Love Lies Beneath(9)

By: Jen Talty


Of course, the movement made her head spin. She took a large gulp of her drink. “That’s where you’re wrong.” She nailed her index finger right in the center of his chest. “I’m not upset over that anymore. But I am pissed you cheated on her and more so that she doesn’t see you’ll do it again.”

“Shhhhh. Keep your voice down,” Derek said, glancing over his shoulder. “Valerie has forgiven me for that, but her parents don’t know, and there is no reason to upset them for something that happened two years ago.”

“She might not be so forgiving if she knew who you fucked.” Swearing wasn’t something she did often. She heard enough colorful language at her job; she didn’t need to hear it coming out of her own mouth.

It looked as though Derek narrowed his eyes to tiny slits. He could have closed them for a brief moment.

She downed the rest of her drink, giving up on keeping her dignity. When she agreed to be the maid of honor, she’d been told Derek and Valerie wouldn’t be attending. Suzie had laid that bomb on her earlier in the day, saying she had no idea they’d changed their plans at the last minute.

Ashley had no reason not to believe Suzie when she’d told her that Valerie had called her aunt instead of Suzie, informing her of the change. Of course, Valerie was also mad that Suzie decided to have just one maid of honor, no other bridesmaids. Valerie thought, as family, she’d take the role, but sometimes a friendship bond is thicker than family.

“Don’t go there,” Derek said, with real venom dripping from his dark tone.

“I have half a mind to tell her, and the only reason I’m not is because she asked me not to, but if she ever does, I’ll let the cat out of the bag.”

“You’re a real bitch, you know that?”

“Don’t talk to her that way,” Mitch said, puffing out his chest. “I’d appreciate it if you’d apologize.”

Derek laughed. “No offense, but you don’t know the history here and—”

“I know enough. Let’s not forget I was there when her father landed his fist right on the tip of that nose. Might want to see a new plastic surgeon to try to fix that.”

It dawned on her that until three months ago, he had no idea she was the daughter of Commander Joshua Riggs. And by the look on Derek’s triple faces, he’d just figured that out too.

“You two deserve each other,” Derek muttered, turning on his heels.

“I thought he’d never leave,” she muttered, setting her glass on the table, but missed and it crash-landed on the tile floor.

Thank God it was plastic.

“He’s a bigger dick than I remember,” Mitch said.

“But he has a tiny one.” She held up her pinky. “And I’m not being a bitch. Not much girth and only about—”

Mitch covered her mouth with the palm of his hand. “I don’t want to know.”

She belched. And not the good kind where it was a simple taste of the decadent food one had just enjoyed.

Nope. This was more of the vile kind.

“I think we should get you out of here, okay?” He looped his arm around her waist.

Rocking on her heels, she realized he was a good two inches taller, which meant she didn’t feel like a giant.



“I don’t feel so good,” she muttered.

“Where’s your room?” he asked. If she were sober, the heat rippling across her skin would be a good thing.

Only that heat was more of a clammy, I’m going to be sick, kind of heat. “I should have warned you I had two gin and tonics before we made our way in your direction.”

“Yeah, that would have been good information to have.”

She handed him her key card. “I’m on the second floor. Last door on the right. I can’t remember the number.”

“I’ll get you to your room safe and sound.” His strong hand gripped her side, and she hoped that was his thumb dancing circles against her hip. Probably a figment of her imagination, but it felt good either way.


“Are you going to take advantage of me?” Christ. Now she sounded like a hot, desperate mess.

“I never take advantage of anyone. When we’re together, you’ll be sober, and it will be because you want to, not for any other reason.”