Stepping down off the curb, I reach for my gun in its side holster, but quickly realize Sven made me take the fucking thing off.

“SHIT!” I yell in frustration as my hands get tangled in the plastic. “McFadden, don’t you dare move. Get out of the car right now. You skipped bail and stole someone’s dog.”

Tinkerdoodle lets out a high-pitched yap and McFadden cradles the dog to his chest.

“They didn’t appreciate her! She’s my best friend. YOU’LL NEVER TAKE HER AWAY FROM ME!” he screams before gunning the car and taking off down the street.

He’s too far away at this point for me to take a shot at one of his tires to slow him down even if I did have my gun on me. And as I glance around and see all of the people out on the sidewalk watching what just happened, I assume they wouldn’t have appreciated me firing my gun at a car in the middle of the day anyway.

I can hear sirens in the distance. Sven must have called the police. I can’t believe that idiot was right there in front of us and we didn’t get him. This is appalling. Thankfully, my brother Ted and my cousin Ward both work for the local police department so the odds are pretty good that one of them will show up. And if I threaten their lives, they’ll keep this whole thing a secret. No one needs to know that I had my bail jumper within arm’s reach and couldn’t get him because I was getting my hair highlighted. I would never live that shit down.

“I can’t believe that asshole got away,” Paige complains with her hands on her hips as she stares off down the street.

Turning toward her, I look down at her shoes in awe. “How in the hell did you run so fast in those things?”

“That was nothing. Try being at a Gucci sample sale. Those bitches will cut you if you’re not fast,” she says with a shrug.

As we turn to make my way back to the salon, the rumbling sound of a Twin Cam Harley engine makes me freeze in place. I slowly turn around.

GD McFadden.

CHAPTER 6

You really shouldn’t have prettied yourself up just for me,” Griffin says with a laugh as he saunters over to me.

Catching my reflection in the storefront window next to me, I realize I still have foils in my hair and they are sticking up in every direction. Not to mention the splendid cape that’s draped around my body making it look like I’m a member of McFadden’s Anti-Martian army.

Wonderful. Just wonderful.

“Why are you here?” I mutter through clenched teeth as I stand up as straight as I can and pretend like the fact that I’m out on the sidewalk looking like an ass in front of this man doesn’t bother me in the least.

“I heard the news on my police scanner. Figured I’d stop by and commend you on catching our criminal. But I’m assuming by the pissed-off look on your face that he got away,” he mocks.

“McFadden is not our criminal. He’s my criminal. I already told you I don’t need your help. He caught me by surprise, that’s all. I wasn’t expecting him to show up at a salon in broad daylight.”

If he doesn’t stop smirking at me, I’m going to rip this stupid cape off, wrap it around his neck, and choke the life out of him.

“Since when do you go to salons? I thought you wouldn’t be caught dead in one of these places,” he questions. I can see him pressing down hard on his lips, his eyes glancing to my hair and then quickly back to my eyes.

“I don’t go to these places. I have friends who go to these places and drag me here against my will. And it’s just highlights, nothing drastically life changing. Golden blonde highlights that will bring out the gold specks in my eyes.”

Overshare much, Kennedy?

“You don’t need highlights for that. Your eyes are gorgeous enough all on their own,” he says softly as he looks into said gorgeous eyes.

Holy hell, is it hot out here or is it just me? And what the devil is he playing at, flirting with me like this? Yes, I said flirting and I realize how outrageous that sounds. Griffin Crawford is fucking flirting with me. I’ve known him long enough to know when he’s turning on the charm. I’ve seen him charm the underwear right off a stranger in two point three seconds just by complimenting her legs. My underwear is staying right where it is, thank you very much.

Before I can tell him exactly what I think about him and his stupid gorgeous-eyes compliment, a police cruiser pulls up to the curb next to us. I thank my lucky stars when I see my cousin Ward get out and come around to stand next to us.

“Nice hairstyle, Kennedy. Trying to make a phone call to your motherland?” Ward asks with a laugh as he reaches up and flicks one of the foils on my head.

Never mind. I take back my thankfulness.

