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I had a sinking suspicion he wasn’t going to be happy with me.

But if I had known he thought something like that this entire time, I would’ve cleared it up long ago. Seriously. Me being butt sore over it was nowhere near as bad as him thinking he did something really bad.

Chewing on my lower lip, I padded across the room, passing the deep closet. The doors were open, and a cold draft wafted on the bare skin of my stomach, creating a wave of goose bumps on my flesh. The bad thing about the Victorian was the draftiness, even in the summer. Mr. Silver once told me that there were hidden passages in the house from back in the day, pathways under the staircases and hidden doors behind plastered-up walls.

Come to think of it, the main staircase leading to the upstairs apartments abutted up to my bedroom.

Wheeling around, like a dork I quickly closed the closet doors. Pretty pointless considering I was buck naked, but I did it anyway.

As I got ready for work, I went right back to obsessing over the caring and sharing session I was going to have to have with Reece. Deep down I knew it wasn’t going to end well, and I shouldn’t care, but I did.

And I knew he was not only going to regret the night that never really happened, but once he realized I hadn’t told him the truth, he was also going to end up hating me.

Chapter 5

Mona’s was slammed Saturday night. With Jax already at Shepherd University in West Virginia with Calla, we were a man down when it came to the bar. Clyde was still out of commission due to doctor’s orders after suffering a heart attack last month. Sherwood, our part-time cook, was running around like a madman.

We were so busy I barely caught the moment Nick slid his phone number scribbled on one of our new napkins to a girl in cut-off jeans.

“Another one bites the dust,” I sang as I shimmied past him to grab two beers.

His eyes narrowed on me.

I giggled as I spun back, placing the bottles on the bar. The two guys waiting looked legit and normal, dressed in dark jeans and plain shirts, but I knew they didn’t run in the friendliest of circles. I’d seen them both with Mack, who’d worked for a guy in Philly named Isaiah, who everyone in and near the city knew to stay away from. Worked as in the past tense, because over the summer, Mack had ended up with a bullet to the head on a lonely back road. From what I gathered, he’d been the one messing with Calla, threatening her over what her mom had gotten into, and Isaiah hadn’t been too keen on the unwanted police attention being thrown his way.

So I smiled brightly up at them. “On the house.”

The older one with coal-black hair winked. “Thanks, darling.”

I figured it was a good idea to have potential mobsters in your back pocket. Never knew when one needed someone to take a cement swim. Ha.

I was guessing Reece was working, so completing Priority Number Four was on hold. I’d be a liar, liar, pants on fire if I said I wasn’t relieved, because I was so dreading that moment of truth. And I had his phone number, so I could’ve totally texted him and asked to meet up. Or I could’ve texted him the truth.

But that would’ve been so lame I’d have to give myself a cement swim.

Good news was I wasn’t really dwelling on it, since I was bouncing from one customer to the next, racking up tips. It was after midnight when I looked up from making a wicked sex on the beach and saw Dean standing at the corner of the bar.

Oh crap.

The moment I looked up, he saw me. Duh. I was standing right there and he was looking right at me. Briefly, I considered diving behind the service well.

“Hey,” he said, finding what had to be the only unoccupied bar stool in the world. “Busy tonight.”

I could feel heat creeping into my face. I so had not responded to his text earlier. After Mom had left, I’d forgotten about it. “Yeah, it’s been a really busy . . . day.” As I placed the pineapple juice back, I winced. A day so busy I didn’t have time to send a text? Lame. When I faced him, I kept my bar smile firmly in place. “What can I get you?”

He blinked slowly. His eyes were blue, not as vibrant as Reece’s—dammit! I was not thinking about his eye color. “Um, a Bud would be great.”

Nodding, I quickly hurried off to grab him a beer. On the way back, Nick raised his brows at me but said nothing. I slapped a napkin on the bar and placed the beer on it. “Tab or pay as you go?”

Again, he blinked and then leaned back, fishing out his wallet. “Pay now.” He slipped a ten over. “Keep the change.”

“Thanks,” I mumbled, wanting to leave the money on the bar, but there was rent and that new set of watercolors I wanted to get, so . . . Taking a deep breath, I glanced up at him as I folded my hand over the cash. “Look, Dean, I had a really good—”

“Hey! Roxy-moxy, my girl!”

My bones nearly jumped out of my skin at the sound of Katie’s voice. I turned, surprised that she’d been able to sneak in. Then again, the bar was that crowded, and she was actually dressed down tonight. Kind of.

Katie worked across the street at the gentlemen’s club. In other words, she was an exotic dancer and loved every minute of it. Normally she was wearing something that most wouldn’t even consider wearing out in public. Tonight, her long legs were encased in bubble-gum pink leather and her halter top was like a purple disco ball.

Dean eyed her like she was an alien who had just strolled into the bar.

“Yo,” I recovered quickly, and out of habit, grabbed the bottle of Jose and a shot glass. “How’s work tonight?”

Elbowing her way between an older woman and Dean, she squeezed into the miniscule space. “So boring I almost fell asleep while sliding down the pole.”

“That would’ve ended badly.” I poured the shot.

“So, you’re off on Sunday, right?” Dean cut in, clamping his arms close to his sides as if he were afraid of touching Katie and catching something from her.

I did not like that.

Katie snickered as she curled fingers with an icy blue manicure around the shot glass. “She is off, but she ain’t going to be spending it with you unless your last name is Winchester.” She arched a brow as she checked him out, and my mouth dropped open. “And you are so obviously not Dean Winchester.”

“Excuse me?” he sputtered, his cheeks flushing red.

“What?” She shrugged tanned shoulders. “Honey, I’m just telling you in a nice way you don’t stand a chance with her.”

“Katie,” I hissed.