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Her stomach cramped. Maybe she should put something in it besides coffee, but the thought of food made her want to hurl. She hadn’t wanted the coffee, but it’d been a necessity after staring at her ceiling the entire night, so she’d choked down multiple cups.

“What do you think, Harp?” Liv asked. The poor ladies had been trying to engage her all day. They wouldn’t take the hint and leave her the hell alone to brood in silence.

Probably why she loved them so much.

At least she’d managed to apologize to Jo earlier in the day. Of course, Jo had waved off the apology and made her promise never to think of it again.

They were too nice and more than she deserved.

“I think it’s perfect. Will you be hiring a guard or using someone from the club?”

“Since we’ll need someone round the clock, we’ll hire an agency.” She rolled her eyes. “Should be a fun process finding one the guys are willing to use.”

“Seriously,” Liv muttered.

A group of sweaty men walked past, about fifty feet away. They wore hard hats and carried gallon jugs of water. One of them caught her eye. Wearing cargo shorts, a white wifebeater, and steel-toed boots, something rang familiar about how he moved.

“Thanks, Bob. We appreciate you taking the time to update us. I know how busy you are,” Brooke said.

He tipped his hard hat. “Never a problem to chat with three beautiful ladies. You gals behave now.”

“We make no promises,” Liv said as she hooked an arm through Brooke’s, then Harper’s. “Make sure you stay hydrated. It’s hot as hell out here.”

Bob nodded and turned back toward his crew. He followed the group that had recently passed by.

Harper allowed Liv to tow her along toward the shed.

She shook off the feeling of familiarity. Most likely, she’d seen the guy working around, and that’s why he ticked in her brain.

“Okay,” Liv said once they were back in the shed. She went to the mini refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of white wine. “We’ve given you all day to mope. Now it’s time to chat, and I have wine to loosen your lips.”

Despite her shit mood, Harper smiled. “It’s only four o’clock.”

“That’s right,” she said as she twisted a corkscrew into the bottle. “See what you’re driving us to?” She pulled the cork out with a pop. “I forgot glasses, so just take a swing.”

Brooke laughed but took the first sip the passed the bottle to Harper. “Have at it, sister.”

Rolling her eyes, she snatched the bottle from Brooke’s grip and took a long sip. The wine was cold, crisp, and had a zing to it that set her taste buds dancing. “That’s good.”

“Of course it is,” Liv said with a pretentious sniff. “Now start talking.”

Looked like there was no getting out of it. Maybe it would help. She was a proponent of talking about feelings, being a counselor and all. Too bad it was so hard to follow her own advice. “I’m pretty sure I overreacted last night.”

“You think?” Liv asked with a snort.

Brooke whacked her with the back of her hand.

“Ow! What was that for?” Liv asked, rubbing her upper arm.

“A little tact, please. You can’t pretend you’ve never overreacted before.”

“No, she’s right. It was too much.” Harper motioned for the bottle. “Gimme that thing.” After another long sip, she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and made a noise of frustration. “I don’t know how to keep myself from assuming the worst.”

“From Jinx?” Liv asked as she held her hand out of the wine bottle.

Harper nodded. “Yes. Even after listening to him explain why he didn’t tell me what he was up to last night, I couldn’t get my mind off the idea he was purposely holding back to trick me.”

“Last night was intense for multiple reasons, Harper. Jinx was injured. Of course, you reacted strongly… any of us would have. You can’t tell me you feel the same way today as you did when your emotions were running high last night.”

“No. Today I feel embarrassed that I threw Jinx out of my apartment. But I’m still annoyed that everyone knew what was going on except me. And I’m annoyed he didn’t call me right away when he got hurt.”

“So tell him that,” Brooke said.


“Just tell him. Harp, if you want something with him, and I think you do, you have to give the man an opportunity to correct it if he screws up. And he should do the same for you. You know your circumstances are not ordinary, and you have more baggage than most.” Brooke reached over and squeezed Harper’s hand. “I don’t say it to be mean, but it’s the truth.”

Harper accepted the bottle from Liv without even looking. “No. You’re right. I know you’re right. I just so badly want to be normal, be past my crap, and…” she swallowed as tears threatened to fall, “… I want to be happy. And now I’m afraid he’s written me off because I’m too much.”

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