Dirty at 30
©2016 Cassandra Lawson
Cassy Roop of Pink Ink Designs
by Kendra’s Editing and Book Services
book is a work of fiction. All characters and events are creations of
the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual people or
events is purely coincidental.
unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work is
illegal. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by federal
law enforcement agencies and is punishable by up to five years in
prison and a fine of $250,000.
Also by Cassandra Lawson
Without Batteries Series
at 30 (Book 2)
at 30 (Book 3)
Blood (Book 1)
the Heat (Book 2)
Death (Book 3)
Restraint (Book 4)
Destiny (Book 5)
Winter (Book 6)
and Vixens (Book 1)
With a Vampire (Book 2)
Prefer Blondes (Book 3)
Vampire Will See You Now (Book 4)
with a Vampire (Book 5)
in Geek’s Clothing (Book 6)
Crazy Vampire Love (Book 7)
That Bind Series
Spellbound (Book 1)
Spellbound (Book 2)
Dirty at 30
represented a new challenge in my writing career. This was my first
contemporary romantic comedy, and my beta readers, Amber, Andrea,
Kari, Levenia, and Ria, really helped me work out the kinks in this
book. I also really appreciate my husband and children who put up
with me working extra hours as I wrote this book, which I squeezed in
the middle of my existing release schedule. I want to thank all of my
readers. You are all amazing, and I appreciate each and every one of
A blonde, a brunette,
and a redhead walked into a bar. No, it’s not the opening line for
a joke. It’s how my Saturday night started.
Saturday was the one-year anniversary of meeting my two best friends,
Chelsea and Delaney—the blonde and the redhead. For the last year,
we’d gotten together almost every week. What we did depended on our
moods and schedules. We’d done everything from lunch and shopping,
to indoor skydiving, but the one constant in each of our gatherings
was the discussions about the sex we should be having—the kind
involving an actual guy. Our talks were purely hypothetical since
none of us were looking to go down that road again, which was why our
talks usually included discussions of book boyfriends and boyfriends
requiring batteries. Many of our outings ended with a trip to the
bookstore, and occasionally, we stopped at the sex toy shop. Our book
boyfriends never let us down, and we could count on our battery
powered friends to meet our needs without any complications.
We’d all met during a
yoga class taught by a human pretzel Barbie, who barked out orders
like a chain-smoking drill sergeant. I’d taken that wretched class
for twelve weeks. Many might wonder why we’d all continued to
attend the class when we hated it so much, but we’d each bought a
nonrefundable package of lessons at a great price, and we were all
too stubborn to drop out of yoga boot camp. At first, we’d just
hung out to talk about our evil yoga instructor, but we quickly
learned we had a lot more in common. Each of us had found Mr. Wrong
and foolishly jumped into marriages doomed to fail. We’d each been
hesitant to date since then for our own reasons. Chelsea was afraid
of losing control of her life again. Delaney was afraid of being hurt
again, not that she’d ever admit to that. As for me, I had an even
better reason to avoid dating; I was still married to my Mr. Wrong,
but not for long.
Rob,” I announced, watching the faces of my friends morph from
shock to joy.
Chelsea practically screeched, her sassy blonde bob bouncing around
her heart-shaped face, and her blue eyes sparkling with excitement.
Chels looked like a pinup girl with her exaggerated curves and pouty
lips. She also had a sweet voice that made people think she was the
helpless little woman, which was far from the truth.
“You’re not joking,
right?” Delaney asked skeptically, probably wondering if this was
the four margaritas talking. As our designated driver for the
evening, Delaney was the only one who wasn’t a little tipsy. Her
long red hair flowed around her face, bringing attention to her elfin
features and bright green eyes. She’d come from a small town in
Texas, close to the Louisiana border, which gave her a drawl that men
seemed to drool over when she spoke in that smoky voice of hers.
“I’m really doing
it,” I assured them, but I understood why Delaney was skeptical.
