Right on cue, Courtney stalks in, drops a large bag on the floor and plops down on the couch next to me.

“Do you have any idea how exhausting your sister can be?” she asks, reaching over and grabbing the beer out of my hand.

I give her a smile and a firm head nod. “Actually, I do.” I reach for the bottle in her hand, but she pulls away before I can grab it. Her fingers feel cool, and it’s hard not to notice the way she lingers them against mine. I look over and study her, recognizing her hair is a windblown mess. She looks like she just walked off the beach in her short shorts and cropped t-shirt that hangs off her shoulder.

“I need vodka, muffins, and a nap, and it’s barely noon. Helping Lola fit into her wedding gown and playing with Ginny made me break out into a sweat,” Courtney says, grabbing the remote from the coffee table and changing the channel back to one of her reality reruns. She leans her back against the sofa with her legs crossed. There’s no use mentioning I don’t want to watch this shit because she keeps score and will probably bring up some other time I made her watch something she had no interest in. Either way, I don’t want to get into it now because I need her to leave. If Mia arrives and Courtney is here—sitting right next to me—it’ll be a battle of wits, and I don’t want to deal with it right now.

“So, what does Vizilla have planned for you the rest of the day?” I can’t even hold back the smile on my face. Whether they want to admit it or not, Viola has turned into a bridezilla, which is how I came up with her most recent nickname. I almost feel sorry for Travis, but I know he’ll take care of my little sister.

“Please tell me you didn’t forget, Drew. We have a lunch date with her, your mom and dad, and Travis in about an hour. I know it was last minute, but it’s important you’re there. She group texted us earlier. Didn’t you get it?”

Shit! I try to hold back my reaction. “Yeah, of course.” I didn’t read it.

“I hope so because if you miss this, she will speed over here, use your handcuffs against you, then proceed to cut off your balls and feed them to you.”

“Jesus. A little graphic, Court,” I say with wide eyes, knowing she’d probably just stand by and watch the whole thing go down while acting as Viola’s backup.

Courtney faces me and arches a brow. “She’s a nervous wreck and wants everything perfect, so don’t mess this up. Got it?”

“I’ve dealt with Viola for all of her life, Court. Even the crazy parts of her.”

She rolls her eyes, not taking the bait.

“I need a shower. I smell like baby shit.” She lifts part of her shirt up to her nose and sniffs. “Probably because I’m wearing a little of it.” As she stands, she lifts both arms over her head and stretches. I catch a glimpse of her flat stomach and boney hips. Not sure how that girl is so slim considering she eats carbs and chocolate like it’s going out of style. She takes notice and playfully rolls her eyes before walking away, knowing I’ll call her out for her horrible diet even though it doesn’t show.

I grab the remote she dropped on the couch and turn my show back on. Moments later, I hear the water running in the bathroom, and all I can think about is having to go to that fucking luncheon and Mia arriving in the next thirty minutes. I mute the sound and stare past the TV. Skipping isn’t an option, and neither is ditching Mia. Fuck it. She’ll just come as my date then.

This would be a lot easier on me if everyone could see Mia the way I see her. She’s beautiful, sweet, and goes out of her way to check up on me when I’m on duty. She has her bad days, but we all do.

My show finishes up just in time as Courtney walks back into the living room, dressed up in new clothes. Her long blonde hair is damp and pulled back into one of those messy buns, but her face looks freshly put on and clean.

“Do you want to ride together? I’ll drive since I want to actually be on time,” she offers with a chuckle, bending over and picking up her purse. She unlocks her phone and glances at the time. “Come on, Drew. We really need to get going if we want to miss the traffic.”

I tense up, not having the nerve to tell her why I can’t go with her. “Nah, I’ll meet you there. I’ll be right behind you.”

Tags: Kennedy Fox The Checkmate Duet Erotic
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