“Yes, we have. Dec and I just discussed me turning lesbo and joining a nudist colony.”
“I’m all for it,” Declan agrees, earning a glare from his twin sister.
“How bad are things, Van? And don’t deny it. You look like poop, and you deflect when asked. I’m the master of those tactics.”
She glances nervously at her brother and then back at me. “You don’t need to worry—”
“Spill it, Van.” Dec’s voice is calm, his posture relaxed, but every muscle in his body is on high alert.
He’s ready to kick butt.
And so am I, for that matter.
“Things just aren’t going very well,” Savannah murmurs softly.
“Is he hurting you?” Declan asks.
“He’s…ignoring me.” She sets her plate aside and pulls her knees up into her chest, hugging her legs tight. “Unless he can’t find something, he just pretty much does his own thing.”
“Who else is he doing?” I ask, and set my own finished dinner aside, then just raise a brow when Van stares at me and chews her bottom lip.
“I don’t know.”
“I’m going to grab Eli and Beau, and we’re going to—”
“Nothing,” Van insists, laying her hand on Dec’s shoulder. “You’re going to do nothing.”
“Fuck that, Vanny,” he says and stares at her as if she’s lost her mind. “He’s fucking around on you and you want us to ignore it?”
“I don’t have proof.” She shrugs and smiles sadly. “It’s just a hunch.”
“Promise me,” Dec says and pulls her close to hug her, “that you’ll call me, day or night, if you need me.”
“If you find proof—” I begin.
“I’ll kick his ass myself,” she finishes. She pulls out of Declan’s embrace and begins cleaning up.
“See, this is exactly why I’m not ever getting married,” Dec says. “I’d kill myself before I’d hurt a woman, and that seems to be all marriage is good for. Pain.”
“Mom and Dad were married for more than thirty-five years,” Van reminds him.
“Mine have been married for thirty-five,” I add. “They’re not all bad.”
“Still, I’ll stick to the way things have always been.”
“Why are all my brothers man-whores?” Van asks me, as if Dec’s not sitting right next to her.
“Because they’re all hot and sexy and have women falling at their feet?”
“You think I’m hot and sexy?” Dec asks with a charming smile. “Aww, dawlin’. That’s the sweetest thing you’ve ever said.”
“Are you falling at Eli’s feet?” Van asks, surprising me. Declan sobers and they both stare at me with matching hazel eyes.
“Heck no,” I insist. “I don’t fall at any man’s feet.”
“Atta girl.” Van salutes me with her wine and drains the glass.
“Oh, by the way, Mama has given us instructions to bring you to dinner on Sunday.” Declan grins. “I’ll pick you up on my way over.”
“I don’t want to intrude on your family dinner.”
“She might kill us if we don’t bring you,” Van assures me.
“Or not feed us, which would be worse,” Declan adds. “You’re coming.”
“Thank you,” I reply and grin at my friends. “It’s good to see you guys.”
“It’s you we’re happy to see, dawlin’,” Declan replies with a wink. “Did you bring dessert, Vanny?”
“Stop holdin’ out on me.”
I sleep late the next morning. My biggest vice is sleeping late on the weekends. I despise the alarm clock. I open my eyes slowly and stretch in the soft king sized bed, then lie on my back and stare out the French doors at the bright blue sky.
As I begin to ponder what might be on today’s agenda, my doorbell rings.
I glance at the clock and scowl. It’s nine in the freaking morning on a Saturday. Who in the world could be ringing my bell?
I climb out of bed and don’t even bother to throw a robe over my tank and pink frilly panties. Whoever is stupid enough to show up at my place at this hour is just going to have to take me the way they get me.
It’s most likely Savannah anyway. She always was a morning person.
I hate that.
I yank the door open and scrub my free hand over my face. “Seriously, Van, you just left here like six hours ago. Did you forget something?”
“Savannah was here until three this morning?”
I drop my hand and stare up in shock at a grinning Eli. His whiskey eyes are shining as he takes in my sleepy appearance, from the top of my ratted head, down my braless front, making my nipples pucker, thank you very much, to my pink tipped toes. On his way back up, his jaw drops when he sees my panties.
“Yes,” I squeak and cross my arms over my chest. “She and Declan came over for dinner and ended up staying. We always could talk for hours.”
“Did I wake you?” he asks, his voice low and intimate as he steps toward me. I move back, letting him inside, and close the door.
“No, I was just waking up.” I bite my lip. “Um, what are you doing here?”
“I need a favor.”
I feel my eyebrows climb into my hairline as I watch his eyes smile, but he purses his lips to keep the smile at bay. It’s…endearing.
“Yes, dawlin’, a very important one.”
I tilt my head and feel my lips quirk into a half smile. “I’m listening.”
“I need an escort around the Quarter this mornin’.”
I prop my hands on my hips, and Eli’s eyes slowly sober, heat, and move from my eyes to my mouth and down to my breasts. He swears under his breath as I remember that I’m showing him way more than I should and recross my arms.
“You need an escort?”
He nods and catches my gaze in his again. “Yes, please.”
“I don’t know my way around,” I reply softly.
“I’d like to show you around our neighborhood, cher,” he says softly. “What do you say?”
I chew my lip for a few seconds, and finally smile gratefully. I’ve been dying to walk around and explore the famous French Quarter. “I’d be happy to escort you.”