Good Girl Page 46

Only around for a summer.

Just like me.

My chest aches a little for the eager-for-attention boy Noah was then, as well as for the jaded man he is now. I want to tell him that I’ll stay, but I don’t. I like him too much to lie to him, and I like my job too much to make it the truth.

We’re silent for several minutes, but it’s a peaceful, contented sort of quiet. Noah shifts, moving his hands from behind his head so that his arms are at his side like mine.

I want to turn toward him. I want to kiss him. More, I want him to kiss me.

Instead, I do something even riskier.

My pinky finger extends outward slightly until it finds his. I feel Noah stiffen, and immediately I pull my hand back, but slowly, as though the touch was an accident and I’m not aware of it.

Which is crap, because I’m totally aware of it. That’s how it is with this guy—a split second of pinky-to-pinky contact and I’m practically vibrating with want.

Except tonight it’s not physical want (although that’s certainly there lurking in the background).

Tonight, though, I want intimacy more.

I squeeze my eyes shut. I want someone to care.

I don’t know where the thought is coming from. I have plenty of people who care about me. I’ve never been that girl who begs others to like me, love me, adore me.

But damn it, I want Noah Maxwell to care about me. I want a tiny bit of tenderness from this rough, gruff guy who most of the time can barely stand me.

Keep dreaming, princess, I tell myself in a mocking version of his harsh, drawling timbre.

But then I really must be dreaming, because his hand moves, hovering above mine with only a split second of hesitation before it closes over mine gently but authoritatively.

I bite my lip to fight the smile, but it comes all the same.

“Don’t make it weird, princess,” he says gruffly.

Well, of course I’m going to make it weird after that. I unabashedly twist my hand so that I can twine my fingers with his.

“Is this weird?” I say with fake innocence.

“Yes,” he mutters. But he doesn’t pull his hand away. And though I don’t turn my head to look at him…I’m pretty sure he’s smiling.

Just like me.


If someone was to ask me what the catalyst was for finally dealing with my bitch of an ex, I wouldn’t have said it was holding hands with Jenny Dawson, superstar, in the back of my friend’s truck, outside a house I didn’t even know I owned up until a month ago.

But that’s exactly how it’s played out.

It’s been two weeks since I spent all night holding hands and talking with Jenny until we fell asleep beneath the stars. Yup, you’re hearing that right. All that, and I didn’t even screw her. Not that night, at least.

Since then, though, I’ve been seeing plenty of Jenny, in bed and out.

And for reasons I have zero interest in dwelling on, I’m in my car on the way to Yvonne’s apartment.

Here’s the thing you need to know about Yvonne Damascus: she’s one of those women who has completely different standards for how she actually lives her life versus how she wants people to think she lives her life.

Case in point: the woman screws like a crazy, kinky monkey but refuses to “live in sin.”

Messed up, right?

I mean, granted, she hasn’t fucked me in a long time. The last time we had sex was a couple of months ago, after she made a sloppy, white-wine-fueled come-on that I couldn’t bring myself to resist considering I was gearing up to walk down the aisle with the woman.

I’d like to blame our shitty sex life for her cheating on me, and I’m sure that was a big part of it, but I can’t say I wasn’t equally to blame. At some point I just…quit caring. Somewhere in the middle of her berating me for not wanting French haute cuisine small plates as our wedding meal and us fighting about my reluctance to settle into an office job, I just…lost interest.

But I didn’t cheat.

When you’re the product of a man who was so desperate to keep his affair with a cocktail waitress secret that he didn’t acknowledge his illegitimate child until his legitimate one died, fidelity becomes kind of a thing. And yes, not wanting to touch your fiancée but not being able to touch another woman took its toll in the form of me jerking off more than I have since junior high.

I’d like to think it’s this sort of sex hiatus that made me go at Jenny Dawson like a starving man, although if I’m going to man up and be honest about it, I have a feeling I’d have gone after her like that no matter what my situation.

That girl is like crack to me. Sweet, addictive, and fucking dangerous.

And because I’ve finally come to grips with the fact that I have zero chance of keeping my hands off her for as long as she’s in Louisiana, I realize it’s time to deal with the skeleton in my closet known as Yvonne.

I opted to move to downtown Baton Rouge after graduation, but Yvonne insisted on staying in Village St. George near her parents, friends, and adoring fan club. She lives in a four-bedroom condo her father gave her as a college graduation present, complete with a Mercedes and butler.

Yes, I said butler.

I don’t have many regrets in life. I try to do the whole “mistakes are just life lessons” type of mental trick. You have to when your life’s been as jacked up as mine.

But I do regret proposing to Yvonne.

I regret that I left the ring on her finger as long as I did.

Most of all, I regret that I let her and my father convince me that I could live their life. A life with golf games and pointless conference calls and charity events for children whose names they’d never know or care to know. And butlers. Did I mention the butlers?

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