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EXCERPT REVEAL FOR
From New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author
Reagan drops her head and lets out a shaky breath. “I do understand, Jude.” She pauses, and I’m hopeful for a moment that the conversation is over. But again, I’m wrong. She raises her head, lifting her chin high, and crosses her arms to match my posture. “But sometimes you need to remember while you were out fighting in a war, I was sitting in my father’s office listening to him cut deals with mobsters.”
“I wasn’t born yesterday.” I run my fingers through my hair and try to keep my voice even. The last thing I want to do is ruin the rest of the time I have left before I have to go back on the road again. “I’ve been in politics long enough to know that if I take his money, I’ll owe him a favor.”
“You can’t,” she says and takes a step toward me, completely ignoring everything I just said.
I push off the counter and turn my back to her. I can’t fight with her anymore about this. I can’t jeopardize the entire weekend over something as silly as a single meeting. “I’m done talking about this, Reagan.”
“Where are you going?” she asks as I grab my keys from the hook near the door.
“Out,” I grunt with my back to her and my hand on the doorknob.
I hear her footsteps on the tile as the bottom of my shoes touch the landing, but I don’t stop.
Fuck. I won’t.
I love the woman. Hell, I’d lay down my life for hers. I’ve never been crazier about another human being, but lately, we’re like gasoline and fire. The stress of the campaign and the added pressure Reagan continues to put on our marriage by only focusing on my career is weighing me down and killing the dream we gave so much to try to build.
I stalk down the street, wandering to God knows where. I walk for hours, winding down endless streets in downtown Chicago and ignoring every phone call until I end up at the steps of my old gym.
When I walk through the door, my old trainer yells, “Jude! What the fuck, man?” and jogs toward me with his hand outstretched. For a moment, I feel normal again. It’s almost like I’m the Marine who just returned from a battle to a warm reception and a kind handshake.
“So good to see you, Manny.” My smile’s easy as I shake his hand. “Can you fit me in?”
“Can I fit the future governor of Illinois in?” He looks at me like I’m crazy. “Don’t be a dick, dude. We always got time for you.”
“I need a few rounds in the ring. No holds barred.”
His eyes widen as his hand falls away from mine. “I don’t think…” he says, smashing his hands together in front of him as he glances behind his back. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“I can go somewhere else,” I tell him with a shrug.
Manny peers up at me with a wicked smile. “No. No. I’ll just go easy on you. I can’t have that pretty face all messed up for the cameras.” He jabs me playfully in the ribs.
I laugh at his statement. “I’ll try not to beat you too badly, old man.”
He straightens at the put-down and puffs out his muscles, trying to make himself look bigger and badder than usual. “Those are fighting words, Titan.”
“Bring it,” I tell him.