Maybe this afternoon won’t be a total loss, after all.

The dress is tastefully alluring—knee-length, sleeveless, a corded neckline that loops around the collarbone and ties in the back. But the body within it is the real highlight. She’s tiny but unmistakably womanly—warm peach-hued skin, an elegant neck, delicate arms, a slight swell of cleavage, a tight waist, and toned legs with the sweetest hint of muscle. Her hair is thick, a multifaceted blond—pale, almost white strands grace her dainty jaw—but there’s shades of honey-gold and caramel leading back to a low bun.

Advertisement

She’s fucking stunning. I have no idea who she is—but finding out just became my number-one priority.

She spots me as I approach. Bright turquoise eyes, sharp and appraising, rake me over from head to toe. Enjoy the view, baby. I’ll be happy to give her the extended tour later on.

“Hi,” I say, smiling when I reach her.

She raises her chin, straightening her shoulders. “Hello.”

-- Advertisement --

There’s something familiar about her. It tickles the back of my brain and stirs my cock. I wonder if she’s a friend of my cousins’—possibly a bridesmaid I hooked up with at one of their weddings?

“Enjoying the party?”

Her gaze turns toward the crowd as she sips from the crystal flute in her hand. “Yes. I’m sure the birthday girl is ecstatic. Caviar and champagne—what every one-year-old wants.”

Sarcasm. I like sarcasm. It suggests intelligence. Confidence.

I like her ass even more—which I’ve discreetly checked out.

“Word around the country club is you’ve gone into business on your own,” she comments casually. “Got yourself a law firm with your name on it.”

Her tits are pretty phenomenal too. A little on the small side, no more than a B cup—but I just bet they’re firm and perky and magically delicious. The kind that can forego a bra, so her nipples poke against her shirt when she’s turned on. I love that look on a woman.

“Yes, almost two years now. We’ve built quite a name for ourselves.”

“You must be so proud.”

“I am.”

She lifts one shoulder. “I think it’s pretentious as hell.”

My eyes snap to her face. “I beg your pardon?”

“It’s a farce. The brave young defense attorney, giving up the big-paycheck firm to serve the little people.” Her voice turns derisive. “It’s easy to be brave when you have Great-Grandpa’s money behind you.”

My brow furrows. “That’s pretty presumptuous of you.”

“No, what’s presumptuous is thinking you can walk over here, ogle my tits and ass, and assume I won’t call you on it.”

Guess I wasn’t as discreet as I thought.

“Is ogleable a word? Cause if it is—you’re it. A lot of women would take it as a compliment.”

She faces me head-on. “A lot of women are idiots. And not as knowledgeable as I am about what a selfish, immature little prick you can be.”

Little? I resent that—particularly in such close proximity to the word prick.

“Who the hell are you?”

She stares at me for two beats. Then she throws her head back and laughs.

“My God. Of all the ways I pictured this going, I never considered you’d totally forget me. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised—I was pretty forgettable back in the day.”

“What does that even—”

A woman’s voice calls “Kennedy!” cutting me off—and knocking me on my proverbial ass.

Mitzy Randolph, one of my mother’s oldest friends and our next-door neighbor, walks up and plants two air kisses on the blond beauty at my side.

“I’ve been waiting for you to arrive,” she tells her.

“I’ve been here for twenty minutes, Mother.”

Holy fuck.

Mrs. Randolph turns to me, her arm around her daughter’s back. “Isn’t it wonderful that our Kennedy has come home, Brent?”

And all I can do is parrot like an idiot. “Yeah . . . wonderful.”

Mitzy steps back, takes her daughter’s hands, and holds them up at her sides—looking her over, judging and evaluating—just like the good old days. “I’m so happy to have you out of Nevada. All those nasty casinos and dust and desert.” She caresses her cheek. “That dry air has wreaked havoc on your skin. I’ll make you an appointment with my esthetician this week—she’s a miracle worker.”

Kennedy gives a resigned sigh. “Thank you, Mother.”

“Now I’ll let you two get reacquainted. I see the Vander-blasts are here and if I don’t spend at least ten minutes with Ellora she’ll work herself into a snit.”

When we’re alone again, I can’t stop staring. Once upon a time she was my best friend. For a hot minute she was more. After that, she hated me. And then she was just . . . gone.

I haven’t seen her for fourteen years, and the last time I did, she sure as shit didn’t look like this.

“Kennedy . . . ?” I whisper, still not entirely convinced it’s her.

She regards me with a tilted head, a cocked hip, and a disdainful smile. “Hello, Dickhead.”

Okay. Now I’m convinced.

-- Advertisement --