Good Girl Page 49

“Double D’s and Daisy Dukes,” Finn says unabashedly.

“What do you want?” I ask Vaughn, a little surprised by the sureness in his voice, realizing that I haven’t really talked to the guys about serious shit like this in too long, and anytime we have gone there, it’s been after too much whisky, so most of it has been forgotten (or pretended to be forgotten) by the next morning.

“I want to take over my family’s company. I want to be CEO, but not just in title, I want to fucking own it. Be the best damned CEO they’ve had, the one that takes the business to the next level. I want to get married. Someone whip-smart and low-maintenance.”

“Might I suggest a Labradoodle?” Finn says. “I hear they don’t shed.”

Vaughn ignores him. “I want two kids. Last-minute weekends in New Orleans and planned trips to Europe.”

Finn makes a dramatic snoring noise, and Vaughn finally breaks off, seeming a little embarrassed by his oversharing.

Feeling his pain, I shift my focus to Finn. “How the hell do you know what a Labradoodle is? Or Brooks Brothers, for that matter?”

He opens his mouth, then shuts it.

“Like I thought. Not half as much of a hick as you’d like us to think,” I say. Turning back to Vaughn, I tell him, “You’ll get there, man.”

“Really?” he says with a little laugh. “I haven’t been on so much as a decent date since college.”

“I could hook you up with one of my castoffs,” Finn says.

“Great,” Vaughn says with fake enthusiasm. “I’ll take you up on that when I get a hankering for herpes.”

I hold up a hand between their faces before Finn can respond with a retort. Or a fist.

“So that’s me,” Vaughn says, ignoring the finger Finn shoots him. “But this is about you. What do you mean, you want the simple life?”

I run a hand over the back of my neck. “Forget it.”

“Hell no,” Finn says, finishing his beer and signaling for another. “I hate to have anything in common with Country Club, but I’m curious too. All shitting aside, you’ve had a hard time of it, split between the two worlds. It blows, man.”

Vaughn nods once in agreement.

“Fine,” I mutter, taking a gulp of beer for courage. If Vaughn could spill his guts, I could too. “I want a place of my own, off the beaten path. No neighbors for miles. A place where I can get another dog for Ranger that he can hump all day long, giving my pillows a break. I want lazy nights grilling steaks with a decent glass of wine. I want—”

“A woman?” Finn says.


“Yeah,” I say. “Which is bullshit, considering I was just this close to getting fucking married, but—”

“You want a different sort of woman,” Vaughn says.

I lift my shoulders. “Yeah. I want a woman who wants what I want. A woman who’s content to sit on the porch and watch dusk settle over the bayou—”

Finn cracks up and I punch him on the shoulder, hard, although I don’t mind the ribbing.

“I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that your perfect relationship does not involve occasional strolls down the red carpet at the Grammys wearing a tux?” Vaughn asks, pretending to be preoccupied with his beer.

I glare at him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

He and Finn exchange a look, and it’s Finn who speaks up. “It means that you’ve fallen for Miss Grand Ole Opry.”

“I haven’t fallen for anyone,” I mutter, finishing off my beer. “I barely even know her.”

“But you like her.”

I want to deny it, but the hell of the thing is, I do like Jenny. I mean, I don’t get her. I don’t get how someone can talk about her grandparents’ quiet nights on the porch one minute and be talking to her agent about presenting at the CMA Awards the next. But I like the way she smiles. And listens. And stands up for herself, but also doesn’t hold a grudge. I like the way she makes little moaning noises after she takes a bite of steak, and pretends she wants the vegetables but only eats them after dragging them through a puddle of butter on her plate left from the baked potato.

I like the way she laughs, and the way she sneaks Ranger table scraps just like she does Dolly, and the way it takes her an hour to wash dishes because she has to keep taking breaks to jot down the music that she’s humming.

I like the way she fucks. God, do I like that.

“Jenny’s a…nothing. Rebound.”

“So you are sleeping with her,” Finn says.

I don’t respond, torn between protecting Jenny’s privacy and not lying to my best friends.

“Did you decide what I’m supposed to tell her about buying the house?” Vaughn asks.

“Wait. What?” Finn asks.

Vaughn fills him in on Jenny wanting to make an offer on the house, and I feel them both watching me out of the corner of my eye, gauging my reaction.

They can look all they want. Hell, if they come to a conclusion, I’d love a clue myself.

I don’t know what to do.

I want the house. It feels like mine, and not just because my name’s on the deed. I’m the one who’s slowly transitioning it from shithole to home, even if I do have a long-ass way to go. Fixer-upper doesn’t even begin to describe that place.

But Jenny buying the house…

It would mean Jenny stays.

Except she wouldn’t be here for good. What does she want it for? So she can flit in and out when she feels like it? How would I fit into that?

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