• Carla Buchanan

BGGM Entry 2: Thursday, December 10, 2026

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

This is a work of fiction. Any names, places, characters, and happenings are solely products of the author’s imagination or fictitious retellings. Any likeness to actual events, locations, persons living or dead, is coincidental.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this blog may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system - except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine or newspaper - without permission in writing from the publisher.

**Readers 18 and up only please**.

It’s been less than a week since Beau proposed and I’m already on the verge of returning the ring and not because of anything he’s done. In all honesty, I’ve barely seen Beau since he proposed but I’ve seen his mother every day. Most days it’s only been through a video call, but I’m already at the very end of my rope and ready to tie it around Juliette Lacoste’s neck.

“I promise, I won’t be late,” I say to Juliette who has scheduled a photoshoot for the announcement of the engagement. Thankfully cameras were banned inside their home for their wedding anniversary party, so no one was able to post the news online prematurely. However, the rumors are running rampant among my clients for whom I personal shop which are some of the same people who were at the anniversary party. People know he’s engaged but the ‘woman’ Beaumont Lacoste has chosen is still a mystery. Cringingly enough, the media suggests that it could be anyone.

From an heiress of a retail chain fortune to actresses Beau has dated, to a well-known model everyone was sure he would marry have all been mentioned. I doubt anyone suspected the unknown personal shopper to some of Silicon Valley’s professionals and elite is the woman he chose. I doubt they’d believe a ‘commoner’ like me is worthy of him or that I had dared ask him to keep our relationship a secret until I was sure it would turn into something serious.

I’m sure you’re thinking that I probably should address the issue of my previous marriage before I embark on a new one, but I’m not worried about that. You’ll find out about that soon enough. It’s not really that important since I’m sure the person to whom I’m married will not put up a fight if I ask for a divorce. He moved on before the sheets got cold, returning to the woman who gave birth to his child, the same woman he tells everyone he’s married to. I know that’s not the case because he’s definitely married to me.

I know… It’s a little confusing but it really shouldn’t be. The truth is someone can only be married to one person which means my current husband’s marriage to the woman he calls his wife isn’t a legal marriage. I don’t know how he got away with that one, nor do I really care - at least that’s what I’ve told myself for nearly a decade.

A decade? Has it really been almost a decade since we eloped in that Las Vegas chapel? Has it already been a decade since I watched my husband leave the bed in which we consummated our marriage to return to the woman he claimed meant nothing to him? Has it been nearly a decade since I was a stupid teenager who lied to my father about where I was going for spring break so I could elope with someone who’d just had a baby with someone else?

I was so naive and trusting back then.

“Please ensure you’re not, Chrissy,” she says like a mother to an unruly child. “One more thing before I go,” Juliette adds. “Beau has encouraged me to ask how you want your name to be in the announcement. I see nothing wrong with using your nickname since I think it’s more… you.”

I almost laugh at her gentle encouragement to not make her print my real name on the announcement which makes me inclined to do just that. It’s a little victory, one Beau won’t budge on since he likes my real name even though I only allow him to use it sparingly. My brother is sure my name is a sure indicator that my mother was on her way to a breakdown even though I’ve been told the name is in honor of my mother’s favorite holiday and the day I was born. Personally, I think her choice was because she didn’t care how the name would affect me in the future. She gave me the name out of selfishness just like she selfishly walked out on us and never returned.

“I think it’s only appropriate that I use my whole name since I’m sure you will use Beau’s,” I say and grin as I walk through the lobby of my client’s apartment building. She’s received the winter wardrobe I chose for her and she has some questions about styling. I’ll go up, style her in each item several ways, incorporating some of the other items already in her wardrobe. I’ll take pictures of each ensemble, including accessories and shoes, then I’ll send those pictures to her personal assistant. Her assistant will make sure the clothes are added to her color-coded closet and given an identifying number so my client will be able to dress herself while I’m out of town for the next month. “Christmas Noel Anson will be fine,” I say to Juliette who sighs like that’s not what she wants to hear.

“Of course, Chrissy,” Juliette responds tightly. “I still often wonder why Elise chose that name for you. She loved Christmas but I never thought she’d name her child after a holiday. She always seemed to be more practical than that.”

“Maybe she wasn’t as practical as you thought. I doubt a female scientist was very practical either, but that’s the field she chose to go into,” I defend, uncharacteristically. Usually, I’m the first one to condemn the choices my mother made in her past, but I don’t like hearing Juliette do it. I don’t want her to question Elise Anson’s decisions or try to figure her out.

