Razed (Barnes Brothers #2)(8)

Written By: Shiloh Walker


You weren’t. She’d just reacted.

Anais had caught her at a weak moment—she’d had another brain-destroying, bone-melting dream about Zane and she’d been lying in the bed, half dying from the need burning inside her. It had been ten in the morning and, like she had a sixth sense, Anais had called. Dangled this blind date in front of her. He’s great, Keelie, I promise . . . he’s sexy. He’s got a steady job and he’s not a dweeb. Come on. Friday night. Say yes.

Keelie hadn’t thought.

She’d just replied.

She’d just said yes.

She’d said yes, and judging by the lead weight in her gut, the entire thing was going to be a disaster. It was too late to call it off now, though. She’d feel like a heel if she up and told Anais to call the guy and bail ninety minutes before she was supposed to meet him.

Brushing her hair back, she gave herself a thorough study and decided she looked fine. She wasn’t out to knock anybody dead, but she looked good. She’d come dressed for the date, and it was a damn good thing; her last appointment had gone way over.

The girl had shown up thirty minutes late and then proceeded to change her mind four different times . . . I can’t do this tattoo, no, I will, no, I won’t . . . I can’t put it there!

The entire process should have taken maybe an hour and Keelie should have been done by four, out of there in plenty of time. She might have even worked up the nerve to call Anais and bail if she wasn’t looking at her. But right here? In front of her?

She couldn’t do it.

Anais was adamant that this guy was just amazing and he was just about perfect for Keelie. Keelie’s thoughts on that were yeah, right. Then her brain had zoomed in on one man in particular—tall, lean, a serious face, and eyes that you could never really read.

Except she’d read them . . . once.

Her mouth went dry even thinking about that one time.

That one time she didn’t let herself think about.

She and Zane. That was insane; and in no way was he perfect for her.

Besides, the last time she’d thought a guy was perfect for her, look how wrong she’d been. She’d thought Zach was perfect for her and he wasn’t. Now there was a wedge between them and it was all her fault. For all she knew, he probably thought she still had something going for him. Would it make it better if she said something to him along the lines of kissing you was kind of like kissing my pillow?

Possibly. But it would also . . . well. She had a feeling it might also sound insulting.

She didn’t know. She was really good at insulting people without meaning to. Normally she didn’t let it bother her. But when people mattered? It kind of sucked.

“Keelie? Are you even listening?”

She met Anais’s wide blue eyes in the mirror and smiled easily. “Nope.”

Dating advice. From Anais. Not happening.

“Look, you need some help,” Anais said.

Help? Oh, honey you have no idea. But the kind of help Keelie needed didn’t come in the form of dating advice.

Cutting her friend a dark look, Keelie pushed her platinum-blonde hair back from her face. It was streaked with chunks of black and her roots were starting to show. She needed to do a touch-up. Sometimes she thought about going back to her normal color, but then reality realigned.

Noooo. She didn’t want to go back to that girl she’d been.

Not even in the most superficial of ways.

Maybe instead of the white and black, she’d try something different. Red. Vibrant murder red and maybe a streak or two of blue.

“Would you pay attention?”

Rolling her eyes, Keelie folded her arms over her chest and met Anais’s gaze. “Sure. Just what kind of help do you think I need?”

“When was the last time you went out with anybody? For that matter, when was the last time you kissed anybody?”

Keelie rolled her eyes and busied herself with digging around in her purse. “I haven’t gone out on a date in a year, Ani.” She wasn’t going to touch on the question of kissing. Her knees went a little weak thinking about it. “That doesn’t mean I need dating advice. I don’t think it’s changed that much. And for the record, the last moron I went out with? That fell more under the definition of hot mess than anything else.”

Anais arched her eyebrows. “Ohhhhh? And what happened?”

Keelie jerked a shoulder in a shrug. “Old history. But trust me, it falls in line with my luck as far as guys go. Part of the reason I don’t have a lot of interest in dating.”

“Guy was a dick,” Javi said. “Thought he could get free ink and when Keelie didn’t jump on that idea, he up and went to the bathroom—or that’s what he claimed. Then he just ditched her there. She saw him slipping out the front door.”

“You’re shitting me.” Anais looked at him, then at Keelie.

Keelie shrugged. “This is how my luck runs. Either I think I like the wrong guy, or I go out with somebody who seems like a decent guy and he’s a jerk.”

“Having a couple of bad dates doesn’t mean you should just give up.” Anais hopped up on the counter and grinned at Keelie. “So when was the last time a guy knocked you off your feet? I mean . . . really . . . knocked you off your feet?”

Three months ago. The answer was instantaneous. But she kept it to herself.

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