I’d been married to Tristan Robinson—or as everyone called him,
Rob—for eleven years. Our anniversary had come and gone just two
days after my thirtieth birthday, and that’s when I’d suddenly
realized it was ridiculous to remain married to a man I hadn’t seen
in nearly as long as we’d been married. The only reason I knew he
was still alive was that all the bills for the house I lived in were
still being paid every month. To be honest, I was somewhat amazed
that he’d managed to pay the bills all these years. Fifteen years
my senior, Rob had always behaved more like an irresponsible teen,
and I was pretty sure that hadn’t changed.
“I gotta ask,”
Chelsea began. “What brought this on?”
Luke, my stepson, had
been my biggest reason for remaining married. I wasn’t going to lie
and say he was the only reason I’d stayed married to Rob. It hadn’t
all been selfless on my part. Having no rent or household bills for
the last decade had allowed me to get a college education and start
my own graphic design business. So, yes, I had gained something from
remaining married to my absentee husband so long, but it was long
past time to move on. I should have moved on as soon as Luke left for
college, but I was comfortable in my state of limbo.
Delaney nodded. “Please
tell me it’s something interesting, like a guy. Tell me you were
having phenomenal sex with a hot guy, and he told you he can’t live
without you, so you’ve decided to ditch dickhead Rob.”
“Oh, my!” gasped
the elderly woman from the table close to ours.
Tonight, we’d met at
a bar attached to our favorite Mexican restaurant. Since we were
regulars here, they knew to seat us far from the main restaurant, and
they did their best to encourage other patrons to sit at tables
further from us. The gasping seventy-five-year-old with lime green
hair was a regular who insisted on sitting close to us. To save her
overly starched husband from being offended, she always turned down
his hearing aid.
When I gave her a
smile, she waved her frail hand with its long acrylic nails painted
to match her hair. “Don’t mind me, dearie,” she said with a
sweet smile. “I’m hoping Red’s right. I need a man at least
five times a week. A girl your age shouldn’t be getting less dick
than I am.”
Her husband looked over
at us with a scowl before turning back to his wife. “She doesn’t
look very domestic. Looks like a prostitute if you ask me.”
The senior spitfire
wasted no time in reacting to her husband’s rude comment by tossing
a drink in his face and storming out with as much spunk as a woman
pushing a walker could manage. Her husband hurried after her,
shouting about how he didn’t understand what she was so riled up
After we all got our
laughter under control, Delaney pointed to them. “I want to be her
when I grow up.”
“Does anyone know why
she’s using the walker?” Chels asked.
“I didn’t tell
you?” I asked.
“She was in here when
I met Luke for lunch one day, and I stopped by her table to ask her
what happened,” I began with a laugh. “According to her, they
bought a sex swing after her husband’s knee replacement, and there
was an accident.”
“No way!” Chelsea
said over her giggles.
“She seemed dead
serious,” I assured them. “Do you think I can talk her into
“Don’t forget that
her husband is part of that package,” Chelsea reminded me.
“Good point,” I
agreed. “Too bad.”
“Back to why you
decided to get divorced after all this time,” Delaney pushed.
I might have been
embarrassed admitting my reasoning to anyone else, but these ladies
got me. There would be no judgment, mostly because we’d all
confessed some pretty embarrassing things to each other. You couldn’t
be shy around the women you shopped for sex toys with.
“It’s Rafael,” I
began with a sad sigh.
Both of my friends
looked thoroughly confused. They knew who Rafael was, but I could see
why they would have trouble understanding how he could influence my
decision to file for divorce.
“Please tell you
haven’t started having long conversations with Rafael,” Chelsea
gasped, trying to look serious but failing miserably. She ended up
hunched over the table with her head resting on her arms as she
giggled at the image.
“That would be a
little weird,” Delaney agreed, having more luck looking serious.
“Didn’t you once tell me Rafael doesn’t speak English?”
