Lick (Stage Dive #1)(3)


by Kylie Scott

Of course, I’d thrown it up.

“Hey.” He didn’t meet my eyes. “Look, I’m going to get this taken care of, okay?”

“Taken care of?”

“Yeah,” he said, still avoiding all eye contact. Apparently the hideous green motel carpeting was beyond enticing. “My lawyers will deal with all this.”

“You have lawyers?” Criminals had lawyers. Shit. I had to get myself divorced from this guy now.

“Yeah, I have lawyers. You don’t need to worry about anything. They’ll send you the paperwork or whatever. However this works.” He gave me an irritated glance, lips a tight line, and pulled on his leather jacket over his bare chest. His T-shirt still hung drying over the edge of the tub. Sometime during the night I must have puked on it too. How gruesome. If I were him, I’d divorce me and never look back.

“This was a mistake,” he said, echoing my thoughts.

“Oh.”

“What?” His gaze jumped to my face. “You disagree?”

“No,” I said quickly.

“Didn’t think so. Pity it made sense last night, yeah?” He shoved a hand through his hair and made for the door. “Take care.”

“Wait!” The stupid, amazing ring wouldn’t come off my finger. I tugged and turned it, trying to wrestle it into submission. Finally it budged, grazing my knuckle raw in the process. Blood welled to the surface. One more stain in this whole sordid affair. “Here.”

“For f**k’s sake.” He scowled at the rock sparkling in the palm of my hand as if it had personally offended him. “Keep it.”

“I can’t. It must have cost a fortune.”

He shrugged.

“Please.” I held it out, hand jiggling, impatient to be rid of the evidence of my drunken stupidity. “It belongs to you. You have to take it.”

“No. I don’t.”

“But—”

Without another word the man stormed out, slamming the door shut behind him. The thin walls vibrated with the force of it.

Whoa. My hand fell back to my side. He sure had a temper. Not that I hadn’t given him provocation, but still. I wish I remembered what had gone on between us. Any inkling would be good.

Meanwhile my left butt cheek felt sore. I winced, carefully rubbing the area. My dignity wasn’t the only casualty, it seemed. I must have scratched my behind at some stage, bumped into some furniture or taken a dive in my fancy new heels. The pricey ones Lauren had insisted went with the dress, the ones whose current whereabouts were a mystery. I hoped I hadn’t lost them. Given my recent nuptials, nothing would surprise me.

I wandered back into the bathroom with a vague memory of a buzzing noise and laughter ringing in my ear, of him whispering to me. It made no sense.

I turned and raised the edge of my towel, going up on tippy-toe to inspect my ample ass in the mirror. Black ink and hot pink skin.

All the air left my body in a rush.

There was a word on my left butt cheek, a name.

David

I spun and dry-heaved into the sink.

CHAPTER TWO

Lauren sat beside me on the plane, fiddling with my iPhone. “I don’t understand how your taste in music can be so bad. We’ve been friends for years. Have I taught you nothing?”

“To not drink tequila.”

She rolled her eyes.

Above our heads the seatbelt sign flashed on. A polite voice advised us to return our seats to the upright position as we’d be landing in a few minutes. I swallowed the dregs of my shitty plane coffee with a wince. Fact was, no amount of caffeine could help me today. Quality didn’t even come into it.

“I am deadly serious,” I said. “I’m also never setting foot in Nevada ever again so long as I live.”

“Now there’s an overreaction.”

“Not even a little, lady.”

Lauren had stumbled back to the motel a bare two hours before our flight was due to leave. I’d spent the time re-packing my small bag over and over in an attempt to get my life back into some semblance of order. It was good to see Lauren smiling, though getting to the airport in time had been a race. Apparently she and the cute waiter she’d met would be keeping in touch. Lauren had always been great with guys, while I was more closely related to your standard garden-variety wallflower. My plan to get laid in Vegas had been a deliberate attempt to get out of that rut. So much for that idea.

Lauren was studying economics and she was gorgeous, inside and out. I was more kind of unwieldy. It was why I made a habit of walking everywhere I could in Portland and trying not to sample the contents of the cake display case at the café where I worked. It kept me manageable, waist-wise. Though my Mom still saw fit to give me lectures on the subject because God forbid I dare put sugar in my coffee. My thighs would no doubt explode or something.

Lauren had three older brothers and knew what to say to guys. Nothing intimidated her. The girl oozed charm. I had one older brother but we no longer interacted outside of major family holidays. Not since he moved out of home four years back leaving only a note. Nathan had a temper and a gift for getting into trouble. He’d been the bad boy in high school, always getting into fights and skipping classes. Though blaming my lack of success with guys on my non-existent relationship with my brother was wrong. I could own my deficiencies with the opposite sex. Mostly.

“Listen to this.” Lauren plugged my earphones into her phone and the whine of electric guitars exploded inside my skull. The pain was exquisite. My headache roared back to sudden, horrific life. Nothing remained of my brain but bloody red mush. Of this I was certain.

I ripped out the earphones. “Don’t. Please.”

“But that’s Stage Dive.”

“And they’re lovely. But, you know, another time maybe.”

“I worry about you sometimes. I just want you to know that.”

“There is nothing wrong with country music played softly.”

Lauren snorted and fluffed up her short dark hair. “There is nothing right with country music played at any volume. So what did you get up to last night? Apart from spending quality time heaving?”

“Actually, that about sums it up.” The less said the better. How could I ever explain? Still, guilt slid through me and I squirmed in my seat. The tattoo throbbed in protest.

I hadn’t told Lauren about my grand having-good-sex plan for the night. She’d have wanted to help. Honestly, sex didn’t strike me as the sort of thing you should have help with. Apart from what was required from the sexual partner in question, of course. Lauren’s assistance would have involved foisting me on every hottie in the room with promises of my immediate leg-open availability.