A whistle lifts in the air and my gaze jerks to the left to find Rick standing in the hallway. Tall, dark, and dangerous—the love of my life who is always a rebel, living outside the rules. He cannot be here. It breaks every rule in the pre-wedding book.
It’s bad luck that we do not need.
At the sight of my future husband, staring at me in my wedding dress, I do the only thing I can do.
I fling my arms around myself, attempting to hide any little part of my dress from Rick, who should not be here. “You can’t see me in my dress!” I shout. “Go, Rick. Go now!”
He doesn’t go. He’s staring at me with his piercing blue eyes, gobbling me up with a hungry look. “You’re beautiful, baby. So fucking beautiful.”
I twist around, away from him, desperate to find a robe, but it’s too late. He’s already in front of me, all six-foot-five inches of hot, hard man, dragging me against him. “God, woman.” His voice is raspy, affected, and he cups my head and leans in close. “I can’t believe you're finally going to be my wife.”
The very idea undoes me and heats my skin and my heart.
My fight and flight mechanisms are both weak as the warmth of his body consumes mine. His eyes are filled with love, and that love is exactly what draws my attention to the scar on his cheek that represents so much of our past. The bad parts that almost took him from me forever. “Rick, damn it,” I whisper. “This is bad luck.”
“Nothing about you and me is bad luck, baby,” he says. “You are my lucky charm, woman. Haven’t you figured that out?”
My heart softens, and the remainder of my resistance fades away. “I wanted to surprise you on our wedding day.”
“You surprise me every day of our lives.” He strokes hair behind my ear, a tenderness that defies a man who can be brutal to his enemies and kisses me, a soft brush of lips to my lips, before he says, “I love you more than I knew any human being could love. You know that, right?”
“Oh no! Oh my God!” Mary exclaims. “He can’t see you before the wedding!”
Rick kisses me again. “Tell her to go away.”
“Rick,” I hiss. “She’s my seamstress. This is her store.”
He acts as if she isn’t here, and says, “I have to run an errand for an old friend. I’m going to be gone for a few days.”
My heart leaps. Rick’s old friends are trouble, the kind that gets people killed. I turn to Mary. “Can we have just a minute, Mary, please?”
“This is bad luck,” she insists. “I mean, if this is your fiancé.”
I’d bristle, but Rick snorts a laugh. “Don’t mind me,” he says. “I’m just the best man. No bad luck here.”
I swat him. “Stop.” And then I eye Mary. “This is Rick, Mary. Forgive his bad jokes. Just please give me a moment to kill him in private. I won’t leave the body in the store.”
She bristles, no laughter for her, and then turns on her heel and disappears out into the store again. I face off with Rick. “What friend?” I demand.
“As in Max who was working with for Tag as a mercenary?”
“That would be him,” he confirms.
“Tag did bad things. He had you and Max do bad things. I don’t trust him.”
“In my defense, I thought I was working for your father, an honorable general in the United States Army, and so did Max.”
That old history with my father is a rough bump in the road. I love my father, but his role in how, and why, Rick ended up a mercenary is not easy to forgive. For now, I focus on Rick. “Tag tried to kill us. How do you know Max isn’t dirty?”
“He was like me. In with Tag for the right reasons and trapped when it turned dirty.”
“What does he want you to do?” I ask.
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