“Do you want to hear
this story or not?” I asked my friends.
Chelsea got her giggles
under control and sat up. “Sorry. We’ll be quiet.”
While I seriously
doubted she’d be able to remain quiet, I continued anyway. “I was
enjoying a quiet evening at home,” I began. “I’d opened a
bottle of nonalcoholic wine and watched a little television.”
“What were you
watching?” Chelsea asked, proving she couldn’t be quiet after
“Game of Thrones,”
“You hate that show,”
“I don’t hate it,”
I argued. “I’m just not crazy about it.”
They continued to look
at me, waiting for the real reason I kept watching Game of
“I was watching it
for the hot guys,” I admitted with no shame. “Are you happy? Can
“Go right ahead,”
Delaney told me with a grin. “You were watching hot guys and
drinking grape juice.” There was no mistaking the disdain in
Delaney’s voice at my choice of beverage. Delaney did not approve
of wine without alcohol.
“Naturally, I wanted
to end the evening on a happy note, so I decided to take a bath with
Rafael. Things were going great. Better than great. I was fast
approaching the big O. It was within my reach, and then he died.”
Chelsea let out a quick
giggle before reining in her amusement. Delaney’s head was resting
on the table now, and her shoulders were shaking.
“You’re getting a
divorce because the batteries died on your favorite vibrator?”
Chelsea asked, before losing the battle to hold in her giggles.
“I’d just replaced
the batteries,” I insisted. “Just in case I’d somehow managed
to put old batteries in, I almost fell on my ass running out of the
bathroom while dripping water across the floor. Even with two new
AAs, he still wouldn’t work. He’s dead.”
“That’s the name of
my favorite vibrator,” Delaney piped in.
“You named your
vibrator Dead?” Chelsea asked.
“No. His name is
Justin Case,” Delaney replied with a wicked grin. “I keep him
just in case I’m horny.”
I snorted. “You’re
always horny. That poor vibrator must get a good workout.” This was
definitely a pot calling the kettle black situation, but I was
willing to live with that.
Delaney flipped me off
while letting out a contented sigh. “He’s the best I’ve ever
had. You know what I’m talking about, Brook. You have several
backups for Rafael, but you ran to get replacement batteries instead
of the backup. Justin is the only vibrator who takes care of all my
“Perhaps, you should
finish this story before Delaney gets too carried away fantasizing
about her buzzing boyfriend,” Chelsea suggested. “Then, we’ll
take you over to get a new friend. There’s no standard mourning
period for battery operated boyfriends, so it’s acceptable to
replace Rafael right away.”
Some might find our
conversation strange, but it was talks like these that made our
weekly gatherings so much fun.
“After Rafael died,
leaving me with my orgasm just out of reach, I got to thinking it
would be nice to have a man take care of things for me, at least part
of the time, which is when I decided it’s time to file for
divorce,” I explained. “I could argue that I don’t have a real
marriage, so what’s the big deal with having a man while I’m
still married, but this seemed like the sign I needed to get out of
this relationship limbo I’ve been stuck in. So, on my agenda for
the month are file for divorce and get a replacement for Rafael—a
battery-powered replacement for now. I want to focus on getting this
divorce moving first.”
“You gotta file for
the big D before you can look for a big D,” Chelsea chirped
“No more margaritas
for the blonde,” Delaney called out to our waitress, which resulted
in Chelsea flipping her off. “This is really exciting!”
“Which part is
exciting? Me getting divorced? Or are you just excited about a trip
to our favorite store?” I teased.
“I’m excited about
the idea of sex with someone with a heartbeat,” Delaney replied.
“Being an erotica writer, one would assume I get lucky sometimes.”
“Are you saying
Justin isn’t enough for you?” I asked with an expression of mock
Justin,” Delaney warned. “What was I talking about?”
“I can’t even
remember the last time I had sex,” Delaney mused.
