“Its been a year.”
“And?” Tayla glared at her colleague who also happened to be her best friend.
“And I think its okay to move on if you want to,” Mackenzie patiently replied, not deterred by her angry glower or the frosty tone of her voice.
“I know that,” Tayla snapped. It had been a year since her husband died and she knew that there was no right or wrong when it came to moving on after the loss of a loved one. She and Mackenzie were both trauma counsellors, they’d been friends since the first day of kindergarten, gone through something traumatic together, decided to both study psychiatry, both specialised in trauma counselling, and had opened their practice together. There was no one on this earth who knew her better than her best friend.
No one except her husband.
Only he wasn’t on this earth anymore.
He was dead, had been killed by some fourteen year old rebel who had decided to go joyriding with his girlfriend in his dad’s convertible. He’d lost control of the car, plowed straight into Max’s car, killing him instantly.
Her husband was gone, there was a hole in her heart that would never be filled, and to be quite honest she didn’t want to fill it. Tayla might be only twenty-nine, but she couldn’t imagine falling in love again, so she was resigned to living out the rest of her life alone.
“Tay, don’t do that,” Mackenzie said, wrapping an arm around her shoulders as they turned off the lights in their offices, closed the doors, and started walking down the hall to the reception room and the exit to their suite.
“Do what?” she asked, all innocent.
“Pretend that you’re okay with being alone. I know Max, and I know that he would want you to find someone else to share your life with. He was the least selfish guy on the planet and he would want you to be happy.”
“I am happy,” she protested. As happy as a widow who was still grieving could be anyway.
“Liar,” Mackenzie muttered, but before she could say more the door to their suite was opened and two good looking men in suits stepped through it.
She knew one of those men.
She had known him almost as long as she had known Mackenzie. He’d been her older brother’s best friend, she’d had a crush on him for as long as she could remember but to her she was just Squirt, the annoying kid sister of his best friend. One night, just before she left for college, there had been one night of magical lovemaking, and while she had dreamed of a future for the two of them he’d had different ideas. He’d taken her virginity then been gone before she woke in the morning. He’d broken her heart but Max had mended it before breaking it all over again with his death.
But she wasn’t that sweet, shy girl anymore, standing in the shadows making up fantasies of what it would be like to be carried in Dean’s strong arms, kissed by that mouth with the dimples on either side, made love to by that body that would put any model on the cover of the romance books she loved to shame. This time she was going to be the one to snub him like he didn’t matter then never see him again so she could finally say love this ending to their little story.
Now she was a woman who was well and truly fully prepared to spend the rest of her years alone. A sexy body wasn’t enough to entice her anymore.
“Come on, Mackenzie, lets go,” she growled, intending to stalk right past Dean and his friend.
“Umm, okay, but shouldn’t we like, you know, find out what they want?” Mackenzie asked.
“I don’t care what they want,” she huffed, releasing her grip on her friend, if Mackenzie wanted to stand here and listen to Dean then she could but she was leaving.
“You can’t leave, Tayla,” Dean said, grabbing her arm as she tried to walk past him, and darn it if her stupid body didn’t respond instantly to his touch. It had been twelve months and nine days since Max died, and twelve months and eleven days since she had last had been with a man, this stupid electricity that was zapping through her body was nothing more than a natural reaction to a physically pleasing specimen.
“I most certainly can,” she said, trying to pull herself free but he wouldn’t release her.
“Uh, I’m getting the vibe that there’s something going on here, do you two know each other?” Dean’s friend asked.
“He broke her heart,” Mackenzie supplied.
“Ah,” the man nodded like that all made sense.
“We’re here about a murder,” Dean informed them, his tone cold and clipped, nothing like the Dean she remembered. “One of your patients was murdered, Tayla.”
One of her patients was murdered? Which one? How? Who did it? Since Dean was still friends with her brother she knew that he was a cop and this other man was no doubt his partner. If they were here informing her of this murder did that mean they thought that she had committed it?
The color drained from her face and she was suddenly ice cold. “Do you think I did it?”