Unforgivable betrayal stands between Sean and the woman he could never banish from his heart and mind—the woman who has haunted his dreams since he lost her all those years ago. When he meets Merrie again, they know right away that their attraction is as strong as ever.
Merrie has never been able to resist the lure of Sean’s hard, sexy body and she feels right at home, lying naked in his arms once again. But hot sex isn’t enough to banish hurtful memories and the pain of his betrayal.
This time Sean will hold on to the only woman he has ever loved…but to keep her by his side, he must overcome almost insurmountable odds.
I really must be going nuts.
“Sean.” His name came out hoarsely from Merrie’s throat, but she couldn’t drag her gaze away from the big, powerful man who strode purposefully toward her.
It couldn’t be. Sean had been smaller, wirier. His muscled arms and chest hadn’t strained so impressively beneath his shirt.
He’d been a boy the last time she had seen him nearly fifteen years ago. The man she was looking at now was in his prime. Then she watched him head straight for her, wearing that sweet, slightly cocky smile she’d never quite managed to forget. She’d recognize that smile anywhere.
He seemed a little hesitant when he sat on the dew-dampened chair beside her. “Hi, Merrie.”
She had the funniest feeling that he wanted to lean over the table and kiss her, the way he’d done so often, years ago.
“Sean?” she asked, moving her hand toward his without thinking. Here in this spot that seemed to have transported her back to those long-ago days, she needed to touch him, feel the warmth of the boy she’d once loved with all her teenage heart.
“Yeah, it’s me. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw you down here. For a minute there, I thought I’d stepped back in time. Hell, I even started looking around for Coach Allen to see if it was safe to sneak down here to see you.” Sean’s velvety-brown eyes twinkled with mischief.
She looked up at him, her breathing fast and shallow. “It’s this place,” she said softly. “I guess people never really forget the important things they did as kids…or the people who used to be important to them.”
“God, Merrie, I’m sorry.” Sean’s deep voice was strained and his big hand shook almost imperceptibly when he wrapped it around hers. “You still wear the dolphin,” he said, tracing the shape of the ring on her little finger and feeling its tiny diamond eye.
“Yes.” His belated apology brought back anger she thought had faded years ago. Suddenly she found it very important that he not place any significance on the fact that she had on the ring he’d given her after her last swim for Valley Prep. “I always liked it, and it seemed appropriate for a swim coach. I took it out to wear this weekend.”
No way would she admit that the little gold dolphin ring had never left her finger since she’d taken it out of her jewelry case at the same time she’d put away her wedding band after learning about Zach’s death.
Sean toyed with the ring, noting the pale shape of the tiny animal that stood out vividly against the deep tan on the rest of Merrie’s left hand. He smiled. She still wore the ring he’d intended to replace one day with an engagement ring, not just once in a while but all the time, although she obviously didn’t want him to know.
Maybe he hadn’t killed every vestige of her feelings for him. “I didn’t want to marry Erica, but I couldn’t tell you how I really felt back then.”
“Spare me.” Her voice suddenly turned hard, and her words dripped sarcasm. “You didn’t have the decency to tell me the truth about why you were suddenly kissing me off and marrying Erica Stone. My friends had to tell me you’d gotten her pregnant. You know, Sean, the hardest thing for me to swallow was how you got carried away with her and didn’t take precautions. After all, you never got so hot for me that you couldn’t wait to put on a condom.” Her anger stung him, almost as much as the hurt he’d heard in her voice after he’d broken it off with her off so long ago.
He tore his gaze away because he couldn’t bear to witness her fury. “I was a stupid, drunk kid. Too drunk to think.”
“But obviously not too drunk to cheat on me with one of my worst enemies.”
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