His friends snickered at the question and I gave him a mock look of admonishment, wishing I could just turn my back on this whole damn thing. Somehow I gathered the strength to flirt back. “I don’t need to steal men from my sister, Angus.”

But my words escalated the flirtation as Angus raked his heated gaze over my body in a way that left no room for me to be wrong about what he was thinking. “I bet you don’t.” When he brought his gaze back to mine, I’m not sure I succeeded in keeping the revulsion out of my eyes, and that’s when I realized I wasn’t ready to do this yet.

“Well, I suppose I’d better catch up to my friends.” I took a tentative step away from him.

“Stay.” He grabbed my wrist to stop me and brushed his thumb across my skin. Try not to be sick, Rain. “Let me buy you a drink.”

If ever there was a man more arrogant than this one I was yet to find him. I’d hoped he’d buy my lines about Darcy, but at the same time I couldn’t believe any man could think so much of himself as to be blind to the truth standing right in front of him. He saw what he wanted to see because he couldn’t imagine a woman wouldn’t be attracted to him. This was my opportunity to take him down and I couldn’t believe I was wimping out.

“Come on.”

I smiled, hoping there wasn’t a tremor in the gesture. “Okay. You’ve twisted my arm.” Almost literally, you bastard.

“Red wine, right?”

He’d been paying attention to me. That should have made me happy since it meant his crush on me would make my revenge easier. But it didn’t. It made me uneasy because my plan had never been to seduce the bastard for my revenge. And yet that’s where this hellish endeavor was quickly taking me. Fuck. “Yes.”

He turned toward the bar and my eyes automatically moved there too.

My gaze clashed with Craig’s as he stood mixing a drink.


He looked angry.

I looked away quickly, finding refuge in Angus’s friends. “I’m Rain.”

“I remember,” the tallest bloke said, grinning at me. “I’m Jack. This is Mike and—”

“I’m Lola,” the pretty blonde sneered at me. “You’ve not got much in the way of sisterly loyalty, have you?”

I felt more than a flash of guilt for the lies I’d perpetrated tonight, but I smiled through her accusation. “Darcy’s never been that loyal to me. Plus . . . she did make the sex tape. It’s not like Angus filmed her behind her back. She’s a grown-up and she made a grown-up decision. Now she has to live with the consequences.” Please forgive me, Darcy, you beautiful girl you. Hopefully she’d never have to know the things I’d said and done tonight.

Lola narrowed her eyes on me. “How convenient for you that they broke up.”

“Lola, sheathe the fucking claws already,” Mike moaned.

I shot him a grateful smile. “Some cats don’t know how to.”

The guys laughed and Lola’s expression darkened. “Very nice.” She gulped back her drink, slammed the empty down on the nearest table, and scowled at me. “I’m suddenly not feeling so great. I think I’m going to go home.” Thirty seconds later she was gone.

If only she knew what a favor I was doing her. “Something I said?”

Jack laughed. “Lola doesn’t like women who are hotter than she is.”

Dick. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“Oh, you should.”

An arm draped around my shoulder, a glass of red wine appearing before me. “Here you go,” Angus murmured in my ear.

That familiar queasiness roiled in my stomach and I stubbornly kept the feeling out of my expression. “Thanks.” I took the glass, and thankfully Angus removed his arm from around me.

“Where did Lola go?” he said.

“She was being a bitch to Rain. Turns out Rain can handle bitches.” Mike winked at me and I fought the urge to punch the licentious look off his face. It would seem that creeps hung out in packs.

Angus chuckled. “She thought I was going to shag her tonight. Plans change.”

I ignored his burning stare and the almost uncontrollable urge I had to throw my wine in his face. I’d never considered myself a violent person but if I’d had the strength I would have beaten the shit out of this guy and been done with it.

I felt the press of his hand on my lower back and had to force myself to relax into his touch. I glanced up to find him smiling down at me. “What?”

“It’s just nice to get to spend some time with you, that’s all. Your sister was always in the way before.”

Skeevy loathsome cockroach!

His hand pressed deeper into my back, forcing me closer to him. “Tell me everything about yourself.”

*   *   *

An hour later my nerves were strained to the max. I’d never realized how quickly the situation could snowball out of my control. I hadn’t lied when I told Craig I didn’t flirt. It wasn’t my thing. It felt discomforting in any normal situation, so to have to flirt with Angus was an effort in sheer will and nerves.

It didn’t help that I was completely aware of Craig in the background, watching the show I was putting on. I could feel his stare burning into me. I could feel him judging me.

Needing a break from the acting, I excused myself and made my way through the busy bar toward the restrooms. I’d just walked through the door to the hallway of the restrooms when it swung open behind me, and a hard grip clamped around my bicep.

I jerked in shock, looking over my shoulder to find my captor was Craig. “What—”

“Quiet,” he growled unhappily as he took a key out of his pocket and opened the locked door to the disabled toilet.

“Craig!” I yelped as he shoved me none-too-gently inside. He followed me and slammed the door shut behind us, snapping the lock in place. My heart was thudding in my chest. “What the hell are you doing?”

“What am I doing?” His eyes flashed in anger. “What the hell are you doing?”

Too tired to pretend I didn’t understand his question, I crossed my arms over my chest in defiance. “What I’m doing is none of your business!”

“I guess you made that quite clear when you disappeared last weekend.”

Guilt suffused me. “I admit I should have said good-bye.”

He snorted in derision. “Is that your apology?”

“It’s the only one you’re getting,” I snapped.

Stay out of this! I don’t need this from YOU!

Craig’s eyes narrowed speculatively. “When you told me you were going to get revenge on that arsehole out there I think I mistook just how determined you are. I mean, there aren’t many women who’ll spread their legs for revenge.”

His words cut me wide open—hurt piercing right through my chest—and in that moment I knew I’d been right in my decision to stay away from this man.

Something in my expression caused regret in his. “Rain,” he murmured, as he ran a hand through his hair. “Fuck, I didn’t mean that.”

“Let me out of here.”


“Let me out of here!” I stormed toward him, all of the fury I felt toward Angus suddenly transferring to Craig.

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