’s come out about CTE, I just don’t think it’s worth the risk. Lots of parents aren’t doing football anymore.”
“Don’t you think you’re being a little dramatic? I played football. Preach played. Theo’s playing.”
“I love Preach, but him letting Theo play doesn’t mean a damn thing to me. What he and Liz decide for their kids has no bearing on what we decide for ours. Kassim has barely mentioned football to me.”
“He hasn’t mentioned it,” he returns with obvious stretched patience, “because he loves you and he doesn’t want to displease you, but he asks me almost daily.”
“Of course, because you’re the cool parent.”
“Well, I’m not the one who says no to everything because I’m too scared or too uptight to allow my kids some freedom to make their own decisions.”
“How dare you!”
I surge to my feet, unable to stay seated one more second. I need to move, let this anger circulate, or it will clog in my veins. My steps eat up the space separating us, and before I know it, I’m right in front of him, standing in the vee of his powerful legs. The air sizzles with a lightning strike, sudden and hot and dangerous. Unpredictable. I should take shelter, but I don’t step back. His expression remains inscrutable, the stark beauty of his face unaffected, but his breathing deepens. In response, my breasts rise and fall with the struggle to draw breath as the air between us thickens. This close, his presence overwhelms me and my deprived senses devour him. The way his cologne mingles with his unique male scent. The hardness of his jaw at war with the sensual curve of his mouth. The heat his big body radiates, even at rest, surrounds me.
I lick suddenly dry lips, and he tracks the movement with narrowed eyes. I feel hunted by that look, like I stepped into a trap laid by my own body, devised by my own mind. Something I thought we’d buried long ago rises, encircles us, breathing new life into a connection I thought was dead. I’ve known for months that I’m still attracted to Josiah, but right now, with his eyes darkening and his jaw flexing and his hands curling into fists, I can’t help but wonder . . .
Is he still attracted to me too?
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About the author:
A RITA® and Audie® Award winner, USA Today bestselling author Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish, and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts. Kennedy and her writings have been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, TIME, O magazine, and many others. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son.
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