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By´╝ÜJackie Steele

“You’re using ‘literally’ in the wrong context, sweetie. Technically, you know more than nothing about him, like his name and how he earns his living. Then there’s his age.”

Which was true. And I also knew the tattoo hidden behind his tight shirt. The way he slept. The way he kissed. What he tasted like.

Oh, God.

Why wouldn’t those naughty thoughts ever stop torturing me?

“I got it,” I said, irritated.

“Did you really?” Jude asked, eyes glinting with humor.

“Yes.” I rolled my eyes. “The point is, marriage is a huge commitment. Every second couple is getting divorced, and even if this isn’t your usual love relationship, I don’t want my future to be marked by it.”

I winced inwardly as I realized how I sounded.

Why was I even bothered by the fact that Chase and I might get a divorce one day in the near future when it was nothing but a business proposition anyway?

“I mean, who wants a woman who couldn’t even stay married for a year?” I added. “It’s a bad stigma, like running away from the altar, or ditching someone for your job. I don’t want to add ‘unstable’ to my almost nonexistent relationship résumé. Same for him. I don’t want to jeopardize his future and ruin the chance of him meeting ‘the one.’”

Even as I said the words, my throat choked up. Eventually, he would meet ‘the one’ and then I’d be completely out of his system.

The thought sucked. It made me furious, both with him and with myself for thinking it.

What was wrong with me? Chase didn’t belong to me, so the feeling of jealousy came out of nowhere.

“May I remind you he’s the answer to your prayers, Hanson?” Jude whispered. “This could all be a sign. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s meant to be.”

“A sign of what?” I asked warily.

“Of bigger things to come.”

I stared at her. “Seriously? Do you really believe in that stuff?”

“I do. Let me take out my astrology chart and give you a few pointers.” She grinned.

“That’s interesting. Next thing I know you’ll be reading my future.”

She sat up, tucking her legs beneath her. “Okay, what’s his sign?”

“I was being sarcastic, Jude,” I muttered, adding, “Besides, I don’t know.”

“Well, ask him.” She pushed my cell phone across the table.

“I can’t just call him.”

“Why not?”

I threw my hands up again in exasperation. “Because—” My brain failed to come up with a plausible reason. Chase had insisted that I call him anytime—only, people said things like that all the time without actually meaning them.

Jude raised her brows. “Come on. You really need to know the significant stuff.”

I laughed out loud. Knowing his astrological sign was hardly significant. In fact, it couldn’t be more trivial.

“Fine. I’ll text him.” With Jude peeking over my shoulder, my fingers flew over the touchscreen buttons as I typed the message.

What’s your sign? In case you ask, Jude wants to compile a personality chart, even though I’m strictly against it. Don’t ask. I didn’t know she was psychic either.

I pressed the send button before I could change my mind and put the cell phone aside because it wasn’t important. Even if Chase and I married, I didn’t need to know anything about him. In fact, I even muted the sound so I wouldn’t read his reply straight away.

Jude regarded me with an amused smile on her face.

“What?” I asked, irritated.

She shook her head, all fake innocence. “Nothing.”

Unfortunately, ‘nothing’ was never really nothing with Jude. A few moments later, the screen lit up with a reply.

I’m a Taurus. Very passionate lover who enjoys giving and taking in equal measures. If you open up your heart, I’ll treasure it forever while carrying you on the wings of passion.

Jude giggled. “He’s so hot.”

“I can’t believe you’re falling for this crap.” I switched off my phone and pushed it across the table. “Obviously, he looked it up on Google and now he’s feeding us what he thinks we want to hear. He’s such a player.”

Wings of passion?

Make it more like wings of his fingers.

I drew a shallow breath as I remembered the way his exploring fingers almost broke my self-control.

For crying out loud.

I had almost slept with the guy. Now, in broad daylight and with him at a safe distance, I was happy I hadn’t gone through with it, because who knew…maybe he would have changed his mind about marrying me once he got the cream, proverbially speaking.