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“You on some kinda mission?” I asked, when she gave her attention back to me.

“Drinking away my problems, handsome,” she answered, returning her hand to its previous place on my thigh.


Higher this time.

“Erica, I thought you said life was good? What problems?”

“Well… my husband died,” she told me, accepting her fresh – double – lemon drop, immediately discarding the little straw to lift the sugared rim right to her mouth. “And I found out today, there’re some issues with the accounts. I was already having to wait on the insurance, and now…this. So you see why I’m drinking, right?”

I lifted an eyebrow. “Uh… yeah. I’m sorry your husband died. You must be pretty distraught about it.”

Lana snorted. “Good riddance, to be honest. I’m just pissed I have to stop shopping.”


Just… spilling it all to a damn stranger, huh?

“You must not have liked your old man that much. I mean, if you’re more upset about the money than about him being gone?”

Lana held up a finger, draining the rest of her drink before she answered. “Well… he was cheap, disgusting, mean, and he couldn’t keep it up – what exactly was there to like, you know?”


“There had to be something, right? Or you wouldn’t have married him.”

“Thereusedto be something. He was never much to look at, but he was generous at least, and connected. Then he started screwing anything with a deep enough hole, and got stingy. Andstupid. You know he got his assistant pregnant?” she covered her mouth, embarrassed, as a hiccup slipped out.

Unsurprising, since the glass of wine she’d been finishing when I sat down was atleasther third.

“Nah, you playing with me.”

She shook her head. “Nope. He got that little slut pregnant and then stashed her off somewhere for years with that bastard child. Taking care of her, you know? And I… I couldn’t give him a child, so… I never said anything. I figured it was the least I could do, since I couldn’t give him that, and at least he wasn’t throwing her in my face, but then thatbitchshowed up at the gala.”

“The gala?”

Lana gave me a frantic nod, leaning in so far she nearly fell off her seat.

Yeah… she was lit.

“A charity thing. Lots ofveryimportant people, and there she was. Like she belonged there. And she…Godshe looked good.Bitch,” Lana muttered, raising a hand to get the bartender’s attention yet again. “She killed him, you know?” she blurted. “Like some kind of… movie assassin, or something. I haven’t figured it out yet, but she… she did it. I know it.”

I leaned in, steadying her before I sent the bartender off – if she gottoodrunk, she wouldn’t be any more good. “How do you know that, Erica?”

“He was gonna put a stop to it. So he could run for a real office,” Lana told me. “You know? Arealoffice, somerealpower. He told me. He told me everything, showed me their messages. He said he was gonna stop paying her, so there wouldn’t be any dirt in the election. And we… were gonna adopt a baaaaby. A pretty little brown baby, so I could be a mommy. I wanna be a mommy.”

“I’m sure you do,” I told her, pushing awaymydrink before she could reach for it. “But… go back to why you think the mistress killed your husband? You saw it? She shot him or something?”

Lana shook her head, her eyes narrowing as she leaned in like she was telling a secret. “Noooope. I don’t know how she did it. But the… the autopsy says just a… just a heart attack. They let her go, you know? That happened today too. But I know she did something. She had to, you know?”

“Nah, I can’t say I do.”

“I don’t wanna talk about that anymore,” she said, suddenly shifting gears to push her hand further up my thigh,riiiightonto my dick. “I wanna make a baby. You should come upstairs with me and make a baby.”

I pried her hand from around my dick as politely as I could. “Now Erica… we don’t know each other nearly well enough for something like that.”

“Just practice. Justpractice. Please.Please?” she pleaded, pinning me with those big hazel eyes. She grabbed my hands, lacing her fingers with mine. “I just wanna forget about all this shit for a night. Lose myself with a big-dicked stranger instead of going through the box the hospital gave me with Tommy’s stuff again, crying into a bottle of wine.”

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