The countdown was on—three days. We still needed to finish up the workweek before boarding a plane, and my insides felt like a ticking time bomb.
That was probably why Drew, Caroline, Nathan, and I all went out to lunch—to relax. We’d decided on a sandwich shop not far from the office, specializing in grilled subs and fresh-cut fries. Drew drove Caroline and me, while Nathan was a few minutes behind due to a meeting with a client.
After ordering for Nathan and myself, I searched for a table for the four of us. The restaurant was pretty empty, being that it was mid-week, so there were lots of options. I found one and waited for the others to join me.
“So, are you changing your name, hyphenating, or keeping Palmer?” Drew asked as he took the seat across from me. He’d learned fast that the seat beside me was reserved for Nathan.
I shook my head like mad. “Hell, no… Am I keeping Palmer?” I scoffed. It wasn’t hard to imagine where the anger stormed from for a name that’d been mine for thirty years. “As soon as we get back, Palmer is gone. I don’t want to be associated with that man anymore.” I smiled at him, pushing all the negativity away.
Drew nodded. “I figured. Can’t call you DAP anymore. Maybe I’ll just start DAT. Who DAT?”
I rolled my eyes and let out a small snicker. “That is the stupidest name. You haven’t called me that in years, therefore it and all incarnations are void.”
“I can always bring it back.”
“No. Its statute of limitations is eighty years.”
“I’d like to appeal.”
“Appeal denied.” I clasped my hands together and cocked my head at him.
“You don’t have the appropriate paperwork.”
“What the hell is going on over here? Lawyer porn?” Caroline asked as she sat next to Drew.
“We were discussing DAP.”
Caroline paused, then shook her head. “That was the stupidest nickname.”
“Oh, come on, it was different.” The muscles in his forearm flexed, and he grinned.
“It made it sound like you were calling her some cleaning agent. ‘DAP will get out all your stains!’”
“Lila works just fine,” I said and took a bite of my sandwich.
“I’ve got some names for her, but they aren’t for polite company.” Nathan’s arm wrapped around me as he sat down and pulled me close for a kiss.
I looked up at him. “What about Honeybear?”
“Honeybear?” Caroline and Drew asked in unison.
I could swear Nathan’s cheeks pinked up. “Yeah, you’re my Honeybear. Public or private, but I’d prefer private. I’ve got an image to keep up, after all.”
“That’s worse than DAP.” Drew had a look of disgust on his face.
“I think it’s cute. Very different and shows a different side of Nate.” Caroline smiled across the table at us.
“Thank you, Caroline.” Nathan smiled back at her, then took a bite of his sandwich, moaning as he chewed.
I let out a giggle. “Hungry?”
“Fuck, yes. I haven’t eaten all day. Someone wanted to exercise this morning, and I missed breakfast.” He elbowed me and grinned.
“Oh, God, I don’t want to hear about the kinky, fucked up shit you two get into.” Drew made a gagging sound, then set his sandwich down. “Great. Now all I can see is your fucking hairy balls.”
“Hey, I said exercise—you’re the one who twisted it into my ass being naked.” Nathan chuckled. “And what the hell are you doing see my balls? I thought you’d be envisioning Lila, though I’m glad you weren’t, but is there something you need to tell us?”
Drew glared at Nathan, then shot a fry in his direction. “Shut the fuck up.”
Caroline rolled her eyes. “Yup, bunch of professional lawyers over here, not that anyone would guess.”
Drew sat up straighter and held his head high. “Professional when we need to be.”
Caroline quirked her brow at them. “Frat boys the rest of the time?”
Drew took a bite, then wiped his mouth. “You know I wasn’t a frat boy.”
“True, but I’m willing to bet Nate was.” Caroline turned her blue eyes back to Nathan, and he held up his right hand.
I gasped in shock and pulled back. “My God, what am I marrying?”
He eyed me sideways, his lip twitching up. “Prince Charming, remember?”
I scoffed. “This is one fucked up fairy tale.”
Nathan nodded, then he turned toward me, his eyes softening as he pulled me closer. “Yes, it is, but it’s ours.”
“Oh, by the way, I ran into someone who knows you when we were at the bridal shop.” I’d forgotten all about it.
His brow quirked. “Yeah? Who?”
I wracked my brain trying to remember his name. “Mack something. Said you met back when you were working on the Marconi case.”
Nathan swallowed hard, and set his sandwich down as he turned away from me. His profile didn’t stop me from seeing the color leave his skin. My stomach dropped, and a sickness washed over me. The air around him had become so thick that I was certain Drew and Caroline noticed his abrupt change in demeanor.
He only had that reaction when the Marconi were brought up.
“What else did he say?”
It’d been an innocent run-in, or so I thought. “Congratulations. That’s it.”
He turned back to me, his lips twitching into a forced smile, but his eyes couldn’t hide the combination of anger and dread.
“So, did you hear about Blackwell?” Caroline asked. “Seems he’s all the scandal with that intern Tara.”
I turned to look at her, mouthing a “thank you” as Drew jumped in, steering the conversation away and saving our peaceful lunch as much as possible.
K.I. Lynn spent her life in the arts, everything from music to painting and ceramics, then to writing. Characters have always run around in her head, acting out their stories, but it wasn’t until later in life she would put them to pen. It would turn out to be the one thing she was really passionate about.
Since she began posting stories online, she’s garnered acclaim for her diverse stories and hard hitting writing style. Two stories and characters are never the same, her brain moving through different ideas faster than she can write them down as it also plots its quest for world domination…or cheese. Whichever is easier to obtain… Usually it’s cheese.
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