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26.12.2018

“Fine. But you two are sitting in the backseat and not saying a word the entire trip there. And if we get caught, I don’t know you.”

Twenty minutes later I’m unlocking the door to my dad’s office and creeping inside in the dark with Paige clutching the back of my shirt.

“Don’t make a sound,” I whisper to her as I move slowly into the room and try to feel my way around. My shin connects with a chair and I let out a yelp.

“SHHHHHHHHH!” Paige warns.

The pitch-black room is suddenly swathed in bright, fluorescent lighting as Lorelei flips the switch by the door.

“Is there a reason why you two are lurking around in the dark like burglars? You have a key, Kennedy. It’s not breaking and entering if you have a key.” She walks past the two of us crouched low to the ground.

“You are totally killing my buzz,” I inform her as I stand up fully and move away from Paige to the spare desks in the back of the room that my dad reserves for his part-time bounty hunters.

Glancing between the three of them, I spot Griffin’s black leather jacket draped over the chair of the desk closest to the wall.

“This is it. This is his desk,” I tell the girls as I pull out the chair and have a seat.

“Ooooh, is this his jacket? It smells delicious. He wears yummy cologne,” Paige sighs as she leans over and takes a big whiff of the coat.

“Focus, Paige.”

She moves around me and perches on the edge of the desk.

“What exactly are we looking for? A to-do list with your name at the top of it? Kiss Kennedy—check. Give her an orgasm in her father’s bathroom—check, check,” Paige says as she riffles through the papers on top of the desk.

“Just see if you can find any leads on McFadden. Something we don’t have…I’m guessing he has the same contacts I do, but you never know.” I begin opening drawers and going through files while Lorelei flips through some phone messages next to the computer.

After fifteen minutes of searching, we don’t find squat. Leaning back in the chair, I kick the edge of the desk with my boot and curse loudly.

“There’s nothing here. This was a total bust,” I complain.

I don’t know what I expected to find here. Like Griffin would really leave something out that would lead us right to McFadden. If he had that information, he would be using it himself. And if this whole seduction thing he has going on with me is all a trick, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t leave any evidence behind to confirm that fact. Once again, I’m back to being irritated with all men.

“It’s not a total bust,” Paige tells me with a wag of her perfectly waxed eyebrows as she holds up a letter opener and a bottle of superglue.

“Whatever you’re thinking of doing, don’t,” Lorelei warns her as she tries to take the items out of Paige’s hands.

Paige moves out of her reach and around to the front of the desk. “So we didn’t find anything we can use against Griffin, no big deal. We can still fuck things up for him.”

She gives me a sinister, calculating grin and suddenly, I remember why we’re friends.

“Kennedy, do not stoop to that level. You’re better than this,” Lorelei pleads with me.

It’s a really nice statement for her to make, but I am not better than this. I’m struggling with the fact that Griffin may have diddled me so I lose the bet. And I’m losing my mind because during each of the times I’ve been wrapped around him, all I’ve been able to think about is how right it felt and how I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else ever again.

Plus, I’ve had about eleventy-four glasses of wine tonight and my decision-making skills aren’t exactly up to par.

Reaching my hand out toward Paige, I join the dark side. “I’ll take the letter opener, you take the glue.”

GD wine-addled brain.

CHAPTER 15

His palm slides up my bare thigh, pulls my leg back, and hitches it over his hip. I can feel every solid inch of his naked body against my back and I burrow closer to him until his erection is nestled against my ass.

“I’ve wanted you like this for eighteen years,” he murmurs against the side of my neck before nibbling on my skin with his teeth.

I want to tell him not to say things like that, because it’s totally going to kill the mood, but I can’t find my voice when the tip of his penis slides against my opening.

“You know that’s a total lie, right? I’m just saying things like this to you so I can catch McFadden,” he whispers as he slowly starts to push himself inside me.

I want to pull away and smack the grin right off his face that I know is there, but he feels too good between my legs and my body has suddenly lost its ability to move.

