Good Girl Page 25

I don’t look at him, but I know he’s watching me out of the corner of his eye.

Like I said. Predator.

I slowly eat my sandwich, followed by a handful of chips and then a handful of baby carrots to cancel out the chips, and then a glass of water to wash it down, all the while pretending I’m alone.

It’s not that I’m giving him the silent treatment so much as I’m afraid that if I look at him he’ll sense my devious plan, and the surprise factor is key if I’m going to make this work.

After I’ve eaten, I grab the keys for my rental car and leave without a backward glance.

I’m gone for a few hours. I hit up the grocery store and then Target to get a new pair of flip-flops to replace the ones Ranger destroyed, as well as a couple of the plain journals I prefer for brainstorming lyrics.

Confession: in both stores, I couldn’t resist a quick peek at the tabloid sections when I was checking out, my eyes instinctively scanning for my name or face.

I’m delighted to inform you that I’m no longer the cover story. There was only one mention of me, a tiny right-hand mention on a lesser-known magazine with the headline “Good Girl Turned Seductress Still MIA.”

My plan is working.

I make a mental note to call Amber and then check in with my parents, since it’s been a few days. Strangely, though, I’m not really feeling the itch to get back to my normal life, like I thought I would. Even more strangely, this quiet off-the-grid lifestyle feels like my normal life.

The realization is slightly unnerving, but I push it aside to be dealt with later.

I have bigger things to worry about at the moment. Like revenge.

My revenge plan requires only one stop, and I’m in and out in five minutes. I sing along with the radio, even one of my own songs, on the drive back from Baton Rouge.

I fist-pump when I pull into the driveway and see that his truck’s gone. I heard him on the phone earlier today with someone, making plans to meet up for an early dinner.

At the time I was wondering if it was a date, but now I don’t really care, except that I sort of wish I could warn the girl what she’s getting into: an A+ orgasm from an A+ asshole.

Noah’s absence is crucial to my plan, though.

I go upstairs to check on Dolly, giving her an extra-long potty break (while carrying my gator stick, naturally). I feel a little bad about leaving her alone most of the day, but I’m pretty sure she understands.

She did, after all, bear witness to the, um, incident last night.

It’s Ranger who’s the weak link in my plan, and he’s the reason I’ve got a long, boring night ahead of me.

I spread a towel on the bed for Dolly and give her the new bone I picked up today. Then I kiss her head before changing my clothes. Everything I put on is black, from the lacy bra and panties to the cropped yoga pants and tank top. Also part of the plan. I need to be all ninja-like for this to work.

I throw a bone for Ranger into my bag, as well as my Kindle and the supplies, before I make the trek over to Noah’s cottage.

As expected, Ranger greets me with happy barks, and I reward him with the bone before settling in with my Kindle.

The time passes quicker than I expect, or maybe it’s just another early night for Noah, because Ranger sounds the alarm when I’ve been there only an hour or so.

I hurriedly grab my stuff, making sure there’s no sign of my presence before I dash into Noah’s tiny closet, leaving it open just a crack so I can breathe and see what I’m doing.

Oh, what’s that? I didn’t mention that my revenge plan is totally creepy and a lot immature? It is.

Don’t care.

I stand still, my body humming in anticipation, as Noah comes in the door.

“Hey, boy,” I hear him say quietly to Ranger. “Where’d you get that bone, huh? You steal it from the stupid cotton ball?”

I roll my eyes. Sure, my dog’s the stupid one. I saw Ranger barking at his own shadow the other day.

I hear the clatter of keys tossed on the table, followed by what sounds like the sloshing of liquid into a glass. Whisky? I saw some Jim Beam on the counter when I first came in.

Then there’s nothing, and I frown.

This is the part of my plan that gets a little tricky.

If he decides to settle in for a long night of watching TV, I’m totally screwed. I need him to get close to the bed. Close enough for…

I’m in luck.

So much luck.

Noah wanders into my line of sight, moving to the bed and setting a glass on the nightstand. I’m right about the whisky. He opens the nightstand drawer and pulls out a book before kicking off his shoes and settling back on the bed. He tosses aside a bookmark, then folds one arm behind his head.

It could not be more perfect if I’d planned it.

The universe is clearly giving me its blessing for what I’m about to do, because even Ranger’s not giving me trouble, far more interested in the bone I paid $7.99 for than me hiding in the closet.

Or maybe he too knows that his master deserves what’s coming.

I take a deep breath, silently, so as not to tip him off.

Go time.

I burst out of the closet and launch myself at Noah.

I hear him mutter “What the fuck?” a split second before I’m on top of him, my knees straddling his hips.

He’s stronger, but the element of surprise makes me faster, as does the fact that I’ve been planning this moment in my head all day.

He bucks beneath me, nearly throwing me off, only to freeze when he realizes that his right hand…is zip-tied to the headboard.

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