Exposed to You (One Night of Passion 2) - Page 93

When he reached the circular turnabout in front of Rill and Katie’s house, he immediately approached Seth’s rental car. He popped the trunk. It was empty save for a square box. He drew off the lid and immediately saw a folded note with his name on it in Joy’s handwriting. He picked it up. The notepaper had the insignia and address for Prairie Lakes Hospital on it. Beneath it, he read:


I have never met another person who lived life with so much passion and grace. I count myself lucky to have known you. Please, please . . . take good care of yourself?



He flipped back the paper and saw a brand-new pair of men’s high-end running shoes.

He stared, thinking of how he’d said he’d be the one to buy her all the shoes she wanted. Here, she’d done it for him, and the gesture meant so much more than his hollow offer because Joy didn’t have the financial means to go around buying expensive running shoes.

Bitterness rose in him when he thought of how she must have considered his condescending, cavalier attitude toward his health and good fortune, how he never questioned it, like he was some kind of fucking self-righteous prince of the realm.

He slammed the trunk so hard, it rocked the car.

“Everett?” Katie called a few seconds later. He glanced up to where she stood on the front porch, the box clutched against his chest. “Where have you been?”

“It doesn’t matter,” he said as he strode toward the guesthouse. He’d get in the shower, pack a few things and be on the road in three minutes flat.

“Then what does matter?” Rill called.

Everett paused. Rill had walked out onto the porch after Katie and stood next to her. He tossed Seth’s car keys to his friend. Rill caught them without ever taking his gaze off Everett.

“Joy. I’m going after her,” Everett said.

The last thing he saw was Rill raise his eyebrows at his adamancy, and then nod as if Everett had just uttered the most reasonable thing on earth.


Joy paused in the action of flipping the channel with her remote control in her hospital room when she saw Everett’s face on the screen. She tried desperately to find the volume control on the device while not removing her gaze from his image. He was talking soberly to a famous daytime talk show diva. His goatee was in place, so Joy knew it couldn’t have been a live interview. It must have been recorded last week when he’d been doing all those rounds of publicity appearances.

“Do you think you’ll ever settle down and get married?” the talk show host asked in the friendly, confidential tone for which she was known.

“Oh yeah. Family is very important to me.”

“So what’s holding you back?”

“Finding the right woman.”

“You have a studio full of women right here who would be happy to audition for the part,” the host joked. The camera panned to the small arena filled almost exclusively with cheering, whistling women before it cut back to Everett. Now that Joy had grown to know him, she noticed that his smile didn’t reach his eyes.

“It’s not a part. But thanks, I’m flattered,” he said, softening the edge in his tone and smiling at the audience. “Actually, I think I’m doing okay with my own search.”

The host’s eyebrows shot up with interest. “I’m sensing there’s a story here.”

“No, no story,” Everett said, shaking his head. “Just someone special.”

“Can you tell us something about her?” the host coaxed.

“Sure. She’s very private,” Everett replied unblinkingly.

For a split second, the host looked taken aback at his subtle remonstrance for her prying. Then Everett grinned—full out and brilliant—and of course he was forgiven. Both the audience and the host broke into laughter.

“Joy?” A voice penetrated her intense focus on the television screen and the sound of her pumping heart in her ears. She blinked and turned her head, seeing Dr. Chen standing next to her bed.

“Dr. Chen,” she said breathlessly, fumbling with the remote control. She turned the TV off. “I’m sorry, I was just—”

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