Home > Say You're Sorry (Morgan Dane #1)(3)

Say You're Sorry (Morgan Dane #1)(3)
Author: Melinda Leigh

Bryce leaned his forearms on the table and interlaced his fingers. His cross-examination focus landed on Morgan like a spotlight.

“Have you made a decision?” he asked.

“I have.” She shivered as the vent overhead unleashed a stream of cool air down her back. “I accept.”

Bryce grinned. Satisfaction slid over his face as he shifted back in his chair. “Excellent.”

A busboy cleared their dinner dishes, and the waitress approached. “Would either of you like to see a dessert menu?”

Morgan shook her head. A few grains of silver on her skirt caught the light, evidence of her youngest child’s current obsession with glitter. She resisted checking her watch. She’d only been gone a couple of hours. The girls were fine.

One evening away from her kids, and she missed them. How would she cope with being at the office all day, every day? This was ridiculous. She was thirty-three years old. Until two years ago, she’d been a successful assistant district attorney. She’d juggled a household, three very small children, and a career. Most of the time, John had been deployed to Iraq. Then an IED had exploded six thousand miles away, killing her husband. Devastated, she’d chucked everything to move back home. Now it was time to get back to being an independent, professional woman. She’d been hiding behind her grief long enough.

She needed to move forward with her life.

But why did it have to be so damned hard?

Bryce lifted his coffee. “To my newest assistant district attorney.”

“To new beginnings.” Morgan picked up her water glass and touched it to his cup. Soon she would feel like her old self.


“You might want to rethink declining dessert,” Bryce joked. “This will probably be the last decent meal we’ll have together. From now on, it’s all Chinese takeout at your desk.”

“I like Chinese takeout.” Morgan’s smile felt fake. Probably because it was.

Bryce paid the check, and they left the restaurant. On the sidewalk outside, he said good-bye with a warm handshake. “I’ll see you a week from Monday. Human Resources will be in touch.”

“Good-bye.” Morgan walked in the opposite direction and turned the corner, her grip tightening around the handle of her tote as if she was holding her composure together by her fingers.

She’d parked her minivan at the curb on a side street. Sunset cast long shadows across the sidewalk. Her heel caught and she stumbled, the shoe wrenching off her foot. Catching her balance, she backtracked a step, bent down, and picked up her shoe. The three-inch heel hung broken from the sole, the leather ripped beyond repair.

Tears welled in her eyes, and panic swirled in her chest. What the hell? It was just a shoe. In one heel and one bare foot, she clumped awkwardly across the street and got into her van. Thank goodness she was no longer in Bryce’s view. He didn’t need to discover the fragility of her professional persona. In truth, it fractured under pressure like spun sugar.

Sliding behind the wheel, she closed her eyes and breathed until the tightness in her chest eased. Meltdown averted, she removed her intact pump and tossed it on the passenger seat with its broken mate before driving home. There, she dropped her shoes in the garbage can at the head of the driveway and went inside.

In the living room, her grandfather leaned over the coffee table and stared at a chessboard. Their neighbor, Nick Zabrowski, sat on the opposite side. Nick owned a small landscaping company and lived across the street with his dad.

“Hi Nick.” Morgan set her tote on the chest in the foyer. “No plans tonight?”

“No.” At twenty, Nick was too young to spend his Friday nights with an elderly neighbor. Girl problems?

“Are the kids asleep?” Morgan asked.

Scratching his chin, Grandpa touched his rook then released it. “Yes.”

“How did you get Sophie to bed with Nick here?” Morgan asked. Nick was one of Sophie’s favorite people.

Nick blushed. “I read her a story.”


Grandpa moved his rook, sat back, and looked at her. “Where are your shoes?”

“I broke a heel.” Morgan removed her suit jacket and tossed it over her tote.

Nick jumped his knight over a row of pawns. “I should go.”

Grandpa nodded. “We’ll finish the game tomorrow?”

“Sure.” Nick headed for the door. “’Night.”

“Goodnight.” Morgan closed and locked the door behind him.

Grandpa leaned over the chessboard.

“Let me get that for you.” Morgan shifted the board to a shelf, out of the way of her three small girls, who would roll through the living room like bowling balls in the morning. “Who’s winning?”

“Hard to say at this point.”

Nick and Grandpa had been playing chess for years. A former member of his high school chess team, Nick had the advantage, but Grandpa pulled a trick from his sleeve now and then.

“How did it go?” he asked.

“Fine,” she said, sniffing.

“I can tell.” Grandpa snorted. He snatched a tissue from a box on the side table and handed it to her.

Morgan blotted under her eyes. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just accepted an offer for a job I really wanted.”

“You’re taking a big step.” Grandpa rubbed her arm. “Change is scary. You’re going to be all right. You’re tough.”

Morgan nodded. Enough of this emotional bullshit. She didn’t feel tough, but she would fake it. She went into the kitchen and took a container of Chunky Monkey from the freezer. “Am I doing the right thing by the girls? They’ll have to make some pretty big adjustments.”

Grandpa followed her in. “They’ll be fine. They’ll miss you, but their lives won’t change that much. You’re the one who will have the big adjustment.”

Taking a spoon from the drawer, she ate directly from the pint.

Fetching his own spoon, he shuffled up next to her and helped himself. “No one said you had to go back to work. If you’re worried about money, you don’t have to be. Even after I’m gone, I have money put away—”

“Thank you.” Morgan stopped him. Tonight she couldn’t bear to think of losing him too. “I know you’ll always look after us.” She leaned her head against his shoulder. “But that’s not it. I haven’t even touched the money from John’s life insurance.” Living back home, she was able to cover her minimal expenses with her survivor benefits.

“I’m glad to see you trying to move forward. If you’re happy, the girls will be too.”

“Thanks. I hope so.” Morgan lifted her head. “I’m going to bed.”

“I’ll lock up and set the alarm.” Grandpa had installed a security system a few months ago.

Morgan wiped out the pint of ice cream, and then she carried her jacket back to her bedroom, frustrated and feeling the first twinge of a sugar headache.

Going back to work was supposed to alleviate her depression, not increase it.

She stopped in the girls’ room. Three twin beds crowded the space. Six-year-old Ava snuggled with her teddy bear. Five-year-old Mia curled on her side with her stuffed zebra tucked under her arm. Sophie, who didn’t let a simple thing like sleep keep her still, lay flat on her back, all four limbs flung out. She’d tossed her covers to the floor. At three, Sophie was a handful. Who was Morgan kidding? Sophie was going to be a handful at every age. Morgan picked up the blanket and covered her littlest daughter before continuing to her own room down the hall.

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