And that, Craig could admire.

“You’re staring,” Rain murmured.

Because you’re absolutely fucking beautiful . . . and I have a feeling that beauty runs deep. “There’s a lot to stare at,” he murmured back, taking a casual swig of his water.

He didn’t want to scare her off. He wanted to put her at ease. For whatever reason this woman brought out his protective instincts. Craig didn’t want her going through the drama of dealing with Angus. If it were him he’d punch the arsehole and move on. He thought that was a much healthier way to deal with it. The lengthy process of revenge that Rain was discussing would take its toll on her.

He didn’t want that for her.

I want her spending all her free time on far more pleasurable pursuits.

Like getting to know him in the biblical and non-biblical sense.

“Stay until closing. Let me walk you home. No funny stuff,” he reassured. Let me change your mind about everything. Life was never too short for justice, but revenge, yes. Life was too short for revenge. And life was too short to ignore the kind of connection between them.

For the first time ever Craig felt more than the impulse for sex. He wanted to know everything there was to know about this woman, and if that meant giving the whole dating thing a go then so be it. He’d slowly convince Rain to give him a chance, and while he was doing it he’d distract her from this tiresome need for revenge.

“You’re very determined and stubborn, aren’t you?” she said, eyeing him thoughtfully.

“Probably about as determined and stubborn as you,” he said.


She gave a huff of laughter. “I don’t know about that.”

“Will you stay, then?”

“No funny stuff?” she said softly.

“I promise.”

Slowly she nodded.

Pleased, Craig relaxed a little and guided her back to the bar after his break. He shooed a customer off Rain’s vacated stool (to the annoyance of Joss and Alistair) so he could keep her in his sights.

It turned out, however, he’d let himself become too relaxed, because when he went to retrieve something from the stock room and returned, she’d disappeared. His hope was that she’d gone to the restroom, but when she didn’t appear after ten minutes he asked Joss to take a look for him. She returned shaking her head and gave him a sympathetic pat on the back.

For the rest of the night his colleagues kept their distance and Craig did nothing to improve his tips—flirtation and quick quips dried up on his tongue along with any sign of his earlier good mood.


There were a crazy amount of butterflies in my stomach.

I hadn’t felt this nervous about something since I was trying to convince Darcy to forgive me all those years ago.

Standing on George Street, staring down at the entrance to Club 39, there was a huge part of me that wanted to turn around, go home, and snuggle up with a blanket and a cup of tea.

Angus was in there. For definite this time. I knew this because I’d actually lowered myself to stalking him on social media.

I shivered in the cool night air and turned to stare longingly down George Street. Black cabs moved up and down the street¸ picking up and dropping off passengers—girls dressed to the nines and guys eyeing up all the girls dressed to the nines.

Laughter echoed down the street, mingling with the sound of engines and heels clacking on concrete.

I could just disappear into the night. Another girl in a pretty dress and heels.

But I couldn’t.

Throwing back my shoulders and ignoring that sick uneasiness in my stomach, I made my way carefully down the stairs to the basement club.

“Evening.” The doorman smiled at me.

I nodded hello and ventured inside to face one man I hated and one man I liked too much.

Leaving Craig last Friday had been cowardly, but at the time I saw no other way. As much as he assured me there would be “no funny stuff” between us, I read something else entirely in his eyes. For whatever reason, he was interested in me. However, I’d seen him with all of his female customers. I’d never known a bigger flirt than Craig Lanaghan, and I wasn’t the kind of woman who could handle that.

Craig would only end up hurting me, intentionally or not.

But I shouldn’t have just left like that. I should have said something.

Now I had to venture into his bar, feeling guilty not only about disappearing on him but for my future intention to ignore him. There was no room for flirtation in my life. Not with Craig.

Pity . . . because I’d much rather flirt with him than with Angus. My whole being rejected the idea, but needs must. Angus would respond to flirting more than anything. He had this huge ego and unfortunately it was my job this evening to stroke the damn thing.

Taking a deep breath, I strode casually into Club 39, my eyes sweeping the bar and deliberately bouncing quickly off Craig. To my relief and distress I found Angus standing not too far from the right side of the bar, where Craig was busy serving a customer.

Determinedly, I kept my gaze fixed on Angus. He was standing with a group of friends, some of whom I recognized. One was a girl I’d once seen him flirting unashamedly with at a party hosted by Darcy and me. The other two were his friends, and I’m sure they were part of the group he shared the sex tape with.

Fury roared through my blood.

Keep calm and smile.

I fixed a small, amused smile on my lips as I approached Angus.

His gaze flickered over the shoulder of the girl he was talking to and it widened slightly at my appearance. I sashayed around the girl as though she didn’t exist and stepped deep into Angus’s personal space. Admittedly he was far too handsome for his own good. He had piercing gray eyes framed by jet-black lashes and a perfectly symmetrical face that bordered on pretty.

“Rain.” I heard the surprise in his voice. “Fancy seeing you here.”

“I was just leaving with some friends when I saw you,” I lied. “How are you?”

He mirrored my amused smile, and I wanted to punch the expression off his face. “I’m good. A little surprised you’re talking to me after the drama your sister caused.”

Fucking rat bastard dickhead traitorous villainous arsehole!

I waved his comment off and rolled my eyes. “Darcy being a drama queen. Again. You know she took off on me. We have a business to run,” I complained.

There was a hint of suspicion in his eyes but still he nodded sympathetically. “Left you in a lurch. What a surprise.”

Fucker fucker fucker fucker fucker FUCKER!!!

I sighed wearily. “It’s not the first time.”

“Still, she is your sister. And I never really got the impression you liked me.”

Hiding my tension I gave him a lazy smile. “You were my sister’s boyfriend. I wasn’t allowed to like you.”

He frowned. “What do you mean?”

“I had to keep my distance with you because . . . well . . . let’s just say I’ve been accused of trying to steal Darcy’s boyfriends in the past.” My insides twisted so badly at my lies I froze inwardly, wondering if it was possible to keep this pretense up. It was much, much harder than I thought it would be.

But Angus wasn’t going to make it easy on me. He raised an eyebrow at my lie, looking intrigued by it. “Any truth to it?”

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