I, Cassandra Straight, have loved Reed Shamrock to distraction since I was a teenager. I even watched him fall in love with someone else and almost get married.
A year ago, when he walked into his house and found his fiancée’s face in his best friend’s crotch, his life changed forever and it hasn’t been the same since.
On his first night out since the horrible incident, we run into the ex-skank. Seeing the devastation in his eyes, I made a promise that I would help him get over her. I told him that a pretend relationship between us would work. It would help him move on.
I didn’t count on my heart or his getting in the way. And I sure as hell didn’t count on not being able to tell when pretend turned to reality. When it all implodes, the only thing left is the truth.
Sometimes though, the truth? It hides and we have to dig deep to find it. To make it come to the surface, we have to give it a little talking to. We have to give it a little Sass.
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Sass gives me a bored, disbelieving look as she pushes her sunglasses down on her nose so her eyes are exposed to mine.
"Are you sure you put fish in this pond? Have you fed them? Have they died? Did they leave you for someone who actually cared? Two hours, Reed, and we haven't gotten a bite."
Her tone is accusing, and I can’t help but laugh. "I hope they haven't died. I spent a shit ton stocking it, and yes, I do make sure they're fed. Maybe we're not casting in the right place," I defend myself. Cutting my eye towards her, I throw out another option. "Maybe our bait sucks."
She’d brought the bait, and I can see her get her back up.
"Chicken livers have never failed me before, thank you very fuckin' much. They are a family hand-me-down, tested, tried, and true for many generations."
"Well, honey, it seems like this is a first."
I don't see the handful of mud until it hits the side of my head. I'm shocked as I shake my head, trying to get it out of my hair. "Sass." My voice is a warning. "Did you mean to throw mud at me?"
She holds another handful. "Don't you ever talk bad about my decision to use chicken livers as bait." She smirks, taking aim again.
I'm quick as I leap from my chair and tackle her to the soft ground. She squeals as I push her further into the ground, getting both of us muddy. "I give!" she yells.
As we roll around, I laugh. It's been so long since I've been able to have fun with someone like this. It never even entered my mind with Lacey. She wasn't a fun girl, she took things way too seriously, and Sass is like a balm for my soul. I roll again so she's underneath me. "I think we should head back. If we let this mud dry, we'll never get it off." My mouth is inches away from hers. Her dark eyes look into my light ones, and she lifts her head to press her lips against mine. All too soon the kiss is over.