Talia's marriage to Nick becomes her ultimate renovation project.
Nick and Talia Carmichael were childhood sweethearts. Grief over the death of their baby daughter from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome crushed their marriage. Talia moved to a new city, with a new career and life. Now it’s time to close the door on the past and ask Nick for a divorce.
Nick has other ideas. Once his wife, always his wife. He has no intention of letting Talia off so lightly and proposes terms and conditions to his agreement. It will mean moving back into their marital home, and force her to face long buried grief. Can she do as he asks?
Being with Nick causes her to question everything she thought was true. Has she made a mistake thinking her love for Nick is dead? Can he still love her? More importantly, can he again trust after everything they’ve been through?
Nick could think of no better way to end the week than sharing a drink or two with good mates. The atmosphere at home between him and Tally had become so weird and tense lately you could almost cut it with a knife. Everything he said seemed to cause a fight. Here with his friends, he didn’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing.
Laughing at a joke someone told, he took a drink of his beer. He had no intention of getting drunk tonight. The rain started before he left home and he’d decided to take the car. Normally he would walk the mile to and from the pub. The beer began to take effect, his muscles relaxed and his guard came down. He exhaled and settled in to enjoy the night.
Female laughter rang out across the club. The girls had arrived resembling a flock of colorful birds in all their finery. Screeching like cockatoos. Nick winced at a particularly raucous laugh. Later they would gravitate over to the boys and they’d all have dinner together in the club restaurant. The gang had been doing the same thing for a decade and tonight the familiarity of routine soothed him.
He turned back to the boys who were hotly arguing the capabilities of the players in tomorrow’s football match. The sudden increase in noise coming from the girls’ table got his attention. The girls were up on their feet, laughing and talking, hugging someone. Their super-hyped animation got him curious as to who had them so excited. Then he saw her, Tally, and his heart stopped in his chest.
Talia looked beautiful, her hair tumbling around her shoulders reflecting golden light. Lately it had been scrunched up on top of her head sticking out every which way. She had makeup on too, something she never wore at home... He swallowed hard. Those jeans of hers hugged her bottom in a way which ought to be considered criminal. Charges should be laid. Her t-shirt skimmed in all the right places. He couldn’t take her eyes off her.
“Is that who I think it is?” His friend, Greg, nudged him. “Did you know Talia was in town?”
Nick nodded. “She’s staying at my place.”
“What?” Greg nearly choked on his beer. “You’re a dark horse. Kept that nicely under wraps.” He leaned back against the bar and joined Nick in contemplating Tally. “So…reconciliation on the cards?”
“What? No, nothing like that.” Nick had trouble focusing on anything other than his wife. Why did she have to be so damn hot? And why did she have to be here?
“You’re a foolish man Nick Carmichael. If I had a wife that hot I’d be hell sure of reconciling with her fine...”
“Greg! That’s my wife you’re talking about.”
Greg shrugged. “No reconciliation means no wife. How many years has it been?”
“It doesn’t matter. We are still married and Talia is still my wife” said Nick between clenched teeth.
“I’m just saying.” Greg shrugged and returned to expanding on his theory of football tactics for the coming game.
Nick’s gaze followed Tally as she got a drink from the bar and settled in with the girls. So much for a relaxing night out.
- Word Count: 42,025
- Author: Eva Scott
- Website: Eva Scott
- Heat Level: 2
- ISBN: 978-1-61937-533-8
- Artist: Kelly Shorten
- Editor: Jeanne De Vita