Dirty (Dive Bar #1)(7)

By: Kylie Scott


It was nice, charming.

French doors opened out from the kitchen onto a back deck where several pots containing long-deceased plants sat. All of the light inside was hazy, care of the unwashed windows. Tiny flecks of dust floated about in the golden afternoon air.

Vaughan waited at the table, a cup of coffee in his hands and another opposite. He wore jeans and a wrinkled gray tee with some band on the front. Even slouched in a chair, he looked good. Different from Chris yet still immensely appealing. Vaughan was so slacker cool with his long, lean body and his hair falling in his eyes. Man, I hated people who could appear so effortlessly attractive. Me relaxed resembled an oily hair and sweatpants party for one.

“Hi.” I raised a hand in greeting.

He’d been busy staring off into space, lost in thought. Now, however, he blinked repeatedly, slowly looking me over. Even though I’d seen him naked, being in front of him in my flouncy lingerie had me hesitating. So stupid. Much too late in the day for me to be getting embarrassed. On the plus side, the corset turned my extra flesh into a fabulous hourglass. Something Vaughan definitely seemed to notice. I wasn’t seeking any sexy times. Though, some honest male appreciation for my womanly assets felt nice. Onward and upward and all that.

“I tried to clean up the bathroom a little,” I said, pulling out a seat. “Hung my dress up to dry.”

“Okay.”

“Thanks for the coffee.”

“No worries,” he said in a gruff voice. “Hope you take it black. I haven’t been here for a while so there’s no sugar or creamer.”

“Black’s fine.” I took a cautious sip of the brew. Ah, coffee. My one true friend (beside vodka). There must have been some beans hiding in the freezer, because it wasn’t half bad. I’d have suffered through a cup of crappy instant; it was nice not to have to, however. Small pleasures mattered. “That tastes amazing.”

A grunt.

With caffeine pumping through me, I started to feel more myself. Less Miss Havisham sitting in her tattered dress and more modern capable woman. I shook off the shit, sat up a little straighter.

“Vaughan, I really am sorry about all of this, dumping my problems on you.”

“I know.” He didn’t meet my eyes due to still noticing my assets. Maybe he’d zoned out, what with being so tired, and that just happened to be in the vicinity where he’d been looking when it happened.

“It bears repeating. You’ve been great about it, really.”

Another grunt.

Had to admit, curiosity filled me about this man. Wonder what he was like when he wasn’t sleep deprived and dealing with a trespassing runaway bride. Was he the sort of person who smiled a little or a lot? I couldn’t tell. For someone who made her living reading people and talking them into buying big houses, today I officially knew shit.

“You didn’t even get to have your shower,” I said.

A one-shoulder shrug. “Later.”

“I promise after I finish this coffee, I’ll get out of your way.”

“No rush.” Still no eye contact.

I shifted in my seat.

He really was appealing in his way. His lips were neither thick nor thin. Just nice. It would be good to see them curved in a smile. To know I hadn’t entirely trashed his day with my drama.

“This really is a lovely house,” I said. “You don’t spend much time here?”

“No.”

“Shame.”

Maybe he’d been all talked out and didn’t want a conversation. Fine by me. But I don’t think that’s what was going on. He’d zoned out, all right. I highly doubt it was due to tiredness, however.

I cocked my head, studying him. “Vaughan?”

“Yeah?”

“Nice weather we’re having, isn’t it?”

“Great.”

“It is. It’s so great,” I enthused. “Love the weather.”

Handsome face blank of expression, his fingers remained curled unmoving around his half-full cup of coffee. If it wasn’t for his monosyllable responses and the whole chest moving with each breath thing, I’d have wondered if the man had croaked. And it wasn’t my makeup-smeared face or crazily knotted hair he was gawking at. In fact, I don’t believe he ever got that far.

Seemed my would-have-been-neighbor was a tit man.

I have to admit my Elomi bridal lingerie was exquisite. I’d been so certain it would wow Chris, spur him into some post-matrimonial lustfulness. What a joke. A strap-on might have been a better idea.

“I just wanted to say thanks again for being so understanding about all this,” I said.

“Sure,” he told my boobs.

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