Home > All the Pretty Lies (Pretty #1)(3)

All the Pretty Lies (Pretty #1)(3)
Author: M. Leighton

“Sounds good. Whatever you think. You’re the expert.”

Hemi grins and winks at me. “Oh, I like the sound of that.” He reaches back to the table that sits behind him, grabs a little prep kit, a marker and my sketch. He lays the drawing up on my butt. “This is your first time, isn’t it?” He’s not watching me when he asks; therefore he can’t see the color that burns in my cheeks. He has no idea how right he is. In many ways. Being the daughter of a cop and the little sister to three more makes dating a challenge to say the least. Add to that all that happened when I was little, and you get a twenty-one year old virgin. To tattoos as well as most everything else, too.

“Yes,” I reply in a small voice.

At this, Hemi finally looks back up at me. “Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of you.” And for some reason, I believe him. “We may have to break this up into two or three sessions, though. I don’t want to overwhelm you, and there’s quite a few butterflies to do. Plus, ribs can be a little more tender and tricky.”

“So you won’t do it all tonight?”

“I don’t think so. Let’s start with the shell and one or two butterflies, and see how you’re doing. Then we can go from there. We don’t want you in the chair too long. You can make an appointment to come back another time to get the rest.”

See him again? Yes, please.

“Sounds good.”

Hemi pauses, with no grin on his lips and no teasing in his eyes. This time they seem just…warm. “Are you always this easy?”

Before I have to try to formulate some pithy or flirtatious (or stupid) reply, Sarah speaks up for the first time since I laid down. “Hell no! She’s stubborn as a mule.”

“So it’s just me then.” He stares at me for several seconds before his grin returns. “Just easy for me. I like that.”

The next thing I feel, aside from the damnable heat in my face, is the cool swipe of an alcohol pad as Hemi preps my skin for what’s to come. I barely notice the moisture. All my attention is riveted to the warm hand resting against my hip, holding me still. Keeping me steady.


I try to ignore the soft, warm skin that feels like satin under my palm. I try to ignore the way this girl watches me, like she can see me taking her shorts off the rest of the way. I try to ignore the fact that, if she did let me take them off, I’d do things to her that would make her blush every time she thought about them for the rest of her life. And I try to ignore how much it irritates me that I don’t have time to explore someone like her.

Since the ripe old age of fourteen, when I nailed my first piece of cougar ass, I’ve always preferred experienced women. The wilder the better. I’ve never taken a girl’s virginity, nor do I want to. I want a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. And one who knows where the door is before I get out of the bathroom. They’re the kind I’ve always sought out, and the only kind I have room for in my life. And, until today, they’re the only kind I’ve ever really been interested in. So what is it about this girl, with her innocent, brown eyes and her perfectly-formed ass, that’s making my dick throb so damn hard?

You need to get laid, brother! I think to myself, tracing the outline of an oyster shell on pale, flawless skin. And you need to do it fast.

For an instant, it makes me miss the selfish prick that I’ve always been. Before I became so driven.


“What time did you get in last night?” my older brother, Sigmond (Sig, as we call him) asks.


“No shit, smart ass. I went to Cuff’s with the boys after shift last night. I got in at almost one thirty and you still weren’t here.”

“So? I’m twenty-one years old. I don’t owe you an explanation.”

I watch Sig’s dark brown eyes, so much like mine, widen. “Damn! Touchy, aren’t we? I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just askin’.”

I sigh. “I know. I’m just tired. Sorry.”

Sig is only two years older than me and I’ve always been closer to him than either of my other brothers, Scout and Steven. Sig is the fun-loving one, and he’s never “fathered” me quite as much as everyone else. Scout is bad, but Steven is the worst. Being the oldest, he and Dad took it upon themselves to see that I’m as protected and sheltered as a princess, and that I was raised like a lady, even without one in the house. For that reason, they keep a close eye on me, terrify my would-be friends and suitors, and punish me every time I use the F word. That’s why my only friend is Sarah, I’m still a virgin and my favorite word is “frick.” It was either get used to that or spend my entire childhood grounded. What the men in my house never understood was that, lady or not, it’s hard to listen to four potty-mouthed cops day in and day out and not pick up a potty mouth myself. But I learned. Eventually.

“Hand me the creamer,” Sig says, nudging me with his elbow. I rise up on my toes and reach into the cabinet to get down the creamer. Sig turns, his gun holster grazing my hip. I hiss, sucking in air through my teeth. “What was that for?”

“What was what for?”

“You made a noise. Like I hurt you.”

“Did not.”

“Did, too.”

“It’s nothing. Your holster just poked me.”

Sig frowns, looking down at his holster and over at my hip. When his eyes rise to mine, he narrows them on me. “So what? That shouldn’t have hurt. Are you sore? Why are you sore?”

I see concern light his eyes and I know there’s no way I’m getting out of this without confessing to what I did. Otherwise, he’ll have the whole family freaked out before I can eat my breakfast.

“I got a tattoo,” I admit. When Sig opens his mouth to fuss, I rush to continue before he can get out the first word. “And I don’t need to hear any bitching about it. And you’d better not tell a soul, or so help me God, I’ll tell Bear every embarrassing secret I can think of.”

That gets his attention. Bear is Sig’s partner. Sig knows he’d never hear the end of it if I told Bear anything worth hearing. Giving a cop any information he can use to rib, blackmail or otherwise embarrass the shit out of another cop with is like handing him a loaded gun and a target. Sig knows this. And so do I.

His lips thin and I know I’ve won. “You know, Sloane, you really should be more careful.”

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