Her tear-stained face looked less defeated and more like the haughty woman I’d seen when she had spoken to Cruz last week when we had been eating.

“You’re so young and naïve,” she said with a disgusted look in her eyes. “You aren’t in a fairy tale. Cruz isn’t your prince charming, and he’s not the kind of guy that will settle down and marry you. He needs sex with different women. A variety,” she paused and then grinned as if she was amused with me.

“When he was sixteen I taught him all about sex. I started his addiction. We fucked on this very table so many times I can’t count. I’ve stood right here with my legs spread while he licked my pussy until I couldn’t stand up. I let him be with other girls to get his taste. But I knew he’d always come back here. He wanted me. Needed what I gave him. He’s good at sex because I showed him what a woman wants. What she aches for. That mouth you’ve kissed has been all over this body,” she cupped her breast as she said it.

I couldn’t find words. The things she was saying sounded like rantings from a crazy woman. She wanted me to believe he’d been having sex with a forty-year-old married woman when he was sixteen?

“You are trying to sink your claws into what is mine.”

“You’re married,” I said still in shock that she’d even think I could believe her.

She laughed at me then. “That doesn’t matter. Not to us. Cruz and I crave each other. He was mine until you came along. Now I’m pregnant with his child and he wants nothing to do with me or the baby. You’re taking our child’s father away.” She touched her stomach gently.

“You’re lying,” I said shaking my head and backing up toward the door. I knew Cruz had been a little wild. That wasn’t a secret. But he hadn’t done this. I was sure of it.

“I knew you wouldn’t believe me,” she said and picked up a remote from her desk. The sounds of sex filled the room, and I turned to see the flat screen behind me.

There would be no denying what I watched. Kelsey was naked, her legs wide open and her head thrown back as Cruz screwed her on her desk. Just like she’d said.

“We liked to video our sex and watch it later. It got us hot and bothered. We often fucked while watching us fuck on the screen. That’s the kind of thing Cruz needs to make him truly happy. I also watched him. He would fuck some girl while I hid and watched. He liked knowing I was there while he did it. Seeing them. He’d get so worked up we’d both be crazy for it. I have videos of that too if you need to see.”

“Fuck yes, Kelsey. Open wide you dirty whore. Give me what I want,” Cruz’s words came from the screen and I cringed. “Such a nasty bitch. My nasty little bitch, give me that ass.” Cruz then flipped her over. Pulling her hips up so her ass was stuck in the air. He spit on her bottom then stuck his fingers inside. “Tight asshole. You want my dick up that ass, don’t you?” She screamed, “Yes, fuck my ass. Fuck it hard!” She turned her head around to look back at him and he covered her mouth with his—that was all I could take. I ran. I ran out the door. I ran to my car. I ran from it all. I drove. I didn’t stop. I didn’t know where I was going but my soul had been destroyed.

My phone kept ringing but I couldn’t answer it. I turned my phone off. If it was my mother I wouldn’t be able to speak. She’d be worried. All I could do was drive. Run away from it all. Until my chest didn’t feel as if it were crushed.

The words he had said to Kelsey and the image of them together replayed over and over. Nausea clawed at my throat. Disbelief that I had actually trusted him. Thought what we had was real. But he . . . he was darker than I knew. When the tears finally began to fall, I pulled off at an exit and parked in a hotel parking lot. I cried for all I had dreamed of. All the happiness I thought I had found. And all that would forever mark me. I would never be the same. My fantasy had been just that. Nothing had been real. There would be no fond memories. Only one nightmare.

I’m sorry. But I’m okay. I just needed some space. I sent that one text to my mother to keep her from being worried. There were twenty-eight missed texts and fifty missed calls when I turned my phone back on. I ignored them all, turned the phone off again and went to pay for a room for the night.

IT HAD BEEN sex. That was it. How had I known my affair with Kelsey would lead to this? I kept my head buried in my hands as my father paced in front of me. The room was silent now. His ranting and yelling had ended.

“She’s okay. That was Harlow on the phone. Lila Kate sent her a simple text saying she was fine but needed space.” My mother announced as she entered the living room.

I looked up for the first time in a while. Relief that Lila Kate was safe helped ease my fears. The pain still tore through my chest. I’d called her and texted her numerous times begging for her to listen to me. She hadn’t replied to any of them.

“Did she say where she was?” I asked already knowing the chance of the Carters telling me was slim to none.

Mom shook her head. “No. I think Grant is trying to track her cell phone though.”

He was busy worrying about Lila Kate’s safety. I knew once she was back here safely he’d come for me. Right now, I hoped he did. I should have dealt with Kelsey. Thinking it would just go away was stupid.

“She is threatening a lawsuit,” Dad said. “I’ve confiscated all the items in her office. The videos were found. There are some when you were underage. Those will protect the club. She will be the one facing charges if she pushes this.”

Mom sank to sit on the edge of the chair in front of me. “You were just a baby. She was my age. I just don’t understand how she could do that?”

“He was a willing partner, Della,” Dad reminded her. “And if she is pregnant then we have that to deal with.”

I shook my head. “That baby won’t be mine. If there is one.”

“But if it is, you aren’t a teenage boy anymore being taken advantage of. You’re a grown ass man who knew better than to screw around with a married woman.”

Mom paled at his words. I’d hurt so many people. How did I think I deserved someone like Lila Kate? After all the shit I’d done.

“I know that,” I told him lifting my eyes to meet his. “I should have stopped it. Hell, I shouldn’t have started it. But I am paying for it. I love Lila and now I’ve lost her. She’s hurting and it’s all my fault. That’s killing me.”

Dad scowled. “Yes, it is. In life, you’re gonna make mistakes but this one is beyond a mistake. It’s selfish, irresponsible, and straight up dishonest. That woman is married. I get you were a teenage boy with raging hormones, but she is a married woman. That,” he said pointing at me. “That right there was where you messed up. No, Lila Kate won’t forgive you. How could she?”

I stood up unable to sit here and listen to my mistakes anymore. I knew I had fucked up. I didn’t need my dad reminding me over and over. What I needed to do was find a way to fix this. Which seemed impossible.

“Where are you going?” Dad’s anger hadn’t dissipated any during the hour he’d been yelling at me.

“Are we not done here?” I shot back.

He closed the space between us and glared at me. “You slept with a married employee of a business that will be yours one day. You made sex videos with her. She’s claiming to be pregnant with your child. No, we’re not fucking done here. I’ve spoken with the lawyers. I’ve spoken with Kelsey’s husband. We are meeting in one hour in the club’s boardroom. You’re not going anywhere.”