It’ll only bring attention to the fact that I decided to attend the same college she went to and walk the same streets she did when she was my age because I thought I’d get some insight into who she was. It’ll only make me realize that I’ve been in this town for years and still have no idea why such a beautiful, progressive place could drive her to a mental breakdown that forced my father to move us across the country when my brother and I were two years old. It’ll only remind me that I still have yet to figure out why two years later she walked out of our lives never to be seen again.

My father says she was mentally unstable, that she walked away not knowing who she was or where she was going which would make sense if she indeed had a mental breakdown. However, once I found out the details of her disappearance and realized she took her wallet with her identification inside, as well as other supplies, I’ve always been sure my father’s claim of mental instability was a lie. I once told my father this which angered him, and since that day my relationship with Noble Anson has been strained. He’s treated me with indifference on some occasions but mostly as a possession to control. He acts like the immaculate reputation he’s built since the negative attention from my mother’s disappearance will be ruined by some choice I make one day. And though I don’t mind him expecting the worse of me, I do mind when he goes as far as to say that he’s so hard on me because he doesn’t want me to end up like my mother. I don’t know if he’s insinuating that he thinks I’ll one day go crazy, or that I’ll selfishly sacrifice my family to go live the life I really want since I am still unsure as to which of those things are true in regard to Elise Anson.

Because…wouldn’t someone have seen her if she was wandering around in a fugue state? Wouldn’t someone have put her picture on the news if she was found without identification? Wouldn’t my father have had someone watching her, keeping a closer eye on her if her mental status had disintegrated that much? Then there’s the fact that her purse was gone, as were other supplies. To me, it suggests she had a plan to leave, not that she was in some fugue state and didn’t know who she was or where she was going.

Pretending as if I didn’t just make a smart-ass comment, Juliette says, “Speaking of science…how is Joseph? He’s a science teacher, right? I think Beau mentioned that he’s a father now as well,” Juliette says.

“He used to work for the CDC, now he’s a high school principal. He’s about to be a father. Ripley, his wife, is seven months along,” I correct. “But Juliette, I really have to go. I’m meeting my last client before my vacation and if you want me to make it to the shoot on time then I should get in there.”

“And don’t forget your shapewear, Dear. You of all people should know the importance of a good foundation when it comes to dressing well.”

I do. It’s my job to know and I’m sure that’s what she meant. But I can’t help but think that last comment was a dig at me as well as a reference to me being a personal shopper and stylist. Juliette has never been shy about voicing her opinion about my curvier shape, even going so far as to complain to Beau that my curves make her uncomfortable. She thinks my shape is right on the verge of ’stripper’ even while wearing a simple pair of jeans and a t-shirt. But of course, she would say that when her body mimics the shape of a ballerina at the peak of a season where she is the principal dancer. She is smooth and soft, yet toned in a very subtle way. She looks like she maintains such a body naturally, but I know for a fact that she has private yoga, Pilates, and water aerobics instructors visiting her for sessions on a regular basis.

“I won’t forget,” I say before hanging up, not giving Juliette a chance to say anything else. I often wonder what my mother was like to be friends with someone like Juliette Lacoste, but then I think about the roommate from college I now call one of my best friends, one who is a Juliette in training.

Maybe I’m more like my mother than I thought.

That thought makes a shiver of unease flow through me.


Hours after arriving, I’m finally exiting through the doors of my client’s building. I’m a little thrown off-balance by the fact that the sun is already moving into position to set which means I’m probably going to be late for the shoot that’s supposed to start at six. Thankfully I thought to bring proper foundations and will be able to reign in my curvier bits, leaving me looking more like an average woman, one whose curves won’t outshine Juliette Lacoste’s future politician son.

I look down at the thin, clear brick in my hand, cursing myself for not summoning a ride before now. I am about to do just that when someone calls out to me.

“Ms. Chrissy Anson,” the voice says again, and I look to my left to see a man standing next to a black car over in the ridesharing zone. When our eyes meet, he smiles as if he knows who I am, but I’ve never seen him before in my life. “Mrs. Lacoste sent me for you. I’m to take you to your appointment.”

“Uh… okay,” I say looking around to make sure no one is paying attention to our exchange. I want to keep my anonymity as long as possible, but I can see that Juliette is fighting back on that matter. I’m sure Beau has explained my desire for as much privacy as possible, but she refuses to adhere to any request like that. She wants there to be a buzz about her son. She wants people to see him as a future family man who is on his way to being a future politician. She wants there to be a buzz around Beau and his future potential. She thinks I should do what I’m told and be grateful that he wants me at his side.

