Read an Excerpt
I heard the driveway gravel crunching beneath the tires of his pickup truck, so I "accidentally" sprayed myself with the hose. It was an irresistible impulse. It was my day off and I'd been washing my car. My husband and I had been working a lot of overtime lately, with no time for recreation or even chores. And I knew how much he loved seeing me in a wet T-shirt.
The water was cold, and my nipples rose into hard little peaks. The truck's engine turned off, and I heard him striding closer. I pulled off my ponytail elastic and shook my long, dark hair into what I hoped would look like an auto-show model's mane. The metal of the car was warm in the midsummer sun, so I turned around and leaned back against the trunk, displaying myself for him. Then I froze.
"My god, you're a sight for sore eyes," said Jack. His blue eyes sparkled in his tired face as he looked me up and down. "I had a terrible day and fell asleep at the wheel on my way home. I nearly wrecked the truck. But you always make everything all right, Lila."
He pulled me into a tight embrace despite my wet shirt and leaned down to kiss my neck. He slipped his hand in between our bodies to tweak my stiff nipple. "I love you, sweet girl. You're the nicest wife a man could ask for," he whispered.
I couldn't speak. I couldn't move. The love seemed genuine and his physical reaction was undeniable. The only trouble was that Jack wasn't my husband. He was my boss. And in my entire life before this afternoon, I'd never so much as kissed the man.
An hour later, he was still in shock. I'd changed into dry clothes, and now I sat at the dining room table, watching him walk in circles around my big all-purpose room that overlooked the river.
"I didn't buy any of this furniture," he finally said.
"Of course you didn't. This isn't your house," I said, trying to keep my voice from shaking.
He clenched his hands over the top of the futon wemy husband and Iused as a couch. "You and I bought this house five years ago. You said you'd always wanted to live in a little house by the river. Our agent saw the listing, and once you saw it, you wouldn't look at another house."
"Ryan and I bought it five years ago because I'd always wanted to live in a little house by the river, and we found it by chance when we were down here kayaking."
"Since when do you go kayaking?" he demanded.
"Since Ryan asked me to try it on our third date! Seven years ago!"
"Seven years ago you'd been dating me for six months."
"Jack." I tried to calm down. "We have never dated. Ever. You've been my boss for almost eight years, you've been my husband's best friend since college, and while after this many years you and I are very close, trust me when I say I'm positive we never hooked up. You're married, for heaven's sake."
"Married. To Allison. I was at the wedding along with the rest of the team." There were a dozen of us who worked at Jack's small truck dealership, and most of us had been there for years. There weren't a lot of employment options in southwest Virginia, which is like one big small town, and Jack was a good guy and easy to work for. When he wasn't out of his mind, that is.
"Allison? I'm married to someone who believes in fairies? She's a nutcase! How the hell did I wind up married to Allison?"
"Why the hell are you yelling at my wife, Jack?"