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“I’m all for a secluded beach wedding with no one around except the officiant and my intended.”

“What’s your longest relationship?” he asked.

At least they’d slowed down on the shots. Her head was getting muzzy. “Jake, the bastard switch-hitter, and I were together for six months.”

“Together as in…living together?”

“No, he’d been in Vancouver for most the TV season.”

Chase frowned. “So you had no idea what he was doin’ when he was away from you?”

“Wasn’t like I didn’t see him. I flew to Vancouver or he came to LA. When he came back to LA, I was dealing with my show getting cancelled and didn’t think anything of him spending so much time with his new friend Decker.” She groaned. “Maybe the tabloids were right. How didn’t I see they were so into each other? I’m such an idiot.”

He curled his hand around hers. “Hey. Sometimes we see what we want to. Doesn’t make you an idiot, Ava. In my mind, it makes you a victim. He lied to you. Used you. Set you up. It sucks that it was played out in public. You’re handling it better than most would.”

“You really think so?”

“Yep.” Chase smiled and squeezed her hand, peering at her closely. “You still wanna play this game?”

For a second, she hoped he’d meant the game they were playing, pretending not to be wildly attracted to each other. But when he kept staring at her, she understood he was referring to the actual drinking game. “Ah. Sure. My turn, right?”


Okay. Think, Ava. Something…sexy. “In an episode of Miller’s Ridge, I shared a steamy onscreen kiss with my female costar.”

“I told you I don’t watch TV.”

“Means you have a fifty-fifty chance of guessing…wrong.” When she glanced up and saw his gaze focused on her lips, she knew he’d been imagining that girl-on-girl liplock. In full detail.

“True,” he said hoarsely.

“Sorry. A total lie.”

“Shit.” He was a bit slower knocking that one back. But when he looked at her again, he had a glimmer in his eye. “My turn. First time I rode a bull, my cup damn near pinched off my balls.”

She winced in sympathy. “Oh, I’ll bet that hurt.” Her eyes roamed his angular face, noticing the color spreading across his cheekbones. Talking about it embarrassed him. She permitted a small, smug smile. “True.”

His wicked grin appeared and he topped off her glass. “Lie. Bull riders don’t wear a cup.”

“Dammit. I am so not playing poker with you.” Ava sucked in a breath and held it while she slammed the whisky. She let out a stream of air that sounded like a hiss.

“Are you starting to feel the effects of your losing streak, Ava Rose?”

God she loved the husky way he drew out her whole name. “Losing streak? I believe we’re tied.” Or maybe Chase was right. Maybe she was losing because the shots were blurring together. Ava squinted at him. “Are you feeling the whisky at all? Or am I just a lightweight?”

“I’m feelin’ it.”

She tried really hard to concentrate on those tempting lips and smoky-blue bedroom eyes, but his handsome face kept swimming out of focus.

“Ava? You okay?”

Instead of admitting No, I am totally wasted, she offered him the charming smile she was known for. “Just thinking about the subject of lies.”

“What about it?”

“What’s the biggest lie you ever told?”

That I’m not gonna sleep with you.

Jesus. Where had that come from?

The booze, probably.

Ironic, they’d been talking about alcohol-fueled mistakes. No way would Chase let his whisky throw-down with her become an excuse to take her to bed.

Besides, Ava Cooper, TV star, was out of his league. Way out. The rich girl bombshell wouldn’t have looked at him twice if they hadn’t accidentally ended up hiding out at the same place. Plus, her feminine pride and sexual self-esteem had taken a blow because of her asshole gay ex-boyfriend, so naturally she wanted to prove her sex appeal to a man. Any man. He just happened to be convenient.

Chase didn’t like being convenient.

“Hey, cowboy, are you ignoring me because I’m drunk?” Ava clapped a hand over her mouth and giggled.

“I think we oughta call it a night, Hollywood.”

“Fine by me.” She stood. Swayed. And would’ve hit the floor if Chase had slower reflexes.

“Whoa, there. Not so fast.”

She inhaled deeply. Exhaled gustily. “You know today when you said I smelled great? Well, I’ll bet you smell great all over too.” She nuzzled the side of his head.

“Stop sniffing me. It tickles.”

“Where else are you ticklish?”

“My feet.”

Ava frowned. “Lie. I’ll bet you’re most ticklish behind your balls. I bet I can prove it.”

You’re on. Let’s test your theory right now.

No. No. No. No.

