Good Girl Page 16

She looks back at me. “You don’t like music?”

I like music. I just don’t know music. That was more Caleb’s thing. The brother I didn’t know I had. The one who died before I even knew of his existence was some sort of virtuoso. Violin, piano, voice.

I, the backup son, can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

But right now I don’t care about any of that. Not with Jenny Dawson’s perfect tits on display in a tiny pink bikini.

If she’s aware of my staring, she doesn’t show it. Just keeps scribbling in that little notebook while humming to herself. “I need my guitar,” she mutters, more to herself than to me. She disappears, and I admit I crane my neck to check out her ass as she enters the house.

Shit. This has to stop. She’s a spoiled kid, for God’s sake.

I all but attack the boards of the porch, hoping it’ll defuse some of the sexual tension rippling through my body. But the strum of her guitar reminds me that she’s there, playing guitar practically naked, and it’s all I can do not to climb up to the balcony and strip her bare while devouring that perfect body.

Even with the boards in as shitty condition as they are, it’s hard, backbreaking work, and my shirt is soaked through in no time at all. I peel off my T-shirt, using it to wipe my forehead when I see her.

Jenny steps out the back door with two glasses of iced tea in hand.

She’s put on shorts, at least, but from the waist up there’s only the little triangles of her bikini top, the sexy curve of her belly.

“Could you please put on some clothes,” I snap, even as I grab for the cold drink she offers.

“Says the guy with no shirt,” she says, lifting her glass in a mocking toast. “It’s ninety-something degrees and higher than that in humidity. We’re both half naked for the same reason.”

How about we get all-the-way naked for a different reason?

I finish the tea in three gulps. It’s sweeter than I like it, but it’s cold, which is all that matters at the moment. I resist the urge to dump the remaining ice on my crotch.

“Where are the dogs?” I ask, since it’s the least sexy topic I can think of at the moment.

“In my room,” she says. “It’s cooler in there with the air-conditioning unit.”

I stare. “You left the AC on. For your dog.”

“And yours,” she points out.

“You left them in there together? Your dog hates mine.”

“Only because he’s ten times her size and has a mad crush. But actually, I think Dolly’s coming around. Playing hard to get, you know?”

“She learned that from you?” I ask.

“Really? Unoriginal insults?” she asks, taking a sip of tea. “That’s what I get for bringing you something to drink?”

“You sure you didn’t just do it so you could prance around like that?” I say, raking my gaze down her body, deliberately condescending.

Jenny rolls her eyes. “Did you go to an all-boys school or something? You’re acting like you’ve never seen a girl in a bikini before.”

She’s right, and it pisses me off not only to be acting like a horny schoolboy but also to be called out on it.

“Don’t you have somewhere to be?” I ask, bending down to pick up my hammer.

Her shoulders slump just the slightest bit, and I feel like an ass. But then her shoulders go back and her chin lifts before she turns on her heel and marches back into the house without so much as a goodbye.

A minute later I’m back at work, and I hear the now familiar strum of her guitar from the balcony above me, but it’s an angrier melody this time, fast and a little discordant.

And then she starts to sing, her voice pitch-perfect. “There once was a guy named Noah, he was as appealing as a boa. Whatever happened, whoa-oh-oh, whatever happened, whoa-oh-oh, to rot his soul?”

I shake my head. There’s more strumming on the guitar, and her Noah-hate song continues.

“His face was average, his eyes were cold. His body flubby, whoa-oh-oh. His kiss was filthy, his flavor bad. He tried to woo me, and it was sad, whoa-oh-oh.”

The song is ridiculous. A little childish.

And yet as it continues on with a list of all my flaws, I can’t help but smile a little. Not only at her spunk…but at the very satisfying realization that I sure as hell am not the only one haunted by that kiss.


Would you believe me if I said I’m not bored?

I’m really, really not, which is incredible, even to me.

Did it take me a little while to detox from my Instagram addiction? Yah. Does it feel weird to talk to my parents and Amber on a phone that’s connected to the wall with a cord? Absolutely.

But apparently even I didn’t realize how desperately I need a reprieve, because I’m feeling more whole, more Jenny out here in the middle of nowhere, with nobody but Dolly and Ranger to keep me regular company, than I did in L.A. Heck, I even feel more me here than I did in Nashville. I love that city to death, but after All of Me hit the lists, I couldn’t even get a Frappuccino without someone wanting to get a selfie with me.

But here in Glory, Louisiana, my mind’s never felt clearer, my music’s never been better.

I was right to come here.

Whether this place triggers some emotional response to that first song I wrote all those years ago or whether there’s something magical about it, it’s working for me.

This spontaneous, get-away-from-it-all isolation is working, except for one teeny-tiny detail.

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