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Taking It All

By:Maya Banks
Taking It All
Maya Banks

       About the Author

Maya Banks is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author whose chart   toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary   romance, and Scottish historical romance.

She lives in the South with her husband and three children and other   assorted babies, such as her two Bengal kitties and a calico who's been   with her as long as her youngest child. She's an avid reader of romance   and loves to dish books with her fans and anyone else who'll listen!  She  very much enjoys interacting with her readers on Facebook:   facebook.com/AuthorMayaBanks and Twitter: @maya_banks.

For more about Maya's books visit her at www.mayabanks.com.

Praise for Maya Banks

‘Incredibly awesome . . . I love Maya Banks and I love her books' Jaci Burton, New York Times bestselling author

‘Maya Banks writes the kind of books I love to read!' Lora Leigh, New York Times bestselling author

‘[A] one-two punch of entertainment that will leave readers eager for the next book' Publishers Weekly

‘A cross between the [Crossfire] or Fifty Shades series and the Wicked Lovers series by Shayla Black' Book Savvy Babe

‘Hot enough to make even the coolest reader sweat!' Fresh Fiction

‘Grabbed me from page one and refused to let go until I read the last word' Joyfully Reviewed

‘A must-read author . . . her [stories] are always full of emotional   situations, lovable characters and kick-butt story lines' Romance   Junkies

In the beginning, Chessy and Tate's passionate marriage was everything   she wanted. She offered her submission freely and Tate made her feel   safe and loved. But as the years have passed, and Tate's business built,   their marriage has taken a back seat and Chessy knows that something   has to give or they stand to lose it all.

Tate loves his wife and providing for her has always been his first   priority. Worried that she is unhappy, he arranges for a night together   to reignite the fire that once burned like an inferno between them. But  a  business call at the wrong time threatens everything he holds dear.  To  win back his wife's love, Tate determines to show her that nothing  is  more important than her  –  and that he will do and give whatever it  takes  to get back the passion and trust they once had.

For Carrie, with all my love


CHESSY Morgan pulled into a parking spot at the Lux Café in Houston, her   eyes widening in surprise when she saw both Kylie's and Joss's cars   parked short distances away.

Kylie being there didn't shock her. Kylie was always punctual. But Joss?   Joss was perpetually running late. Chessy and Kylie almost always had   to wait on Joss, who'd dash laughingly inside the restaurant where   Chessy and Kylie waited, an unnecessary apology always on her lips for   her tardiness.

And, well, who could ever get mad at Joss? Especially for something so   insignificant as being habitually late. Joss was just someone who lit up   a room with her warmth and sweetness. She'd come a long way from   grieving widow after losing Carson to where she was now. Happy. In love.   Married to Dash, her former husband's best friend. Chessy was  genuinely  thrilled for both her friends. Joss and Kylie had both found  love. For  Kylie, this was huge. She'd made monumental steps in her  life, being  able to finally overcome the demons from her past that had  ruled her  present for so very long.

Kylie had more than met her match in Jensen and they made a wonderful   couple. Chessy didn't doubt for a single moment that Jensen was   absolutely perfect for Kylie.

If only Chessy could say her own love life-her marriage-was as perfect as her friends'.

She let out a sigh and climbed out of her Mercedes SUV, glancing   ruefully back at the seven-passenger vehicle. When Tate had surprised   her with it, she'd wondered why on earth he'd gotten her something so   big, but he'd looked at her with that charming, devilish twinkle in his   eyes and told her that it was the perfect car to hold their children.   The children they used to talk about having-it had been a frequent topic   early in their marriage. They'd spoken of their dreams of a large   family and a house full of children, love and laughter. But more   recently, Tate had been unwilling to broach the subject of having   children.

He was still building his business after going out on his own and having   his partner bail on him. He wanted to wait until things were more   stable and he was established before having children. But Chessy   wondered quietly if that day would ever come. She hadn't had the courage   to broach the subject in the last year.

She felt as though Tate was slipping further and further away from her,   his career taking over, and she was second or even third or God only   knew how far down his priority list she currently was.                       


"For God's sake, Chessy. Quit being a drama queen. It's not that bad.   Tate loves you. You love him. You just have to be patient and see this   through. Everything will work out," she scolded herself aloud.

She braced herself to greet her friends as she entered the restaurant   and made certain her expression contained none of her dour thoughts. The   last thing she wanted was to worry them more than they already were.   They'd known for months that things weren't as they should be. She saw   the looks passed between them when they thought she wasn't aware. But   she missed nothing. Not the worried looks. Not the doubt in her friends'   eyes. She knew they were deeply concerned about hers and Tate's   relationship. But both women were happy. Deliriously so. And Chessy   didn't want to drag them down into the mire of her own unhappiness.

She was the "bubbly" one of the group. The one everyone always counted   on for good cheer, the happy spark. Except she was absolutely horrible   at concealing her emotions. Good or bad, she was utterly transparent.   When she was happy, she was really happy. Exuberant. Bubbly. Sparkling   even, as her friends often told her. The problem with that was when she   wasn't happy, she was an open book for her friends to see right through   any sort of façade, and no amount of acting ever fooled them for a   second.

Still, she gathered herself and pasted on her brightest smile, which   made her cheeks ache with effort as she walked up to the booth Kylie and   Joss already occupied.

"Thank God you're here!" Kylie exclaimed, immediately grabbing Chessy's   hand and dragging her into the curved booth beside her. "Joss is   practically glowing and she has that ‘I've got a secret' look in her   eyes, but she refused to spill until you arrived."

Chessy plopped down, having been yanked into the seat by Kylie, and   grinned at Kylie's outrage that Joss would hold out on her until Chessy   arrived. Some of her earlier ache dissolved, because how could it not   when she was with her two best friends in the world? Just being in their   presence lifted some of the sadness that seemed to have become a   permanent fixture in her life lately.

"Ah okay, I see what Kylie's talking about now, Joss," Chessy said,   studying her friend. "You've got a definite ‘cat who got the cream' smug   look on your face and you are positively glowing. So spill. The   sisterhood is together and accounted for. Don't make me hurt you,   because I can guarantee Kylie will be with me on this. Poor girl has   already had to wait for me to get here. We'll sit on you if we have to,   so spill already!"

Kylie nodded fervently and all eyes were glued to Joss's radiant smile   that spread over her face, lighting up every delicate feature. It was a   sucker punch to Chessy's stomach. Joss did look radiant. And so happy   that it almost hurt Chessy to look at her. But there was no freaking way   she'd ruin her friend's moment in the sun by allowing even a hint of   her own unhappiness to cloud the gathering of best friends.

"Dash and I are pregnant," Joss said with unconcealed joy. "I'm   pregnant," she amended, her face softening, eyes glowing with love and   happiness. "We're having a baby!"

Kylie squealed and immediately threw her arms around Joss, hugging her   tightly, ignoring startled looks from other restaurant patrons seated in   close proximity to the women's booth.

Chessy immediately rose, though her stomach had plummeted, and rushed   around since Kylie separated Joss and Chessy. She slid in on the other   side of Joss and tugged her away from Kylie's fierce grasp.