Beneath These Scars (Page 67)

And we were. I’d gone up the street to our favorite café because I wasn’t letting Colson put me off my appetite. I wouldn’t give him that much power.

“Someone just dropped off a flyer for a super-exclusive estate sale tonight.” She grabbed a neon-green piece of paper off the counter and held it out.

Excitement prickling through me, I crossed the store and plucked it from her hand. My giddiness grew as I read through the description.

Dozens of well-cared-for vintage pieces by a who’s-who list of designers—jewelry, shoes, handbags, and clothes. I skimmed over the part about furniture, antique cars, guns, and the rest, then reread the top part. This had the makings of a jackpot, one I desperately needed to fill my dwindling inventory.

I didn’t recognize the street name, so I pulled out my phone and Googled it. It was outside of town about twenty minutes, and the map showed an area of plantation-style homes that looked expensive. Good sign.

The preview for wholesale buyers was tonight from seven to nine, and it opened to the public tomorrow morning at eight.

With a smile on my face, I texted Lucas.

I won’t be home until later tonight.

The act in itself seemed so damned domestic, but I was too excited about the prospect of hunting through a veritable treasure trove to dwell on it. I didn’t get an instantaneous response from him, but that wasn’t unusual. He was constantly in meetings, and sometimes it could be hours before he replied. It wasn’t something I loved, but I understood.

But I also thought we were due for a serious discussion about what was happening next between us. I wasn’t ready to consider the possibility that there wasn’t a next for us. I was in too deep. I’d let myself slide, and I just hoped I wasn’t sliding by myself.

JP and I settled in to eat our lunch at the tiny table in the back room, as I sat with one ear open for the door chime to jangle so I could step out and help any customers.

“So, you and Lucas Titan. Tell me about that,” she said.

I hadn’t had another woman working here since Elle, and I was seriously impressed by how quickly JP caught on and was charmed by her cheery, sweet nature. We’d settled into an easy relationship, but I was kind of caught off guard by her question. I wondered how much she’d overheard from the back room when Colson had come to visit. The steamer didn’t offer much in the way of background noise, but I’d hoped she’d had her ear buds in like she normally did when taking on the monotonous chore.

“What do you mean?”

She set her fork down and lifted her soda for a sip. When she set it down, she pinned me with a curious stare. “I mean, you’re living with the guy. What’s it like to be dating the city’s most notorious billionaire bachelor?” She paused to take another drink. “He’s hot as hell, don’t get me wrong, but he seems like a total prick from what I’ve heard.”

Apparently Lucas’s reputation preceded him.

“We’re . . . seeing each other.”

“A lot and naked?” She waggled her eyebrows.

“You could say that.” I laughed. I was reluctant to share details, but part of me wanted to spill and get someone’s opinion. I didn’t feel right talking to Elle about him because I knew her initial reaction would be, Why the hell are you still living in his house? Because that was basically the daily text I got from her.

“And?”

“It’s complicated?” I said, but it came out more as a question than a statement.

“I bet. But it’s good?”

I nodded. “Yes. It’s good.”

“Then you’re a lucky bitch. I was just curious, I guess. You two seem so different that it’s hard to picture—” She broke off abruptly. “I didn’t mean that in a bad way.”

I held up a hand. “Don’t worry about it. I’m sure I’m the last person anyone would pick to be with him.” I thought of Colson’s words. Yeah, Valentina was a much better match.

But I’m not giving him up to her. The force behind the thought took me by surprise. I guessed I’d made my decision. Now I just had to find out what Lucas really thought about where this was going.

“Who cares what anyone thinks. If it works for you two, that’s all that matters,” JP said. “So, are you going to go to the preview? I’d love to come too, and see how it works, but I’ve got a thing tonight I can’t miss.”

“A thing?”

She grinned. “Yeah, an appointment to get a new tat. This hot dude at Voodoo Ink—who I’ve been waiting months to get in to see—finally had a cancellation. Otherwise I’d be waiting another month.”

“Con?” I asked, because he was the only male tattoo artist I knew of who worked there. But he was firmly taken by Vanessa, and they’d both been spending the majority of their time at the gym, working with the kids.

She shook her head. “Nah, he’s not doing much work lately, from what I’ve heard. It’s the newer guy. Bishop. He’s a sexy beast of a man. That man bun. Seriously hot. I’ve never been all about the long-haired guys, but with him, I can see the appeal. My plan is to get the tat and his number. I think he’s single. I’ve been doing some digging.”

“Stalking, you mean?”

JP shrugged. “Eh, let’s not throw labels around, okay?”

Once again, anticipation filled me at the thought of the estate sale. It was exactly what I needed after Lucas and Jerome had conspired to purchase a good chunk of Dirty Dog’s inventory. I was still trolling my regular sources, but I needed a bulk buy. Maybe I could negotiate something tonight. The thrill of the hunt and the high of bargaining was already building in my bones. It was my fix. My addiction.