Good Girl Page 32

“Nonsense, both my girls are smart,” she says loyally. “But anyway, whether or not you marry this guy, there’s exactly one tried-and-true way to crack any man.”

Zip-tying him to the bed and giving him a blow job?


“I’m listening,” I say, hoping this suggestion doesn’t involve dancing, because there’s no way in hell I’m getting Noah Maxwell onto any kind of dance floor in any universe.

“You’ve heard that the way to any man’s heart is through his stomach?” she asks.

I blink. “No. Is that a thing?”

She sighs, sounding maybe the tiniest bit frustrated. “Honey, is there a grocery store nearby?”

“No, Mom. No food at all in this time zone.”

She ignores my sarcasm. “Get a pen and paper. I want you to write this down….”


I’ve never in my life been embarrassed about a sexual encounter. I’m sure as hell not embarrassed now.

And yet I’m avoiding Jenny today.

What the hell does one say to a girl who hid in your closet, ambushed you, zip-tied you to the bed, and then sucked you off to within an inch of your life, before promptly trotting out your front door without so much as a backward glance?

Thank you.

How about another?

My turn.

But I have no business touching Jenny Dawson. Or any woman, for that matter. Not until I figure out how to extricate myself from the last one.

Because though I refused to admit as much to Vaughn and all his obnoxious prying this morning, I misjudged how to best handle the Yvonne situation. Ignoring her has only made her more determined.

A part of me knows that Vaughn’s right—that the time is nearing when I need to go toe-to-toe with my ex. But the bigger part of me is reluctant to play that game.

It’s her game, not mine.

The truth is, if I’m going to get all fucking romantic about it, I’m starting to feel something close to happiness for the first time in a long time, and I want to hold on to it just a little bit longer. To linger in this safe space where there’s no Yvonne and no expectations, and where I don’t feel constantly pulled between my trailer park side and my silver spoon side.

But anyway, back to Jenny.

Am I avoiding her? Yes.

Out of embarrassment? No.

I’m avoiding her because I can’t even think her name without remembering what it felt like to have her hands and mouth all over me. I can’t blink and not see her in that sexy black bra. I can’t breathe and not smell her scent, all sweet and innocent.

I’ve already crossed a line. Twice. (Not that I had all that much say in last night’s activities, and I find I’m just fine with that.)

The girl might have been sexy as hell, but I’d bet my left nut that it was her first time doing anything like it. I’m relieved even as I’m terrified.

Relieved that it was me she’d decided to get bold with.

Terrified that I liked it so much, and certain that a girl whose future involves plenty of designer handbags, private jets, and red carpets is not for me.

The girl’s as dangerous to me as I am to her.

Which is why I decide that today’s the day to start a project that will keep me out in the ramshackle toolshed I’ve converted to a workshop. It’s far enough away from the house that we won’t have to talk.

Even so, I keep an ear open for her music. I’m familiar enough with her routine by now to know that she usually works inside in the morning but prefers to bring her guitar out on the balcony in the afternoons.

In a bikini, more often than not.

Although, aside from that first day, I’m beginning to think the bikini really is more about staying cool than making me lose my mind, because most of the time she barely seems aware of me—or anyone—when she’s working. She alternates between strumming on her guitar over and over until she gets it just right and then pulling the pencil out of her messy ponytail and jotting something down, before she repeats the whole process over and over again, for hours.

It’s oddly compelling the way she just loses herself in the music, almost as though she’s incapable of ever becoming bored because the music in her head won’t let her.

I want some of that for myself, and today I find it.

It should be pretty clear by now that I know my way around a wood shop. I’ve fixed the porch, the walls, the floorboards, even built myself a pantry for the cottage.

And I love it.

I know that’s fucking lame. Who loves wood?

But I love everything about it. The feel, the smell, the potential.

So today I do something not out of necessity but because I want to. In hindsight I’m realizing I probably should have started with something more basic like a table, but what the hell…I like a challenge.

I’m building a porch swing.

I’m relying almost entirely on a template I found online, but I’m adding my own elements too. And the work is…it’s good. It’s really good.

So good, in fact, that I don’t register that Jenny’s entered my workshop. Usually I see her. Smell her. Feel her. But today I’m so wrapped up in my work that I don’t register she’s there until she’s right in front of me.

She looks beautiful.

I’m used to Jenny looking cute in her jean cutoff shorts and tight T-shirts, or hot as hell in her bikini or black bra.

But tonight her hair’s down around her shoulders, sort of full, like maybe she’s curled it. And she’s wearing a dress. Nothing fussy, just a light blue thing that looks more like an oversize shirt than anything else, but my guard goes up all the same.

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