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Author:Deborah Bladon

"I was running errands for Caleb," she says it with so much pride it's as if she ventured out on a journey to bring back lifesaving supplies.

I shake my head slightly. "Where is he? I need to talk to him."

"He's not here." She shifts to the right on her feet before pulling her index finger over the dusty surface of a small table that is placed in the foyer. "I need to address this."

I need to find Caleb, or more importantly, I need to find Asher. "Do you know where he is?"

"He's on a date." The words leave her lips just as I feel my smartphone vibrate in my hand.

I look down and I finally feel my lungs fill with air. It's Asher. He's calling and I may just get all the answers I need.

Chapter 6

"Why aren't we at Axel NY?" Ivy Marlow says as she glances around the vibrantly colored Italian eatery that is only blocks away from her apartment. "I made the reservation for Axel myself last week, Rowan."

She did. I can't argue that point. Axel is Ivy's favorite restaurant in all of Manhattan. It's actually the first choice of many of the people I know, including Caleb. I have little doubt that he's there right now, sitting way too close to his date, drinking a glass of wine and trying to control his raging hard-on. I shake my head to ward off the thought.

When I spoke to Asher on the phone he told me that he hadn't seen Caleb since the police were called to their office. I could hear the regret in his tone. He's staying with a friend tonight. His voice cracked when he asked me if he could stop by my office in the morning. I suggested we meet briefly this evening, but I could tell he was exhausted. He promised, without the least bit of prompting on my part, that he'd stay in and sleep. Asher knows the devastation that I suffered through because of a man's addictions in the past.

"Something is wrong." She gestures towards me with the half-full glass of house red wine in her hand. "You've been jumpy since you got to my place."

I could argue that I was jumpy because her son decided to use my lap as a mini trampoline. I'd tried to embrace her three-year-old son, Jackson, when I walked through the door but he had another plan in place. He'd dragged me by the hand to an overstuffed leather chair, instructed me to sit and proceeded to use my head as leverage as he bounced on my lap. Right now my thighs are on fire. I was going to swing by the gym for a yoga class in the morning to try and relax, but I doubt I'll even be able to bend my legs at all. Jackson is the sweetest boy I've ever met, but he's not a lightweight. The boy is built like his father. He's strong and sturdy and judging by the warm embrace he gave me before I left, his heart is just as big as Jax Walker's heart is.

"How's Jax?" I try to change the subject by shifting it to her husband. "Why wasn't he at home?"

She peers over the edge of the wine glass. "He's meeting with a business associate about a new deal. You never ask about Jax. What's going on?"

"Your sitter seemed nice." I decide that for now, I'm going to play the oblivious card. If Ivy gets enough wine into her petite self, I won't have to stall much longer. The girl loves to talk about herself when she's bordering on the edge of intoxication. I should know. That's how I found out about her real hair color, the unwanted details about the time Jax fucked her in the corridor of an office building and how she giggles whenever she has a pedicure. She's adorable when she drinks too much so if it happens tonight, I'm definitely not going to complain. I need a distraction and tipsy Ivy may be exactly the perfect thing.

"We're not going to talk about her." She places the glass down. "You know you can tell me anything. Did something happen at work?"

Ivy and I couldn't be more polar opposite about our respective career choices. She's a jewelry designer. Her creativity helped propel her into the position as one of the most sought after designers on the east coast. She has a small storefront and studio named Whispers of Grace in SoHo. The tenor of the space is elegant and sophisticated. I felt an immediate sense of calmness wash over me the first time I walked through the door in search of a gift for my mother. Clive had directed me to Ivy's shop. I hadn't questioned him. I'd followed his advice and I not only found a delicate ruby necklace that day that my mother adores but I found a best friend in Ivy. We hit it off quickly and since that day, almost six months ago, we've become inseparable.

"It's not work," I say handily before taking a first sip of the wine that the server poured for me more than thirty minutes ago. "It's something else."