Laura Browning 

Teacher. Editor. Author.

Broken Heart

Excerpt

Avoiding him was nearly impossible. Wherever Stacey looked, Mason Hatch was in her line of sight. Since she was attending her brother Brandon’s wedding, she couldn’t leave, but she sure wished Jace would stick
by her side this once. She scanned the room, but her husband was nowhere to be seen. “Hubby MIA again?” Mason’s voice was as smooth as silk in her ear. The fact he simply echoed her thoughts
didn’t make his intrusion into them any more palatable. “I could tell you where to look, but I don’t think you’d
like what you’d find.” “Stop it!” Stacey hissed between clenched teeth. Every time she encountered Mason, he made some cryptic
remark about her husband. Stacey was tired of it, in part because she had enough doubts concerning her
marriage. But not today. She refused to have them today. Today was supposed to be perfect. Jason had made
love to her last night, had tried once again to talk her into starting a family. She wanted children. She did, but something always held her back. She couldn’t stall too much longer, doing so wasn’t fair to either of them, yet the mere thought of a divorce in her oh-so-Catholic family made her shudder. God, was she really contemplating divorce? Her mother would flip. “Just trying to make conversation among these Virginia purebreds,” Mason purred, once again barging into her brain. Why was there always a hint of amusement in his voice, as if he were actually laughing at her? Yes, she had been unfair to him, but had his contempt been there all along? Had he always regarded her with a smirk? She sneaked a glance, finding her heels brought her nearly eye-to-eye with him. He was not short by any means, she’d simply inherited every bit of the Barlow-Barrett height and her mother’s slenderness to boot. How often she had wished for even a touch of her younger sister Preston’s curviness and her infinitely more diminutive height. “Why can’t you single out someone else to talk to?” she demanded, knowing she sounded as petulant as she felt. “Don’t you have a date?” He arched one dark brow, his eyes glittering like obsidian. “Perhaps I’m conducting a scientific experiment.” “Oh? And what would your experiment be?” She didn’t want to continue this conversation, but she had no defense against his goading, had never been able to resist it, and that was what had gotten them in trouble to begin with. He was the match. She was the kindling. “To see if there’s actually a living, breathing woman still left under your high-class brittleness, or has the rarified air of your married life already drained it away?”