Ha. Fine. I gazed back down at the gorgeous dog that seemed to be some kind of Yorkie.

I rubbed her head and she licked me. “Well, thank you. I’m in love with her already. I’m going to call her Tater.” She yipped delicately. “She likes it.”

His lips quirked. “Tater? After me?”

“No, because I like French Fries,” I chuckled. “I hope she doesn’t like to jump in the pool like Monster did.”

“That was a wonderful night,” he said with a wistful expression. “You and me talking until dawn. Until I left, of course.”

I covered my face. “I can’t believe I ran down here and just—kissed you.”

He chuckled. “It was the Romeo quote that did it, wasn’t it? Works every time.”

I punched his arm. “I thought I was the only one you’d quoted that to.”

He got a serious look on his face. “Only you, V, only you.”

He sat down next to me in a lounge chair, and I looked at him harder, noticing the disheveled hair and the dark circles.

“Are you okay? You seem tired.”

He didn’t meet my eyes. “I’m cool. Besides the studio, Spider and I got signed for another commercial.”

There was more, though. Something was on his mind.

I winced. “Any news on the Hing movie?”

He shook his head, his eyebrows gathering in. “Nah, I didn’t get it. It’s official. Whatever, I was a long shot with him—everyone knows that—obviously.” He rose. “I’ll talk you tomorrow at the studio. Take care of Tater for me.”

Oh.

My heart hurt at the disappointment on his face. “I’m so sorry. They’ll be other movies, other directors. Right?”

“Yeah.” And then he walked away from me, and I wanted to call him back.

But we were different now. Uneasy and afraid to be alone together for too long.

It sucked.

MILA HAD MADE good on her night out with Baxter. She rented us a Mercedes limo that Saturday night and made us reservations at a new club called Krush. We picked up Baxter, who was sexy gorgeous with his linebacker body and big dimples—until you noticed he only had eyes for the dudes. We didn’t care. He was fun, picked up on our vibe to dance, and kept the creeps away.

We’d just finished dancing and I’d headed to the bar to get us another round when I felt a hand on my shoulder. “Quit your whining, Baxter, here’s your Buttery Nipple,” I called out triumphantly as I turned around drink in hand.

But it wasn’t Baxter. It was Blair.

“Well, if it isn’t the sweet little violinist named Violet St. Lyons.” Her lips curled up in a snarl.

My entire body tensed. “Blair. Nice to see you. I’m actually here with some friends—so if you’ll excuse me.” I made to brush by her, but she blocked me.

“Oh, don’t be in such a rush. I still want to talk, Violet.”

Going by the slight flush on her face and the smeared makeup, she was trashed. I smiled tightly. Might as well let her get her say in. “Fine.”

She shooed a girl off the stool next to her and then plopped down, crossing her tanned legs delicately at the ankles. She sipped on a glass of wine and sent me a haughty glare. Something she seemed to have mastered. “I don’t know what you’re doing to keep Sebastian away from me, but you need to chill out. You’re ruining his career.”

“He can make it without you, and I think you know that. Find a new boy toy—unless you’re in love with him?” The thought had crossed my mind.

She laughed. “God, I may have had sex with him which was fantastic—and I may have fallen in love with him for a second or two—but romance is not my ultimate goal. Success and longevity in Hollywood is.” She took a sip, her slitted eyes on my face. “Not that you would know about ambition. Your music career seems to have taken a nosedive rather dramatically.”

That stung. “You don’t know the first thing about me or my music.”

She tossed her head back and chuckled. “You’re quite the feisty thing, aren’t you, but I think I prefer the freak from the coffee shop. At least she had the sense to run away.” She ran her finger across the rim of her glass. “Let me put it like this, Violet: You may have skated by without anyone picking up on who you are, but I know. And for some odd reason, it bothers you for people to know. All it would take would be a mention that you were the reason Sebastian Tate left me, and people would hate you.” She fluttered her spidery eyelashes at me. “To prevent me from spilling the beans, I think you should talk to Sebastian, convince him to amp up our relationship—maybe even a fake proposal.” She bit her lip. “God, I’d love to try on wedding dresses and buy a ring and plan a bachelorette party.”

The room spun. Being in the eye of a paparazzi storm? Terrifying. I licked my lips, feeling cold and then hot. My mouth dried and I started tapping with my free hand. I dropped the shot and the glass shattered, alcohol and glass flying. Someone screamed and people gave me a wide birth as they looked accusingly at the mess and then me, but I was frozen, fighting my panic, fighting Blair.

“Dearest, maybe you should sit down. You really are a basket case.” She tsked.

No. Not this time.

From somewhere deep inside me, some small part of the girl I used to be reared her head. Yet, because of my parents, I wasn’t an evil person either. And when I gazed inward I saw myself clearly. I saw that I was better. I saw that no matter what had happened to me, I at least had a chance for a future happiness. I wasn’t so sure Blair did.


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