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King: Las Vegas Bad Boys

By:Frankie Love

honest with Emmy ... like, at all. Not even a little. But she counts me as one of her closest friends—heck, I’m a bridesmaid in her wedding—and eventually I will open up and tell her and Tess my not-so-little secret.

I’m a private person. And, as a rule, I don’t mix work with my personal life. I didn’t expect to take this job and meet these girls who see me as a sister.

So, I will tell them ... it just hasn’t been the right time yet.

The last few months have been the Ace-and-Emmy whirlwind, and then they planned this wedding in like ten days. And the truth is, I do think they are a teeny bit insane.

Like, maybe take the next year and be engaged and actually get to know one another. Like, maybe don’t rush down the aisle before you live together for a month and learn about the terrible habits your partner has. Like, maybe spend a year figuring out if this guy is actually the person you want to make babies with.

You know—all the things I should have done before I got pregnant.

This afternoon while we were at the spa getting our entire bodies waxed and shined and sprayed for the wedding, I kept checking my phone, and it was driving Tess and Emmy nuts.

They kept asking who I was texting. And I should have just said it right then and there. But I didn’t, because it felt weird to tell them after spending three months in their company when I hadn’t dropped any hints.

Now it would just be awkward.

So I made excuses.

“My mom doesn’t now how to figure out her refinance loan and she keeps texting, asking what APR means.”

Which was true. I was been texting my mom, but not about a refinance. And sure, she is refinancing and doesn’t know what an APR is, but that wasn’t why she was texting right then. She was texting because Sophia was sick, and she wanted to know if I knew where the children’s Tylenol was.

They know I live with my mom in her condo, and that I’ve lived in Vegas my whole life. What they don’t know is who else lives with us.

Emmy sits with me, after her and Ace’s first dance. I slide my phone into my clutch and then squeeze her hand.

“It’s all been so perfect, Emmy.”

“Thanks, Claire. I don’t understand how there hasn’t been one single catastrophe today. It’s all been seamless.”

I can’t help but think when they’re able to throw thousands of dollars at everything they do, things do seem to happen without a hitch.

“I can’t believe you’re going to Tahiti,” I say, picking up my flute of champagne. I catch Landon looking at me from across the table and I turn back to Emmy without pausing on him. Or his chocolatey eyes, or his chiseled jawline.

Ace’s friends are not my type ... I need regular. I want a guy who spends his weekends fly fishing or working in the garage on a car. Not these bad boys.

I’ve had enough bad boys in my life. Well, I’ve had enough of one particular bad boy, and I will never fall for another one as long as I live.

“I can’t believe you’re not dancing, Claire,” Emmy says. “You’ve been so wound up lately.”

“What do you mean?” I ask. “I’m chill. I’m smiling.” I flash her a tight grin that’s not at all sincere. “Sorry, things have been stressful. You know that. And my mom is trying to refinance her condo, and she keeps asking me how to make the Internet work. Like, those are the actual words she used.”

Emmy smiles, and I do, too. My mom’s last text was actually a relief. Sophia’s fever was gone, and after fighting it all day she was asleep for the night.

“Excuse me,” Landon says, standing next to me. I didn’t even notice him get up from the table. “Would you care to dance?”

Okay, I know I’ve said Ace’s friends aren’t my type—and they aren’t. But Landon’s English accent is actually pretty hot. As in very hot. Like, the hottest.

“Oh,” I say, caught off guard. “Yeah, sure.” I raise my eyebrows, setting down the champagne.

He takes my hand, leading me to the dance floor, and I tell my shoulders to relax. Yes, that is something I actually have to command. Because Emmy is absolutely right.

I have been wound up lately.

Or, more like, I’ve been wound up for five years straight.

I’m a twenty-four year old single mom in Las Vegas—a cocktail waitress trying to make life as stable as possible for my five-year-old daughter. Which isn’t easy when I’m doing it all on my own.

And there isn’t a man in sight who’s up for the task of helping me balance it all.

Chapter Two

Landon

Claire may be no-nonsense—but she’s also rather hot. Her platinum-blonde hair and always-on bright red lipstick make her an absolute bombshell.

So why have I never attempted to shag her before? Mostly because Ace told me if I so much as tried, he would murder me. And considering he grew up in the mob, I tend to believe him.

And, secondly, Claire isn’t my typical conquest. She’s ... well, how do I put it? She’s quite adult. I’ve been out with her and the crew numerous times, but she’s never gotten drunk, never let any bloke get too close—certainly never gone home with anyone. She always pays her own tab and doesn’t chat about trivial things, like the celebrity sightings in the casino that get Tess and Emmy all bubbly.

She is, like I’ve said, much more mature for her age than I’ve ever been—than I am. Fuck. I’m twenty-seven, and a completely worthless asshole compared to her. And yet, as I lead Claire to the dance floor, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to sleep with her.

She isn’t a stick-up-her-ass adult, mind you. She’s clever. And funny. And gorgeous. She’s just not frivolous. Which is actually quite an appealing combination.

She just seems a bit out of the league I usually play in.

Which isn’t to say I can’t have her. Ace is going to be off with Emmy, headed to a honeymoon in the South Pacific. He doesn’t bloody well need to know about Claire and me having a little post-wedding rendezvous.

“So, Claire, how are you this evening?” I ask, wrapping an arm around her waist.

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