She also wants to expose me now and get the buzz about me out of the way so the ‘talk’ about her son can begin.

God, I can imagine the stories to come. I can imagine the digging some news sites will do. I can imagine the smiles on the faces of every researcher when they look into my past and find out that my mother disappeared, and my family was part of a missing person case for years. I can imagine that Juliette will be the one who leaks that particular news so she can later use the news to frame me as a charity case with whom her gracious and benevolent son fell in love.

I move a little faster, sliding gracefully into the car and trying to avoid the clear bricks pointed at me, as well as the police drones flying around. Cops have been known to leak an image or video from time to time as a way to supplement their pay. I’m sure the slap on the wrist they get is worth the thousands of dollars some news sites pay for the images they buy from them.

Once inside, I start to tap out a message to Beau about Juliette’s antics but then ask myself if I want to be ‘that’ kind of woman. I don’t want to be one of those women who complain to my husband about everything my mother-in-law says and does. I try not to think about the fact that Beau and I might not ever get married as I back out of the message and take several deep breaths. This is the life that comes with being with Beau and it’s my fault I didn’t break up with him before things got to this point.

With that in mind, I open up another message window and pull up my brother’s name. I remind him of what time he needs to be at Hartsfield-Jackson to pick me up and then I send a message to my father to make sure the family cabin is ready since I have no intention of staying inside the mayor’s mansion in Anson Valley. The mansion screams ‘Georgia’ tradition, leaning toward a plantation feel. I’ve never liked the house because I always feel like a weight is on me when I stay there - like I’m being suffocated by expectations and responsibilities I was forced to uphold as the daughter of the mayor and a descendant of the town’s founder.

Not that my father was a bad mayor or father. I was proud when he was elected all those years ago, and I was proud eight years ago when he decided he wanted to run again. I supported him and did what I was supposed to do as an Anson, and the daughter of a very influential member of the community by coming home for holidays and birthdays, and important days in the town. But I’m not ready to fall back into that role anytime soon. I’m not the same person I was when I was last there five years ago and am only going to see him honored as being the most successful mayor in the town’s history, and for holding the office longer than anyone else. I’m also going to tell my father about my engagement, though if I know Juliette there’s a chance he already knows. I need to tell him the truth because breaking up with Beau could affect him. With the future of Valley Developments in Beau’s hands, he could very well take his anger out on my father for something I’ve done. Though, I doubt Beau can deny the success of Valley Developments. My father’s company is among the top five real estate development companies in the southeast. It’s Lacoste Incorporated’s most successful real estate development subsidiary which can’t be ignored.

Another thing that can’t be ignored is my marriage. I will have to find someone in Anson Valley who can put me in contact with my husband so I can ask him for a divorce. Because one day I might want to get married and I can’t do that if I’m still married to him.

I not just late for the photoshoot, I’m very late since the ride out to the beach takes almost an hour. I didn’t even know the shoot was taking place at the beach and have to call Beau to verify that the driver was told to take me there. Beau is amused by my paranoia but doesn’t hesitate to send me the location of my destination so I can make sure the driver is headed there and not trying to kidnap me.

It’s not until an hour after the photoshoot is meant to start that I appear from a makeshift dressing room in a small room of a beach house, looking a lot like my future mother-in-law, dressed in winter white and trying not to think about the fact that hypothermia will set in by the time we’re done filming on the beach, in the dark, in December. I appreciate it when Beau is waiting with a heated blanket to wrap around my shoulders and kisses me on the back of my neck, assuring me.

“You’re not late,” Beau whispers and wraps his arms around me from behind as the director of the photoshoot starts to tell us his plan for us. “They’ve been setting up this entire time,” Beau adds and kisses me again. I shiver, but I’m not sure if it’s in response to the temperature or Beau’s kisses.

I don’t say anything, but I’m relieved I’m late. I’m relieved I didn’t have to be here for Juliette’s complaints about the setup and what needed to be changed. I’m also glad I didn’t show up early when we’re still on the beach three hours later.

When we are done taking pictures in three different outfits, Juliette leaves, wishing me safe travels home but not before saying, “The Lacoste jet will take you to Atlanta tomorrow. If the media hears you flew commercial only days before an engagement announcement, they will say we’re being cruel to you. The world needs to know that you’re already part of our family.”

