Planning her wedding should be Phoebe Fitzgerald’s happiest time of her life. When her former lover turns up declaring his everlasting adoration…doubts crowd in. Is she making a mistake? Is she in love with her fiancé, Marco Petronelli, or just succumbing to an overwhelming bout of lust? Wanting space she escapes to a beachside house to unravel her mixed emotions.
From the first moment Marco encountered Phoebe he wanted her, only she wasn’t available. He bided his time and when he could, he swooped in and swept her off her feet. When she declares the wedding is off, he refuses to let her ruin what they have.
Marco follows Phoebe to her beachside destination. He will do anything to convince her that what they have can’t be denied. Seducing her until she can’t think straight is the easy part. Opening up and trusting his soul to her…so much harder.
Phoebe Fitzgerald turned and looked at herself in the mirror of the bridal store fitting room, and butterflies multiplied by the dozen in her belly. Her dress fit perfectly. She looked like a queen. It was everything she had thought it would be and more.
“Oh, Phoebe,” her best friend Sophie gushed when the curtain was thrust open by the alterations lady.
Before Phoebe could say anything, her phone beeped, signaling a text message had arrived. She should’ve turned it to vibrate before she’d entered the changing room. The butterflies stopped fluttering and a football-sized feeling of dread replaced them.
Somehow she knew who was texting her. The same person who’d been calling and texting her constantly for the last two days: John Allen. After their first conversation two weeks ago, she’d stopped answering his calls and texts. But he hadn’t given up.
Two weeks ago everything had been clear in her mind. She was going to get married to a man who had come to mean a lot to her. It wasn’t a fairy tale love match, but at the time of Marco’s proposal she’d been caught up in the haze of some of the most amazing lovemaking she’d ever experienced—so when he had blurted out they should get married, she’d readily agreed. She’d thought he’d been joking, but the next night, when he’d gotten down on bended knee and presented her with a ring, she had said yes again. She cared deeply for Marco. She knew she could count on him when she needed to. She knew he would never disappoint her or let her down.
After loving, losing and being disappointed by the people in her life more than once, she had no desire to travel down that bumpy road again. A nice, no complications relationship had seemed the perfect solution.
Now a ghost from her past had returned and it was like a fog had crept into her mind.
She had no visibility of what was right or wrong. She was so confused.
Why did Marco have to cancel their lunch date two weeks ago? Things would’ve been so much easier if he hadn’t had to stay at that meeting.
Standing in her wedding dress, looking like a queen, she let her mind wander back to the day when her world turned upside down.
“You look like you’ve lost fifty dollars and found five instead.”
Phoebe whipped her head around and couldn’t believe it when she clapped eyes on her former lover—John Allen.
“John, what are you doing here?”
“I’m back in town; my stint overseas is over.” He sent her a look that she could only describe as suggestive. With his hair falling over his forehead, he had an air of carefree fun about him. “I’m hoping we can catch up.”
It had been months since she’d last seen John, since he’d announced very casually over dinner that he was planning on joining an overseas medical organization, and he was leaving the next day. She’d been heartbroken. She’d thought they’d had something special. But, once again, it seemed the people she loved never loved her as much as she loved them. It was like she wasn’t worthy of their full affection.
“I don’t think so.”
When he reached out and touched her hand, her skin tingled. “Phoebs, I’m sorry about the way I left but while I was away I realized what a fool I’d been. I’d left the best girl I’ve ever known behind. I constantly thought about all the fun times we had. How whenever we were together we seemed untouchable. I think I’m in love with you, Phoebe.
She couldn’t deny the way her heart fluttered at his declaration. It was what she’d hoped would happen after he’d left, but it never had. Now she had Marco in her life. She could count on him not to let her down. Marco was solid, dependable, trustworthy. He would never leave her alone like so many others had done before. They may not laugh as much as her and John had done, and they may not have ever said those three little words to each other, but they did have a good relationship. Marco was her chance to finally have someone permanent in her life. Someone who put her first.
“I think it’s a little late for that, John.” Phoebe held up her left hand and waved her fingers. “I’m engaged now.”
“Nothing’s final until you say ‘I do’. Engagements aren’t set in stone.” “Well, regardless of what you think, it means something to me.”
“Does it? I see the way you’re breathing, Phoebs. I see the way your eyes are shining.
