Reckless Love Page 9

“It’s okay, sweetie.” Chris kissed me on the lips. This was our third date, but only our first lip-on-lip kiss. It was close-mouthed and he came in a little too hard, as if he was worried I would back away before he could follow through. “Let’s get going,” he said, then led me to the car.

The restaurant wasn’t that far, but the buzz I had from the wine was wearing off by the time we got there.

Ian and his date were already seated when we arrived. The table was quiet as we approached, and they looked as if they hadn’t been talking much. Ian was a little stiff, but put on a smile when he saw us. His date was drop-dead flipping gorgeous. Of course she was; she was with Ian, for goodness’ sake.

I was seated across from her. God, why? She had long legs and looked like a swimsuit model.

She smiled. “Hi, I’m Sara.” It was a genuine smile. Which made me hate her, of course. Her hair was beautiful, long and flowing red locks. She looked familiar, though.

It hit me so suddenly that I barely managed to stifle a small, “Oh shit,” as I covered my mouth.

It was her. Cade’s first adult movie co-star. Desiree was her stage name, but we called her “the screamer” because she’d howled like a banshee through the whole thing. It sounded so fake, it was painful.

The night we’d gathered around Alexa’s laptop and watched Cade’s video came flooding back. I struggled to keep a straight face, but could hardly look “Sara” in the eyes, even as I couldn’t stop staring at her.

“Nice to meet you, Sara,” I said. I hadn’t meant to emphasize her name, but it came out that way. I gave her as friendly a smile as I could manage before turning to Ian and Chris. “Should we get a bottle of wine?”

“Yes,” Sara and Ian both answered at the same time.

Chris looked at Ian, shocked.

Ian smiled. “I mean for you guys, yeah. I’m in training mode. I have my water.” He pointed at his glass on the table.

When the waiter arrived with a bottle of white, we filled our glasses. The conversation turned to Ian’s next fight in just two days with a semi-pro fighter named Steel.

“Remember, he’s a ground fighter,” Chris said. “Keep him on his feet, and he’s your bitch.”

Ian leaned in and the two of them began strategizing, leaving Sara and me to listen.

Curious, I watched how Ian was with Sara. They had almost a foot of space between them. I looked over to see how far Chris was from me; it was about the same. Not that I was keeping score or anything.

Chris glanced at me and leaned closer, taking my hand. “So, Sara,” he said. “What is it that you do?”

“She’s a graphic designer,” Ian said quickly. She looked at him and nodded.

Why was Ian lying about what she did for a living?

“Really?” I asked after taking another sip of wine. “Where do you work?”

“She does freelance,” Ian answered for her again.

I blotted my lips with my napkin and placed it on my plate. “I have to go to the ladies’ room.” Then I grabbed my clutch and pulled my phone out, dialing Alexa as I walked.

“Did you know Ian was dating the screamer?” I didn’t even give Alexa time to answer before I started. My phone pressed to my ear, I made it to the back hallway near the restrooms, but didn’t go in, choosing to loiter outside instead.

There was a pause. “I’m not sure they’re actually dating,” Alexa answered when she figured out what I was ranting about. “Cade warned me that she would be going out with Ian. He wanted to know if I would be okay with it. He posed it as a favor to Ian, like he was setting them up for some reason.”

“Why on earth would Ian need to be set up on a blind date? He’s amazing.” It slipped out, and I couldn’t put it back in. Damn wine.

“Yeah,” she said, then paused. “But there’s something else weird about the whole thing. Cade asked me—no, begged me not to tell you that she was a porn star.” She giggled through the phone. “I didn’t have the heart to remind him that you’d seen the movie too.”

“Oh my God, Lexa!”

I couldn’t believe what she was saying. Did Ian really not want me to know he was dating a porn star? Why?

“Why does he care what I think of his sexploits? He can fuck any porn star he damn well pleases.”

The second I said the words “porn star,” I noted two things. First, I was definitely talking too loudly, and second, “Sara” had rounded the corner and was within earshot.

So I did what any stupid idiot who’d just stuck their foot in their mouth would do—I pretended it didn’t happen. I ducked my head and walked past Sara without looking her in the eye, the phone still pressed to my ear as I headed back to the table.

“It seemed important to Cade, so I hope you won’t tell,” Alexa said.

“Who is there left to tell? Chris?”

Maybe that was it. Ian didn’t want Chris to know because Chris would tease him about it later. I didn’t know why, but the thought of telling Chris wasn’t appealing to me.

“Their secret is safe with me,” I whispered. “Look, sweetie, I gotta go.”

Then I sat back down at the table.

Seven

Ian

I’d never hired a prostitute, and had never paid for sex. Hell, I never had to. So when I asked Cade if he knew anyone I could bring out on a double date with Chris and MacKenzie, I wasn’t expecting him to suggest paying someone. Still, once I’d heard him out, his idea didn’t seem totally whack. In fact, it made sense.

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