Thief (Love Me With Lies #3)(3)

“Where’s Noah?”


I raise my eyebrows. “He was out of the country for the verdict?”

“Shut up. We didn’t know how long they’d take to deliberate.”

“You should be celebrating.” I lean back and sling both arms across the back of the couch.

She starts to cry, stoic-faced, tears pouring like an open tap.

I stay where I am. I want to comfort her, but when I touch her, it’s hard to stop.

“You remember that time in college when you started crying because you thought you were going to fail that test, and the professor thought you were having a seizure?”

She cracks up. I relax.

“You did your job, Duchess,” I say softly. “You did it well.”

She nods, gets up. Our time is over.

“Caleb … I-”

I shake my head. I don’t want her to say she’s sorry for coming, or that it won’t happen again.

I walk her to the door.

“Am I supposed to say I’m sorry for what happened with Leah?” She looks at me through her lashes. Her tears have clumped her mascara together. On another woman it would look sloppy, on Olivia it looks like sex.

“I wouldn’t believe you if you did.”

She smiles; it starts in her eyes and spreads slowly to her lips.

“Come over for dinner. Noah’s always wanted to meet you.” She must see the skepticism on my face, because she laughs. “He’s great. Really. Bring a date?”

I run my hand over my face and shake my head. “Dinner with your husband is not on my bucket list.”

“Neither was defending your ex-wife in a lawsuit.”

I flinch. “Ouch.”

“See you next Tuesday at seven?” She winks at me and practically skips out of my condo.

I don’t agree, but she knows I’ll be there.

Damn. I’m whipped.

I call my date. She’s running behind schedule as usual. I’ve seen her twice a week for the last three months. It came as a surprise how much I enjoy her company, especially after what happened with Leah. I felt done with women for a while, but I guess I’m an addict.

We agree to meet at Olivia’s instead of driving together. I text her Olivia’s address while I trim the beard down to a goatee. I go for James Dean and wear blue jeans and a white shirt. There is still a tan line where my wedding band used to be. For the first month after the divorce, I found myself constantly feeling for the ring, having a moment of panic every time I saw my empty finger and thinking that I’d lost it. The truth always choked me, like a mouth full of cotton. I lost my marriage, not my ring, and it had been my fault. Forever became five years, death till us part became irreconcilable differences. I still miss it, or maybe the idea of it. My mother always said I was born to be married. I rub at the empty spot as I wait for the elevator in her building.

She’s still in the same condo. I came here once during Leah’s trial. It’s about three times the size of mine, with floor to ceiling windows that overlook the ocean. She’s a show off. Olivia doesn’t even like the ocean. The closest I’ve ever seen her get is to stick in her big toe. She’s on the top floor. I clutch the bottle of wine as the elevator pings and the door slides open. She’s the only one on this floor.

I take inventory of the hallway: a pair of men’s tennis shoes-his, a plant-his, a plaque on the door that says Go Away!-hers. I eye it all warily. I would have to be on my best behavior — no flirting, no touching, no undressing her with my eyes. I’d just have to focus on my date, and that shouldn’t be a problem. I smile to myself as I anticipate Olivia’s reaction. The door opens before I can reach for the bell. A man fills the space. We stare at each other for a good ten seconds, and I have a brief moment of awkwardness. Did she forget to tell him that I was coming? Then he runs a hand through his semi-damp hair, and his face moves into a smile.

“Caleb,” he says.


I give him a once over. He’s a few inches shorter than I am, but he’s stockier — well built. Dark hair, cut short — there is gray at his temples. I peg him at about thirty-five, though I know from the P.I. I hired that he’s thirty-nine. He’s Jewish, if his look didn’t tell me that, the Star of David around his neck would have. He’s a good-looking guy.

“Noah.” He holds out his hand. I grin as I shake it. The irony that both of our hands have touched his wife gives me a bit of a mean edge.

“She sent me out here to get these,” he says, scooping up the tennis shoes.

“Don’t let her know that you saw them. She’s a Nazi about mess.”

I laugh at the fact that her Jewish husband is calling her a Nazi and follow him inside. I blink at the foyer. It’s different from the last time I was here. She’s replaced all the cold white and black with warm colors. It looks like a home — wood floors, rugs, knick-knacks. Jealousy rips through me, and I push it aside as she comes trotting out of the kitchen pulling off an apron.

She tosses it aside and hugs me. For a scat of a second it feels right, her coming toward me with such determination. Then she holds her body stiff, instead of letting it melt into me. I can’t help but feel thwarted. I have to taper my smile, which always spreads hard and fast when she’s near. Noah is watching us, so I hand her the wine.

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