Home > There's Wild, Then There's You (The Wild Ones #3)(15)

There's Wild, Then There's You (The Wild Ones #3)(15)
Author: M. Leighton

I smile reassuringly at Harley. “Don’t worry about me, Harley. I’m pretty hard to charm.”

“I think that ship has sailed,” he mutters. And then, without another word, Harley turns and walks away.


If I weren’t so enjoying Violet’s tiny, voluptuous body pressed against mine, I might be inclined to walk right over and punch Harley in his big mouth. But as it is, I see something unsettled rolling over her face like fog over water and I know I’ve got some damage control to do.

Damn it!

“You’ll have to excuse Harley. He’s old and crazy as hell, and his sense of humor is . . . unusual.”

She looks at me with all the seriousness I’ve seen in her before. “Maybe he wasn’t joking.”

“We don’t think it was funny, but he probably thinks it was,” I respond nonchalantly.

Violet slides her eyes away from mine and I know the setback is official.


“I should check on Tia,” she says quietly, glancing everywhere except at me.

“Violet, Harley—”

“There she is,” she says, pointing to her friend who is obviously having fun with some guys over at the bar.

With that, she just turns and walks away. I do the only thing I can and follow her. When we get closer to the bar, Violet’s friend looks up and sees her. She throws her arm up and starts waving. “Vi! Vi! Over here.”

Her spastic motions throw off her balance and she tips over on her stool. I hear her squeal as she goes down. Violet runs through the crowd to get to her, but I’m not worried. I can hear the girl laughing.

“Are you okay?” Violet asks, reaching down to help her friend to her feet.

“Never been better, Vi,” she replies, her tongue noticeably thick. “Lemme introduce you to some of my father’s cronies’ sons. Alvin, Simon, and Theodore,” she slurs, ticking them off and then collapsing into peals of high-pitched laughter. She cups her hand around her mouth and whispers loudly to Violet, “They’re not really chipmunks, Vi.”

“I figured as much,” Violet says patiently, dusting debris off Tia’s leg from where she fell. “I think it’s time to go, don’t you?”

Her friend’s face crumbles into a devastated expression. “Oh, no! Not yet,” she whines to Violet.

“Yes, I think we’d better. You won’t be able to walk if we stay much longer.”

“Yes, I will. I’m fine. Give me a sobriety test,” she says, tripping as she moves away from the bar. “That doesn’t count. Alvin tripped me.” Over her shoulder, she sends a wink at “Alvin.”

“Tia, seriously, it’s time to go. Can you make it to the car?”

She scowls. “Of course I can make it to the car. I’m not a child.”

Tia strikes out across the wood planks of the barn floor, weaving unstably and bumping into one of the half-naked waitresses currently entertaining two drooling idiots.

“Hey, watch it!” the girl exclaims, glaring at the drunken Tia.

Violet rushes in, steadying her friend and giving the waitress an apologetic smile. “I’m so sorry. She’s had a little too much to drink.” For her trouble, she gets a glare from both Tia and the waitress. “Here,” she tells Tia, scooting up under her much taller friend’s arm to help her walk, “lean on me.”

And just like that, I see who Violet really is. To the bone, she’s a sponsor. An anchor. A fixer. Just like Tia said. She sees a broken, disadvantaged, or otherwise distressed person and she feels the need to swoop in and help them, however she can. And that’s what she’s doing with me. She’s trying to fix me.

And I’m taking advantage of that.

Impulsively, I stride over and take Violet’s arm, moving her out of the way. “Let me,” I say, bending to throw Tia over my shoulder and carry her to the door.

Tia giggles nonstop all the way across the room. I hear Violet, obviously shuffling to keep up, whispering to Tia, “Stop laughing or you’ll make yourself throw up.”

She’s obviously been through this with her friend countless times. And her friend is obviously the most selfish bitch in the world to never consider what Violet goes through for her.

When I reach the door, Violet swings around in front of me, pulling it open and stepping outside ahead of me.

“Where are you parked?” I ask.

“Over there,” she says, pointing to the back of the parking lot, to the darkest part.

I strike out across the gravel, getting more and more irritated with the girl I’m carrying. I hear the crunch of Violet’s footsteps as she hurries along behind me.

“You really didn’t have to do this,” she says from behind me.

“I know.”

She falls silent for a few steps. “You can put her down. We can make it to the car just fine.”

“No. I’ve got her,” I reply. “Which car is yours?”

“The silver coupe.”

I scan the cars until I find it and head that way. When we reach it, I set Tia on her feet and lean her up against the driver’s side door. I turn to Violet and hold out my hand. “Keys.”

Wordlessly, she hands me the keys. I hit the remote button until I see the lock in the back door pop up. I open it and then turn to heft Tia up again and lay her in the backseat.

“Watch her head,” Violet says.

I resist the urge to bang her head on the inside of the door on purpose. It might make me feel better, but it would definitely not endear me to Violet. And I don’t need any more setbacks tonight.

“I will.”

I get Tia situated and shut the door. Gently. Then I turn to Violet.

“Where are you headed?”


“Do you two live together?”

“Oh, no. I mean, I’ll drop her off and then head home.”

“I’ll follow you. In case you need some help.”

“You don’t have to do that.”

“I don’t mind. I think you could use an extra hand.”

“It’s really not necessary. I can handle her.”

“I’m sure you’re very practiced at it. Nevertheless, I’ll follow you.”

“Jet, seriously, you—”

I hold Violet’s keys up in the air, far over her head where she has no hope of reaching them. “It’s that or I’m driving, which means I’ll have to hitchhike to get back here.”

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