Despite his casual appearance, his face is hard, and his brown eyes are the angriest that I’ve ever seen them.
“What are you doing here?” I whisper, my hangover instantly forgotten.
“There’s water and Advil on the table next to you.” His voice is calm.
With my eyes still on his, I take a long drink of water and toss back the Advil.
“What are you doing here?”
He doesn’t answer, he just watches me, unblinking, until I frown and cover my nakedness.
“If you’re not speaking to me, why did you come?” I ask, my voice rising. “And how did you get in?”
“Jill let me in. Watch yourself with me, Carolina. It took me a very long time to get here.”
“Why are you here?”
“Because I told you once before, if you run, I’ll find you. I meant it. Why did you run, Cara?”
God, I hate his voice right now. It’s cold, and he’s way across the room, and he hasn’t made a move to touch me.
I so want him to touch me.
“Do you want the long or the short list?” I ask sarcastically, and hate myself when I see a flash of hurt cross his face before he schools his features.
“I want the truth.”
“I left because I overheard you tell Zack that you regretted asking me to move in with you, and I left because you made me feel like a piece of shit about what happened to Seth.”
“I am so fucking pissed at you right now,” he mutters, his voice low.
“Yeah? Well, I’m fucking pissed too, Joshua.” I push my hair off my face and glare at him.
“First of all”—he leans back and crosses his arms over his chest, watching me intently—“that conversation you heard wasn’t about you at all. If you’d come by a few seconds earlier, you would have heard that we were talking about Zack’s ex-wife.”
My jaw drops and eyes widen. “Are you fucking kidding me?”
“Oh, I’m pretty serious right now, Cara. Let me finish.”
I frown and close my mouth, waiting for him to continue.
“I apologize for the way I acted when Seth was hurt. I was worried about both of you, and when I saw that you were safe, I was just worried about getting help for Seth. I don’t even remember what I said, but Zack filled me in and busted my ass for it.”
“How can you say you were worried about me? You didn’t spare me a glance. You didn’t even ask me if I was okay! You just made it perfectly clear that I fucked up!”
“I’m sorry! I was panicked.”
“And you think I wasn’t? I had your nephew’s broken ankle in my hand and I was standing in ice-cold water!” My adrenaline has kicked in now, and if he thinks he’s going to get off easy with a simple I’m sorry, he’s sorely wrong.
“Fucking A,” he spits out, and scratches his scalp vigorously in agitation.
I sit and glare at him, wanting nothing more than to wrap him in my arms and soothe us both.
“What I’m most fucking pissed about,” he continues, noticeably calming his voice, making me meet his gaze again, “is the fact that you didn’t trust me. You assumed that I would betray you, even after everything I’ve said and done with you.”
My eyes widen.
“You doubted my love for you, Carolina, and that cut me deeper than anything else you could have ever done.”
“You weren’t showing me love—” I begin, but he cuts me off.
He sighs and rests his face in his hands. “You shredded me.”
“Back at you.” I fling the covers off me and jerk the dress I was wearing last night over my head in quick, angry movements.
“If you try to run from me right now, Cara, so help me . . .”
“I’m just getting dressed! I can’t fight with you naked!” Satisfied that I’m now covered, I quickly pull my hair up into a knot to keep it out of my way.
“I’m not a part of your family. I get it. But the way you spoke to me before you got in that ambulance—”
“I did not tell you that you aren’t a part of my family!” His voice rises as he stands and paces around the room. “Jesus, Cara, I asked you to move in with me. If I didn’t think of you as a part of my family, I never would have done that.”
“You were cold and heartless, and not the man I’d fallen in love with. I saw a side to you that scared the fuck out of me, Josh.”
He stops before the window, staring outside, and braces his hands on his hips.
“I’m sorry,” he murmurs, and then turns to look at me again. “I’m very sorry for that. I’m excellent in dealing with emergencies when it comes to the animals on the ranch, but seeing Seth hurt, and that rushing water, knowing you could have both been killed, it just destroyed me, and then . . .”
His hands shake as he pushes them through his hair. “I couldn’t find you.” He swallows, his voice quiet and rough. “I’ve never been that scared in my life. I didn’t know if something had happened to you. I couldn’t find you.”
His voice catches and he stops talking, swallows again, and shakes his head in disbelief as he leans his hips against the windowsill, and in this moment, my resolve disappears and I’ll do anything to make this right.
“I couldn’t find you. You own me, Carolina. Body and soul. I promise this will never happen again.”
I stay still, watching him carefully, taking in the handsome man who possesses my heart.
“I’m sorry too. I shouldn’t have handled it like that.”
“I need to know that you’re not going to run again. If you get scared, come to me, baby.”
“And I need to know that when we’re in a crisis again that I can depend on you to be the strong man that took care of me when the tree fell through my roof.”
“Who the fuck is Adam?” he suddenly asks.
“What?” I’m struck dumb, frowning at him. “I don’t know an Adam.”
He pulls his phone out of his pocket, wakes it up and brings up my text messages, and holds the phone out, showing them to me.
Cara: Meat me above.
Cara: Go Adam.
“Fucking autocorrect,” I mutter, and then start to giggle. I clap my hand over my mouth, my eyes wide and glued to his phone, and then I can’t stand it anymore, the dam bursts, and I begin laughing and laughing, holding my belly and falling back on the bed.
I let out a most unladylike snort, and that makes me laugh even harder.