“Same here,” I
began. “I do know it wasn’t very good.”
Based on the sighs from
my friends, I wasn’t alone.
“It’s been far too
long,” Delaney muttered.
“Are you really
considering going polyamorous and getting a friend to play with you
and Justin?” Chelsea asked with a gasp.
“As tempting as the
idea of getting someone to join me and Justin is, I’m too busy,”
Delaney insisted, before shocking us all when she added, “but maybe
I should make time.”
That was a big change,
and the table fell silent. Delaney had never even brought up the
possibility of finding a man before. None of us had brought it up
before today. While I’d expected my friends to be excited about me
taking a chance, I’d thought they’d be resistant to taking a
I was the one to break
the silence. “It’s time.”
“For what?” Chelsea
asked. “Are we leaving already? I thought we were going to order
“We’ve all recently
turned thirty and spent most of our twenties avoiding dating,” I
began. “It’s time to start dating.”
“I’m not sure about
dating, but I wouldn’t mind seeing if sex is better now,” Delaney
added. “I write about good sex, and I can’t help thinking there
must be a man out there who knows what he’s doing in bed.”
Chelsea began to shake
her head wildly. “I’m still having trouble getting Jason to leave
me alone. There is no way I am dating and ending up with another
stalker in my life.”
“Fine,” I relented.
“How about if we just agree to start having sex with actual men,
instead of fantasizing about them with our electronic lovers? I’ve
never had a wild affair, so maybe I should start with that, anyway.”
“I’m in,” Delaney
stated with a decisive nod.
“You are?” Chelsea
asked, mouth open and eyes wide. While I managed to avoid gasping in
shock, it was hard, so I didn’t blame Chelsea for her reaction.
“We should make a
pact,” Delaney continued.
“Didn’t you say you
don’t have time for a man?” Chelsea asked.
Delaney flashed a
wicked grin. “I’m sure I could make a little time to explore that
threesome you mentioned me having with Justin.”
“Come on, Chels,” I
urged. “You can’t continue to let Jason rule your life. If he
sees you with someone else, he might get the hint and leave you
After considering what
I’d said, Chelsea nodded. “You’re right. I’m tired of
fantasizing about a hot alpha male walking off the pages of a book
and making me scream. I need to get one of those for a night or two.”
Now that my friends
were in it with me, I was actually excited about the idea of finding
a man. Of course, I still had one major detail to take care of.
“First, I need to get this divorce going.”
“Do you have an
attorney?” Chelsea asked.
I nodded. “According
to my attorney, I should be able to get the divorce finalized quickly
if I can serve Rob with the papers. That is going to be the
“Do you know where
Rob is?” Chelsea asked.
“Not a clue,” I
Rob had packed his bags
and walked out the door less than six months after we’d married.
There’d been no big fight, and he hadn’t explained why he was
leaving. Since then, I’d only spoken to him on the phone a couple
of times. I’d never cried or hoped he’d return. In all honesty,
I’d been relieved to see Rob go. I’d considered filing for
divorce earlier, but Rob hadn’t just left me with the house, car,
and a nice monthly stipend; he’d also left me with his thirteen
year old son, Luke. At nineteen, I’d become more than Luke’s
stepmom, I’d become the one constant in his life. I had no clue
where his mother was, and Rob had never taken much interest in Luke,
even before he’d left.
“What happens if you
can’t find Rob?” Chelsea asked. “You won’t be stuck with that
asshole forever, will you?”
“I can still get a
divorce,” I assured her. “It will just take much longer, and I’d
really like to put that part of my life behind me. Luke is an adult,
and he’s also been pushing me to move forward. I think he feels
guilty about the stuff with Rob, even though none of it was his
“You know what you
should do?” Delaney asked, and something told me I didn’t want to
know what Delaney thought I should do.
“I’m afraid to
ask,” I admitted.