I don’t get a chance to object before the same driver who brought me there appears out of nowhere to drive Juliette away.

“Beau, I don’t need the Lacoste jet to take me anywhere,” I say once we’re out of earshot of the crew, the stylist, and makeup artists. “I have a seat. It’s a first-class seat that I proudly paid for with my credit account airline miles.”

“It’s a refundable seat, right?” I nod. He knows that my schedule is constantly changing so any travel plans I make must be flexible. And though I’ve spent months making sure this trip fits into my busy work schedule, out of habit I still made sure I could get a refund on the ticket if I need to.”

“Your modesty is so cute,” he says, dismissing me. “My father loves that about you. He’s glad that I’ll never have to worry about you going after my money,” Beau says. I know I should feel complimented by the statement, but I can’t help that it rubs me the wrong way for some reason. “He knows Mr. Anson raised you better than that,” Beau continues. “How about I give you the money for the airline miles and you use the refund to gift someone with same number of miles in honor of your trip home. You’ll get your money back, you’ll be doing a favor for me by taking the jet, and you get to do something nice for one of the subscribers of your blog. You’re always saying you want to do a giveaway and now you can. You get to fly in complete privacy on a private jet and you get to use the giveaway to promote your style blog. Win-win.”

I hate that it’s a good idea. I hate that he’s been paying attention this much. I hate that as sweet as the gesture is, and as much as I want it to be the thing that makes me fall in love with Beau, it’s not. I’m not in love with Beaumont Lacoste and don’t know if I ever will be. But then he adds, “Plus, you’ll need to get used to jets because from here on out it’s the only way you’ll fly. We’ll rent several of them to fly out your family and friends for the wedding, and my mother will insist they all stay at the hotel her family owns.

After a short trek across the cold sand, we step onto the newly treated, white-washed wood of the steps leading to the back deck of the beach house. Beau places a hand at the base of my back as he leads me upward, but I stop when he finishes his sentence. I am about to argue with him about his last words to me and tell him that I wanted to have my wedding in my home church in Anson Valley but realize there’s no point in doing so. I don’t know if this is what I want yet so there’s no need in arguing about something that might not matter a month from now.

Even if I decide for some reason that I want to marry Beau, there’s still the fact that I’m married already. If Beau has to find that fact out from the media instead of from me then the location definitely won’t matter. That means I’ll have to find someone who might know how to reach my estranged husband when I get to town. It means potentially exposing the fact that he and I had a secret, and close, friendship throughout high school.

Instead of commenting on his words, I pretend as if stopping for a kiss was my intention all along. I wrap my small fingers around the lapels of the navy-blue designer suit and pull him down to me. Our lips meet, the passion slowly building in intensity before we are forced to pull away to breathe.

“I’ve rented this place out for the night, but I think I might buy it as a wedding gift for you. You look good with the beach as your backdrop and the crisp winter breeze picking up your hair,” Beau rasps against my ear and then trails soft, wet kisses down my neck. I shiver right before Beau lifts me from the ground without giving me a chance to respond. I don’t really take in what he says until we cross the threshold of the beach house. However, I don’t get to object to the gift because we fall onto the bed of the master bedroom on the second floor and succumb to our more carnal desires.

Hours later I wake to darkness and look for a clock. There’s not one to be found so I carefully extricate myself from the possessive hold Beau has on me. I grab the last dress I wore during the photoshoot and tug it over my naked body before making my way to the downstairs bedroom that I used as a dressing room the night before. I find my bag and my phone, and groan when I pull up directions back to my apartment and see how far away I am. It’s going to cost so much money to use any of the ridesharing services, so I reluctantly go wake Beau and ask him to drive me home.

“Your flight isn’t until late this afternoon,” he grits out without opening his eyes. “Remember my mother canceled it,” he adds and shifts in the bed like this conversation is annoying him.

I don’t remember him saying his mother canceled my flight, I remember him saying not to worry about the money. Though, why I’d expect anything different from Juliette is beyond me. I should’ve known she would take no chance that I’d defy her and get on the commercial flight anyway.

I take off the form-fitting dress that’s a little tighter without my shapewear and slide my arms into the last shirt Beau had on and go downstairs with the intent of performing a nice gesture.

The fridge is stocked with enough for two people to have one meal, which means Beau had this little rendezvous planned all along. My ire deflates a little when I realize what Beau was trying to do. He was sure I’d be annoyed and frustrated with his mother by the end of the photoshoot so instead of a long ride back to my apartment, he rented this place for me to relax and unwind before heading back, before sitting on a plane for more than four hours.

