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Fake Christmas Lexy Timms 2022/8/3 13:45:46

Part of him wanted to know if she still loved him. Whatever he had done to make her unhappy, he was willing to work on. Then, an image flashed in his mind. The image of a man caressing his wife. Kissing his wife. Whispering into her ear. Making love to her.

He could never forgive her. Not ever.

“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?” The accusation hung heavy in her husband’s tone.

Allyson slowly walked across the sand towards Dane. He was standing on the beach, staring out at the waves. As she got closer to him, she struggled to gather her thoughts. Her trip into town might have put her mind at ease, but she still had to keep her secret from Dane. For just a little while longer. One day, he would understand. “I went out,” she said mildly.

Dan clenched his jaw. “Out? That’s the answer you’re going to give me?”

“I took a taxi into town.” She shielded her face with her hand, blocking out the sun. “To buy Christmas gifts for the villa’s staff. Including the gardener.” That much was true. She had gone to get presents. Granted, buying gifts was more of a cover story for what she had really been up to, but Dane didn’t need to know that. At least, not yet.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” he demanded. “You’ve been gone for at least two hours. I called you three times and you didn’t answer. I’ve been worried sick.”

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I should have told you—”

“You’ve been acting very strangely lately,” he said. There was an angry edge to his voice, but there was also something else underneath it. Sadness. Disappointment. Hurt.

Causing her husband pain was the last thing she wanted. She hadn’t been thinking all that clearly when she took off earlier. All she had wanted was to put an end to her anxiety and take back some control of her life. Going into town had given her more clarity. Maybe even a little peace of mind. But blurting out everything now would just cause him even more pain. She had to make sure the time was right before she revealed everything to him.

“I know it looks that way,” she said. “But I swear I’m not doing it to hurt you. I promise that, really soon, this will all make sense.”

His eyes locked on hers. “So, you are keeping something from me?”

After what she had put him through, he at least deserved this part of the truth. With a nod, she said, “Yes.”

“I knew it.” He turned from her and started to walk away.

“Dane, wait!” She rushed after him. Dane was so tall, and his strides so long that she struggled to keep up.

Finally, she jumped ahead of him and put her hands on his arms.

He stopped in his tracks. Glaring down at her, dark clouds seemed to swirl in his eyes. Eyes so blue they matched the ocean behind them.

“Please listen,” she begged. “I swear it’s not what you think. I can see it on your face. You think the worst of me, don’t you?”

Not saying a word, he nodded.

“It’s not that.” She couldn’t be sure what he was thinking, but she could guess. And it was so unspeakably awful that she didn’t want to force his suspicions out of him. Didn’t want to voice the worst and then destroy this fragile marriage. Because it was fragile. They hadn’t even been married for a year. Their marriage was so new that they had to do whatever it took to protect it. Which was what she was doing right now.

“I want to believe you, Allyson,” he ground out.

“Then believe me,” she urged. “Believe in me, like I believe in you.”

“You lied to me,” he said. “You kept telling me that it was nothing.”

“I didn’t want to worry you,” she said. “It’s been tearing me up inside. I hate keeping secrets. I love you.”

He averted his gaze to look past her. To look off into the distance like she wasn’t even there anymore. Like he was thinking thoughts he would never reveal to her. “And I love you. But everyone has secrets.”

“No,” she said. “Not everyone. You don’t.”

“Everyone does,” he repeated bluntly. “That’s why I forgive you.” He leaned forward and captured her mouth with his.