“You should ask Luke
to fix you up with one of his hot young friends,” Delaney
I had just taken a
drink, and I literally spit the contents across the table at Delaney,
which served the bitch right.
I shrugged. “You
deserved that. Just be glad I’d taken a drink of water instead of
my margarita. It would be totally wrong to go out with one of my
stepson’s friends. I’m pretty sure it is a big no-no of the
forbidden romance variety.”
“You’re only six
years older than Luke,” Delaney argued. “I’m sure you were
considered a total MILF by his friends during his high school years.
You owe it to at least one of those poor young men to make his
ultimate fantasy a reality.”
“I do not want to
think about horny teen boys fantasizing about me,” I said with a
“Chelsea agrees you
should do it,” Delaney practically gloated.
“I meant Brook’s
right,” Chelsea clarified. “Teen boys are pretty gross. I have a
brother, so I know.”
“I am not asking my
stepson to fix me up with one of his friends,” I insisted.
thoughtful for a moment. “Maybe he could fix me up with one
of his friends. I might end up being inspired to write a story about
the sophisticated older woman, teaching her young lover how to
pleasure a woman.”
“That’s been done,”
Chelsea pointed out.
“Done or not, it
would still be fun,” Delaney argued. “Don’t worry. I was
teasing you about fixing me up with one of Luke’s friends. Older
men are my preference. You know, a man with more experience. I
married a boy. I’m looking for a man to take care of business for
“I suppose, I should
be happy you didn’t suggest I fix you up with Luke,” I told
“That would be
awkward,” Chelsea agreed.
“I can’t believe
we’ve never met Luke,” Delaney remarked.
“He just moved back
to the area, so I’m sure you’ll meet him soon enough,” I
assured them. “What I can’t believe is that we’ve never met
“You’ve never met
any of my family,” Chelsea pointed out. “It’s nothing personal.
I just don’t invite them to any gatherings that might end in
shopping for vibrators.” Her eyes suddenly lit with excitement.
“Hey! I have a great idea. My brother can help you find Rob.”
Chelsea’s brother, Tyler, was a private investigator.
“That would be great,
Chels,” I told her. “My attorney recommended a private
investigator, but they won’t be able to meet with me for another
“Tyler can help you
sooner than that,” Chelsea assured me.
“Should I call his
office to set up an appointment?” I asked.
replied. “I’ll text him and see if he can give you a call. Do you
mind if I give him your number? It’ll be better if you don’t go
to his office.”
“Any reason I
shouldn’t go to the office?” I asked.
“They’re doing some
remodels,” Chelsea explained. “Plus, this will make it easier for
Tyler to squeeze you in.”
“You think he can
take care of everything without meeting me in person?” I asked.
She shrugged. “I’m
not sure, but he can always meet you at a coffee shop or something.”
“Just let me know
what he says,” I told her. “I can email him stuff, too.”
“Now that we have a
plan, let’s finish our drinks and go find a replacement for
Rafael,” Chelsea suggested.
Delaney raised her
glass of iced tea. “A toast to making this the year we end our long
stretches of celibacy!”
I raised my glass. “To
getting a little dirty at thirty.”
“To getting a little
naughty at thirty,” Chelsea added with a raised glass.
“To getting a little
sultry at thirty,” Delaney finished with her smoky drawl.
After surviving the
week from Hell, I was looking forward to meeting my buddy Luke for
drinks. It had been about six months since I’d seen him, which made
me feel like a dick considering he’d been back in the area for over
a month. In that time, I’d been busy with several cases, mostly
involving cheating spouses. One in particular, I needed to have
scrubbed from my memory. I’m not entirely certain it’s cheating
when the spouse in question is into sucking the toes of women after
they play tennis at his club, but his wife thought it was. I really
hate my job. At twelve, when I first asked my uncle if I could work
for him, I’d thought being a private investigator would be
exciting. It wasn’t, but it was a family business, which is part of
the reason I was still stuck in a job I hated.