You still care.” He took hold of her hand and brought it to his lips, kissing it.
She knew she should pull her hand away, but she couldn’t. Her skin didn’t burn like it did when Marco touched her, but her body was reacting. Her body remembered John and all they’d shared—all the love she’d thought she once felt for him.
Phoebe felt many things for Marco, but “love” had never entered the equation. After being burned so many times in the past by people she loved, she was determined to focus on more practical things now. Easy, uncomplicated companionship. An intense physical connection. A future.
But as she looked at John, sitting there across from her declaring his love, a moment’s doubt filled her mind. All those things she had with Marco were important, but when it came down to it, marriage should be based on love, shouldn’t it? What if she was making a mistake?
Her phone started ringing, jolting her back to the present and the fitting room at the bridal salon, where the alterations lady was still working on her dress. She was tempted to throw the phone against the wall. Ever since that conversation with John two weeks ago, she’d been so confused. And his constant calls and texts weren’t helping. Why couldn’t he leave her alone?
“You want me to get that, Phoebs?” Sophie’s voice penetrated her fog, dissipating a tiny corner.
“No!” The word shot out like a bullet. The last thing she wanted was Sophie picking up her phone and seeing that John was back in town.
Telling her he’d realized he loved her and had made the biggest mistake of his life by breaking up with her and leaving her behind.
“Can you give us a minute?” Sophie asked the lady adjusting her dress. Phoebe wanted to put her hand on the lady to halt her exit; she didn’t really want to be left alone with Sophie. But if she created a fuss it would only make her look like she was hiding something; which she was. She just didn’t want Sophie to know it yet.
“It looks good, don’t you think?” Phoebe asked, running a hand over the fabric of her dress.
“Yes. Now tell me what’s going on?”
She tried to laugh but it sounded pitiful to her ears. “Well I think it’s pretty obvious what’s going on. I’m here for a fitting and you, as my matron of honor, have the job of telling me whether it looks good or not.”
Phoebe knew she was walking a thin line and she could see the frustration and hurt in Sophie’s eyes. Remorse filled her; Soph was her best friend. They’d shared so much; maybe sharing her problems with her friend could be the best thing. Help her to put things in perspective.
She gazed again at her reflection in the mirror. The crystal-encrusted gown was beautiful. It hugged her figure before flaring out with just the right amount of pouf.
“It really is beautiful, Phoebs. You look gorgeous. Marco won’t be able to keep his hands to himself.”
At hearing her fiancé’s name, doubts crowded back in Phoebe’s mind, all clamoring to be heard.
She couldn’t do it.
She couldn’t marry Marco, not when she had so many doubts. “I can’t do it,” she whispered. “I can’t do it.”
“Can’t do what?” Sophie asked.
“I can’t marry Marco.” She started grabbing at the ties at the back of her dress. Her breath came in short spurts as panic took hold. She didn’t want to rip her gorgeous gown, but she would if she had to. She needed to get out of it.
Her phone started ringing again, making her even more anxious to remove the dress.
The more times John called or sent a text, the more she was tempted to answer. To see him again to see if what they’d had was real. But if it was real, then he wouldn’t have left her to go overseas. He would’ve stayed with her and planned a future together. And what about what she had experienced with Marco? She knew she felt different emotions when she was in Marco’s arms than she had felt when she had been with John. But she couldn’t avoid John forever—maybe it would be best to see him again. She squashed the thought as soon as she’d finished it.
Nothing was clear anymore.
Her hands were grabbed by warm ones, stopping her desperate actions just as her phone stopped ringing.
“Phoebe, stop. Calm down, it’s just pre-wedding jitters.”
“If only it were that easy to blame it on nerves or jitters. It’s more than nerves. It’s…”
“Stop,” Sophie interrupted. “As much as I want to find out what’s going on, I’m not sure a bridal salon is the best place for it. We can go back to my place.”
“Won’t Alex be there? I can’t talk to you if Marco’s best friend is sitting beside you.” For the first time Phoebe didn’t like the fact that her best friend was married to Marco’s best friend. They were all connected—and not just through Louisa, Alex and Sophie’s daughter, and Phoebe and Marco’s goddaughter. Alex worked at the same hospital where she was a nurse, so Phoebe had to see him almost every day. She didn’t think she could cope with knowing she’d hurt so many people.