He teases me by pushing just a little bit inside me and then pulling right back out and I groan loudly in protest.

“Shhhh, it’s okay. I’ll make you feel good, gorgeous. I’ll make you come until you can’t remember your name and then leave you here in bed to go get McFadden. Because you know I’ve known the entire time exactly where he is. I just wanted to see you race around trying to beat me. You’ll never win. You should just accept that.”

Alarms are going off in my head and I really should try harder to get out of this fucking bed, but he has a magical penis and I’m pretty sure he’s using voodoo on me. I can’t move and I can’t speak. I should be concerned with this. I should be screaming obscenities at him, but when I open my mouth, nothing comes out but another groan.

He starts to push in deeper and it feels so good that I don’t care about anything but finally having him inside me. What is wrong with me? More alarms are going off and they sound like bells ringing. Where are the bells coming from? They get louder and louder as he continues to whisper taunts in my ear.

With all of the strength I can muster, I finally make my arm move and reach out to smack away whatever that ringing sound is. My hand clutches something small and as he pulls out of me and readies himself to slam his way back home, I find my voice and scream for all I’m worth.

“YOU SCUM-SUCKING RAT BASTARD ASSHOLE! I HOPE YOUR PENIS FALLS OFF!”

“Well, good morning to you too,” Griffin says with a chuckle.

Blinking my eyes into focus, I bolt up in bed and frantically look around, realizing I’m all alone with my cell phone up to my ear.

A dream? It was a fucking dream?

“I’m pretty sure I’m the one who should be screaming curses at this point,” he says through the phone line while I try to shake the dream from my head. “Any idea how all of the keys on my computer got switched around and glued in the wrong place?”

At least that part wasn’t a dream.

“Or maybe you know how two-hundred Post-it notes with pictures of penises drawn on them were glued to every inch of my desk,” he deadpans.

Oops.

In my dream, I couldn’t speak. Now that I’m awake, I just don’t want to. Yes, I know I behaved a little childishly last night, but it wasn’t my fault. It was the wine’s fault.

“Really, it’s no big deal that since I don’t look at my fingers when I type, I sent out an e-mail to the state police that said ‘gfpwq7 exclamation point asterisk’ and my e-mail signature said ‘Griffin Crawford, King of All Penises,’” he adds.

“Well, it serves you right for not proofing your e-mails before you send them,” I finally say.

I hear him sigh on the other end of the line and I almost feel a little bad about our drunken escapade last night.

“Kennedy?”

When he says my name so soft and sweet I forget all about the bad dream I had.

“Yeah?” I reply quietly with a small smile on my face.

“Sleep with one eye open, babe. Game on.”

I hear the silence of the ended call in my ear and for the first time in my life, I’m dreading getting out of bed and going to work.

This is not going to end well.

I spent the next day and a half interviewing anyone and everyone McFadden ever knew, including all of his childhood friends. No one had seen or heard from him in months and they couldn’t give me anything to go on as far as finding him. On top of that huge waste of time, I couldn’t stop looking over my shoulder waiting for Griffin to jump out from behind a bush and taser me to get back at me for that little superglue stunt we pulled.

Walking into Fool Me Investigations with a jumbo-size hazelnut coffee in my hand, I’m immediately assaulted by the sounds of phones ringing off the hook and Paige running back and forth between desks to answer them.

“Yes, I have your name and number and someone will call you back shortly. Yes, I wrote down that this is an emergency. Okay. Yes, we have a blonde that works here—why does that matter?” Paige asks into the phone as her pen pauses on the phone message pad. “Eeeeew, that’s disgusting! What is wrong with you?”

She slams the phone down and stalks over to me, clutching a stack of messages in her hand.

“What the hell is going on?” I ask her as the phone she just hung up immediately starts to ring again and when I glance at the phone console on my desk, I see that all twelve lines are lit up and blinking angrily.

“This has been going on since I walked through the door an hour ago. People are calling for our services left and right. And let me tell you something, the things they are asking for are illegal in fifteen states,” she tells me.

