Maverick Millionaires: Trapped with the Maverick Millionaire / Pregnant by the Maverick Millionaire / Married to the Maverick Millionaire. Joss Wood

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but she’s crazy. Besides, I’m bored with tall and built. I’m thinking that petite might be a nice change of pace— Why is Vernon gesturing to me to shut up?”

      Then a rash of swear words was followed by: “My mic is on!”

      Rory looked at Shay, who’d dropped into a chair at the kitchen table with a vacant look in her eyes. She’d stopped crying and she looked like she’d checked out, mentally and emotionally. Mac picked up his jacket from the counter and walked over to stand in front of Shay. He bent his knees so he could look directly into her face.

      “I’m sorry I spoke behind your back and I’m so sorry that I hurt you, Shay. It wasn’t my intention. I take full responsibility for running my mouth off. Not my finest moment and I am very sorry.”

      When Shay looked through him and didn’t respond, he slowly stood up and placed his apartment key on the counter. Rory looked at her broken, desperately sad sister, grabbed Mac by the arm and pulled him into the hall, feeling as if her gray eyes must be full of angry lightning.

      When their eyes met, he lifted one broad shoulder. “Told you I was screwed,” he said.

      “So you came over here to screw me?” she demanded, thinking about that almost-kiss, fury clogging her throat.

      Mac’s flashing eyes met hers. “Believe it or not, I’m not that much of a bastard. I didn’t even know you would be here.”

      “What were you thinking, Mac?” she demanded, insanely angry. On behalf of her sister, but also because Rory had trusted him just as Shay had. “You’ve done so many interviews, you know how mics work.”

      “I wasn’t thinking, dammit!”

      Red dots appeared in front of Rory’s eyes. “Did you plan this? Was the smack talk an easy way to get out of your relationship with Shay?”

      “Contrary to the evidence, I am better than that.”

      Rory snorted. “You could’ve fooled me. First you insult my sister, then you almost kiss me? What was that about?”

      Mac let out a harsh, angry breath. “I knew when I left that news conference that I was toast. I regret what I said. I came here to apologize to Shay but found you instead—”

      “So you were angry and frustrated and I was there, a handy way to let off some steam!” Rory interrupted.

      Mac’s curses filled the small hallway.

      Rory drilled a finger into his chest. “How many times have you cheated on Shay? Because that move with me was far too practiced to be your first time!” The red dots turned scarlet and her chest tightened.

      Mac stepped back and anger sparked in his eyes. “I’m only going to say this once. I never cheated on your sister. And, babe, you wanted to kiss me as much as I wanted to kiss you! I’ll take full responsibility for being a prick on national television but I will not take all the blame for what almost happened in there.”

      Guilt swamped her. She knew he was right and she hated it. She didn’t want to shoulder any of the blame; it would be a lot easier if she could just blame him for everything: for being too sexy, for making her want something she had no right to want.

      Mac raked his fingers through his hair. “Look, why don’t we let this situation settle down and I’ll call you? We can have coffee, chat. Sort this out?”

      Pick up where we left off?

      That wasn’t going to happen. There was no way she could date someone who’d dated—slept with—her sister, who’d almost cheated on her. Someone who’d made Rory so crazy with lust that she’d almost betrayed her sister! He would’ve kissed her had she not stopped him. He would’ve cheated...of that she was categorically convinced.

      She could never trust him.


      “Don’t bother. I’m not interested.” Rory walked around him, yanked open the front door and gestured for him to leave. “Go. You’ve created enough havoc for one evening, for one lifetime.”

      Mac, with a final inscrutable look, walked out of the Kydd sisters’ lives. Good riddance, Rory thought. The last thing either of them needed was a cheating, backstabbing man in their lives.

      Rory turned and saw her sister standing in the kitchen doorway. She’d heard every word of their conversation. So she’d stopped the kiss. That meant little. The truth remained: she wanted Shay’s man, wanted him badly. They both knew she was more like their dirtbag father than either of them had thought possible. Shay was going to strip layers of skin off her and Rory deserved it.

      “You two almost kissed? You had a moment?”

      Facing her sister, she couldn’t deny the truth. “Yes. I’m really sorry.”

      “Okay then. Thanks for getting rid of him,” Shay told Rory in a cold and hard voice. “Now get the hell out of my apartment and my life.”


      Ten or so years later...

      Rory made her way to a small table by the window in the crowded cafeteria of St. Catherine’s Hospital, juggling a stack of files, her bag and a large blueberry smoothie. Dumping the files on the table, she took a berry-flavored hit before pulling out a chair and dropping into it. She’d been on the go since before seven, had missed lunch and was now running on fumes. She had two more patients to see. She might be able to get home before eight.

      An early night. Bliss.

      Her cell phone chimed and Rory squinted at the display, smiling when she saw her sister’s name.

      “Sorry, something just came up. I’ll call you right back,” Shay stated before disconnecting.

      Rory smiled, grateful that she and Shay were really close, a minor miracle after the McCaskill incident. Mac running his mouth off and his subsequent breakup with Shay had been the first major media storm involving one of the three most famous Mavericks. It had been the catalyst for the city’s fascination with anything to do with Mac, Quinn and Kade.

      Shay had been swept up into the madness; she’d been stalked and hassled by reporters and photographers for months. Her life had been a living hell. Unfortunately, because she refused to talk to Rory, Shay had weathered the media attention by herself. She’d lost weight and, as Rory had found out years later, she’d come close to a breakdown. Rory was so grateful the incident was solidly behind them; the man-slut captain of the Mavericks professional ice hockey team was not worth losing sleep, never mind a sister, over.

      Except that she did, frequently, still lose sleep thinking about him. Rory sighed. He was her fantasy man, the man she always thought of when she was alone and well, she hated to admit it...horny. She wondered and she imagined and the fact that she did either—both—annoyed the pants off her.

      The jerk.

      Her cell rang again, Rory answered and Shay said a quick hello. “Sorry, as you picked up the delivery guy arrived.”

      “No worries, what’s up?”

      “Dane sent me two dozen red roses.”

      And, judging by Shay’s frantic voice, this was a problem? “Okay, lucky you. Why are you freaking out?”

      “Two dozen red roses? Who sends his wife of eight months two dozen red roses? He must be cheating on me.”

      Here we go again, Rory thought, exasperated. I haven’t had enough coffee to cope with Shay’s insecurities. Thanks again, Dad, for the incredible job you did messing up your daughters’ love lives.

      Rory sucked on her straw musing about the fact that she and Shay had different approaches to life and love. She was closed off to the idea of handing her heart over to a man, yet Shay had never given up on love. She had eventually, she was convinced,