A wave of guilt washes over me for trying to leave without telling him, and when I look down at the ring on my finger the wave turns to a flood that threatens to drown me. The ring represents another thing I’m not telling him, or maybe a couple of things. One… that I’m married, and two… even when I get a divorce, I still don’t want to marry him.

To make up for it all, I make an attempt at breakfast. I’m no cook by any means, and cooking isn’t something my father encouraged me to learn. I manage fine on my own, especially with how easy it is to pick up the phone and order meals that are to my dietary and taste specifications. Lots of single people do those meal delivery services that come with all of the ingredients in a fridge box so they can cook it themselves. My friend Yasmin does that, and she says it makes her feel like a real cook. I don’t mind not feeling like a real cook so I’m not ashamed to let someone else do the cooking for me so all I have to do is heat it or dress it or do as little work as possible.

With all that said, I still take the bacon from the fridge. Instead of cooking it on a skillet like my father did when I was growing up, I turn on the oven’s fan and stick the bacon in the oven on a cooking tray. I take out eggs, knowing I’m never going to be able to make the over-medium eggs Beau likes no matter how many tutorials I watch. I decide to save that task for last, letting the process absorb into my brain through more video tutorials, and start making two smoothies.

I’m saved from the embarrassment of bad eggs when his arms wrap around me and he kisses my neck. I don’t resist when I’m led out of the kitchen and over to one of the white-washed barstools at the bar. He places one kiss on my forehead before finishing up the smoothies, and expertly taking over the cooking, showing off the cooking classes his mother made him take so he could be ‘a well-rounded individual’. Juliette thinks my father spoiled me by not making me learn how to cook but hasn’t found a way to argue with the fact that Noble Anson has always been a progressive man in that way and has always said that he refused to turn his daughter into a surrogate housewife for him and his son.

“If I’m going to buy this place for you, we can’t risk you burning it down,” Beau says and I groan, wondering how much more guilt I can bear.


When I told my brother about the change in my flight itinerary, he told me to call my father to pick me up from the airport. I told him I would, but I didn’t do that since there was no way I was going to be alone in a car with my father for nearly two hours. He’s almost certainly grumpy since he always is at this time of year, and I don’t want to have to think about the reason for his mood. I don’t want to sit and think about the icy December more than two decades before when my mother left the house never to be seen again. It’s why my visits home have trailed off. I don’t like seeing how sad the holidays make my father, and I don’t like how he takes out his sadness on my brother and me when he only has smiles and hugs for the citizens of Anson Valley.

I decide to rent a car and do the drive from the airport on my own. At least this way I’ll have transportation to take me around town and I won’t have to depend on anyone else. I also decide to make my appearance a surprise but I’m the one who gets the surprise when a few miles outside of town, I realize why the car rental associate offered to put chains on the tires for an extra fee. I also realize my bad choice to turn him down, making a rookie decision any tried and true mountain dweller shouldn’t make.

Fifteen minutes later, I’ve only managed to travel two miles and my tires spin out for the tenth time. I start to pull over to the side of the road, but the car doesn’t seem to like this decision because the tires start to spin again. This time, with the car’s wheels turning, and my foot on the brake to slow down, the car fishtails. Thankfully I’m on the side of the road with the mountain wall not on the side of the road where I would’ve been plummeting to my death right now. However, the car does slam into the wall going about twenty miles an hour which gives my neck a good whip to the side. A grunt of pain mixed with a squeal of fear leaves my lips at the same time the car comes to a stop. The airbag deploys a moment too late and then starts to deflate seconds later.

The driver’s door can’t be opened because that entire side of the car is pinned against the rock face. Not that I’m ready to go anywhere with my hands shaking and my soul still somewhere outside my body. I feel disoriented more than hurt, and a little embarrassed even though I’m alone.

It takes long moments before I am able to do anything other than take deep breaths and take stock of myself as I mentally check my body for injuries. The only pain I feel is in my neck and in my fingers that still grip the steering wheel in a death grip.

When I let go of the steering wheel, the pain in my fingers instantly subsides and I realize that I had kept my hands on the wheel even after the airbag deployed. I also realize that I won’t be able to go anywhere else in the car since I doubt the blinking electrical system and dash full of warning lights is a good sign for the fate of the electric car.

