Christine peered at me again, then tapped my forehead with her index finger. “True, but if this work-too-hard routine keeps up, I’m going to order you some Botox, since it looks like you’ve aged ten years. And let’s be honest, the ladies aren’t going to be that into you as a forty-year-old.”

I mimed stabbing my heart. “Dig the knife a little deeper, why don’t you?”

She grabbed the imaginary blade and happily dug around in my chest with a wide smile that stretched to her eyes. “With pleasure.”

“Has anyone ever told you you’re sweet?”

She shook her head. “Nope. No one.”

“That’s what I thought,” I teased as she grabbed a tiny bottle that looked Parisian. She held it up for my approval. The name said Come What May.

What the hell did I know about perfume?

Nothing.

But I knew sisters. And Christine wanted me to be involved in the gift-giving.

I took the bottle, studied it, sniffed it, and declared it fine.

“Great. Let’s get it for her, and we’ll give it to her next week.” As we headed to the counter, Christine wagged her finger at me. “And when Sunday rolls around, I want to see that you’ve given yourself some me time, Kate or not.”

I scoffed at the notion. Guys didn’t need me time.

Yet, I definitely could use a break.

Maybe I was a little addicted to work these days.

And I knew the cost, had seen it in my dad. Only recently had he started to prioritize health over work. While our situations were vastly different, I did need to be smart, to be cautious.

Trouble was, work was my natural state. The only way to not work was to fill the time with something else.

When I said goodbye to Christine, I made my way to The Luxe, thinking about how to keep busy.

My mind kept returning to Kate.

She’s been on my mind more often than not lately. I wasn’t sure when she’d commandeered her bit of real estate in my head, but there she was.

Might as well send her a text.

I took out my phone, tapping out a note as I walked.

We traded messages about bets and gloves and hard asses, and as I read them over, a smile tugged at my lips.

Maybe Christine was onto something.

Talking to Kate was always a good time.

And evidently, that was what I needed.

4

Kate

With a smile courtesy of Jake’s texts, I popped open my lipstick tube in the ladies’ room.

As I touched up the color, someone pushed hard on the door, and a gaggle of laughter followed as two women poured in. The bride and the maid of honor.

“You have to do this,” the bride said, in that insistent tone women took with their besties.

“But this is your weekend,” the maid of honor said, sounding apologetic.

“It’s our weekend, Sidney. We’re out of town. And you’re single.” The bride waved her phone around. “You need to have this hottie to get David the Douche out of your system.”

Yup. Called it. The bride wants to sprinkle sex magic on the maid of honor.

I capped the tube and tucked it into my purse. In the mirror, the bride caught my gaze, asking me, “Doesn’t Sidney need this absolutely divine man?”

Ah, the instant friendship afforded by the ladies’ room. “I’m going to need to see the goods before I answer that.”

“Of course. Look. Just look.” The bride shoved her phone at me, showcasing a picture of a man in a tailored suit. Chiseled jaw. Dark hair. Mesmerizing eyes.

“Why, yes,” I said, “I’ll take one of him too. Double serving. À la mode, please.” The guy was a ringer for Henry Cavill.

“You can have him,” the woman said excitedly, emphasis on can.

“Are you giving him away? Is he a party favor?” I asked with a laugh.

The bride laughed, too, and shook her head. “You can order Antony from Sin City Escorts.”

Everything clicked.

This was indeed the extra fun kind of girls’ weekend. The kind involving male escorts from the local firm that had made a name for itself in that department. “Good choice. Sin City has the hottest men in Vegas. And many are especially good at getting an ex out of your head.”

“See!” The bride practically jumped up and down, then she turned to me and gripped my arm. “Her ex was a dick. He cheated on her with literally everyone in Phoenix. I want her to use this weekend here in Vegas to forget him. Doesn’t she deserve this one?”

The bride thrust the phone at me again, showing off the hottie she wanted to order for Sidney.

Deserve.

That was a potent word.

Don’t you deserve a girls’ weekend?

Don’t you deserve something special?

Don’t you deserve this man?

That could work in some girls’ night out marketing.

Sidney sighed longingly as she stared at the image, hunger in her eyes. Then she shrugged happily. “Why not? Throw caution to the wind.”


Tags: Lauren Blakely The Gift Erotic
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