Chasing Mrs. Right ONLY
a Come Undone novel by NYT and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert
Roxanne Stokes doesn’t believe in love. She does, however, believe in the sexy-as-sin stranger who literally knocks her off her feet in front of a nightclub. The chemistry sparking between them takes her breath away, and she’ll do anything to ease the pain in his eyes…until she realizes the handsome stranger is her best friend’s older brother who’s just come home from war.
Ian Walser had no idea the gorgeous woman he slept with the night of his homecoming party was his little sister’s best friend—or that she’d be gone before morning. Roxanne’s touch soothes him in a way nothing else can, and he’s not ready to walk away from that yet. Not when spending time with her gave Ian a glimpse of everything he’s ever wanted.
When his sister unwittingly pushes them together, he sees his chance. But convincing a woman who doesn’t believe in love that she’s his Mrs. Right might be harder than any mission Ian’s undertaken. Good thing this soldier likes a challenge…
Title: Chasing Mrs. Right
Series: Come Undone, #2
Author: Katee Robert
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 263 pages
Release Date: March 2013
Praise for Chasing Mrs. Right:
“Another sexy gem from bestselling author Katee Roberts—don’t miss this one!”
– New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer Probst
© 2013 Katee Robert
When Ian Walser got off the plane in his hometown of Spokane, Washington, all he’d really wanted was a cold beer and twelve hours of undisturbed sleep.
His family and friends had other plans.
He took a long pull from his beer and sighed. At least he’d gotten one of those things. All around him, people milled in the semidarkness of the club. Elle and her new boyfriend sat at the other end of the long table, and he thanked his lucky stars they were more interested in each other than him. To be fair, he’d shut his sister down every time she came over and tried to talk to him. He just wanted to be alone.
It wasn’t in the cards for him tonight, though. Along with his baby sister, the crowd was filled with old high school friends he hadn’t bothered to keep up with, aside from the occasional phone call or e-mail. It wasn’t that he’d wanted to cut all ties with this place when he’d shipped out overseas—he’d just never been good at long-distance communication. Hell, outside of his family, the only person he talked to regularly these days was Nathan, and his best friend hadn’t been able to make it tonight.
Ian’s mother perched on the chair next to him, effectively blocking any chance of escape. Even knowing he was safe here, the familiar tightness started in his chest. He wanted to ask his mom to move, to let him have the end seat at the table, but then he’d have to explain himself, and he hadn’t seen fit to share all the gory details of his most recent tour. As bad as it had been with Nathan by his side when they’d been in Iraq, it had been a thousand times worse when he’d shipped out to Afghanistan alone. Just thinking about it had the pressure building in his chest.
He made a conscious effort to breathe—in through his nose, hold for three seconds, out through his mouth.
It didn’t help.
Neither did his mother.
“Your sister went through all the effort to plan this party and you’ve spent the entire time sitting in the corner, glaring at anyone who tries to talk to you. You’re being rude.”
As much as he loved his mother, dealing with her was the last thing he needed right now. “No one asked me if I wanted this.”
If he had been asked, he would have found a way out of it. But there’d been no time to escape once Elle picked him up from the airport and hustled him here, barely giving him enough time to shower at her place on the way.
Here, with the country music twanging, balloons attached to every available surface, and the clash of too many people in too small a space, his nerves were shot, and he had a nasty headache starting. A trio of laughing women bumped into the table, one of them falling against the balloons on the farthest corner. One of the balloons popped, startling him half out of his skin despite the fact that he knew it was coming. He dug his fingers into the table, fighting for control, but there was too much noise, too much movement, too much everything.
“Ian Christopher Walser—”
Elle chose that moment to jump to her feet, looking like a virgin sacrifice in a den of iniquity wearing a white dress with her hair pulled up. “Mom! I just had the best idea about the wedding.”
Their mom zeroed in on her like a shark scenting blood. “I hardly think—”
“Come on.” Elle hustled around the table, grabbed their mother’s hand, and practically dragged her out of her seat. She paused long enough to peek around the closest cluster of red, white, and blue balloons to wink at Ian, and then they were gone, disappearing through the mass of people.
That had been a close one. He rubbed his hands over his face and then down his sternum, where the pressure hadn’t decreased. If anything, it was a thousand times worse, like there was an invisible gargoyle on his chest, slowly smothering him.