“Ah, Ava, we’re not playing the game anymore.”

“Oh. Shoot. Everything is spinning anyway. I just really need to go to sleep now. Nighty night.” She started down the hallway, stripping clothes as she bounced from wall to wall like a slow-moving pinball.

The seven—or was it eight?—shots hit him full force. The hallway became a tunnel-like funhouse mirror. Distorted. Sideways. He stretched his arms into a T and put one wobbly foot in front of the other.

He had to stop and grip the doorframe leading to the bedroom when he saw Ava sprawled face first on the mattress. Would you lookit that. He might be drunk, but he wasn’t fuckin’ blind.

The sweetest, tightest, most delectable ass he’d ever seen—and he’d seen more than his fair share of nice asses—just begging to be caressed. Kissed. Squeezing those perfectly round globes as he hiked her hips up and slid his cock inside her.

As he took another step, he tripped over a shoe, or his own damn feet, and went skidding across the carpet. The room spun as he rolled to his back, blinking at the ceiling.

The bed jiggled. Soft, fragrant strands of hair teased his chest and then an angel’s face was suspended above him.

“Cowboy? You all right?”

“Uh. Yeah.”

“Do you need help getting up?”

“No. I never need help getting it up. That’s my problem.” He laughed. Hard. No idea why because it wasn’t particularly funny, but Ava must’ve seen the humor because she busted a gut right along with him. After wiping the tears from his blurred vision, he mumbled, “I’m actually pretty comfy. I might just crash here tonight.”

“No. Come up on the bed. There’s room.”

Chase rolled to his knees. Clambered on the bed. The last thing he remembered before he passed out was Ava slurring, “Pillow fight!”

Chapter Six

“What in the hell is goin’ on here?”

Ava didn’t recognize the voice, the loud voice, reverberating in her skull like a jackhammer. She shifted on the mattress and felt the warm weight of something on her butt.

Turning her head required effort, but somehow she managed and found herself staring into Chase McKay’s handsome face. Wait a second. How had she ended up in bed with the sexy cowboy? When he’d reiterated that he wouldn’t sleep with her?

“Earth to Ava,” a feminine voice trilled.

Now that voice she recognized. Ginger.

Ava reached down and removed Chase’s hand from her ass and rolled onto her back. Bright sunlight from the window stabbed her retinas and she groaned.

Chase stirred. His leg repeatedly rubbed against hers, sending goose bumps dancing up her thighs.

“Chase. We have company.”

“Get rid of ’em. Christ, I have a headache.”

She poked him in the ribs until he turned over.

Kane was crouched by the bed, looking slightly amused. “Serves you right, Chase, for drinkin’ all my goddamned whisky.”

Chase jackknifed, and his hands flew up to cradle his head. “Ow. Fuck. Yell in my ear again, cuz, and I’ll give the whisky right back to you in another form.”

Kane laughed.

“So you’ve been here a day and you’re already sleeping together?”

Ava finally looked at Ginger. “No.”

Ginger arched an eyebrow.

“I know what it looks like. But Chase and I are just friends. Right, McKay?”

“Yeah, but you and me ain’t never drinkin’ together again.”

Her answering laugh sent a spike of pain to her brain.

Chase scooted back to rest against the headboard and glared at Kane and Ginger. “Woulda been nice if you’d told us that we’d be roommates. Teenage Ninja Turtle over there almost killed me.”

“Oh please.” Ava yanked the sheet to her waist as she sat up. “Like it wasn’t ten kinds of scary for a city girl to be out in the middle of nowhere, woken up in the dead of night by a half-naked guy wearing a big hat and carrying a duffle bag that has ropes in it.”

“I sure as shootin’ didn’t have on my cowboy hat when I was headed for bed.”

“That’s not how I saw it.”

“I don’t know how you saw anything since your eyes were half-covered by a fancy piece of pink fluff.”

“I call bullshit on that. You’re just—”

Kane whistled shrilly and both Chase and Ava winced. “Enough. Don’t be blaming me or my wife, because we kept your secrets. We only realized this morning what’d happened, which is why we’re here.”

Ava looked at Chase. She didn’t like scruffy whiskers on men, but on him? A whole ’nother story. Gave him a harsher edge. Toned down his almost too-perfect good looks.

Why don’t you just write the man a fucking sonnet?

God. What was wrong with her? She never got moon-eyed over a guy. Never.

Chase frowned at her. “Why are you starin’ at me?”