Good Girl Page 11

Still, the situation’s not completely hopeless. The old caretakers either had some really messed-up priorities or some really awesome ones, depending how you look at it, because decrepit as the place is, there’s a brand-new state-of-the-art refrigerator and, most shocking of all, a satellite TV dish.

No TV—they likely took it when they moved—but I can remedy that easily enough. Ranger’s made himself at home on the bed, not knowing how lucky he is that he’s a dog and is thus blissfully free from the burden of wondering what the hell those nasty stains on the mattress are.

I find a notepad and ballpoint pen in one of the drawers and begin making a list. TV. Mattress. Groceries. Towels. Common sense…

I drop the pen and run my hands over my face. What the hell am I doing here? Am I actually thinking of living in this hovel when I have a fully furnished penthouse waiting for me in Baton Rouge?

Yvonne’s enraged face flashes in front of my eyes, and I quickly rule out the penthouse as an option, since she has a key.

Still, as the guys pointed out, there are better places to hide out than this dump.

Places that don’t come with a snotty country singer and a cotton-ball dog.

Although maybe it won’t be as bad as I’m thinking. Jenny Dawson’s obviously here to do her music thing, however that works, and there’s more than enough tasks around the house to keep me busy.

Never thought those spring breaks spent participating in Habitat for Humanity would come in handy, but now I’m damn glad I let Finn talk me into it. Not that I’m a master carpenter or anything, but I know enough basics to be useful. More important, I like it. The thought of having a project is appealing.

My dad might have been perfectly satisfied being a figurehead in his own company in his later years, but I need more. I want more than to be Prescott Walcott Jr. I sure as fuck want to be known for more than my golf handicap.

It’s different for Vaughn. Yeah, he inherited his father’s company too, but he actually runs it; he doesn’t just dress in a suit and play the part.

Finn, despite his determination not to care about anything, has his bar in Baton Rouge, which means more to him than he’ll ever admit.

And I’ve got…nothing.

I scribble a few more things on my list, as well as a note to call the cable company when I get into cell range, so that I can set up satellite service as well as a landline. Just because we’re going to be remote out here doesn’t mean we need to be idiotic about it.

“Come on, boy,” I say to Ranger as I pull Finn’s keys out of my pocket. I made Finn switch cars with me, although it didn’t take much arm-twisting. He gleefully took my Audi, since his beat-up truck’s more fitting for a “caretaker.”

And it’s damn handy now that I know I‘ll be lugging home a mattress and a television.

I’m just pulling down the tailgate for Ranger to hop in the back when I hear her.

“Wait. Mr. Maxwell. Noah!”

I groan as Jenny comes out of the house, stupid dog tucked under her arm. She’s traded the sexy sandals for flip-flops, but they do nothing to make her legs less appealing.

“Can I get a ride?” she asks.

Instead of answering, I purposely look at her car. A rental, from the looks of it, but perfectly usable.

“That won’t fit what I need to buy,” she explains.

“Which is?”

“A mattress,” she says. “I brought my own bedding, but the mattress upstairs is…” She wiggles her hand to indicate that it’s iffy. If it’s anything like the mattress in the caretaker’s cottage, I’ ’m guessing iffy doesn’t even begin to cover it.

“I have other stops to make,” I say. “I’ll be gone all afternoon.”

“That’s okay,” she says, apparently mistaking my response as an invitation, because she goes around to the passenger side door and pulls it open.

She hoists herself into the cab with more ease than I expect, as though she’s spent some time around pickups.

I rack my brain trying to remember where she’s from, but I can’t say I know much about country music stars. I did a quick Google search right after her email came through, but I didn’t really get past the dozen or so articles talking about her recent exploits with married men.

I sigh, knowing that at this point getting her out of the truck is going to be more of an effort than just putting up with her.

And since I’m planning on heading to the mattress store myself, it not like she’s adding an extra stop.

I climb into the truck, moving the seat slightly, since Finn’s a couple inches shorter than me. I glance over at Jenny, hoping she doesn’t ask why I’m adjusting the seat in what she thinks is my truck, but she’s too busy fiddling with something orange and hideous on her head.

I pause in the process of jamming the key into the ignition, staring at her in horror. “What the hell is that?”

“A wig,” she says, pulling down the visor to look in the mirror. Only there isn’t one, since it broke long ago, so she turns to me. “How does it look?”

“Awful,” I grumble, meaning it. I’ve got nothing against redheads. Hell, gingers can be plenty hot. But this wig doesn’t suit her at all, and it’s on crooked.

She leans down to look at herself in the side mirror, tugging it slightly. Her cotton ball of a dog has been sniffing around the floor of the cab, munching what seems to be a stale french fry before hopping up and settling all five pounds of its body onto my lap before panting happily up at me.

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