Home > Dirty (Dive Bar #1)(6)

Dirty (Dive Bar #1)(6)
Kylie Scott

“Yes, it is. I was going to get married today.” I took a deep breath, wiping my face with my hands. Just as expected, my palms came away smeared with black eye makeup. “Ah, boy. I must look a wreck.”

Without comment, Vaughan reached out and grabbed a towel, handing it to me. It was sort of threadbare, old. Dated like the rest of the house. I hadn’t seen more than one room, but real estate agents got a feel for these sort of things. Minimal upkeep for the past five or so years would have been my guess. Perhaps it’d even been left empty. Bushes out front hid the house from view, so I’d never gotten a good look at it before.

“Thank you.” I patted myself dry with the towel as best I could. What remained of my beautiful dress was a sopping-wet ruin. “I’m sorry I broke into your house, Vaughan. I swear I don’t normally do this sort of thing.”

“No,” he said, his voice deep. “Figured as much. Where’d you come from?”

“The big house at the back.”

His brow wrinkled. “You climbed over the fence?”

“Yes.”

Tired, red-tinged eyes appraised me anew. “That’s a tall fence. Must have been one hell of an emergency.”

“It was a disaster.”

For a long moment he studied me, deep in thought. Then he sighed yet again, climbing to his feet.

“Are you going to call the cops on me?” I asked, my throat tight with tension. “I know you have every right to, I’m not disputing that. I’d just, I’d like to know. Mental preparation and all that.”

“No. I’m not.”

“Thank you. I appreciate that.” My whole body sagged in relief.

Then he clapped his hands together, startling the crap out of me. “Okay, Lydia. Here’s what we’re going to do.”

“Yes?”

“I arrived late this morning, have only had a few hours’ sleep. If I don’t get some coffee soon, things are going to get ugly. And you probably need to get dried off.” With no fuss, he held out his hand. “Let’s get shit sorted out. Then we can sit down and you can tell me the long story of how the hell you ended up in my house. Agreed?”

“Agreed,” I said, voice lightening.

He pulled me up. Then, with strong hands on my waist, lifted me out of the tub. Immediately water started dripping off of my saturated dress, pooling on the scuffed wooden flooring at my feet. Chris would have been distinctly unimpressed. Chris didn’t like messes. But as Vaughan didn’t seem to care, neither did I.

“You’re really not going to call the police?” I asked.

“No. Hold still,” he said, carefully plucking a fake eyelash from my cheek.

“Thank you.”

“Your dress is kind of fucked.” He looked me over from top to toe.

“I know,” I said sadly.

“I’ll leave you to get changed.”

“Wait. Please. I can’t get out of it on my own.”

More frowning.

“It’s vintage,” I explained with a grim face. “There’s no zip, just a line of little buttons up the back.”

“’Course there is.” Without another word, he turned me around and got started in on said buttons. As he worked, he hummed beneath his breath, the song vaguely familiar.

“Aren’t you still mad?” I asked, perplexed.

“Nuh.”

“But I broke into your house.”

“Window was open.”

“I still trespassed.”

Busy fingers kept working on undoing the dress. “You sat in the tub and cried because some dickhead fucked you over.”

That shut me up.

“Or that’s what I’m assuming, given the dress and all. I take it he’s the one that gave you that shiner on your cheek?”

“No. No one hit me. And yes, you assumed right about the being fucked over.” I tried to look back at him, but I couldn’t see a thing beyond my wild-ass hair. Impressive how it’d survived the shower. The stylist clearly knew her shit.

“You sure no one hit you?” He did not sound convinced.

“Yes. I lost my grip and hit the floor when I was climbing in the window. My home invasion skills need work.”

“I’d suggest you try a different career.” He finished with the buttons and took a step back, scratching his head. “You okay with the dress now?”

“Yes, thank you,” I told his reflection in the mirror. “For everything, I mean.”

“Sure.” He almost smiled and gave a small shake of the head as if he couldn’t quite believe what was going on. Or maybe it was disbelief that he wasn’t kicking me straight back out the window through whence I’d come.

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