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The Client (Professionals #8)
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My job is simple.
(A standalone novel)
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Wasp – Past
“You’re a traitor,” I grumbled, fingers toying with the fringe edges of the white woven blanket hanging off the side of the couch in Raven’s new living room.
“I’m not a traitor!” she objected, scoffing, bright blue eyes dancing as her red-tinted lips curved into a smile.
Raven was the perfectly put-together yin to my wild and messy yang.
Even at seven in the morning, she had her gleaming black hair perfectly styled down her back, her blue eyes lined, her lips painted. Everything from the ice blue color of her silk tank to the white slacks that neither clung nor sagged too much to her high heeled sandals to the simple solo silver bangle on her wrist spoke of carefully curated class. Which was exactly what Raven had been her entire life.
Why she’d adopted knotty-haired, chipped-nail-paint, hole-in-her-jeans me was completely beyond me.
Opposites attract, and all that, I guess.
“You are only supposed to fall into a rich guy’s dicksand temporarily,” I told her.
“Dicksand?” she repeated, and I felt my lips curving up because it never failed to amuse me to hear her cool confident, ladylike voice say curse words. Though, most of the time, it was only when she was repeating something I said.
“Yes, his dicksand. Like when you meet a guy and he’s giving it to you good, and he’s pretty to look at, so you get obsessed with him, and he becomes your everything. It’s supposed to be a temporary thing, falling into someone’s dicksand.”
“I didn’t fall into his dicksand. I fell in love. I know, I know,” she said when I made a hissing noise. “You don’t believe in love. But it exists.”
“It’s not that I don’t believe in it. It’s that I think it is a chemical reaction. A fleeting one, at that. And women are usually the ones fucked over in the fall out of it. You’ve worked with me forever. You know how it goes.”
“But what if it lasts?”
“But what if it does. Shouldn’t I be willing to take that chance?”
“You’re my soulmate, damnit,” I reminded her, smiling.
“I am,” she agreed, nodding. “And we love each other as much as two platonic friends with no interest in girl-on-girl sex can. We both need men still, though. We always have.”
“For a night. To get that good dicking. That’s it.”
“He’s a good man, Wasp,” she told me, sitting down across from me, crossing her ankles, reaching up to mess with her hair. Raven was not, as a rule, a fiddler. She didn’t muss her hair or tap her fingers or shake her leg. She was always the image of perfect put-togetherness. But she was fiddling, drawing my gaze up, seeing the wistful, far away look in her eyes.
She really was in love.
And he really was a good man.
I was happy for her.
Truly, I was.
But my heart was breaking a little for my loss as well. As selfish and silly as that sounded.
Raven and I had never been parted for more than a weekend since we were little kids. And as soon as we were adults, we hopped in a converted school bus, and lived on the road together for years.
Until we made a pit stop in Navesink Bank.
And she fell in love with one of its residents.
I had figured it was a fling, something to last the summer. Or even a year.
But that ring on her finger said she was never coming back on the road with me.
“I reserve the right to run a background check or have him followed at any point during your marriage,” I insisted, making her laugh, a big white smile on display.
“I think Roman has come to expect that from you ever since you showed up in his office and threatened to castrate him with his letter opener.”
“I didn’t threaten to castrate him,” I insisted, shaking my head.
“Yes, you did! He told me.”
“Then he has a very bad memory. I threatened to jam the letter opener up his urethra,” I recalled, making Raven snort.
“You did not.”
“It had a better visual,” I told her, shrugging.
“It’s memorable, for sure. He had the good sense to look mildly certain that you weren’t being facetious.”
“If he breaks your heart, he will learn really quickly how serious I am,” I told her.
I had one friend in the entire world.
I would happily seriously injure a man for her.
“I rest easy at night knowing you have my back,” she told me. “And he loses a little sleep knowing that too,” she added, smiling.
“You’re happy, right?” I asked, needing to hear those words. They’d be the ones that would make a clean cut of the tie that had held us so closely all those years.
“I am blissfully happy,” she clarified.
I felt myself tumbling away, falling endlessly, wondering how I would ever feel grounded again.
Because that was what Raven was.
She was the anchor to my out of control boat.