Christ, he had to get out of here before he lost it. He was already having a hard time holding still. He kept reaching for where his gun should be holstered—had been holstered. Not anymore, though. Ian wouldn’t survive another tour. Or rather, his body would probably survive, but he wasn’t sure his sanity would. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had more than four hours of nightmare-free sleep.
He finished his… Honestly, he wasn’t sure how many beers he’d had. Not enough to dull the irrational shit flickering through his head. It didn’t help that the owner of the club he was currently sitting in belonged to his baby sister’s thug of a fiancé.
That, at least, gave him something to focus on besides his own misery. Gabe Schultz was a scary motherfucker, tall and packed with enough muscle to make most guys think twice before messing with him. His best friend—Gabe’s little brother, Nathan—had the same build, but at least Nathan had a reason for it when he was in the service. His baby sister’s new guy, on the other hand, looked like trouble. Just like the asshole she’d dated before Ian had stepped in and put an end to that.
Maybe focusing on Elle and Gabe wasn’t the best idea he’d had either because the room suddenly felt even hotter. Hoping moving around would calm him down, he slipped out of his seat. The crowd of people seemed to press in on him, smothering him as he made his way to the bar. It was a trick of the mind—no one was actually touching him—but Ian’s mind was more than adept at this kind of thing now.
Air. He needed air.
Giving up on the bar, he headed for the elevator like there was a goddamn monster breathing down his neck. A man stepped into his path, his height instantly making him a threat. No, that wasn’t right. There were no threats here, and this guy was grinning like they were the best of friends. Ian blinked, belatedly recognizing the face of his old quarterback. Despite playing beside the guy for four years in high school, his name slipped through Ian’s fingers like sand.
The guy clapped his shoulder. “Hey, man. Long time, no see.”
He couldn’t do this now. Even that small touch had him clenching his jaw and scrambling for control. If he didn’t get out of here soon, he was going to lose his shit completely. “Yeah.” When the guy only grinned wider and looked like he was settling down for a good, long talk, Ian slid around him. “Be right back.”
If he had anything to say about it, he’d never set foot in this hellhole again. Elle’s fiancé be damned.
Ian stopped trying to hold himself in check and more or less jogged the last few steps past the elevator to the stairwell. As soon as the door closed behind him and he hit the stairs running, the music dimmed to a dull throbbing sound. Helpful, but not near enough. He caught a glimpse of the bouncer’s raised eyebrows as he shoved through the door on the ground floor and made for the exit.
It distracted him enough that he didn’t see the woman until he ran her over.
Ian had the presence of mind to control their fall so she landed on his lap instead of scraping her face all to hell on the concrete outside the door to the club, but he took the full force of the impact. He blinked at the sky for a second while he relearned how to breathe, but his instincts, born of too many combat situations, wouldn’t let him lie there for long. Might as well paint a target on his forehead. He rolled to the side and immediately got an eyeful of beautiful brunette.
She frowned down at him, the expression doing nothing to take away from her old-school movie star looks. Why the hell was he noticing her looks right now? No doubt she was about to rip him a new one. He braced himself—he deserved it after knocking her down like this—but she just frowned harder and gave his shoulder a push. When he realized he still had his arms around her, Ian climbed to his feet and pulled her up with him. He cleared his throat. “I’m sorry.”
She leaned around him and eyed the door he’d just blown through. “Where’s the fire?”
At the reminder of the scene he’d just left, his chest tightened all over again. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
She opened her mouth—probably to deliver the scathing comment she’d held back initially—but stopped and really looked at him. Under those green eyes, he felt stripped bare, as if she could see every single thing he tried to hide from the rest of the world.
He hated it.
Before he could escape her scrutiny, she smiled. The change took her from gorgeous straight into breathtaking.
“So, you kind of fail at the whole Prince Charming gig,” she said, “but think you can help me find something to take care of this?”
She motioned, drawing his attention down her body. Ian temporarily got caught up on the brilliant pink skirt that hugged every curve before he landed on her legs. Though he’d taken the brunt of the fall, she’d skinned up the side of her right leg. It wasn’t a serious injury—he’d seen more than a few of those in his time—but there was already a thin line of blood welling along her skin.