“Kiss my ass, Ward. I’ve had a bad fucking day.”

I know what you’re saying to yourself right now: this sounds like June Cleaver finally had enough of Beaver and the gang’s shit.

Ward can see by the look on my face that he should leave me alone. I won’t hesitate to put him in a headlock in the middle of the sidewalk. I don’t care if he is wearing his police uniform.

“Griffin, my man! How’ve you been?” Ward asks, turning his attention away from me.

“Can’t complain,” Griffin replies as the two men exchange handshakes and start talking back and forth about Notre Dame’s upcoming season. As teenagers and into early adulthood, we all hung out together: my brothers, my cousins, Griffin, Alex, and me. We were all close in age and we all had the army in common so it naturally made us friends.

The fact that my brothers and my cousins are still friendly with Griffin when he screwed me over pisses me off. They should hate him on principle. If some woman came into my family’s lives and stomped all over their hearts, I would cut that bitch. Where’s the damn loyalty?

“Excuse me, I hate to interrupt this bromance, but we have work to do.” I glare at my cousin.

“I’m sorry, it is impossible to take you seriously right now with all that shit on your head,” Ward says, laughing.

I take a step in his direction, preparing myself for a mind-erasing headlock when Griffin lightly touches my arm.

“Before you kill him, we need to talk,” Griffin tells me.

“We have nothing to talk about. I’m going to go inside and get this crap out of my hair and then I’m going to get to work. You can just get your ass back on that bike and go find someone else to annoy,” I tell him as I turn and fling the door to the salon open angrily.

As soon as I walk inside I’m met by the sounds of wails and barking. Sven is still sitting on the floor in a pile of hair products while Paige attempts to console him, and Mrs. Justin Bieber is losing her shit, barking at anything in her general vicinity and stopping every ten seconds to piss on the floor.

“I ALMOST DIED, PAIGE! It was HORRIBLE! I have so many regrets. So many things I’ve never accomplished. I’M TOO YOUNG TO DIE!”

I wonder if anyone else notices that in the midst of Sven’s hysterics he seems to have forgotten he has an accent. Paige is crouched down next to Sven and pats him on the back at the appropriate times. She catches my gaze and rolls her eyes in annoyance.

“There, there, Sven. You’re okay. Look, Kennedy is back!” she exclaims, getting up from her spot on the floor and rushing over to me, lowering her voice so only I can hear her. “I’m going to punch him in his face if he doesn’t stop whining.”

Taking a deep breath, I move away from Paige and over to Sven’s spot on the floor.

“Sven, you did really good under pressure. You almost had that guy!” I tell him so he’ll quit the damn crying.

Sven sniffles and wipes his nose on the sleeve of his shirt.

“I did do vell, didn’t I? I always sought I should haff been a cop. I haff all of dees natural eenstincts,” he tells me seriously, in full-on Germedishithuanian, or wherever-the-hell-he-thinks-he’s-from accent.

It takes everything in me not to laugh in his face, but I have to rein it in. I need this guy to fix my hair, pronto.

“Yes, you’re absolutely right. How about you get up off the floor and take these foils out of my hair while my cousin Ward questions you?” I ask as Ward walks through the door.

“Oooooh, a man in uniform! I veel better already,” Sven exclaims as he takes in my cousin from head to toe before jumping up off the floor and extending his hand out to him, wrist cocked, like he wants Ward to kiss the top of his hand. “My name eez Sven. I am zee one who almost captured zee criminal.”

Paige and I share a look of annoyance before turning back to watch Ward awkwardly grab Sven’s hand and shake it like a limp noodle.

While Sven begins to regale my cousin with his act of heroism, the bell chimes above the door and I turn to see Griffin walk in.

“Out! Get out!” I raise my hand and point to the door.

“I’m not going anywhere until you talk to me,” Griffin replies firmly.

I don’t even acknowledge his words. I turn my back on him and drag Sven back toward the shampoo bowls as Ward follows us and continues to ask Sven questions about whether or not he’d ever seen McFadden in the shop before and if McFadden mentioned anything about where he was staying.

