Good Girl Page 13

Slowly she lifts her hand over her shoulder, middle finger extended, just for me.


Noah wasn’t lying when he said he had quite a few stops to make.

Every single stop, he tells me I can stay in the car, and every single time I’ve followed him in, Dolly in tow.

By our last stop, at the hardware store, I’m beginning to debate the wisdom of tagging along on this little outing. For starters, Noah barely speaks to me. At all. And when he does speak, it’s generally something crude or rude.

Also, the hardware store? Not my thing. I remember this back from when my dad would take my sister and me there when we were kids, trying to make it seem like it was an amusement park, then quickly switching his tactic to bribe us with ice cream when we realized it so wasn’t.

But Noah hasn’t bribed me with ice cream or any sort of food, so now I’m bored and kind of hungry, and I swear he’s taking his sweet time just to torture me. I’ve resisted whining so far, but I can’t take it anymore.

“Are you almost done?” I ask casually as I reach out and pretend interest in a package of rainbow-colored zip ties.

“Yup.” He doesn’t look up from the electrical tape he’s been perusing for the past five minutes.

“What are you looking for?” I ask.

He doesn’t reply, and I sigh, picking up another package of zip ties that look exactly the same but are twice the price. I scrutinize them more closely to try to figure out the difference.

Hey, a girl’s got to do something to keep her brain spry.

“What do you use these for?” I ask Noah, holding up the zip ties. “I mean, other than handcuffs.”

His head snaps up. “Handcuffs?”

“Yeah. Don’t you ever watch TV? People are always getting tied up with these things.”

Noah’s dark gaze grows speculative. “That intrigue you, princess? Being tied up?”

He’s messing with me.

I know he’s messing with me, and I want to play it cool, but I blush anyway, just a little.

The guy can’t be more than a couple years older than me, but he just seems so much more experienced. He seems more confident than most of the guys I’m acquainted with. Confident, but not cocky.

The self-assurance is…attractive.

“How old are you?” I ask, hurriedly putting the zip ties back before my brain goes in directions I don’t want it to.

Nope, too late. I’m already thinking of Noah slowly raising my hands above my head and tying my wrists to the headboard as he touches me everywhere. Hands and mouth all over me, while I can do nothing but lie there writhing, begging…

Oh, wow, is it hot in here?

“Twenty-seven,” he says, finally deciding on the electrical tape he wants and dropping it onto the flatbed-style cart with our two air-conditioning units and a bunch of two-by-fours. “You?”

“Twenty-two,” I reply. I bite my tongue to keep from blurting out that I’ll be twenty-three in a couple of months, like a third grader who indignantly informs everyone that she’s eight and a half.

Noah studies me, and I shift my feet awkwardly. “What?”

“I can’t decide if you seem older or younger than that,” he replies.

“And I can’t decide if that’s a compliment or an insult,” I retort, although my attention’s no longer entirely focused on Noah.

The woman a few feet behind Noah is pretending to look at extension cords, but she keeps glancing over at me. I’ve seen her a couple of times as we’ve wandered through the store, not really noticing her, but belatedly I realize she’s been noticing me.

My heart starts to pound, and I lift my hand to my wig, tugging it down in hopes it’s doing its job to disguise me.

Noah seems to sense my discomfort, because he glances back toward the woman, the gesture casual, as though he too is looking at the extension cords.

She doesn’t notice him because she’s still too busy studying me, and I see her eyes narrow slightly before she slowly reaches into her purse to pull out her cellphone.


Here’s a little fact about famous people: cellphones and their damn cameras are our nightmare.

Once upon a time, celebrities could live a somewhat normal life if they wanted to, but now it’s not just the paparazzi we have to watch out for. It’s everyone. Everyone who’s just dying to catch a celeb eating a donut or with a pimple or in an intimate moment, or hiding out in Louisiana with an orange wig and a grumpy caretaker in a hardware store.

The woman lifts her phone, and I turn away so she can’t get a good shot, but I’m screwed. If I make a quick exit, she’ll know it’s me, and it’ll only be a matter of time before she tells all her Facebook friends, and the cat’s out of the bag that I’m hanging out in the South.

But if I stay, she’ll get a picture and have a chance to study it, and then she’ll also know it’s me. That too will make it onto Facebook.

Double crap.

I swallow my frustration, my fingers gripping my handbag tightly where Dolly’s poking her little head out, happy and oblivious to the fact that we’re about to be exposed in Home Depot by a nosy woman with mean eyes.

Do I turn and run?

Or grin and bear it?

Before I can make up my mind, Noah’s moved in front of me, his broad shoulders blocking my view of the woman. And hers of me.

“Brace yourself, princess,” he says softly.

I open my mouth to ask For what, but before I can get the words out, Noah bends his head and stamps his lips against mine.

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