If he knew that just this morning she’d gotten a stripper job at the Jolly Gent to help Lucky find that missing girl, he’d keel over and die of shock. He’d have good company, because she was pretty sure Lucky would kick it when he found out what she’d done.
“Kiss my ass, Teague.” Taylor got up to leave, suddenly over this little family reunion .
“Hey, wait.” She heard him jump up behind her, his hand grasping her arm to turn her around to face him. She saw the regret in his eyes, and it thawed her resistance. “Sorry. I’m tired. Wrapping all this up is kicking my ass, and the partners in DC are starting to push for me to get back. Forgive me?”
Her first reaction was to tell him to forget it. She’d gone a number of years with no real relationship with him, and it wouldn’t change a damn thing in her life to keep the status quo. But during the long flight here she’d made up her mind to try to reconnect with Teague, and the first step required her to meet him halfway, especially when he offered an olive branch.
“It’s okay.” She smiled and his tense expression relaxed. “So, how is it going at work?”
His eyes lit up with excitement and the grin sprouting across his face was contagious. “I’m up for partnership. The youngest one ever, and it looks like I’m going to get it.”
“Shut up!” Taylor jumped back into his arms, her actions pushing a grunt and a laugh out of him. He hugged her again, this time with a hard squeeze, and in that moment she was really glad she came back. “That’s awesome. You deserve it.”
He blushed at her words, modesty and pride warring in his eyes and in the twitch of his lips. Pride won out and he grinned from ear to ear. Go, big brother.
Pulling back, she reached up to adjust her T-shirt, tugging it down from where it had ridden up. Teague glanced down and, presto, disapproval resettled in the line of his shoulders. She steeled herself for what was coming next.
“Taylor, what is that?”
“A piercing.” She tried to keep the defensive tone out of her voice and act like she didn’t care what he thought, but knew she sucked at it. There was no danger of her winning an Oscar any time soon.
“When did you get it? It looks like it hurt.”
“About two years ago. It didn’t hurt as much as the other ones. A little pinch and done.”
“Yeah. Two others. You’ll never see them.” She waited for their location to sink in and bit back her laugh when his eyes widened and he maintained strict eye contact. God, she loved her brother, but damn he was seriously uptight about some things. His attitude was practically begging her to be the brat and tweak him a little more. That’s what little sisters were for, right? “They hurt more than the tattoos though.”
“Oh, hell.” He settled to sit on the edge of the desk, arms crossed and looking like a lawyer in full cross-examination mode. Well, give it your best shot. I’ve got nothing to hide. Except the fact that she’d slept with his best friend. Repeatedly. On different continents. She’d keep that to herself. “How many? Where? You know they’re going to slide dangerously south when you’re an old woman, right?”
“Whatever. I’m going to be hot when I’m old.” Taylor flashed him body parts as she rattled off the list. “One on my wrist, ankle, lower back—total tramp stamp—and one on my shoulder.” She turned back to face him, her hands open with a shrug. “That’s it.”
“I think that’s enough. I hope you don’t regret them someday.”
“There are many things I will regret, but a little body ink and piercings won’t be on the list.”
Teague stared at her. She wanted to tell him not to worry about it, she was a big girl and the country club path wasn’t the only one that led to that mystical world called happiness. She’d found it with a stolen car, a plane ticket to Hawaii, and the sand between her toes.
“Well, avoid shocking the Baptist ladies club when they come to help you with the house. They’ll see those tats and hold a prayer vigil over you.”
“Why would they be coming to help?”