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Dear Self—Do not pass Go, do not bang your oldest friend in the limo on the way to the swanky Vegas hotel. Just get back on the plane, fly home, and forget you almost had co-ed naked best buddy time time with the one man who is completely off limits.
I give myself very good advice.
Not that Colin Donovan, my bad boy rock star best friend, is any help. Walking around looking ridiculously sexy, telling me I’m beautiful and fun and perfect the way I am and somehow making me believe it.
If only we hadn’t drunk so much whiskey that first night, if only I’d kept that red bikini in my suitcase, if only his evil ex-girlfriend hadn’t come sniffing around making me feel all territorial and protective.
And if only I hadn’t been secretly in love with Colin for years before this Friends with Bennies Vacation got started.
Who knows? Maybe the high will be worth the fall.
The Bangover is a red-hot, laugh out loud rom-com featuring two best friends on a collision course with Vegas-flavored disaster—and each other. It stands alone. No cheating or cliffhangers.
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“So let me get this straight…” My best friend Kirby’s voice is husky and soft in the darkness beneath her back porch, where we’ve been hiding for the past thirty minutes, preparing for our favorite post-hometown concert tradition—the pranking of Shep, my drummer. “You’re swearing off sex so you can write songs.”
“Correct. Not fun, but it has to be done.”
“Does it?” She sounds bemused. “Really?”
“It does.” There’s a skittering sound on the planks overhead, and we both fall silent, but after a moment a plaintive meow? makes it clear we’re not in danger of being attacked by trash-raiding raccoons.
It’s just Murder, the evil ring leader of Kirby’s collection of misfit cats.
“I’ll be in soon, baby,” Kirby calls softly. “Go inside.”
I grunt. “He’s probably out here looking for me. Fangs bared. Ready to take his pound of flesh.”
“Probably,” Kirby agrees with a chuckle. “He hates you so much.” She nudges my shoulder with her smaller, pointier one. “But don’t take it personally. He’s just jealous that there’s another creature on earth I like nearly as much as him.”
“Nearly, huh? Thanks,” I say, a smile in my voice. But I’ve been smiling pretty much nonstop since we took the stage earlier tonight.
There’s nothing like a hometown show—the energy, the excitement, the noise, and best of all, a crowd packed with people who dreamed an impossible dream with you until the dream came true.
A lot of the greater Bangor, Maine area fans have been with us from the beginning, when Lips on Fire was just a bunch of high school kids playing all-ages venues on weekends—when Cutter wasn’t grounded for getting caught smoking pot and Shepherd didn’t have to babysit his herd of little siblings. In other words, they knew us way before our lips had ever set a girl on fire.
The people around here are more than fans. They’re family, tribe, and I refuse to let them down. The new album is going to come out on schedule, even if it means I won’t be coming.
Not a single orgasm until the songs are written, recorded, and in the bag.
Fuck…just thinking about it is enough to drive me to drink.
I take the flask from Kirby. Her skin is so white it’s easy to find her hand, even in the midnight shadows. “When was the last time you were out in the sun, Larry? You’re glowing in the dark.”
“Don’t call me that,” she says in a tone that makes it clear she still loves it when I call her that. I might only see my best girl a few times a year, but we talk on the phone almost every night. I know her better than anyone, including her snot-nosed whiner of an ex-boyfriend, Peter, who I can’t say I’m sorry is no longer in the picture.
The dude was a dud. If personalities had colors, his would be puce.
“I’ve been on deadline,” she adds with a sigh. “And the sun stifles my spooky muse.”
“Maybe you should write a children’s book, instead,” I tease.
Kirby Lawrence, KJ Lawrence to her legions of horror-loving fans, is about as child-friendly as a rusty razor blade. Sure, with her pale blond hair, bright blue eyes, and permanently pink cheeks, she looks sweet, but Kirby is a dark horse. Emancipated from her craptastic mother at seventeen and supporting herself and her little sister, Bridget, purely with her fiction skills two years later, she’s a legend around Hidden Kill Bay. If it weren’t for the phenomenon that is Lips on Fire—at last count, we’ve sold eight million records worldwide—she’d be our Bangor suburb’s most famous export.
But Kirby doesn’t care about fame. She plies her trade for the sick and twisted thrill of scaring people to death and the cash to support her cat adoption habit. At last count, she had four of her own and was footing the vet bills for at least a dozen other local felines.
I used to tease her about having Early Onset Cat Lady disease, but then she went down to the DMV and got a tragically dorky vanity plate that reads MeowUDoin, and I stopped. I didn’t know what she’d do if I continued to yank her chain. She threatened to have whiskers tattooed on her cheeks, and even though I was 95 percent sure she was kidding, I wasn’t willing to risk that 5 percent.
Kirby’s too cute to go full-on weirdo just yet. We have to get her hooked up with a non-snot-nosed dude who will worship at her love altar, first. She can be a prickly pear sometimes, but beneath her Wednesday Adams demeanor beats the heart of a sweet lady any dude would be lucky to call his own.
“And maybe you should pass the flask before you break the two-sip rule,” she says, invoking one of our many adolescent rules of honor. Never hang on to the flask for more than ten minutes, and never, ever take more than one sip at a time. “And maybe you can explain to me why you can’t bang and write at the same time?”