Luke had moved down to
San Diego right after high school to attend college with the
intention of majoring in Marine Biology. That had been his plan for
as long as I’d known him, even though he’d had no clue what he
planned to do with that degree. Luke’s marine biology plans had
changed shortly after arriving in San Diego, and he’d come back six
years later with his teaching credential.
Looking at my friend as
he made his way toward me at the bar, I was having trouble picturing
him teaching biology to a bunch of middle school kids, but that’s
exactly what he’d be doing in a few weeks. I suspected he’d be
one of the youngest teachers there, and that might explain the beard
and mustache he’d grown. Luke was a couple of inches taller than
me, standing at six-foot-two. When we were younger, he’d worn his
blond hair a little on the long side, and he’d usually had glasses
covering his blue eyes. Now, his hair was neatly trimmed, and he’d
gotten laser surgery shortly after high school, allowing him to ditch
“Ty!” Luke greeted
and reached out to fist bump me, something he only did because he
knew it annoyed me.
Payback was a bitch,
but Luke already knew that, so he didn’t seem surprised when I
stood and hugged him. Luke wasn’t the touchy feely type, probably
because his dad had been a complete dick while he was growing up.
Don’t get me wrong; Luke’s dad didn’t hit him, but he’d
definitely gone for the hands-off approach to parenting. The guy had
rarely been home, usually leaving Luke with a nanny. That is, until
his dad remarried when Luke was thirteen. After that, he’d gotten
even more hands-off, and, to the best of my knowledge, Luke hadn’t
seen his dad since before his fourteenth birthday. As hard as it was
to believe, Luke’s mom was even worse. Thankfully, he’d had his
stepmom through his teen years. Brook was. . . Hell, I didn’t even
know how to describe Brook. Just thinking about her was enough to
make me wish we were sitting at a table instead of the bar. As
always, thoughts of Brook had my dick standing at attention, making
me feel like some horny teen with his first crush.
I’d hardcore perved
on Brook Robinson through most of high school, and I’d be lying if
I didn’t admit that fantasies of her still played a big role in my
solo sessions. It wasn’t just about her being gorgeous—which she
was. With dark brown hair, hazel eyes, and a lithe frame, she was
definitely beautiful. Brook was also loyal, funny, and kind.
Embarrassing or not, I was a twenty-five-year old man with a chronic
crush on his best friend’s stepmom, and I was pretty sure that
contributed to my decision to avoid getting serious with any woman.
I’d had my share of casual relationships and fuck buddies, but
nothing beyond that. I made it a point to never get involved with any
woman who was looking for more because I knew I couldn’t give it to
I’d told myself over
and over again that I was not going to ask about Brook today, but
that just proved I could be a dumbass when it came to Brook.
stepmom?” I asked.
okay,” Luke responded after a brief hesitation. That hesitation
going on?” I asked.
Luke just shrugged.
“Don’t be a dick,”
I told him.
concerned about my stepmom,” he remarked. “Any reason for that?”
“Again, don’t be a
dick.” Luke knew all about my teen crush on Brook.
“She really is doing
fine,” Luke assured me. “Between running her graphic design
business and filing for divorce, she’s just got a lot on her
“What?” I asked,
sure I must have misheard. “Brook is divorcing your dad?”
replied. “She’s gonna start dating again, too. I’m hoping she
finds a nice guy. She deserves it after all the years she put her
life on hold for me.”
“How are you handling
all of this?” I asked, trying to focus on the conversation instead
of on the fact that Brook would be single soon. The object of my
decade long fantasy would be attainable, which brought me to the
conclusion that I was an asshole who was still hardcore perving on
his best friend’s stepmom.
“I’m happy for
her,” he replied. “This is her chance to find a guy who
appreciates her. Maybe she’ll even have kids of her own. She’d
make a great mom.”
between us as I tried to decide how to ask Luke if he’d be okay
with me dating Brook. For all I knew, Brook wouldn’t be okay with
it, but I needed to clear this with Luke before I got to that step.
