Page 72 of Shiver

“Seriously, what happened?”

She sighed and gulped down more wine. “Tara drunk-called him.”

I curled my upper lip. “The little hoe-bag has done it to Blake, too.”

“Did he leave you in his bed to go comfort her?”

“Fuck, no.”

“Bastien did.” She held up her hand, but her arm weaved a little. “Now, don’t get me wrong. She’s his friend, I get it. But the decent thing would have been for him to wake me, explain the situation, and tell me he had to leave, right? Ask me what he did.”

“Oh God, what did the dumb fucker do?”

“See, he snuck out of bed and went to the bathroom to take the call, but I could hear him pretty clear, so I did a little eavesdropping.”

“Fun, isn’t it?”

“Surprisingly, yes! But I didn’t want him to realize I’d been eavesdropping. So, when he came back into the bedroom, I pretended to be asleep. And he just … walked out.”

My brow pinched. “Walked out?”

“Walked out. Leaving me alone, with one wrist cuffed to the damn bed. I could not fucking believe it. I seethed. For hours. Over three hours, to be exact. And when he got back, he denied he’d spoken to Tara and said he’d been ‘to deal with a minor situation.’ That was all he’d say.”

“Oh. My. God.”

“I told him I needed to use the bathroom so that he’d uncuff me. Then I kissed him to keep him distracted while I cuffed him to the bed. He was like, ‘Hey, where the fuck are you going?’ I said, ‘To deal with a minor situation.’ And then I left his lying ass there and went home. He must have gotten free, because he’s been calling me all day. Now I get why you were so upset when Blake lied to you. It fucking hurts, doesn’t it?”

“Like a blade to the heart.”

She tossed back more wine. “I think that, on average, guys are stupid.”

“Not all guys.”

“But they all do stupid shit.”

“That I can’t deny.”

“You think you know someone, you think you can trust them, you think you may even let them use a gag and crop on you again. And then you find out that, wow, they’re a monkey-licking, goat-fucking, cock-sucking, mother-bitch.”

“You know what, I was just gonna say that. Word for word.”

“That’s because we’re on the same wavelength. It’s an honest-to-God tragedy that we’re not lesbians. If I was gay, I’d totally do you.”

I put my hand to my heart, touched. “Aw, that’s sweet. I’d totally do you right back.”

Sarah cocked her head at the sound of the front door closing. “Blake’s home.”

Like that, I smiled. Hearing him call my name, I shouted, “Balcony!” I thought about getting up, but I couldn’t be sure my legs would listen to me. Instead, I glanced at him over my shoulder and waved weakly. “You’re back.”

He came toward me, mouth curved and eyes twinkling. “Well, well, well.” Standing behind my chair, he leaned over me to plant a soft kiss on my mouth and then stroked the column of my throat with his fingers. “Just how blitzed are you?”

I put the pads of my thumb and index finger a smidgen apart. “Really, we’re just buzzed. Right, Sarah?”

She saluted me. “Exactly right.” With what looked like a humungous effort, she sat upright to put her wine on the table and twisted to look at Blake. Then she stilled, eyes locked on something behind him. “What in the fucking fuck are you doing here?”

Tracking her gaze, I saw Bastien. “Uh-oh.”

“Why do you always say, ‘fucking fuck?’” he asked Sarah, jaw hard. “And why wouldn’t I be here? Blake’s a good friend of mine, remember.”

She stared at him a moment. Then she did a slow blink. “Oh my God, you’re actually pissed at me.”

“You’ve been ignoring my calls all day. I left you a voicemail.”

“Oh yeah— ‘Sarah, answer the fucking phone.’ Sweet.”

Blake looked from me to them. “Am I missing something?”

“Tara drunk-called Bastien in the middle of the night,” I whispered overloud. “He went to her and then lied about it to Sarah.”

Blake gave him a what the fuck were you thinking? look, but Bastien’s attention was on Sarah.

“I lied because I knew you’d be upset to hear I went to another woman to comfort her,” Bastien said to Sarah, like that was a genuine and acceptable excuse. I gaped at him.

“And logic told you that it was better for me to believe a lie?” Sarah snickered. “Tara drunk-called Blake, too. But he didn’t leave Kensey. And if he had, he wouldn’t have then lied about it.” She looked at me, frowning. “Would he?”

I pursed my lips. “Not unless he’s interested in having his ass reamed with an iron bar.”

Sarah nodded at Bastien. “See. Blake knows what’s good for him, and you should have known too. Or maybe I just don’t matter to you the way Kensey does to him.”

Bastien thrust a hand through his hair. “Fuck it.” He grabbed Sarah’s wrist, yanked her to her feet, and then slung her over his shoulder.

She pounded her fists on his back. “Hey! Put me down, you son of a bitch!”

“I’m just taking you into the living room so we can talk in private. If you don’t want to leave with me, you don’t have to.”

Blake put a hand on my shoulder when I went to stand and follow them. “He won’t hurt her. Let’s give them a chance to talk it out.” Sinking into the spot Sarah had vacated, he rested his hand on my thigh. “You all right?”

“Sure. You?”

He kissed me again. “It was a long, boring day that just got a fuck of a lot better.” He eyed the takeout boxes. “I see you’ve eaten. Good.”

“How was your business dinner?”

“As expensive as it was boring, but the lobster was good. Although I doubt that you want to talk about this right now, I need to ask, because it’s worrying me that you might have gotten smashed—”


“—to deal with it. How did your visit with Michael go?”

The question was sobering—literally. “It was a waste of time, really.” I relayed the conversation. “I was hoping he’d have some theories, but he only said what we’ve already considered—it’s highly possible that we shouldn’t be looking at either Ricky or Linton.”

Blake massaged my nape, his gaze on the astounding skyline view. “Maybe we should be looking at the Buchanan Brigade.”

“Joshua enjoys messing with me, yes, and he’s no doubt pissed that his efforts don’t work quite as well as he’d like. But Joshua would be more likely to blow the whistle on my penname than do all this.”

“He might have been hoping that you’d call the police. Not only would he then have the satisfaction of knowing he forced you to expose your penname, he could play with you. Could insist to the other cops that you’re just seeking attention and make it so that if anything extreme did happen, no one would believe you.”

It was a good theory, but I shook my head, surprised when the world didn’t spin—my mind was still so fuzzy. “He seemed genuinely stunned when he realized we were together.”

Tags: Suzanne Wright Romance