Why had everything become so complicated? She wanted everything to go back to normal. But what was normal?
“Do you seriously think I would have a conversation like this with Alex around?” Sophie scoffed. “I’ll tell him to take Louisa for a walk. Now come on, let’s get you out of this gown and then you can tell me everything.”
Before Phoebe had a chance to reply Sophie had disappeared out of the changing room to get the seamstress. With a few moments of privacy she walked over to her handbag hanging on the hook and pulled her phone out. She had messages from John and Marco. She closed her eyes and leaned against the wall. Who knew text messages and missed calls could cause so much turmoil. Taking a deep breath she entered her passcode and went to her voicemail.
“Hey, sweetheart, it’s just me. Wanted to say hope the dress fitting is going well. I’m sure you’re going to look beautiful and I can’t wait to see you in your wedding gown. See you tonight. Bye.”
Hearing Marco’s voice caused a calmness to settle over her. Oh, how she wished he’d finished the message off with I love you. It would push all her doubts aside. It would give her the reassurance that she finally came first in someone’s life. She hadn’t been first with John; his need for adventure in war-torn countries had come first. Sure, he was going as a doctor and would be making a difference to the lives of people less fortunate. But still, it hurt that he hadn’t even given her a second thought when he’d made the decision to join the international medical organization. The same had gone for her parents—like John, the more adventurous the pursuit, the more important it was to them than their own daughter. Even Mrs. White, the one person who had professed to love and care for Phoebe, had ultimately let her down. What made her so sure what she had to offer Marco would be enough for him? She pressed the number to save Marco’s message.
The next message increased her anxiety again.
“It’s John. Come on, Phoebs, pick up your phone. You know you want to see me.
Remember all the fun we had? I haven’t forgotten. I made a mistake leaving you. I’m in love with you.”
The two messages couldn’t be any more different. The tones of voice from the two men were completely different too. She quickly deleted John’s voicemail and then his text messages without looking at them. As if by doing that, it would make her problem go away. Of course, all it did was make her wonder what he had texted her the moment she’d deleted them.
“Ms. Fitzgerald, is it okay to come in?” The seamstress’s voice had Phoebe quickly putting the phone away, as if it had given her an electric shock.
“Yes, please come in.”
Within minutes Phoebe was out of the dress and back in her street clothes. The oppressive feeling had abated the moment her dress had been lifted over her head. She gave it one last look, touching the fabric softly. Would she wear it or would she call everything off on the off-chance that John was the man she was meant to be with? Could she even trust what John said to her now? Or was he just looking for a good time before his next adventure called to him?
Too many thoughts were running around her head. Until she truly sat down and thought things through, nothing would make sense.
Phoebe walked out the room and headed towards the main area, where Sophie was waiting. As she got closer to Sophie she noticed a lovely flower arrangement sitting on the alterations department’s reception desk. She didn’t think the bouquet had been there when she’d arrived.
She reached Sophie’s side. “You ready to go, Soph?”
“Sure am, but…” She pointed to the flowers. “Delivery arrived for you while I was waiting.”
Phoebe looked at the flowers, shocked. “Who are they from?”
Sophie laughed and Phoebe realized how stupid that sounded. “I would imagine Marco sent them to you.”
Phoebe reached out towards the small envelope poking out of the arrangement, her fingers lightly trembling. She extracted the card and scanned the note, almost dropping it.
You’re making a mistake marrying this guy. It’s me you should be marrying. Meet me tonight. 8 p.m. La Circe. John.
Phoebe closed her eyes. How the hell had John known she’d be at this particular bridal salon? Her skin crawled at the thought that John might have followed her. It didn’t seem to fit his personality, but how else would he know where and when she would be having her dress fitting?
She wished she had the ability to turn back time, to go back those two weeks to when she was sure that marrying Marco was the right thing to do.
“Is everything alright?” Sophie said, pulling her away from her thoughts.
She looked at her friend and sent her a smile. A smile that she knew wouldn’t fool Sophie at all. “Yes, why wouldn’t I be okay? I got a lovely flower arrangement from my doting f-fiancé.” Phoebe choked out the word as she tucked the card into her pocket. “Let’s go.”
She made a move to leave but then remembered the flowers. She turned to the lady who had been helping her with her dress. “Here, you take the flowers, I’m sure my fiancé won’t mind you having them. A thank you for all that you’ve done.”
