“Pretty sure it doesn’t work that way,” I said, sighing. “Men really are a giant pain in the ass, aren’t they?”

“Speaking of, how’s Ruger?” she asked. “I hear you’re fighting with each other.”


“Um, that seems a bit strong,” I said. “I’d say we’re just not talking much, which is what I wanted. No offense, but after what happened, I don’t think I want anything to do with the club.”

She sighed.

“I can understand that,” she replied. “You didn’t exactly get a good intro. I know it probably doesn’t seem this way, but they’re actually really good guys. It’s not like this shit happens all the time.”

The car swayed, and Dancer crashed into us.

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“You are boring!” she yelled in our faces. “We’re having a good time here. If you don’t sing me something good at the bar, I’m making you ride with Painter.”

Um, no. I would rather have my eyes poked out than do karaoke.

I didn’t say that, though. I just smiled politely and decided this was a sign—I’d call a cab after Marie sang her song. I had to be up in six hours, so that was probably for the best anyway. At least I didn’t have to worry about Noah—Elle had taken him, offering to keep him overnight and get him ready for school the next day. That was a huge help.

“Oh my God!” Maggs squealed suddenly. We all froze. “We haven’t done presents yet!”

“Presents!” Marie yelled, clapping her hands. “I love presents!”

Maggs lurched down to the front of the limo and pulled back a big basket full of unopened packages and envelopes. She grabbed one at random, throwing it to Marie.

“Who’s it from?” Darcy asked. Marie tried to focus on the writing, then shook her head.

“Can’t tell,” she said. “They have really, really messy handwriting.”

“Here,” I said. “Let me look.”

She handed it over.

“The tag was printed off a computer,” I said, snorting. “It’s not even a fancy script or something. You’re too drunk to read. Oh, and it’s from Cookie.”

Marie pouted.

“It’s not my fault you guys bought all those shots,” she said. “It’s not like I could let them go to waste! That’s just wrong.”

Darcy nodded sagely.

“She’s right—if you throw away booze at your bachelorette party, the marriage is doomed.”

“You say that about everything,” I accused. “The marriage is doomed if she doesn’t order the steak and the shrimp. The marriage is doomed if she doesn’t dance with at least ten guys. The marriage is doomed if she doesn’t tell us how big Horse’s dick really is. How can all of that be true?”

“I know these things,” she declared. “Am I right, ladies?”

“Hell yes,” Dancer chimed in. “Darcy knows her shit. If she says the marriage is doomed if Marie doesn’t drink enough, it’s time to start pouring shots down her throat!”

“Right now it’s time to open presents!” Maggs yelled. “Ladies, we need to focus. The marriage is doomed if she doesn’t get these open before we hit the karaoke bar!”

“Shit,” Marie said, her eyes opening wide in panic. She ripped into the bag, peeked down inside, and started giggling madly. Then she pulled out a giant double-headed jelly dildo in swirling colors.

“Oh, Cookie,” she said, sighing. “It’s beautiful! How did you know?”

We all burst out laughing, and Maggs grabbed another present. This one was from Darcy, and I shit you not, it was a giant, strap-on cock.

“That’s so you can put Horse in his place,” she told Marie. “That man’s ego needs controlling, and that’s a great tool to do it with.”

“I love it,” Marie whispered. “Oh, I cannot wait to try this.”

“You think he’d actually let you use it on him?” I asked. She started giggling.

“I think just the sight of it will make his head explode,” she said. “It’s all about creating the right kind of romantic mood, you know?”

Em got her a beautifully illustrated Kama Sutra, Dancer got her a thong that said “Support Your Local Reapers MC” on it (along with a little Reaper’s skull), I got her sensual massage oils, and Kimber got her some sort of electronic thing that we all just looked at, trying to figure out what the hell it was.

“Read the instructions,” Kimber said. “Trust me, you turn this baby on, you’re gonna love it.”

Marie tilted it, obviously confused, and I tried to figure out where it would even fit on a person’s body.

I really, really wanted a look at those directions, but when we looked for them, nobody could find them in the piles of tissue paper cluttering the limo.

We pulled up to the karaoke bar right as she finished. It was quarter to one, which gave us about an hour before last call. Because the marriage would be doomed if she didn’t have more shots, Marie had more shots. Then she got up and sang her Def Leppard song and we all joined her for the chorus.

Maggs took over the mike to sing “White Wedding,” and then Marie realized the marriage was definitely doomed if she didn’t text Horse a picture of her modeling her new panties, so we all tripped back out to the limo.

That’s when I decided to call it a night—it was my understanding that when the bar closed, they’d all be heading back to the Armory to join up with the guys. The girls didn’t want me to leave, but seeing Ruger wasn’t exactly one of my goals for the evening. Ten minutes later the cab pulled up and I gave him my address. I guess I’d had more to drink than I realized, because the next thing I knew, we’d pulled into Elle’s driveway.

“Wake up,” the driver said. “This where I drop you?”

I looked around, trying to clear my head. I wasn’t drunk, but I wasn’t totally sober, either.

“Um, yeah,” I said. “Just pull around the house, okay?”

He did, and I fumbled in my purse for money. I gave it to him and stepped out, digging for the keys. I’d forgotten to turn on the outside light, which didn’t help. Or maybe it was just burned out … I usually left it on all the time.

The driver must’ve been a nice guy, because he waited until I got the front door open before he pulled away. Too bad he hadn’t waited a minute longer—when I flipped on the light I nearly had a heart attack.

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