"He reminded me a lot of my father," she said. "Very life-of-the-party, upbeat. When he walked into a room, everyone kissed his butt. Everybody liked him. Everyone knew him, everywhere."

According to Megan they became intimate within days (Petrovic says it occurred within hours). She then returned to her normal life in St. Louis, but soon after, Petrovic flew here to visit her. They met at the Ritz.

"We sat over there," Megan said, pointing across the lobby. Petrovic counseled her during that visit to finalize the divorce, which she and Ben did in 2006.

They took it slowly at first, in part because Petrovic was often in Germany trying to launch a business called "Myestate" — a television station that would allow the booming American real estate industry to advertise to European viewers. But during his trips home, Megan would often fly down to visit Petrovic at his Fort Myers residence. There, under the south Florida sun, their relationship turned steamy.

"They were a crazy couple," says Joe Lopez, a friend of Petrovic's. Lopez remembers how, at the end of one wine-soaked evening in Miami, Megan stood on a chair and stripped naked outside of a restaurant. "She did that a couple times," Lopez says. "She was kind of wild. And Joshua, he's a handful. There's never a dull moment when he's around."

Behind closed doors, it got even wilder. They had all kinds of sex, and photographed it, too. To spice up the long-distance relationship, Megan sent Petrovic erotic pictures of herself.

They texted each other constantly. Megan struggled with depression during those years and confided many of her darkest thoughts to Petrovic.

"I was her diary," he would later say.

As they grew closer, Megan said, Petrovic became more controlling.

"I wasn't allowed to talk to anybody," she said. "Waiters, I wasn't allowed to speak to. I wasn't allowed to wear jeans. He'd freak out about what makeup I was wearing. It kept getting worse and worse."

Petrovic felt his female companion drank too much, and more than once, he grew so enraged that he demanded that she return to St. Louis early.

"It was always huge blowouts every time," she said.

But over and over, they reconciled. In June 2009, they exchanged vows in Miami.

One afternoon the following month, while her new husband was away on business, Megan shopped online with Petrovic's computer. She stumbled across correspondence between him and a woman in Miami named Tatiana. Not only had Petrovic been unfaithful, Megan discovered, but Tatiana had become pregnant with his child.

Distraught, she confronted her husband over the phone. Petrovic rushed home, infuriated that she'd dug up the evidence. He arrived, and a screaming match erupted. Megan grabbed a kitchen knife and a bottle of Xanax and retreated to the upstairs bathroom where she tried to kill herself by slitting her wrists and overdosing. Petrovic called an ambulance. When the medics found her, Megan lay barely conscious, her blood smeared across the floor.

Their marriage continued to spiral downward from there. While in St. Louis, Megan lived in a house that Petrovic rented for her in the New Town development of St. Charles. During one of their fights, Petrovic canceled the lease on her.

"Since I knew you, you produced drama," he texted her on November 21, 2009. "I told you that I am different. I am a German with Croatia blood. Don't fuck with me...."

Megan's family urged her to sever all ties, but she wouldn't. At a family Christmas gathering in 2009, Megan's continued involvement with Petrovic prompted a shouting match. Megan left drunk and angry then called Petrovic and asked him to do physical harm to certain family members — a request he dismissed.

That same month Megan and Petrovic were making one final attempt to patch things up. Petrovic visited St. Louis and booked a room at the Drury Inn in Chesterfield for a few weeks. They had sex several times — strangely, Megan noted, with the lights on.

When he flew back home to Florida on December 28, 2009, Megan decided to end the relationship for good. "Joshua, I just can't get back together with you because of my family," she texted him. "I am sorry."

He reached out to her multiple times that afternoon. She didn't respond.

Then they exchanged the following texts, reprinted here as they appear in court records:

Petrovic: "Megan, if you don't call me in next 15 minutes I will put all our text message [on the] Internet.... I don't think so you will like it. I will wait for your call. You play bad hands with me but I can play your games also. Think about."

Petrovic: "I have to tell you something and you won't like it. For my protection I was recording movies with you.... I was recording how we fuck. Everything since I met you in Drury hotel the last two weeks. You was wondering why I got the lights on we was fucking. Now you know why. I will never use it against you this is just for my protection in case your famile push you to be nasty to me"

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