Getting comfortable in the reclining seat with my head in the bowl, I close my eyes and try to relax as Sven begins removing foils while talking to Ward. I’m assuming Griffin finally got the hint, but a few seconds later when Sven is running warm water through my hair and massaging my head, I realize Griffin wouldn’t get the hint if it ran him over with a Mack truck.

“You can’t avoid me forever,” Griffin whispers close to my ear.

Too close. I can feel his breath against my neck and it makes me grit my teeth when I feel goose bumps on my arms. Can’t he see I’m trying to relax here? He needs to leave me the hell alone. I may not be able to avoid him forever, like he says, but I sure as hell can refuse to talk to him until he goes away.

“Fine, if you don’t want to talk now, we can do it later,” he states before standing up to his full height and then turning to leave.

As Sven finishes washing my hair and wraps a towel around my head, I avoid smirking to myself as I see Griffin walk away.

The power of my ignoring skills cannot be beat. We all know that when a man says he’ll do something “later,” it will never, ever be completed. I actually find myself smiling as I walk over to Sven’s station so he can spray and brush and flat-iron and all that other shit that usually makes me cringe. Right now, Sven can do whatever he wants to me. Griffin has gotten the hint and is finally walking away.

I don’t realize I’m staring at Griffin’s ass as he walks away until I’m not looking at his ass anymore. I’m looking at the general vicinity of Paige’s crotch as she steps into my line of vision.

I look up at her with a scowl and she raises her eyebrows at me. “I saw that, so don’t try to deny it.”

I pretend like I have no idea what she’s talking about as Sven fires up the blow dryer and goes to town on my hair.

“Saw what? There’s nothing to see here,” I argue.

“Oh, nonsense,” Sven butts in. “Ve all saw you looking at hees ass.”

Paige laughs as I glare at her.

“Don’t be angry, Kennedy. It’s a very nice ass. What I’d like to know is, why, in all the conversations we’ve had about your dear, old friend Griffin, have you never mentioned what a fine specimen that man is?” Paige demands, putting her hands on her hips.

“Griffin? Good-looking? Pshaw,” I reply, brushing off her comment.

Griffin isn’t good-looking. Griffin is hot as balls. But Paige doesn’t need to know that I know that she knows I know that. Holy hell, I may have had this hair dye in my hair too long.

“Don’t give me that bullshit, Kennedy O’Brien. Your eyes got all dreamy when he was bent over whispering in your ear just a second ago,” she fires back.

“My eyes did not get all dreamy! I don’t do dreamy!” I shout above the noise of the hair dryer.

Mrs. Justin Bieber waddles over at this point, stands by my feet, and then yaps at me. One short, high-pitch yipe.

“See? Mrs. Justin Bieber even know you lying,” Sven adds.

“Look, I get that he pissed you off. You thought he was your friend and he did something that hurt you. But he’s trying. He wants to talk to you and maybe it’s time you give him a chance to tell his side of the story. If you won’t, I will. Of course, that man won’t have time to talk if I have a few minutes alone with him.” Paige licks her lips as she stares at the door through which Griffin exited moments ago.

If my hair wasn’t wrapped around a brush right now and I didn’t fear losing a large chunk of it by yanking away, I would spring from this chair and smack the horny right off her face. Just the idea of Griffin and Paige alone in a room together doing everything but talking makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little. Just because I’m pissed at the guy doesn’t mean I want him anywhere near one of my friends. My hot model friend who has never had a bad-hair day in her life and never stood in front of a person after months of not speaking to him with foil in her hair, looking like an idiot.

Griffin is going to go back to whatever hole he crawled out of, I’m going to catch McFadden on my own, and I am never, ever going to get caught ogling that man’s ass ever again.

GD fine ass.

CHAPTER 7

But Mooooooom, everyone is going to be at Stephanie’s party. Why can’t I go?” my oldest daughter, Meadow, whines.

“Because you’re twelve. Do you know what kind of twelve-year-olds go to co-ed parties when there aren’t any parents home? Slutty ones, that’s who,” I inform her as I put the last of the supper dishes into the dishwasher.




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