Tangled Page 26

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I turn to look at her. Her expression is now blank and passive.

“You want to join us?” I ask.

“No, thanks. I just finished having lunch with a friend, actually.”

And up walks her friend. She’s wearing ankle-high black boots, black tights that are ripped at strategic places up and down her legs, a miniscule skirt, a strapless hot-pink top, and a short knitted gray sweater. Her hair is long, strawberry-blond, and wavy, her lips a shiny red, and her quick amber eyes look us over beneath a curtain of thick dark lashes.

She’s…interesting. I wouldn’t say pretty, but striking in a sexy street-fashion kind of way.

“Matthew Fisher, Jack O’Shay, Drew Evans, this is Dee-Dee Warren.”

On hearing my name, Dee-Dee’s eyes turn sharply in my direction. It feels like she’s analyzing me—sort of how a guy would look at a car engine right before he busts it up.

“So, you’re Drew? I’ve heard about you.”

Kate told her friend about me? Interesting.

“Oh yeah? What’ve you heard?”

She shrugs. “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.” She points her finger at me. “You just keep on being nice to my Katie-girl here. You know, if you’d like to keep your balls attached to your pecker, that is.”

Although her tone is light, I get the distinct impression Dee-Dee isn’t f**king around.

I smile. “I’ve been trying to show her how nice I can be. She keeps turning me down.”

She chuckles. Then Matthew interjects smoothly, “So, Dee-Dee…is that short for something? Donna, Deborah?”

Kate grins mischievously. “Delores. It’s a family name—her grandmother’s. She hates it.”

Delores gives Kate the stink-eye.

Shifting into pick-up mode, Matthew replies, “Delores is a gorgeous name, for a gorgeous girl. Plus, it rhymes with clitoris…and I really know my way around them. Big fan.”

Delores smiles slowly at Matthew and runs one finger across her lower lip. Then, she turns to the rest of us and says, “Anyhoo. I have to jet, gotta get to work. Nice meeting you, boys.” She hugs Kate and throws Matthew a wink as she walks away.

“She’s got to get to work?” I ask. “I thought the strip clubs didn’t open until four.”

Kate just smiles. “Dee’s not a stripper. She just dresses like that to throw people off. So they’re shocked when they find out what she really does.”

“What does she do?” Matthew asks.

“She’s a rocket scientist.”

“You’re f**king with us.” Jack voices what all three of us are thinking.

“Afraid not. Delores is a chemist. One of her clients is NASA. Her lab works on improving the efficiency of the fuel they use in the space shuttles.” She shudders. “Dee-Dee Warren with access to highly explosive substances…it’s something I try to not think about every day.”

After a beat, Matthew speaks up. “Brooks, you’ve got to hook me up. I’m a nice guy. Let me take your friend out. She won’t regret it.”

Kate thinks a moment. “Okay. Sure. You seem like Dee’s type.” She hands him a business card. “But I have to warn you. She’s the love-’em-and-leave-’em-with-bruises type of girl. If you’re looking for a good time for a night or two, then definitely call her. If you’re looking for anything deeper than that, I’d stay away.”

We’re speechless. And then Matthew rises from the table, walks up to Kate and kisses her on the cheek. I suddenly have the urge to put my hand down his throat and rip his tonsils out.

Is that wrong?

“You…are my new best friend,” he tells her.

Kate misreads the scowl on my face. “Don’t pout, Drew. It’s not my fault your friends like me better than you.”

She means Steven too. A few days ago, he was frantically trying to find the perfect place to take The Bitch for their wedding anniversary. Apparently, Kate’s neighbor is the maître d’ at Chez, the most exclusive restaurant in the city. She was able to get him a table for that evening.

Alexandra must have done things to Steven that night that I don’t even want to contemplate. Because ever since, Steven Reinhart would happily take a bullet to the chest for Kate Brooks.

“It’s the boobs,” I tell her. “If I had a set like yours, they’d like me better too.”

A few weeks ago, that comment would have pissed her off. Now she just shakes her head and laughs.

The night before Thanksgiving is officially the biggest bar night of the year. Everyone goes out. Everyone is looking for a good time. Usually, Matthew, Jack, and I start the night at my father’s day-before-Thanksgiving office party and work our way out to the clubs afterward. It’s tradition.

So you can imagine my surprise when I enter the large conference room and see Matthew’s arm around the woman who I can only assume is his date for the evening—Delores Warren. Since he met her two and a half weeks ago, Matthew’s been MIA on the weekends, and I’m starting to suspect why. I’ll have to talk to him tomorrow.

Beside them are my father and Kate.

And for the second time in my life, Kate Brooks leaves me breathless. She’s wearing a deep burgundy dress that hugs her in all the right places and strappy heeled shoes that send my imagination spinning into X-rated territory. Her hair falls around her shoulders in soft shining waves. My hand twitches to touch it as I walk toward her.

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