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Sweet Reckoning (The Sweet Trilogy #3)(7)
Author: Wendy Higgins


“Come on,” I said. “I’m getting a room, and I’ll tell you everything.”

The girls and I got comfortable in the hotel room, and I told them the entire story of L.A.—everything from me staying at Kaidan’s place, to Kai and Kope going to Syria to save Zania, to the island—and then the attack in my apartment today. I left out the fact that Blake had a girlfriend who he’d soon be forced to marry per his father’s orders, because I didn’t think Ginger could take it.

They were speechless for a long while.

“It’s starting,” Marna finally said.

“Yep,” I whispered.

“Bring it, arseholes,” Ginger said.

In a rare moment of camaraderie I stuck out my fist and Ginger bumped it, causing Marna to say, “Aww!” Ginger rolled her eyes.

My phone rang, once again sending my heart into my throat. Would it always be like this now? Constant trepidation?

I let out a breath when I saw the screen. “It’s just Jay.”

Marna’s beautiful gray eyes got big when I answered. It was loud in the background.

“What are you up to tonight?” he asked.

“Nothing much.” I winked at Marna. “What’s up?”

“I dunno. I kinda don’t want to go home after work and be alone. I thought maybe if you were at a party or something, I’d hit it up and hang with you.”

I couldn’t remember the last time Jay wanted to hang with me. I mean, naturally a guy should want to hang with his girlfriend, and I always understood that, but it felt kind of nice. I’d missed him.

“Where are you?” I asked.

“I’m deejaying in Atlanta, but I’m done in half an hour.”

I grinned. Marna grinned. Ginger rolled her eyes again.

“What if some friends and I come to you instead?”

“For real? That’s cool. This club is eighteen and up.”

He gave us the name of the place, which was only fifteen minutes from the hotel.

I felt bad on the walk over. Jay and Veronica hadn’t been broken up a whole day, and I was bringing his dream girl straight to him. Veronica would be offended and hurt, even though the breakup had been mutual. I had no idea if Jay would still be appealing to Marna now that he was single. Maybe I was worrying about nothing.

Jay looked super cute from across the club in his backward hat and freshly shaven face. The DJ booth was raised up at the edge of the dance floor, and Jay held headphones to one ear with his shoulder while he changed CDs and adjusted dials. From the corner of my eye I saw Marna staring. Hard.

A group of guys in tight shirts flanked us when we walked in.

“Piss off,” Ginger said.

Apparently American guys were just as magnetized by an English accent as we American girls were, because they went a little goofy.

“You’re British?” one of the guys asked, starry-eyed.

Judging by the look of annoyance on Ginger’s face, she didn’t think it was cute. She grabbed Marna’s hand, who in turn grabbed mine, and we moved past them. I shot an apologetic look over my shoulder, because, well, I understood.

As Ginger wove us through the crowd and onto the dance floor, my mouth watered at the sight of people’s drinks held high. After the week I’d had, my system was begging for alcohol, but as the daughter of the Duke of Substance Abuse, one drink would only fuel my longing for a whole lot more.

I focused on the DJ booth instead.

Ahead of me I heard Ginger ask Marna, “Are you sure about this?”

Marna’s head nod was small, but certain.

The girls stopped just as a dark, sensual song with a thumping bass came on. It was the kind of song that made you want to move your body, but all I could do was stand there and gawk with everyone else as the twins broke into a smokin’ hot dance.

Red auras popped up in fizzing bursts all around them as they moved against each other in perfect sync. I glanced up at the DJ booth and found Jay’s aura blowing up like a firecracker, orange, yellow, and red. He tore his eyes away from the girls and found me, which seemed to settle his aura a little. And then a strand of grayish guilt crept in.

He gave me a wide-eyed look that seemed to ask, What are you thinking?

I gave him a small smile and shrug. The twins were only here for a night. It wasn’t like Jay and Marna were going to fall in love or do anything crazy in a matter of hours.

When the song ended and the twins were applauded, we left the dance floor and found a table.

“I’m getting a drink,” Ginger said. She gave us pointed looks, I suppose as her way of asking if we wanted anything.

“One for me, as well,” Marna said.

Yes. “No, thanks,” I told her.

As Ginger left, Marna lifted the hair off her neck and fanned herself. “Jay’s looking fit.”

The way she gazed at him was sweet. “He’s single. In case you’re wondering.”

She dropped her hair, and her big, rounded eyes sparkled. “Are you being serious?”

“Yes. But Marna . . . it just happened today.”

Her face fell. “Oh.” Brokenhearted boys on the rebound were not a good idea, but they held a certain appeal.

Ginger came back with two identical red mixed drinks and set one in front of her sister. They made a silent toast and both drank. I allowed myself a few seconds of envy before looking away.

Fifteen minutes later Jay was handing over the reigns to another guy and joining us. Marna didn’t try to hold back her beautiful smile. She stood, bouncing on her toes, and ran to hug him.

“Way to play hard to get,” Ginger mumbled.

Jay held her with his eyes closed. He was a good bit taller than her now. They pulled back enough to look at each other, and my heart gave a squeeze at the way they gazed with open adoration.

“This kid is not good for her,” Ginger said under her breath.

I didn’t respond. What Ginger meant was that Jay was good for Marna, but in our world, good was bad. Marna couldn’t afford to fall in love when she was expected to work as an adulteress. Kaidan and I posed a huge danger to each other, but we’d chosen to be together anyway. Jay knew nothing about angels, demons, or Nephilim. Starting something with him would only end up in heartache for Marna and him both.

I should have probably thought this through better.

“What are y’all doing here?” Jay asked. He looked down at Marna’s uniform. “Layover?”

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