With that she headed towards the exit, not sure that she’d be back to pick up her dress.
“You want to tell me what’s going on?” Sophie asked as she placed a tray holding two glasses of white wine and a plate of chips and dips on the table in front of her. “And don’t try to fob me off. I left you to your thoughts in the car. Now it’s time to come clean. Why are you having second thoughts about marrying Marco?”
Phoebe took a sip of wine, hoping that it would give her the courage she needed. The wine had a sharp, fruity taste to it. She took a deep breath and blurted out the name that had been haunting her for the past two weeks. “John’s back.”
Sophie looked at her incredulously, as if she couldn’t quite believe what Phoebe had said. She couldn’t blame her.
“John as in the douchebag who left you the moment his residency was done to chase greener pastures and, no doubt, more ladies? That’s the John you’re talking about?”
“And he’s the reason you’re having second thoughts?”
Phoebe could hear the annoyance in Sophie’s voice. She could understand it, and, as she sat there, she could almost reason with herself that her thoughts were stupid. But a part of her was still wondering “what if.” What if John’s coming back was a sign that he was the one she was meant to be with?
“Phoebe, why are you even entertaining thoughts of John? I thought you loved Marco? I mean, you’re a few weeks away from getting married!”
“I know. I’m so confused. I don’t know what to do.”
“It’s actually quite simple, Phoebs. Do you love Marco? If so, then tell John to get lost. If you have real doubts then you need to seriously think about what you’re going to do. And you should go away somewhere by yourself to think them through.” Sophie paused—Phoebe could see the censure in her friend’s eyes and knew that what Sophie was going to say next wasn’t going to be pleasant. “But don’t hurt Marco, he doesn’t deserve it.”
She was right, of course, but Phoebe was also surprised. Shouldn’t Sophie be on her side? Sophie was her best friend, not Marco’s. Was she, again, about to be let down by someone who she thought would always have her back?
“Whatever I do, someone gets hurt,” Phoebe said quietly.
“Then you need to think long and hard before you do anything stupid like cancelling your wedding. You’re my best friend and I love you, but I won’t sit here and agree that you should go off with John. I remember how he hurt you when he left. He didn’t even consider your feelings. Marco healed you, Phoebs. You’ve been so happy since the two of you hooked up at Louisa’s christening. You seem to be so much more at peace with yourself.”
At peace sounded boring to Phoebe’s ears, further increasing her anxiety. When she had been with John it had always been exciting. They’d always been joking around, never really taking anything seriously. Unfortunately, her heart hadn’t remembered to keep it light and had fallen for him.
“I thought I had it all sorted. I thought I was happy,” she murmured, almost to herself. “You are happy, Phoebe.”
“How can you say that? I had more fun with John than I do with Marco. We were always laughing.”
“But that was superficial. Even Alex has commented on how much happier you seem with Marco than you did with John.”
“That’s because Alex didn’t like John, and I’m seeing his best friend now.”
“Not true. Alex didn’t mind him. He thought John was a good doctor. He just never thought John was your match and Alex didn’t like it when you got hurt by him. Alex cares about you too. He knows how important you are to me.”
The conversation wasn’t going in the direction Phoebe wanted it to. And she was still confused.
Sophie shrugged her shoulders, as if knowing Phoebe didn’t want to continue talking. “Well whatever decision you make, you have to remember this: you will see Marco on a regular basis. You’re both Louisa’s godparents. I won’t have one of you without the other at any of her birthdays or other celebrations.”
“Is everything alright, sweetheart? You’ve been quiet all evening.”
How to answer that question, Phoebe thought as she placed her coffee cup back on the saucer. Ever since she’d left Sophie’s place she’d been thinking over her suggestion of taking some time away, and trying to get her head around the dilemma she found herself in. It hadn’t helped that John had called three more times. He was acting like a stalker. But a part of her still wanted to see him. Talk to him. If she told Sophie that, Sophie would say it was the rash part of her speaking.
As if struck by a cannon ball, she knew what she had to do. “I can’t marry you.”
The words fired out of her and she immediately wanted to snatch them back. A slight flaring of Marco’s nostrils was the only indication that her words had shocked him. She’d expected to see fire in the depths of his brown eyes. However, his handsome face remained blank, as normal as ever—right down to his lush, full bottom lip, and his nose with the slight bump from when he’d broken it playing schoolyard football. No one watching him in this restaurant would have any idea that she’d just dropped a major, life- changing, bombshell on him.
