“That’s wonderful. I’m really happy for them both. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Lauren yet, but Alex was talking to me at the hospital and filled me in on Lauren’s progress.”

Yet? He hasn’t met Lauren—yet?

Shaking my head to clear my thoughts, I asked, “Noah, why are you here? I mean . . . you’re . . .” My heart hurt as I tried to speak the words that wouldn’t form in my mouth. He’s married now. Just say it, Grace.

Noah took a step up as I instinctively backed up. No. Please don’t come closer to me. I wanted to beg him to stop. If he came any closer, I’d feel his pull and my heart couldn’t take another break.

“That’s what I wanted to come and talk to you about, Grace. You mentioned me being married.”

Swallowing hard, I looked away so he couldn’t see the tears forming in my eyes. It was my fault. I pushed him away. It was no one else’s fault but my own.

Noah reached the top step. Taking in a deep breath, I smelled that familiar scent of his cologne and I whimpered silently inside. My eyes stung as I forced myself not to look at him.

Another step closer. My chest was rising up and down so fast as I dragged in breaths of air.

Noah stopped right in front of me. My body shook as I attempted to push away every memory of him. Every touch. Every kiss. Every romantic word he whispered in my ear as he made love to me.

My skin exploded when his finger touched my chin. Turning my face to him, his eyes locked with mine. “I’ve missed you so much, and I thought I’d lost you forever, Grace.”

My mouth parted open as a single tear fell from my eye. “Noah, you’re married and I can’t . . .”

Leaning in closer to me, I sucked in a breath of air as his eyes landed on my lips. “Grace, my sweet Grace. I’m not married.”

Widening my eyes, a sob escaped my lips. “You’re . . . you’re not? Are you sure?”

Noah laughed softly and nodded his head. “I’m positive, baby.”

Baby. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. He called me baby.

My mind drifted back to the girl. Who was the girl he was with at the mall? At the hospital?

“But, I saw you with her. You were registering for your wedding.”

Placing his hand on the side of my face, Noah looked into my eyes as he gently moved his thumb across my skin. “That’s Emily, my sister, Grace. She’s the one who got married. When I lost my phone and lost your number, I didn’t know what to do. There were so many times I wanted to get in my car and come here. Please don’t push me away, Grace. I need you. I need you so much.”

My whole world stopped as I stared at Noah.

I need you so much.

Holy shit. Closing my eyes, I dropped my head back against the door and let out a sigh. His sister. All those texts I ignored. The phone calls I sent to voicemail because I thought he was with another woman. If I had just given him the opportunity to explain to me what I saw, I could have saved myself so much heartache.

My body jumped when I felt his lips against my neck. “Grace, I had to come find you. I needed you to know the truth.”

Oh God. He came for me. Noah came for me.
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