“Shit. I am so sorry.” He looked around for the bouncer. The man still stood by the door, his arms crossed over his massive chest. “Hey! You got a medic on staff?”
Her eyes went wide. “No, seriously. That’s really okay. I was just thinking maybe we could find a first-aid kit.” When he moved closer, she held up a hand. “Don’t you dare think of carrying me anywhere. It’s just a scratch—not like I lost a leg or something.”
Blood, he could handle, but loss of limb? The flashback hit so hard that it almost took him to his knees. How one second Jones was there, the next he was laid out, both of his legs gone. The man had made it, but Ian still had nightmares about those first few seconds after the IED exploded, how the pale sand had been coated with red and darker things.
“Hey.” The woman snapped her fingers in front of his face, startling him back to the present. She was frowning again. “Are you okay?”
The fact that she had the balls to ask that when she was the one bleeding made him fist his hands. “I’m fine.”
“Oh, I seriously doubt that, physical perfection aside.”
He was still trying to process her response when the woman touched his shoulder, the press of her fingers opening up something in his chest. Something…freeing. Ian closed his eyes for a moment, taking his first full breath since he entered the club hours ago.
She kept right on talking, oblivious to the change her touch brought about in him. “Are you really okay? Because most people don’t flee a club like there’s a scary man with an ax chasing them for no reason.”
The choice lay before him—Ian could make up an excuse and leave like a pansy, or he could attempt to carry on a conversation with this woman without looking like he was coming unhinged. He could tell from the look on her face that she wouldn’t let this go, so he took another deep breath and went for a half-truth. “I hate clubs. The music is too loud, and the crowds are too thick.”
“I can understand that.” She took a step closer and slid her hand lower, to his forearm. Her perfume, something light and airy, wrapped around him, holding him in place more firmly than if she’d fastened an anchor to his ankle. Between that and her fingers playing against his skin, the pressure in his chest decreased a bit more. “The top floor has no crowds, and they only play the most tasteful of classical music. It’s a pretty chill atmosphere. And quite frankly, you look like you could use some chill right now. What do you say? Want to go in and help me find a first-aid kit?”
Ian didn’t want to go back into that club, but he couldn’t make himself let go of her hand. A nasty panic attack waited on the edges of this awareness, eating away at his control. But damn it, he needed to make sure she got patched up. He tried to smile. “I should probably buy you a drink, too. Seeing as how I knocked you down and all.”
“Darling, you just said the magic words.” She grinned again and gave his arm a squeeze that made the five steps toward the door feel manageable. “I’m a sucker for a man who wines and dines me. And if you’re lucky, I’ll even let you play doctor.”
As Roxanne led the way into the club, she couldn’t help glancing back at the man following her to make sure he was okay. He was so freaking tense she’d be surprised if his entire body didn’t hurt tomorrow morning. Muscles weren’t meant to be locked up like that. She should have let it go when he said he didn’t want to come back inside, but there was something about the haunted look in his inky black eyes that called to her. She couldn’t make herself walk away—or stop touching him.
Maybe it was the fact that she’d avoided male company for…a really long time. All that deprivation obviously made her susceptible to a beautiful man in need. Hell, him knocking her on her ass was the most action she’d seen in months. Even now, her skin tingled from the memory of his body cradling hers.
Loneliness hit her hard enough to take her breath away. A few hours wouldn’t hurt, would it? She’d just make sure he was okay, get a little recreational human interaction to go with her Band-Aids, and then go home. Everybody won.
They stopped in front of the elevator, and though she wouldn’t have believed it possible, he went ever tenser. Drawn by an impulse she couldn’t quite put her finger on, Roxanne stepped closer and slid her hand into his. “It’ll be okay. I promise.” What was she doing, making promises she had no way of following through on? Hadn’t her parents taught her better than that?
But apparently she’d done something right, because he smiled at her, the expression like a rainbow after a devastating thunderstorm. Damn. She abruptly decided she’d do a whole lot more than make promises to keep him smiling like that. Before she could make a fool of herself, the doors opened, and he followed her into the enclosed space, never once letting go of her hand.
As they slid past the country floor, Roxanne felt a pang of guilt. She’d promised she’d show up for her best friend’s big brother’s homecoming party, but it wasn’t like she knew the guy. But hanging out with a golden boy war hero and bunch of his friends didn’t sound like much fun after the day she’d had at work. She slanted a glance at the man standing next to her, clutching her hand as if it were a lifeline and doing what she recognized as breathing exercises.
