When I fell asleep that night, it wasn’t Josh I was dreaming of. Nope, stupid Ruger. Again.

Even in my dreams he won.




KIMBER: Josh won’t tell Ryan anyting about ur date. Did somethig go wrong?

ME: Ruger


ME: We had a great time then Ruger showed up. Pretty sure I’ll never hear from Josh again

KIMBER: Jesus Ruger. Stalk much?!?!???

ME: No it wasn’t like that. He was having dinner with the guys we ran into him in the parking lot. He had a little bullshit talk with Josh then Josh ran off. I realize he doesn’t know us very well but he didnt even make sure Noah and I were safe when he left. Epic fail all around

KIMBER: Pisser. Josh loses margarita privileges. Hate wimps

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ME: Meh …

KIMBER: So u talk to Ruger at all?

ME: Nope. Fuck him

KIMBER: Gotcha. Hey u going to the bachelorette party? Marie invited me and I wnat to go, but it would be wiered without u

ME: Can’t decide. Like her and would love it, but … you know …

KIMBER: Yup, I get it. Keep me posted


RUGER: Can I pick Noah up after school? Got a thing I want to take him to

ME: What kind of thing?

RUGER: Got a friend who races, his car is down at the track. Said Noah could have a ride

ME: Is it safe???

RUGER: Safe as any car. He’ll go slow

ME: Biker friend?

RUGER: No. No colors, no Reapers. Don’t agree with you on that, but I’m giving you time

ME: I dont need time. I need you gone

RUGER: Can I take him or not?

ME: Okay. Home by 6?

RUGER: 7 work? I’ll get him dinner

ME: Sounds good. No games, tho. Drop him off and leave

RUGER: I hear you. No games


DANCER: So you coming to party or not? Marie really wants you there.

ME: Um …

DANCER: Please come. I know things are shit with you and Ruger. I don’t care, neither does Marie. We’d love to have you there.

ME: Okay. Dont want to stay out too late tho. I have work on Friday

DANCER: No prob. Even a few hours would be great for Marie. Kimber, too? She’s fun. Um, coul dyou ask her to bring her blender, too? Starting at my place before hitting bars …

ME: Dork :p

DANCER: Not dorky to know what you want;)

ME: Guess not. I’ll see if Elle can watch Noah

DANCER: You can share our sitter if you need to

ME: Rather have him closer to home. More likely to sleep. Oour lives have been crazy lately and he has school tomorrow

DANCER: See you tomorrow night <3

ME: Sounds good


KIMBER: Can’t believe she’s having the party on a thursday. Sucks, Ryan has to work tomorrow. Hangover and baby don’t mix!!!!!!!!!!

ME: You don’t have to drink, you know.

KIMBER: Shut the f**k up. Ur not drinking?

ME: No—work in morning.

KIMBER: You preggo or something?

ME: Oh, you’re funny

KIMBER: :-> So u know why a thursday?

ME: Marie said she’s got a thing with her mom this weekend. Spa or something

KIMBER: Jealous. We should do that

ME: Right after I win the lottery

KIMBER: Hmmm … ur gonna have to start buying tickets

ME: Why don’t you buy for both of us?

KIMBER: So long as I get to drink for both of us, I’m down with that! SMOOCHES

“Fuck!” Marie screamed, spinning around. “I lost my veil!”

She stood up in the limo’s open sunroof. It was just after midnight, and we’d decided to cruise down along the Coeur d’Alene lake before hitting our final destination, a karaoke bar.

About an hour ago, Marie had declared she wanted—no, needed—to sing “Pour Some Sugar on Me” before the night ended. It’d been playing when she and Horse met, and apparently the world would end if we didn’t sing it again tonight.

We knew this because she’d been very clear: The existence of the world literally depended on successful completion of this karaoke mission.

As one of the most sober women in the limo, I’d been assigned to make sure we didn’t get distracted and forget. Seeing as I wasn’t one hundred percent sober, I’d carefully written this on my inner arm with a pen as a reminder.

Now I stood next to her, watching in horror as the little white scrap of tulle she wore on her head flew through the air toward Painter, who followed us on his bike. Holy shit. Would it make him crash?

Apparently a drifting veil wasn’t a serious road hazard to a bike going twenty-five miles an hour, because he avoided it easily enough. The prospect following him—one I’d seen at the Armory party but hadn’t met—pulled off to go fetch it.


“That’s good service,” I told Marie. She started giggling, and then she fell down into the limo, officially drunk off her ass.

I popped back down, too.

Dancer lay back across one of the seats, laughing so hard she was crying. Maggs had her shirt up, flashing her boobs while Kimber took a picture. Wasn’t sure I wanted the whole story on that one. A woman I’d just met named Darcy was pouring champagne in that very slow, very deliberate way drunk people have. Unfortunately she’d forgotten the glass.

I hoped whoever arranged the rental had coverage for that kind of thing.

A woman with short, curly, reddish-blonde hair sat giggling in the corner. Back when she could still speak in full sentences, Marie had introduced her as Cookie. She used to live in Coeur d’Alene but had moved, and now Marie managed the coffee shop she still owned in town.

Em and I looked at each other and she rolled her eyes.

I’d decided not to drink too much because I had work in the morning, but I was still in a pretty good mood. Definitely planning on a cab ride home. Em, though … She had a haunted look in her eyes that bothered me. No wonder the girls had been worried about her—something was obviously wrong.

“So why don’t they just go home?” I asked Em, scooting over to sit next to her.


“Painter and the other guy, Banks.”

“Banks will stick with us all night,” she said quietly. “He’s supposed to keep an eye on us, make sure we make it home safe. I guess Painter’s just along for the ride—maybe he’s worried after what went down with Hunter and Skid.”

“He was watching you while you were dancing,” I said. “He may not have seemed interested before, but he’s definitely interested now.”

“I could give a f**k,” she replied, her voice flat. “Painter, Hunter … men in general. I think I’m swearing off them entirely. Too bad I can’t just flip a switch and go lesbian.”

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