Author:Stephens, S.C.

I was worried that my father might have a heart attack, he seemed so angry, but his rage was nothing compared to Kellan’s. Dropping my hand, he stepped up to Joey and stared her down. “Be very careful, Josephine. That’s my wife you’re talking to.”

Joey looked intimated by Kellan for a moment and backed up a step. Then his words hit her. Her dark eyes bugged out and she openly gaped at me. Then she started laughing. “Oh my God, are you serious? You, the biggest man whore I know, actually got married? What a joke.”

Kellan crossed his arms over his chest while my dad sighed and sank back down to the couch. He really wasn’t pleased about this whole marriage thing. I thought I heard my mom sniffle, but I was too focused on Joey to look. My own temper was quickly rising, ready for this intrusive little bitch to leave.

Kellan was too. Indicating the door, he told her, “Fine. I’ll get you fifteen hundred for the furniture. Now get the hell out.”

Joey shook her head. “Oh, I don’t think so . . . not anymore, Kellan.”

He cocked his head, not understanding. I didn’t either. Hands balled into fists, I stormed up to her. “You heard him! You’ll get your money.” I shooed her off with a hand. “Now go back to whatever hole you crawled out of.”

Joey drilled daggers into me with her eyes. She kept her gaze on me, but spoke to Kellan. “I have something of yours that I’m returning”—she looked up at him—“since I have no use for it.” Kellan bunched his brows and Joey smirked at his confused expression. “And if you want it back . . . sweetheart . . . then you’ll double my price.”

“You’re nuts, lady!” I snapped.

Joey ignored me, turning her eyes to Kellan. Then she leaned over and grabbed her bag off the chair, her short skirt exposing almost all of her thigh. Opening the bag, she pulled out a tiny, rectangular media card, the kind that fits into digital cameras, camcorders, and some cell phones. Kellan’s eyes widened when he saw it. He snapped his eyes to hers, and before I could ask what the hell was going on, he quickly told her, “Fine, I’ll give you three thousand.”

Throwing me a victorious smile, Joey handed Kellan the SD card. My mind was spinning over just what was on that card that Kellan was willing to pay so much money for. The fire in my belly shifted to nausea. Kellan clenched his hand around it, then pointed at the door. “I’ll get it to you tomorrow.”

Joey patted his cheek. “You better . . . ’cause I will make your life a living hell if you don’t.” She glanced back at me with a wicked grin.

Kellan closed his eyes. “Get the hell out of my house, Joey.” Reopening them, he added, “And don’t ever come back here.”

Waggling her fingers at my parents, Joey sauntered to the front door. No one moved or spoke as she left the house. When the sound of her car starting filtered in through the door, Kellan finally seemed to relax. Turning to my parents, he discretely tucked the card he was holding into his pocket.

“I’m sorry about that. I hope she didn’t give you too much trouble while we were gone.”

My dad’s posture turned rigid as he looked up at Kellan. I could have sworn his graying hair was getting grayer by the second. “I’m more concerned about what the two of you were doing last night than your tawdry friend.” Cheeks flushed, he looked between my new husband and me. “What’s this about you running off and getting married?” He focused his warm brown eyes on me. “Have you lost your mind, Kiera?”

Mom sniffled again, and Dad patted her hand. I wanted to sit and talk with them about last night, but I was still shell-shocked. What the hell did Kellan have in his pocket? And why was it worth three grand to him?

As Dad patted the couch insistently, Kellan looked back at me. His face was a mixture of amusement, resignation . . . and fear. I wasn’t sure if he was doing it purposely, but he’d angled his hips in such a way that I couldn’t see his card-holding pocket anymore. I still knew that damn thing was in there, though.

Kellan indicated that I should sit in the empty space beside my father, then pointed at the front door. “I’ll be right back. I want to go check on my car, make sure Joey didn’t mess with it.” Giving me a tight smile, he added, “If she keyed my baby, you may need to restrain me, ’cause I might kill her.” He laughed as he started to move toward the door.

My words stopped him cold. “What’s on the SD card?”

The amused smile instantly left Kellan’s face. Swallowing, he shook his head. “It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it, Kiera.”

Ignoring my parents for a moment, I stepped close to Kellan. I tried to reach around him, to grab his pocket, but he nimbly stepped away from me. Trying very hard to control the anger roiling my stomach, I repeated, “What’s on the card?”

Seeing that I wasn’t going to back down, Kellan leaned in and whispered, “Can we talk about this later . . . in private?”