Elle could do without her for one night.
The elevator doors opened, depositing them on the top floor. Roxanne could almost see the muscles in his shoulders relaxing as he stepped into the dim room. There were tables and a few couches scattered around the bar, each with their own lamp, taking up the central part of the room. Combined with the light music, it created a sense of intimacy and calm that couldn’t be found on any of the other floors.
She didn’t make a habit of hanging out on this floor on the rare occasions she actually came to Gabe’s bar—what was the point of going downtown if she wasn’t going to dance until her feet cried for mercy?—but it was definitely the right choice for this guy. She motioned at the room. “Couch or table? Your choice.”
He hesitated but finally led the way to a fainting couch in the corner. She didn’t miss that it was in the least populated corner of the room—or that it faced the exit. Before she could say anything, he guided her down and knelt in front of her to examine her leg. The feeling of his hands on her bare skin shorted out her ability to speak, the warmth of his fingers spreading way farther north than it had any right to from the innocent touch.
God, if she was reacting to this poor guy helping her out, it really had been too long since she’d been touched by a man—or anyone.
When he finally looked up, she was having a hard time drawing a full breath. Despite the fact that he knelt at a totally respectable distance from her, his presence dominated her awareness. Based on the sheer amount of muscle and the hard look of his face, she figured this guy had seen a thing or two—not all of it good—but he rotated her calf this way and that as if she were the most fragile thing in the world.
He took a deep breath as if steeling himself and said, “Stay here. I’ll be right back.”
Before she could argue—and, really, what was she going to say?—he stood and strode to the bar. Roxanne didn’t make a habit of playing damsel in distress, but there was no defying the command he’d just given her. Even as she leaned back, she wondered what the hell she was thinking. Of course, the answer was that she wasn’t thinking. She’d taken one look at that too-pretty-to-be-real face and just…reacted. She could make excuses and chalk it up to loneliness, but the reasoning didn’t matter. Whatever this guy was running from, for a split second he’d needed her, and she’d responded to that need without making a conscious decision to do it.
She looked up in time to accept a shot glass filled with amber liquid. He set a small first-aid kit, two beers, and a second shot on the small table next to the couch, and knelt in front of her to touch her leg again. He looked…anxious. Almost as anxious as he’d been outside. But then, when he cupped her calf again, some of the wildness left his eyes and he seemed to relax a little.
Roxanne frowned. No way did she imagine the shift in his demeanor. Did touching her act as some kind of panic repellent? Feeling strangely hesitant, she reached out and set her hand on his shoulder, her thumb brushing his neck. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply the same way he’d done on the street when she touched his arm.
It was only then she noticed the cloth in his hand. “You know I was just kidding about playing doctor, right?”
“It’s barely a scratch. And I do know my way around a first-aid kit.”
He glanced at her, and there wasn’t an ounce of give in those eyes. “This is my fault. Take your shot and let me take care of you.”
His fault? Maybe, but she’d had worse done to her on accident during her Dark Days of Partying after she turned twenty-one, and not a single one of those guys had cared. Hell, she hadn’t really cared either. It wasn’t like he shoved her down on purpose, and she wasn’t all that good at letting other people take care of her—especially strangers who handled her as if she really mattered.
But she knew a losing battle when she saw one. Keeping one hand on his neck, Roxanne toasted him and downed her shot, trying not to hiss when he pressed the warm cloth to her leg. Okay, that hurt. A lot.
She reached for her beer next, the move bringing her face-to-face with this stranger. She froze, pinned in place by the heat in his gaze. Holy shit, where had that come from? One second, he looked ready to bolt, and now… She’d heard about those romance-novel looks—the ones the hero pulls out to turn the heroine’s knees to putty—but she’d never believed they existed. Considering the entire all-consuming-lust-that-turns-to-love-and-ends-happily-ever-after scene was bullshit, she figured the look was all part of the fiction.
She was so freaking wrong.
Then he blinked, turning down the heat enough to release her from his spell. She sat back, trying to convince herself that her hands weren’t really shaking. That she didn’t want him with a desire that wasn’t the least bit rational. But she did. God, she did. And it didn’t make any sense. Sure, he was by far the most handsome man she’d ever talked to, but Roxanne didn’t make a habit of being swept away by looks alone.