He looked around the crowded restaurant before returning his gaze back to her. “I’ll ask for the check.”
Phoebe nodded, unable to speak. She sat quietly while Marco signaled the waiter. “I’m sorry,” she whispered as the waiter walked away. He held up his hand to stop her
from saying anything else.
Why had she blurted that out in the middle of a restaurant? Did she hope that by saying it in a crowded place he wouldn’t make a scene? Did she hope that there was safety in numbers and she could tell him everything and he’d just sit there and take it all in, smiling like nothing was happening? She should’ve waited until they were at her place. Or at least in the car on the way home.
The waiter returned with the check and Marco opened his wallet and pulled out some bills, placing them in the folder. He closed it with a snap, pushed his chair back, and stood up. “Let’s go.”
Phoebe shivered; she’d never seen him like this. So cold and remote. He’d always been open with her. The first time they’d met had been at Alex and Sophie’s civil ceremony and then wedding her father put on for her. At the time, she’d been so caught up in John that she hadn’t paid much attention to him, and had put the connection flaring between them down to the fact that they were best man and maid of honor. The next time they’d seen each other had been at Louisa’s christening. John had been gone for months and well, the connection flared to life again and she had gone home with him.
“Are you coming, Phoebe?” Marco’s tone was impatient and pulled her from the thoughts of their first night together.
“Yes.” She stood and walked towards the restaurant’s exit.
Even in anger, he was the consummate gentleman, holding the door open for her so she could exit the restaurant before him. The short walk to the car passed in a tense silence.
What was she doing? Had she done the right thing telling Marco she couldn’t marry him? They reached the car and once again he held the door open for her. She paused before getting into the car. She looked up at him. In the muted light of the car park he looked to be made of stone. She ached to reach out and touch his cheek, to soften the tension that she could see in his jaw. But at that moment, that would be the worst thing she could do. So she murmured her thanks and slipped into the car. He closed the door firmly.
She’d expected him to slam it.
Marco got into the car, keeping a tight hold on his anger. An anger that had started from the moment Phoebe announced she was calling the wedding off. It was the last thing he’d expected to come out of her mouth. He could tell she wasn’t herself that evening; she’d turned her head when he’d leaned in to kiss her, and she’d been distracted throughout dinner. He had put it down to being preoccupied with their wedding plans.
But her preoccupation had been about cancelling the wedding, not thinking about what still needed to be finalized.
He pulled out of the car park and headed towards…not his house that was for sure.
He wanted to have this conversation where he wouldn’t be reminded of the outcome.
He drove for a few minutes before coming across a small park. He pulled into the empty lot.
“What are we doing here?” Phoebe asked.
Marco cut the engine and released his seat belt. He turned to face her. “We’re going to talk.”
“At a deserted park?” He could hear the incredulous tone in her voice. “Yes.”
“Why not at your house or mine?”
“Because I think we need to discuss this situation we now find ourselves in in a neutral place.”
He didn’t want to have a talk at all. What he really wanted to do was reach over and kiss her. Kiss away her doubts and remind her that they were good together and their marriage would be a good and lasting one. But he knew if he made any move like that it would probably only reinforce her decision to end things. And that was the last thing he wanted to happen. He didn’t want to end things with Phoebe. He’d wanted her since he’d first laid eyes on her at Alex and Sophie’s civil ceremony. He’d bided his time until she was single and then he’d made his move. She was sexy and attractive and he’d felt a connection with her that he hadn’t felt with anyone. Not even Veronika, the other woman he’d considered marrying until she’d betrayed him and he’d learned that loving deeply only led to being hurt. But though he knew he would never let himself make that mistake again—falling in love made you blind and stupid—he could not deny that his relationship with Phoebe was damn near close to ideal. She made him happy, and he knew he wanted her to always be by his side. Marriage was the way to ensure that.
“Well are we getting out or are we going to sit here all night and gaze into the darkness?”
He gave a quiet chuckle; he really enjoyed seeing the little glimpses of Phoebe’s sense of humor she shared with him every now and then. He wished she’d do it more often.
Sometimes he wondered if she was keeping part of herself hidden away from him.