“I need to ask you something.”
Luke met my gaze, his
expression serious. “If you want to ask her out, I’m fine with
it. Just remember how reasonable I’m being if the situation is ever
“Dude! My parents are
still married,” I told him. “Plus, you aren’t my mom’s type,
and she’s old. Fuck! Don’t tell my mom I said that. I just meant
she’s too old for you, not that she’s ancient.”
“First, your mom is
totally hot,” Luke began. “Fifty is the new thirty, so she’s
“Stop!” I said with
a hand up to ward off any more talk of how hot my mom was. At least,
this conversation was curing the raging hard on I’d had from
thinking about Brook.
“I’m just saying,
the women in your family are hot, and your mom is proof they age
well,” he continued.
“Are you punishing me
for the hug?” I asked.
replied with a grin. “You had to know I was going to make you pay
for acting like a clingy bitch.”
Rather than taking
offense, I blew him a kiss, to which he responded by flipping me off.
“Fine,” I relented.
“You can ask my grandma out, but she’s going to turn you down.”
insisted. “Your grandmother has always had a thing for me. She told
me I was a sweet boy every time she saw me. We both know what that
“She told me you’re
too skinny and need to put on at least twenty pounds to get a good
“If I start dating
your grandma, I’ll put on weight,” he remarked. “She’s a
“Okay, we need to
stop talking about you dating my grandma,” I insisted. “You can
date any of my relatives under thirty. How’s that?”
“Make it under
thirty-five, and you’ve got a deal,” he countered.
“Fine, any of them
under thirty-five,” I agreed, even though I knew he was just
messing with me. I didn’t have any cousins around that age. I just
had an older sister, but Chelsea and Luke had never gotten along, so
I knew he wasn’t talking about her.
I needed to know more
about Brook. It had been six years since I’d seen her at Luke’s
graduation. Since I’d graduated a year ahead of Luke, I’d been
busy learning the ropes at my uncle’s firm during Luke’s last
year of high school, so I hadn’t spent much time at Luke’s house
that year. A lot of time had passed, and I was sure Brook had changed
some. I’d certainly changed.
Before I could ask Luke
more about what was going on in Brook’s life, my phone buzzed with
an incoming text. “I need to check this in case my uncle is
messaging me about something.” My uncle was currently mad at me for
refusing to handle a repeat client of the firm. Actually, he wasn’t
so much mad at me for refusing to help the client as he was about me
suggesting the client was an asshole for wanting to find out if wife
number four was cheating. The guy only cared because he’d already
found potential wife number five and wanted out. He did this each
time he got bored with his current wife. The rich asshole had prenups
with each wife, allowing him to get out of a big payout in the
divorce if his wife was cheating. Getting solid proof wasn’t
important as long as we found enough to make his wife agree to his
terms in the divorce. I knew for a fact wife number three hadn’t
been cheating, but she’d agreed to his terms to avoid having her
name dragged through the media. He was smart and always offered more
than the prenup required, threatening them with less if they didn’t
agree to his terms.
Looking at my phone, I
was surprised to see a text from my sister, since I knew she had big
plans with her secret girls’ club. They’d been hanging out for
about a year, and I had yet to meet them. That was probably a good
thing considering some of the stuff she’d told me they talked
CHELS: Hey, Brat! I
need you to help my friend.
ME: I am not helping
CHELS: Who said
anything about moving?
ME: The only time you
ever ask me to help one of your friends, I end up having to rent a
truck and move a refrigerator.
CHELS: This friend
needs help finding her husband so she can serve him with divorce
papers. It’s right up your alley, and she’ll pay you.
ME: IDK. I’m
considering taking some time off.
ME: Fine. I’m out
right now, but send me her info, and I’ll look into it for her when
CHELS: You are awesome!