“Did I ruin your plans for tonight?” As he spoke, he carefully cleaned away the blood, revealing a small scrape. Damn, she was going to have to wear boots or tights until that thing healed.
Focus, Rox. She sipped her beer, striving to sound unaffected even though she felt nothing of the sort. It was kind of difficult to play hard-to-get when running her fingers along his hairline at the top of his neck. But if her touch actually soothed him, she had no intention of leaving him hanging.
Not to mention she was enjoying touching him entirely too much to be safe.
“Nothing too important.” After all, she didn’t really have any connection with Elle’s brother. She was just there for her best friend. Speaking of… “Just a second.” Roxanne pulled out her phone and typed in a quick text to Elle.
Something came up, so I can’t make it. Coffee tomorrow to make it up to you?
Her phone buzzed almost immediately. You aren’t missing much. It’s a train wreck. We’ll talk more in the morning.
Maybe it was good thing she skipped it, after all. She dropped her phone into her purse and dredged up a smile. “So, Charming, what’s a guy like you doing in a place like Spokane?”
“Charming, huh?” He smiled a little, but those shadows slid through his eyes, hinting that he had a whole lot more going on than just a pretty face. “I’m military.”
Ah, that explained the crazy tension thing he had going on. Despite the fact that she probably couldn’t throw a rock in Spokane without hitting someone associated with the Air Force base just outside of town, she didn’t make a habit of associating with men in uniform. They tended to have issues, and she had enough issues for multiple people.
Even now, there was a little voice inside her—one that sounded terrifyingly like her mother—that whispered for her to run away from this man. She’d never thrown caution to the wind before when it came to a stranger, even one who looked like Adonis, but despite the shadows in his eyes and the demons he was obviously fighting, Roxanne could almost see the sexual tension straining between them. He was staring at her like he wanted to eat her whole, and she was more than okay with that plan.
He ran his thumb parallel to the scrape, that small contact sending sparks shooting through her entire body. Who knew the calf was such an erogenous zone? She cleared her throat. “You didn’t take your shot.”
Without missing a beat, he downed the shot and then sat next to her, close enough that his thigh pressed against hers and he had to prop his arm on the back of the couch behind her. The added contact of his bare arm against her back did wonders for her dancing hormones. If she wasn’t careful, she could get addicted to how touching this man made her feel.
A frisson of fear spiked through her. When was the last time someone had affected her on the same level as this guy? Who’d made her entire body heat with just a look?
She couldn’t remember.
Run, her mother’s voice whispered, more insistent this time. She knew what happened when people let their emotions get away from them—she’d seen the wreckage every day while she was growing up. Her mother had always claimed the reason things with her father went so far south was that they’d loved each other too much to begin with. No one could hold up that kind of love indefinitely, and there was no stopping it from souring, from turning into something a whole lot closer to hate.
Yeah, she’d seen what came from caring for someone too much. Roxanne had no desire to experience the kind of pain that came with loving someone.
She pushed her worries away. It didn’t matter if he seemed to affect her on a foundational level—he was a stranger. She’d never see him again after tonight. With that knowledge freeing up the last of her restraint, she leaned into him and laid her hand on his thigh, just high enough that his entire body went still. Pretending she didn’t notice, she said, “So, what do you do for fun?”
“Yeah, you know. That thing you do when you’re not working. Gardening, Zumba, underwater basket weaving, you name it. Everyone has something.”
“I haven’t really had a lot of time for hobbies.” When she just stared, more than willing to wait him out, he sighed. “I spend a lot of time in the gym.”
Yeah, she could tell. There didn’t seem to be a soft spot on his body, though she was tempted to do a more thorough examination just to satisfy her curiosity. “Do you wear spandex, grunt a lot, and slap other guys’ asses while you mutter encouragement?”
“Actually, I usually just run until my thoughts stop circling.”
There it was again, that hint of something darker. “Is that the only thing that helps?”
“I’ve been told that I should try meditating, but all that time sitting still and being alone with my thoughts…” He shook his head. “I like to sweat out my stress. And this helps.” He motioned between them.