I don’t know how long I sit there but my eyes don’t open until I can feel the glare of lights reflecting off the rearview mirror through my eyelids. I don’t know if the driver is on his or her way to somewhere, or if somehow they’ve specifically come to find me. I don’t know how the latter could be the case, but I’m grateful when the person pulls up next to me.

There’s a hard knock on the window but it’s too painful to turn my neck to acknowledge their presence. The person then tries the door handle but has no luck, so I reach for the door and release the locks.

“Are you hurt?” Is the first thing the person asks. It’s a man. It’s a man whose voice I am sure I know.

Ignoring the pain, I know I will inflict upon myself; I slowly turn my head to the passenger’s side door. I see his face, then close my eyes and open them again knowing that coincidences like this don’t really happen. It can’t be real that for the second time in my life Valentine Trudeau is here to save me from my stupidity. This time saving me from my stupid decision not to accept the tire chains, and more than ten years ago saving me from jumping over the railing at the Anson Valley overlook and into the gaping chasm below when I was only a freshman in high school.

Fifteen, and without a mother, I had felt sorry for myself for not being able to attend the Mother-Daughter Christmas Tea. The self-pity had driven me to make the stupid decision to steal a bottle of vodka from my father’s liquor cabinet. I then rode my bike to the overlook that was closed at this time of year because of the very real danger of a slip and fall ending with a fall into the valley, but I didn’t care at the time. I knew no one would be there so I went there to be alone. I went there to cry. I went there to wallow in pity over the fact that I wasn’t like every other ninth-grade girl whose mother didn’t walk out when they were four years old. I went there to drink, and I did just that. It only took a third of the bottle for me to get drunk enough to ignore my fear of heights and lean over the icy railing.

“Are you down there, Mom?” Valentine claimed I’d asked to the valley even though I don’t remember saying anything. He also said I was teetering on the edge, and I would’ve fallen had he not been riding past the tourist spot and saw my bike haphazardly tossed onto the ground instead of sitting upright chained to the metal railing. He’d thought the bike a suspicious site, but when he saw the footprints leading to the icy valley overlook, he decided to check things out. He said when he wrapped his arm around my waist to pull me off the safety railing I had climbed up on, I started to curse and demand he leave me alone. Valentine Trudeau didn’t know me at all, but he put me on his motorcycle, took me back to his home, and let me sleep off my drunkenness. From that moment on we were good friends - secret friends - since there is no way my father would’ve ever approved of me hanging out with Valentine. He has always seen Valentine as a nuisance who would never do anything positive with his life because he grew up without a father. My father predicted his future to be a grim one especially after Brenna Oliver started telling everyone she was pregnant a few weeks after our senior prom and the child belonged to Valentine. My father only saw him as a statistic, the kind of person who would spend his life proving the stereotypes about black men right.

The truth of the matter is that was not the case at all. Valentine and his siblings were victims of circumstance. Their father moved their family here only to leave them in Anson Valley when a rich woman came along promising him all of the things his rich parents refused to give him after disowning him for marrying Valentine’s mother.

But Valentine Trudeau’s mother was no weakling. She did what she had to do working full-time as a waitress as well as selling baked goods at the Anson Valley Farmer’s Market on the weekends. Valentine helped as well when he could, mowing lawns, and doing small repair jobs for people who couldn’t afford a professional.

Now, just like when we met, he’s here to save me again. I don’t know why he’s here or what twist of fate put him back in Anson Valley at the same time as me but here he is looking older, and sexier than he had last time I saw him walking away from me only hours after we were married in Las Vegas.

I don’t know what to say to Valentine Trudeau, and that’s a rare thing for me. I usually have a witty thing to say to break the tension, but I can’t come up with anything right now. I blame jet lag for my misstep, but I know it has everything to do with the boy, now man, who looks like a mismatched lumberjack biker and a part-time underwear model. His deep, dark brown skin is covered in a black and blue flannel with a sexy black motorcycle jacket over it. There’s a black toboggan on his head, covering what I know is a low and neat haircut. Instead of a boy that has no idea what to do with his sparse facial hair, the man has a mustache and beard groomed to rugged perfection. Black jeans cover his legs and I’m sure black steel toe boots cover his feet, but right now I can’t see his feet. Although, I can see the expression on his face that registers a bevy of emotions in succession. Surprise, shock, love, hate, resolve, and… sexual hunger.

“Valentine Trudeau,” I say like the man doesn’t know his own name.

He then returns with two words that should make me cringe but my heart swells in a way it shouldn’t when he says, “Mrs. Trudeau.”


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