She really needs to move on with her life. She hasn’t seen him in
over ten years.
No. Fucking. Way. My
sister could not be talking about Brook. I could not be getting a
message asking me to help her right after Luke had given me his nod
of approval for dating her. Chelsea had mentioned her friend, Brook,
from yoga class, but I’d never made the connection. Then again, why
would I? It’s not like Brook was an uncommon name.
“Are you going to
keep staring at that phone like it’s some great mystery?” Luke
“Is Brook having
trouble finding your dad?” I asked. “What I mean to say is, does
she know where he is to serve him with papers?”
Luke considered my
question. “She hasn’t mentioned having any trouble finding him,
but you know how Brook is. She never wants me to know when anything’s
wrong. Do you want me to ask her?”
“No, don’t worry
about it. Does she know my sister?” I asked.
Luke shrugged. “I
haven’t met her new friends yet, but it’s possible. She’s been
hanging out with some women she met at a crappy yoga class.”
Grinning, I texted
ME: I’d like to meet
with her in person before I do anything.
There was a long pause
before Chelsea finally replied.
CHELS: Why don’t you
call her instead of meeting in person?
ME: Any reason you
don’t want me to meet your friend?
CHELS: Yes. You’re
still a brat. I’ll ask her when we’re done shopping.
ME: Can’t you ask her
while you try on shoes?
CHELS: We’re shopping
ME: Did not want to
Actually, I was very
interested in Brook shopping for vibrators, but the thought of my
sister shopping for vibrators was enough to kill what was left of my
CHELS: Do you think I
should get a rabbit?
ME: I thought you
didn’t want to get any pets.
CHELS: Still talking
about vibrators. It’s a multitasking vibe. I heard turtles are good
for that, too.
ME: Are you trying to
make me go blind from reading these texts?
CHELS: Nope. Just
getting even for the time you and Luke used my thong as a slingshot.
I chuckled at the
memory of using Chelsea’s thong as a slingshot. That hadn’t gone
“What’s so funny?”
“That was Chels,” I
told Luke. “She was reminding me of the time we used her thong as a
slingshot. Do you remember how mad she got?”
Rather than laughing
along with me, Luke’s cheeks heated, which was an interesting
reaction, but I decided to ignore it—for now. I’d definitely
bring it up later. We’re friends, so it’s my job to fuck with
ME: If I help your
friend, you have to promise not to talk to me about vibrators again.
CHELS: No deal. We both
know you’re going to help her. I’ll send you her number, and you
can arrange a time to meet up.
ME: See what her
schedule is like, and I’ll meet with her at her home next week.
CHELS: Why her home?
How about a coffee shop?
ME: I might need to ask
her some sensitive questions, so it would be easier if we weren’t
in public. I can call her if it’s too much of a hassle, but I
figured it would be less awkward for her to arrange the meeting with
you. I’ll text you the times I’m free next week.
I might have felt
guilty about lying to my sister under other circumstances, but the
last thing I wanted was Chelsea giving Brook an update on how I’d
been these last six years. I’d either come across sounding like a
man-whore or completely pathetic. It would depend on my sister’s
“What was that all
about?” Luke asked. “I know it was more than just talk about your
“Chelsea asked me to
help Brook find your dad so she can serve him with papers,” I
Luke chuckled. “I
guess you’ll get your chance to ask Brook out sooner than I
“Yes, I will,” I
agreed with a smug grin. “First, I need to help her find your dad,”
I reminded him. “Can you send me any information you have that
might help me?”
“Sure, I’ll do
anything to help Brook get completely free of my dad,” Luke replied
with a shrug.
This was the first case
I’d been excited about in more than a year. Then again, this was
the first case I’d taken with a really big payout. I couldn’t
wait to see Brook again. I’d spent years viewing her as an
unattainable fantasy, but things had definitely changed. Every pore
of my body was screaming that Brook was mine, and I was looking
forward to convincing her of that.