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Dirty (Dive Bar #1)(3)
Kylie Scott

I hit the ground hard. It hurt.

So much for being plus-size. My extra padding hadn’t cushioned a damn thing. I rolled onto my back and lay in the long grass, wheezing like a pack-a-day smoker. Pain filled my world. Maybe I’d just die here. It was as nice a place as any.

“Lydia, are you out here?” a voice called. Betsy, the receptionist from the real estate agency. “Liddy?”

I hated being called that. Hated it. And she knew it, the bitch.

I held my silence, lying there, sweating and breathing heavily (as quietly as possible). No way could she see me without climbing the fence herself. Small chance of that. Generally, Betsy wasn’t any more athletic than me. I was safe for now. Overhead, a wisp of white cloud passed, marring the perfect blue sky for a moment. Such wonderful weather for a June wedding. Seriously, you couldn’t have asked for better.

Betsy’s voice receded. Time to move.

Ever so slowly I climbed to my feet, every muscle aching. In the distance, my name was being called out over and over again by a multitude of voices. They were starting to sound panicky. Meanwhile, here I stood. No money, no cards, no phone, no nothing. Truth be told, my emergency escape plan was a little flawed. At least I’d made it over the fence.

The neighbor’s yard was a jungle, completely overgrown. Lucky, otherwise I might have actually broken something when I fell. A cute gray bungalow sat beneath a circle of big old pine trees. It had a lot of charm. Places like this were why I’d gone into real estate. To have the opportunity to help people find a wonderful home for the rest of their lives. A place where they could raise their children and get to know their neighbors, have block parties and BBQs. As opposed to dragging their offspring around the country in search of the next big opportunity, living in one crummy thin-walled rental after another.

Unfortunately, instead of selling homes, I’d wound up pushing soulless condos and talking people into properties they couldn’t begin to afford. I’d been beyond naive. Cutthroat didn’t even begin to describe the industry.

But back to my current situation.

Sanders Beach was a pretty quiet area and they’d soon be looking for me. Out on the street, I’d be found in no time. That wouldn’t do. I needed to catch my breath and pull my shit together. Wait until the video outed Chris as the cheating lying vile scumbag he was and then … well, I’d hopefully have some sort of plan figured out by that time.

So what I liked best about this pretty bungalow in particular was the wide open back window.

I pulled up the ruins of my skirts and kicked off my one remaining heel, before making my way through the tall grass. No immediate signs of life from inside the house. Perhaps they’d gone out and forgotten to lock it. The window opened onto a small bathroom, everything inside dated and dusty. Still nothing stirred.

To trespass or be discovered? Not a hard call to make. Call me Goldilocks. I was going in. If I got eaten by a bear, then so be it. At least I’d make a decent-size meal.

The window wasn’t high. This time I climbed up without any trouble. I grabbed hold of the edge of the bathtub for balance while the other hand reached for the floor. Everything was going great, right up until it came time to squeeze my hips through. Wooden casing bit deep into my sides, pulling me up short. I was stuck.

“Shit,” I said, keeping my voice down just in case.

I wriggled and twisted, grunting in exertion, feet flailing in the open air. Thank god no one was around to see. So help me baby Jesus, I could do this, I could. After all, what was losing a bit more skirt or skin at this stage? Nothing, that’s what. I gripped the edge of the bathtub and gave a final almighty heave-ho. Material tore and my girth gave way. I plummeted toward the floor. My face broke the fall and my body followed, crashing down. Given the amount of noise involved, it was kind of surprising the neighbors didn’t come running along with the police.

“Oh god,” I whimpered, struggling to breathe.

Pain and humiliation levels had officially bypassed bad and gone straight to horrific. What a clusterfuck of a situation.

Carefully, I took a slow deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. Okay, it worked. No ribs broken, I think. Nose still intact. I ran my tongue around the inside of my mouth, checking for loose teeth. All good. Just the same, it felt like I’d been in a bar fight with an angry mob. My right cheek throbbed like a bitch and for a long while I just lay there, stunned. Neither daring to move, nor quite able. The old bungalow remained quiet. I was alone, thank god. Alone was best, I got that now.

Just in case someone came looking, I dragged my sorry self into the bathtub and pulled the shower curtain closed. Then carefully, I arranged the remains of my silk and tulle skirts around me.

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