He got out of the car, walked around to her side, and opened her door before she had the chance to. He held out a hand, ignoring the warmth spreading over him, like it always did, when he touched her. There was no way he was going to let her call off the wedding. There was no way he was going to let her leave his life. There was no way their relationship was done.
He didn’t release her hand as they ambled towards the park bench. In any other circumstance, it would be quite a romantic scenario. A moonlight walk in the park, the trees casting shadows, perfect for stealing an illicit kiss or two.
He gave the bench a quick wipe with his free hand, brushing away the leaves that had fallen during the day. He felt a shiver ripple through Phoebe, so he shrugged out of his jacket, hating that he had to release her hand.
“Are you cold?” he asked as he held it out towards her. “No I’m fine, but thank you.”
He waited until she sat before slipping the jacket back on and joining her on the bench.
For the first time in his life he found he didn’t know how to start a conversation with someone.
“I’m not changing my mind, no matter what you say.”
Well that was one way to start it, straight for the jugular. He felt he knew Phoebe really well. He was sure he would’ve noticed if she was having doubts. Prior to the last two weeks, they had spent every possible moment together.
Two weeks ago, the day he’d been unable to meet her for lunch.
The thought hit him again. Two weeks ago something happened in her life that she hadn’t shared with him. The anger that had cooled on the drive to the park flared to life again. He didn’t like it when things were kept from him. After all the secrets kept and lies told by Veronika, he valued honesty.
“What happened two weeks ago?” he asked.
Her gasp was all he needed to know that he’d hit the jackpot with his comment. The big question would be whether she would tell him the truth or evade it.
“Nothing. Nothing happened.” Her voice was high pitched—another sign she was nervous and lying to him.
“Don’t lie to me, Phoebe.”
Even with anger flowing through his veins, his hands itched to cover hers as they fiddled with the strap of her purse, twisting it tightly. He decided to tone his questions down. He wouldn’t get to the bottom of the situation if he badgered her. “Tell me why you don’t want us to get married anymore.”
She stood and started pacing in front of him, creating a slight breeze as she passed him. Her blonde hair was caught up in a loose knot at the base of her neck, tendrils escaping and caressing her fine cheekbones. In the dim light she looked ethereal. He couldn’t see her blue eyes, but he imagined they’d be stormy—not clear blue like they were in the throes of passion. The faint floral fragrance of her perfume wafted towards him. The scent reminded him of the times he’d buried his head in her neck, feasting on the soft skin below her ear, her soft moans of pleasure filling his ears. He clenched his fist against the bolt of desire that coursed through his body, replacing the anger that had been there moments before.
“I think we’re rushing into this marriage,” she finally said. “We hardly know each other. I don’t think I’m ready for the next step.”
Her comment surprised him. He thought they knew each other pretty well. “So how long to do you think you’ll need before you’re ready to take the next step and marry me?”
She stopped her pacing as if surprised he would even suggest a timeframe—and even more that he would wait for her.
“I don’t know.”
He couldn’t take it anymore—he needed to touch her. He stood up and pulled her into his embrace. She resisted, but he stood firm and slowly she softened against him. He closed his eyes and enjoyed holding her. He leaned back slightly and lifted her face up to him. Through the moonlight he could see the distress in her eyes. He wanted to take away her hurt. Make her smile again.
“Phoebe,” he whispered quietly before he closed the gap and lowered his lips to hers. As much as he wanted to ravage her, he sipped slowly from her soft lips. He broke the contact briefly, before taking them once again. He pulled her tight against his body, moving his hands down her back until he reached the soft curve of her bottom. He squeezed the firm flesh and thrust his hips slightly against hers, letting Phoebe know just how much he wanted her.
He was about to slip his hands up her body to caress her breasts when he felt her hands pushing against his chest. He lifted his head and took a step back.
“I’m sorry, Marco, but I can’t. I can’t marry you.” “Why? Why can’t you marry me?”
“I’m not ready.” Her voice broke. “I thought I was, but now I don’t think I am. I’m confused. I don’t know what I want.”
He knew, deep in his gut, that there was more to it than just confused feelings. She was keeping something from him, he was sure of it.
“I’m sure every bride gets cold feet this close to a wedding.”
“Don’t be so condescending,” she snapped at him, and he had to agree—he had sounded condescending. “It’s not cold feet.”
“Then what is it?” he asked through gritted teeth. “There’s someone else.”