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With This Man (This Man #4)
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Jesse Ward is back in the newest novel in the Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling This Man series!
Life is good for Jesse ‘The Lord’ Ward. Perfect, actually. He still has the charm, he’s in great shape, and he still reduces his wife, Ava, to a pool of desire with a mere look. He’s in full control, just how he likes it.
But Jesse’s perfect world falls apart when a terrible accident lands Ava in hospital with a life-threatening head injury. Devastated and angry, he feels like his entire existence hangs in the balance. He cannot survive without this woman’s love. So when she finally comes around, his shaking world begins to level out. But his nightmare doesn’t end there. It’s only just begun. Because his wife can’t remember the last sixteen years of her life. That’s all of him. All of their time together. He is a stranger to her.
Now Jesse must do whatever it takes to find her memories . . . and help her fall madly, passionately in love with him all over again.
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The pounding of my feet on the treadmill is rhythmic and comforting. The sound of Imagine Dragons’ ‘Believer’ on my iPhone is muffled by the pulse throbbing in my ears. The hammering of my heart tells me I’m alive. Not that I need to run until I can’t feel my legs to achieve that any more.
My pace increases, my breath beginning to become laboured as my run turns into a sprint. Sweat is pouring down my bare chest as I watch the clock across the gym, eyeing the second hand slowly roll around the dial. Two more minutes. Keep the pace for two more minutes.
Yet when the time has ticked down and the machine automatically starts to slow, my legs do not. I smack my hand on the plus button to increase the pace again, my ego refusing to let me stop just yet. One more mile. I crank up the volume and sprint on for a while longer, pushing air steadily through my nose, roughly wiping away the sweat rolling down my forehead. Glancing down at the screen on the treadmill, I note my distance. Fifteen miles. Done.
I slam my fist on the button and let the machine work me down to a gentle jog, yanking the buds out of my ears and grabbing my T-shirt to wipe my wet face.
‘You did it faster yesterday, you stubborn motherfucker.’
My feet slow to a stop and I brace my hands on the handles, dropping my head while I work to level out my breathing. ‘Fuck you,’ I manage to wheeze, turning to face one of my oldest friends. John’s shit-eating grin, the one that displays his gold tooth to its fullest, makes me want to knock it out.
He chuckles, low and rumbling, throwing a towel at my chest. ‘Still not come to terms with it, then?’
Stepping down off the treadmill, I wipe my soaked chest before shoving the towel back at him. ‘No idea what you’re on about.’ I’m lying. I know exactly what the bastard is on about, and I’m sick to fucking death of being wound up about it. I’m not even sure how it’s happened – where the time has gone. Because, Lord help me, I’m fifty this weekend. Fifty fucking years old. My ego is dented more each time I think about it.
I make my way over to the water cooler, John following behind.
‘Fifty suits you.’
I roll my eyes as I grab a cup and shove it under the tap. ‘Did you want something?’
Another mild chuckle sounds from behind me as I glug down the water and turn to face the smug bastard. I don’t know what he’s so tickled pink about. John’s knocking on sixty, though you’d never know it. He’s still in prime shape, not that I’d ever tell him so.
‘The new weight machines are arriving later.’
‘You good to take care of that?’ I ask, refilling my cup.
‘Thanks.’ I glance around the gym floor of the health club I own, the space alive with music, sweat, and pounding hearts. Disciples’ ‘Daylight’ is booming, adrenalin pumping, shouts of encouragement ringing out. Turns out I missed owning a club after all. Not the sex and the indulgence of The Manor, but the community, the social aspect, and the day-to-day running of a business. So I opened a new business, this one not so secret but still pretty exclusive. JW’s Fitness & Spa has gone from strength to strength since opening its doors six years ago.
John takes my empty cup from my hand and tosses it in the bin before wandering away. ‘In the office.’
In the office? A smile spreads across my face as I take off across the gym, the thrumming of my pulse building again, except this time it’s dropped into my shorts.
My pace quickens, and I bowl into the office, my plan mastered . . . and screech to a halt when I find no Ava. I scowl at the empty space and pull my phone from my pocket, dialling her as I stalk towards the desk.
‘Hey,’ she answers, sounding a bit exasperated.
I don’t ask why. At this moment in time, I’m really not interested. ‘Where are you?’ I drop down into the chair at her desk.
‘In the spa.’
‘You have three seconds to get your arse to your office,’ I tell her, smirking a little when I hear her gasp.
‘I’m all the way across the club.’
I shrug to myself. ‘Three,’ I whisper, kicking my feet up onto her desk and relaxing back.
‘Jesse, I’m trying to sort out a disagreement between staff.’
‘Don’t care. Two.’
‘Oh, for fuck’s sake.’
My jaw rolls with irritation. ‘You’ll pay for that. One.’ The sound of her rushed steps seeps down the line, and I smile, victorious. ‘Tick-tock,’ I say casually, reaching down to rearrange my jutting cock.
‘We’re at work.’
I scoff. ‘Wherever, whenever.’ She knows that.