Good Girl Page 28

I lift my hand in a wave. Thanks.

He doesn’t wave back. Doesn’t say a word.

Instead he turns, walking back toward his cottage. Only as I go back into the house do I realize what song he’s whistling.


The song I was working on all day, the song I wrote for him…he’s singing it right back to me.

And I can’t help the grin.


The morning after the best blow job of my life, I get a hell of a rude awakening.

Ranger’s frantic barks are followed by the unapologetic slam of my front door. I open one eye, hoping that it’s Jenny, here to make all my dirty dreams a reality.

I groan.

Definitely not Jenny.

“What the hell, dude?” I mutter. “What time is it?”

“Time for you to stop being a fucking pansy,” Vaughn says, looking around at the cottage in disgust. “Is this where you’ve been living?”

I roll to my side, reaching around on the floor until I come up with my jeans. “Make some coffee, would you?”

I go into the bathroom to pee and splash some water on my face, and when I come back out, Vaughn’s found his way around the tiny kitchen well enough to start a pot of coffee while he stares down at the mangled chew toy Ranger’s dropped at his feet.

“He wants you to throw it,” I say.

“Throw it where? I’ve seen shoeboxes bigger than this place.”

“You sound like a snob,” I say as I open the front door to let Ranger out for his morning dump.

“I’m not going to apologize for liking nice things, and right now I’m not seeing anything nice. Although I guess the TV’s not bad.”

I get down two mugs, then cross my arms and glare at him while I wait for the coffeepot to finish doing its thing. “You want to tell me what’s brought you out here at seven A.M.? Isn’t it a workday?”

“Oh, so you’re familiar with the concept?” Vaughn says. “Wasn’t sure, what with the two-week vacation and all.”

“Hey, I’ve practically broken my back out here,” I snap. “Installing new appliances and replacing drywall’s not exactly sipping mai tais by a pool.”

“Which would be fine if this was your actual job. But have you forgotten you’re the owner of a major corporation?”

“The owner, yes. Not CEO. I don’t run the business.”

“And whose fault is that?”

“Jesus, not this again,” I mutter as I turn and jerk the coffeepot off the machine even though it’s not all the way done brewing.

I pour us both a cup, going to the window to watch Ranger happily bound after a flock of birds.

It drives Vaughn fucking nuts that I spent three years being groomed to take over the company only to tell my father I had zero interest in being CEO. Objectively I know it’s none of his business, but because he’s my friend, it gnaws at me that I can’t make him understand.

Nothing pisses me off more than that disappointed look on his face every time I tell him I’m taking another consulting gig, investing in a new start-up, or doing anything other than being a good little robot in a suit who shuffles into the company headquarters in downtown Baton Rouge.

You’d think I’d be well used to the look by now. Lord knows I saw it often enough on my father’s face before he died.

And on Yvonne’s.

Still, my dad and Yvonne wanted me to take over for selfish reasons—my father so that he could have the perfect protégé he’d always wanted, his damned legacy, and Yvonne because she wanted the prestige of being married to the CEO of Walcott International. Apparently it wasn’t enough to have access to the money.

General contractor doesn’t make for good cocktail party introductions, Preston.

Yeah, you know what else doesn’t make for good cocktail party introductions, Yvonne? “This is my fiancée, who’s been cheating on me the better part of a year.”

As though reading my thoughts, Vaughn reaches for the cup of coffee and drops the bomb of why he’s here.

“I got a wedding invitation yesterday,” he says quietly.


“It’s Yvonne’s.”

I turn around. “Seriously? She’s marrying that prick?”

I’m trying to decide if I care. Leaning toward no.

Vaughn gives me a disgusted look. “You’re an idiot. It’s your wedding invitation, fool.”

“The fuck.” I jerk in surprise, hot coffee spilling over my hand, which earns another stream of curses as I turn on the faucet and run cold water on my hand, hoping to hell that either Vaughn’s lost his damn mind or I’m still asleep and this is the world’s worst nightmare.

“She’s been trying to get ahold of you,” he says quietly.

“Finn told me.”

“You shouldn’t have ignored her, man. She got desperate.”

I turn off the sink and grab a paper towel. “Right. This is my fault. She cheats on me, I tell her the wedding’s off, she decides no it’s not, and sends out invitations anyway?”

He takes a sip of coffee and studies me calmly. “I’m gonna ask you something, and you’re gonna get pissed.”

“Wonderful,” I mutter. “That sounds really great.”

“Had she not cheated on you…would you have married her?”

I don’t look at him as I pour myself more coffee. “I don’t know,” I say finally.

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