“No,” she said, but her eyes avoided mine.

“No? You’re acting weird. You sure you’re good? Don’t need me to check any closets or look under your bed?” I eyed her foyer but didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.

Rustling came from inside her house, and I snapped, adrenaline driving me as I brushed past her. She shoved back at me, and I stumbled backwards, my hand catching on a porch post.

Her chest rose rapidly. “I don’t like this side of you, Sebastian. Now, please leave.” Two spots of color blazed on her cheeks.

Fury swarmed in me like angry wasps. Who was she protecting?

“Is Spider in there?” I bit out. He’d suddenly up and left the nightclub we’d been at. I’d tried to call and text him, but he’d never answered. Neither had Mila.

She lifted her chin. “Why? I don’t own you and you don’t own me. Isn’t that right?”

Then I saw it …

A set of leather luggage and a pair of men’s loafers parked next to a pair of girly heels and a purse.

I paced around her porch, fists clenched. “Who’s in there with you, V?”

Just then an auburn-haired dude waltzed up behind her and settled his hands on her shoulders, all easy like. But his gaze was hard as nails as he raked over me and obviously found me lacking if the curl of his lip was anything to go by.

“Violet?” He said her name gently, his voice sandpaper on my brain. His hands smoothed down her arms to lean into her, his nose right in her neck. “You said to hang back, but I’m not so sure, sweetheart.” His lips snarled as he considered me. “Your friend giving you trouble?”

I wanted to give him trouble. I shoved a hand through my hair, pulling on it at the end, trying to ground myself.

She shook her head, her eyes still on my face. “No, he’s fine.”

He didn’t seem convinced as he eyed me with disdain. I sized him up, too. Wearing dress slacks and a cream-colored fisherman’s sweater, he looked like a Ralph Lauren ad. Everything I wasn’t. I flexed my biceps, itching to reach in, pluck him out of the house and put my fist in his face.

And it was insane. Because she wasn’t my girlfriend, yet here I was, losing my shit.

“Geoff?” I bit out.

He nodded, brown eyes burning with a banked anger. “And you must be the infamous rock star next door. I’ve heard about you.” He smirked and glanced at V. She looked back at him, and it was a look I wasn’t part of. It said I know you.

“Look at me, V,” I said and she raised her eyes to mine.

“Are you—are you with him?” I asked, part of my brain not wanting to process what was obvious.

She didn’t speak.

“It’s not a hard question,” I muttered.

Geoff crossed his arms. “Explain it to him, Violet,” he said, leaning against the jamb of the door.

She licked her lips. “We’re friends,” she said.

“Who used to be lovers,” Geoff said slyly. “In fact, at one point, she was almost my wife.”

Coldness hit me at my core, and I had to suck in some air. She’d been engaged to this uptight asshole?

“You went from him to me?” I shook my head and barked out a laugh. “Perfect, just perfect. It’s like my ex all over again.”

V opened her mouth and then closed it, her eyes shifting from me to him. She settled on him. “Geoff, will you give me a minute?”

“Sure. I’ll go find us a movie while you take care of this.” He sent me a smirk. “Call out if you need help.” He walked back into her house.

She turned to me. “Sebastian—” she started, but stopped when I shook my head.

“Just stop. Nothing you say will make this better. Maybe I deserve seeing you with him after ditching you for Blair. I know we aren’t anything to each other.” I exhaled heavily, struggling to let my anger go. “Maybe—maybe I’m just relieved.”

“Relieved?”

“You lied to me.”

“Sebastian, wait—”

“No, you wait. I hate liars,” I ground out. “It’s why I’m brutally honest. Liars rip your guts out when the truth is always the best damn answer. I gave you truth. I told you what I was about, yet, you—you chose to lie. All you had to say was that your ex was in your house, only you didn’t.”

“I didn’t know he was coming. He just showed up when I got home.” She took a step toward me but stopped when I backed off the porch.

“Liars always have good excuses, V.”

“You’re being unfair.” She spread her hands apart. “It’s been a year and a half since I’ve seen him. I had no idea—”

I held my hand up. The television had clicked on from inside the house, a stark reminder that he was waiting for her. I sent her a nod. “Goodbye, V. It sounds like your fiancé is waiting for you. I’ll not keep you.”

With my chest aching for some unknown fucking reason, I staggered off in the grass between our houses.

I WOKE UP to sunlight streaming in my window and a wet kiss.

Monster licked my face, and I groaned. “You need to eat some breath biscuits, baby girl.” I flipped over and buried my head under the covers.

“Good morning, Basty,” said a cloyingly sweet voice.

What the hell? Foreboding hit. I jerked my eyes open and came face-to-face with Blair Storm, who promptly leaned over and kissed my surprised lips.


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