Bad Boys of Summer

Read the Excerpt

“Is there something wrong with me? Do I have a sign on my behind that says Lie To Me?” Trish asked in exasperation. She pushed the ashtray in front of her to the side and marveled at how morose she was being. This kind of thing didn’t usually bother her. Life went on, with or without men, and thankfully, she’d never actually been emotionally hurt before, just annoyed. But lately she was getting lonely and while good for many things, a computer couldn’t carry a conversation or sexually satisfy her. Okay, if you wanted to get technical it probably could do both in a roundabout sort of way, but it just wasn’t the same. She wanted to hear someone breathing next to her when she had a… conversation, and she didn’t think that was too much to ask, damn it. “You just intimidate men, that’s all.” Joe turned to deliver the drinks to customers, leaving Trish to ponder that. Intimidation was all about power, something she appreciated. Intimidation was good in the courtroom, but not the bedroom. She’d never thought her sex life- if she could remember that far back- was lacking in anything. But put in those terms, she wondered if she had ever really had a relationship with a man where they weren’t both scrambling for control. On nights like tonight, when Trish was alone, and her friends were all cuddled up with their men, she couldn’t help but feel a little tinge of something. God, she was actually jealous. How small. Joe bustled back and offered her a glass of wine but she shook her head. “Just a water, please.” She didn’t want an innocent glass of wine. Nor was she certain she could stop at one or two drinks of the hard stuff, not when her defenses were feeling as weak as they were tonight. And getting drunk alone was the adult equivalent of being the last kid picked for the dodge ball team in grade school. Sad. Better to stick to water. “Shake it off, babe, you know you’re hot stuff.” The drinks were so-so at Ryan’s Pub but it was nice to see a familiar face, nice to hear Jake’s staunch support. Trish had been wandering in this pub off and on for five years, and hung out with her girlfriends there twice a month after their bowling night. “You know what, Joe? I don’t feel like shaking it off. I want to feel sorry for myself tonight.” Maybe she wasn’t justified. After all, she had a budding career as county prosecutor of domestic violence, a great apartment, and good hair. But men didn’t seem to appreciate any of those things. She didn’t think she was asking too much. It wasn’t like she expected comfortable pantyhose to be invented. She just wanted a nice guy, loyal, honest, friendly. She supposed she could get a dog. But Kindra and Mack’s yappy poodle annoyed the hell out of her. A lizard was more her style. “If you’re going to feel sorry for yourself, slide on down the bar and join my buddy Caleb there. He’s having a hell of a pity party tonight.” Without much interest, she glanced over. A guy was propping his head up with a massive muscular arm, and trying to sip his beer without lifting his head. Moisture from the bottle dribbled onto the bar and his arm, and he made a halfhearted swipe at it. A quick count showed six empty bottles in front of him. Now there was a winner. Hold her back. “Do you know him?” she asked Joe, hoping she didn’t look that pathetic. This guy looked like he’d set down some serious roots in Loserville. “Yeah, I’ve known him for more than fifteen years. We played ball in high school together and he’s a good friend.” Joe leaned on the counter, moving closer to her, and kept his voice low. “He never drinks.” The six bottles hadn’t emptied themselves. “Could of fooled me.” “I’m serious. But tomorrow his ex-wife is getting married. He’s celebrating by getting shit-faced.” Trish forgot to clench her toes, and her shoe fell to the floor. “That does not look like a man who is celebrating.” Joe stood back up. “I know. Looks like he’s feeling sorry for himself to me. But that’s what he said- that he’s celebrating.” This was not a man who was about a blow a party horn and throw some ticker tape. If he called this celebrating she’d hate to see sulking. “Did you know his wife? Was she a bitch or something?” Trish would lay down five bucks she was. The ex was probably a busty blonde who had henpecked her mild-mannered husband while weeding the flowerbed in her bikini. And clearly this guy was still passionately in love with her, devastated by the divorce. Sitting in a bar plotting the new fiancé’s murder. Or worse, planning to dash into the wedding ceremony in one of those cringe-inspiring moments and yell, “Bambi, no one loves you like I do! Don’t marry him!” It was definitely a court case waiting to happen. Public intoxication, disturbing the peace, stalking, assault and battery, one of those was probably in his future. Trish’s whole career revolved around that kind of idiotic behavior. Joe paused and scratched his light brown goatee. “No, she wasn’t a bitch at all. She was one of those people who’s always smiling, always something nice to say, always dressed like she was on her way to church.” Well, that didn’t fit Trish’s image of his wife at all. No wonder he’d gotten divorced- he’d been married to the wrong woman. “He said he has a plan,” Joe said. Here it was. Poisoning the fiancé, slashing the tires on the limo, kidnapping the bride. Trish leaned closer to Joe. “What is it?” If he was planning something illegal it was her duty to warn him of the ramifications. “He said he’s not leaving until he finds a woman to sleep with. Tonight.”