Whoa. So she hadn’t been imagining the way he seemed to relax the more he touched her. Caution warned her to keep things light and flirty. “I bet you say that to all the pretty girls.”
His low voice, paired with the smoldering way he was looking at her, damn near had Roxanne fanning herself. She scrambled for something to say that didn’t involve “sex” and “now.” What were they talking about? Oh, right. Exercise. “I get it—the whole sweating it out thing. I do yoga. Concentrating on breathing, and perfecting and holding the poses, actually takes a lot more effort than you’d think. It’s my happy place.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard it’s great for that. I’m not exactly a yoga guy though.”
“What? You mean you don’t want to work on your flexibility? I’m so disappointed.”
His grin was quick and wicked. “The advantage to being the guy is that I don’t have to be as flexible as my partner does.”
The image his words brought appeared in her mind, of her heels propped on his shoulders as he bent her in half, leaving her open and helpless. She wanted that. She wanted that badly.
Roxanne took a long drink, maintaining eye contact as she did. Then she leaned across his body to set her beer on the opposite table, letting her breasts press against his chest. It was a rookie move, but his breath caught in the same way hers did at the contact. She slid back into place slowly, prolonging the touch. “Good thing I’m flexible then.”
His gaze dropped to her mouth, and for a long moment, she thought he might make a move. Though part of her really wanted him to lean in and kiss her until she couldn’t think straight, there was another, more intelligent part of her that wanted to know more about him first. “You ever think about just taking off? You know, settle down on some deserted beach somewhere where there aren’t a ton of people?”
He didn’t hesitate. “Every damn day.”
She understood, at least on some level. One of the things she’d always done when the fighting between her mother and the current love of her mother’s life got too intense was put her headphones on and plan out all the vacations she’d take—ones she would never come back from. If this guy had difficulty dealing with city life—or whatever passed as it in Spokane—she could see why he’d want to get away. “I’m not going to say I totally understand, since I have no idea what your thought process is, but in your place I’d have considered a nice little beachside property in Mexico.”
Totally not the answer she expected. “What?”
“I considered Hawaii. Or maybe Florida. I’ve seen enough of the world to know that I wanted to be in the States.” He shifted, looking uncomfortable, as if he’d just shared something he hadn’t meant to. “What about you? Have you traveled?”
“Not as much as I’d like to.” She shrugged. It was the great irony of her life that she’d spent so much time wishing to be anywhere but Spokane, and this was exactly where she’d stayed. “I go where my work is, and right now, my work is in Spokane. Business is slowly expanding, though, so I hope there will be more opportunity for traveling in the future.”
Despite her general distaste for everything involving weddings, she’d put out an ad in a local magazine to drum up business. In this economy, weddings were one of the few areas of party planning that hadn’t taken a hit. If she wanted to keep her lifestyle, she had to do more than plan sweet-sixteen bashes and corporate parties.
“Do you like your job?”
She started to give him a generic answer, but he actually looked interested. “There are days when I want to light my office on fire and walk away without looking back, but they are few and far between. Most of the time I love it.”
“Tell me about it.”
Yeah, she didn’t think so. Though Roxanne had wanted to know more about this guy, she didn’t particularly want to share more about herself. Even giving him those few details, she felt strangely vulnerable. Besides, what more did they really need to know about each other? He was obviously interested in her, and just sitting next to him was some of the best foreplay she’d ever had in her life.
She gave his thigh a squeeze and bit her lip. “I don’t think I will.”
He tore his gaze away from her mouth, but it seemed to take a lot of effort. “Why not?”
This was her last chance to pat him on the head and walk away. In the twenty minutes they’d been here, this man had already managed to connect with her on a level she wasn’t completely comfortable with. If she didn’t leave now, this entire thing could backfire.
But then he twined a lock of her hair around his finger, his thumb running along the strand and making her want him to touch other parts of her body the same way.
She swallowed, trying to reclaim her bravado. “Let me ask you something, and I’d like you to be perfectly honest. Sound good?”
“Ideally, how’s tonight end for you?” When he stared, she snapped her fingers in front of his face. No way was she giving him time to come up with some careful, PC answer. She wanted the truth. “Answer. Now.”
She got exactly what she was looking for. He met her gaze directly. “With you bent over the nearest available surface and me fucking you until we both forget our names.”