Grabbing the messages out of her hand, I skim through them and see that each and every one is asking for an immediate request to fix our back door.

“What the hell? Is our door broke? Are these all locksmiths?” I ask her.

“I don’t know. Whenever I ask them they just laugh and tell me they want the special that’s in the ad. Did you run an ad?”

I did place an ad in the local newspaper that was going to start running this week, but it was for 10 percent off for first-time customers. This makes no sense.

“Sleep with one eye open, babe. Game on.”

Griffin’s parting words on the phone this morning run through my head.

“Oh no,” I whisper as the door opens and I see my dad walk in with the morning paper in his hands.

“Kennedy, if you needed money, you could have come to me,” he says.

I snatch the paper out of his hand and flip to the classifieds. Right smack in the middle of the page is fool me once in big, bold letters. Underneath are the words “Looking for a good time?! Call Fool Me Once at 555-205-7201 for all of your escort needs. We have blondes, brunettes, and redheads. Make sure to ask about the Busted Back Door Special!”

“SON OF A BITCH!” I shout as I crumble up the paper and throw it in the trash.

“The guys at the VFW all want to know if they can get a friends-and-family discount. Tell me the truth, Kennedy. Is this business a front for prostitution?” my dad demands. “Are you a hooker? And when did your back door get busted? Is that a euphemism for something?”

Before I can set him straight, I feel my phone vibrate in my back pocket. Pulling it out, I see Griffin’s name on the display and I growl into the phone when I answer it. “You are in big, big trouble.”

He laughs through the line and I clench my teeth so hard I’m afraid I might break a few off as I watch my dad waltz over to Lorelei’s empty desk and answer one of the ringing lines.

“You want to pay how much? Wow. Let me get your name and number and get back to you,” my dad tells the person on the other end of the line.

“Kennedy!” he whisper-yells to me as he covers the mouthpiece with his hand. “This guy says he’ll pay fifteen hundred dollars to bust your back door. I don’t know why he’d pay that much to break a door, but I’m going to tell him you’re game. We can always get it fixed later. I didn’t realize prostitutes made so much money for weird stuff. I thought they just gave happy endings. I’m in the wrong business. I should be a pimp.”

I groan loudly at my dad as he goes back to his phone call.

“What’s wrong, Kennedy? I thought you would appreciate the fact that business is booming,” Griffin says.

“This is NOT funny, Griffin.”

He laughs again and it takes everything in me not to throw my phone against the wall.

“No, you’re right. It’s not funny,” he tells me in a moment of seriousness. “It’s HILARIOUS! Sorry, I don’t have time to talk. Just got a tip on McFadden and I’m pulling into the location he was spotted at. Talk to you soon. Go pick out something pretty to wear on our date. A dress would be perfect so I can stare at your gorgeous legs.”

I hang up on him mid-laugh, walk over to my dad, snatch the phone away from his ear, and slam the receiver down.

“Heeeey, I was just in the middle of negotiating you a higher price for this back-door thing,” he complains.

“Paige, get the state police on the line. Griffin e-mailed them this morning and now he’s got a bead on McFadden. I need to find out where he is and get there ASAP,” I tell her as I head for the door. “Dad, help Paige man the phones until Lorelei gets out of court. And for the love of all that is holy, stop making deals with these idiots.”

“I hope when your back door gets busted and you make a bunch of cash you get in a better mood. You’re too grumpy,” my dad complains as I throw open the door and ignore Paige’s hysterical laughter.

GD busting-back-door requests.

CHAPTER 16

It takes most of the day for Paige to finally get back to me on where Griffin is. Through her powers of persuasion, she found out that Griffin lied and he really wasn’t about ready to nab McFadden when he called me earlier. He was just following a few leads and coming up empty, thank God. I really don’t know how Paige did it, and I sort of don’t want to know since it probably now involves free anal from one of us, but she was able to convince the police to send Griffin a text with the wrong address in it.