Filthy Beautiful Lies Page 38

Her eyes are still on me, weighing my reaction. "There’s not much to tell. Honestly, I have no idea how he feels about me."

"Have you slept with him?" she asks, her voice dropping lower.

Have you? I want to ask.

"No," I admit.

She bites her lip. "Hmm. That’s interesting."

I want to ask her what’s so interesting about it, but instead I decide to pour myself more wine after all. The doorbell chimes and Marta hops up from her perch on the sofa.

"I’ll get it!"

Moments later, Marta strolls back into the den with Pace trailing behind her. "Look who I found."

I’d forgotten that Colton said he’d send Pace over to check on me. Pace eyes the coffee table where the wine bottles signal exactly what we’ve been up to.

"Join us?" I grin at him.

He lifts two empty bottles from the table and flashes me a naughty smirk. "Trouble."

"Who, us?" Marta bats her eyelashes at him.

"I’m good, thanks though. I just came to check on you ladies, make sure you’re not getting into too much mischief while the boss is away."

"We’re being good. We’re just discussing why meeting a good man is so hard. Seriously, what’s a girl gotta do to get laid in this town?" Marta complains, taking another sip of wine.

Amusement gleams in Pace’s eyes and his lips curl into one of his delicious trademark smiles. "Let me know if I can help."

Marta rolls her eyes. "Colton would have your balls if you touched me and we both know it."

Pace’s smile fades. "True enough."

I wonder what that’s all about, but my tummy grumbles, reminding me that we’d foregone dinner in favor of alcohol. I head to the kitchen, grabbing handfuls of crackers and pretzels and munching on them as I head back to the den where Pace and Marta are speaking in low, hushed tones. I sense the mood of the evening has shifted, only I have no idea why.

"He’s an asshole if he keeps this from her," Marta says.

"He’s trying to figure it out, so we need to cut him some slack and let him do this his way," Pace reminds her, his voice firm.

My crunching attracts their attention and the conversation immediately stops. "Are you guys talking about Colton?" I ask, swallowing down a dry mouthful of crackers. It’s obvious that they were, I just want to see if they’ll be honest or try to lie to me.

They exchange a silent look.

I plop down on the sofa across from them, meeting Pace’s concerned gaze. "Why doesn’t he like me?" The words fall from my mouth before I can filter them. Maybe I’ve had more wine than I realized.

"I know he likes you," Pace says, confidence seeping from his every word.

"How?" I blurt.

"Because he’s finally dealing with shit he should have years ago."

"Pace…" Marta warns.

"Relax. I’m not going to spill the beans. Besides, you know I’m right," he says.

I wish I hadn’t drunk so much, I wish my head was clear enough to put together the puzzle pieces forming before me.

"Come on, we’re going out. Operation mancandy is going into effect starting tonight – for both of us," Marta announces, hoping up from the couch. "Pace you’ll take us out clubbing, won’t you?"

He frowns but nods his head. "I’ll make sure you’re safe."

I follow Marta upstairs to Colton’s bedroom. She heads straight for the closet and begins picking out outfits for both of us. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been out, but this is what people my age do, right?

Marta changes into a denim mini skirt and halter top right in the closet. Knowing Pace is in the other room, sitting on the chaise, I’ll take my black shift dress to the bathroom to change. I haven’t had that much wine.

Marta saunters toward the bed and plops down. "God, I’d forgotten how comfortable this bed is. Holy shit." She snuggles into the pillows. "It’s like heaven threw up and this bed is the result."

I want to ask her when the hell she’s been in his bed, but I don’t. I might belong to him, but he’s not mine. And I don’t want to imagine anyone besides me in his bed. Needing to hide my warring emotions, I head into the bathroom to get ready.

In the mirror, I see a girl with wide, curious blue eyes and her heart wide open. It’s a dangerous combination. Falling for the man who bought me was never part of the deal. Could I be any more naïve? He hasn’t even slept with me yet, and already my feelings are running way too deep. A tiny thought pushes into my brain. Maybe he hasn’t slept with you yet because he actually likes you.

Unwilling to let myself get carried away with the thought, I change into the dress, leaving my clothes in a heap on the bathroom floor, then fluff my flat brown hair in the mirror. My cheeks are flushed pink from the wine, but my lips look pale in comparison. I wonder if Marta has some lip gloss I can borrow.

"Marta?" I exit the bathroom only to find her stretched out across the bed sound asleep.

Pace looks up at me from the chaise. "I think she’s out for the night."

Marta lets out a soft snore and curls onto her side.

I shrug. "That’s fine." I’d be just as happy changing into pjs and curling up with the TV remote.

"Thanks for coming tonight," I say to Pace.

"Not a problem." He rises to his feet. "The truth is, I wanted to come over and check on you. I was getting worried about you. Colton keeps you locked away like some sex slave."

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