The One Real Thing Page 69

“There’s a childish part of me that wants to flaunt our relationship all over town,” I admitted.

She laughed and threw her arm around my shoulders. “Oh, my God, we are so soul sisters.”

Cooper

Laughter drifted over from the crowd of women around his pool table and Cooper did his best to ignore it.

He wouldn’t give her what she wanted.

She wanted his attention.

When Dana had walked into the pub earlier that night overdressed in a short black dress, along with a bunch of her girlfriends, all overdressed, too, he knew he couldn’t make a scene. If he made a scene then it was like he was proving she bothered him.

As it was, all his regulars kept glaring over at her, struck by disbelief that she had the audacity to turn up there.

Cooper had spent the previous night in bed with Jessica, wiping away the annoyance of Dana showing up.

Now she was back to fuck with him and he wasn’t quite sure what was the best way to handle it.

“This is unbelievable,” Ollie said as he pulled a draft for a customer. Ollie had been working nights with him for a while, and like anyone who lived in Hartwell he knew the full story about Dana.

“Just ignore her,” Cooper said.

“You should throw her out.”

“I’m not giving her the satisfaction.”

“You got more cool than me, boss.” Ollie sighed.

Cooper grunted, finished making the cocktails for Dana and her crew, and passed them to Lily.

She was not happy. “Do I really have to serve her?”

“Yes. But you don’t have to do it with a smile.”

Mischief glinted in her eyes. “Sure thing, boss.”

He shook his head in amusement, his attention then immediately caught by the bar door as it opened.

Anticipation lifted his mood as Jessica walked in with Bailey at her side. Jess wore jeans that were molded to her long legs and a black sleeveless shirt that showed off a generous amount of her cleavage. It also wrapped over and tied at the side in a big bow—practically an extended invitation for him to pull the damn thing open.

He’d definitely be doing that later.

She walked straight to him, grinning at him the whole time, and he could feel the huge smile on his face in return.

“Hey,” she said, slipping onto the stool in front of him.

“Hey back.” His eyes dipped to her mouth. “Is that all I’m getting?”

“Hmm.” She considered him. “Have you been good today?”

That ache he felt for her got bigger. “Not really, Doc,” he murmured, leaning over the bar so only she could hear. “See, I’ve been having all sorts of dirty thoughts today.”

Jessica bit her lip to try to stem an excited smile. “About me, I hope.”

“Every. Fucking. One.”

“Dirty is good,” she murmured back and leaned in to meet him.

Her kiss was soft, sweet, just the tip of her tongue touching his before she pulled back.

“Tease,” he murmured, grinning.

He heard a throat being cleared. Loudly. And that was when Cooper remembered where the hell they were.

Shit. The doc had a way of making everything in the world disappear but her.

Bailey was the throat clearer. “Just thought I’d remind you that you have an audience.” She gave him a girlish finger wave.

“Bailey,” he said in acknowledgment.

She grinned at him. “How’s it going?”

“It’s been better,” Ollie said, sidling up to them from the other end of the bar. “We have company.” His eyes flicked to the pool area.

Cooper sighed, bracing himself for Bailey’s reaction. As soon as she saw Dana, she’d explain to Jess who she was. And Cooper wasn’t looking forward to that.

To his surprise both Bailey and Jessica looked shocked when they turned to view the pool area.

What the hell . . .

“Dana?” Bailey whipped her head around to glare at him, but Cooper was too busy studying Jessica, who had paled.

“Doc?” he said, an ugly suspicion creeping into his mind. “Please tell me you haven’t met Dana before.”

Bailey frowned. “Of course she has. Yesterday. When the bit—”

“Bailey.” Jessica hushed her.

Instead of hushing, Bailey glowered at her. “You didn’t tell him?”

“Tell me what?” he snapped.

“I didn’t want to stress him out,” Jessica hissed.

“Stress him out? He has a right to know she threatened you.”

“What?” His voice was louder this time, drawing attention, but Cooper couldn’t give a fuck. His blood was quickly turning hotter than sense could handle.

Jessica looked at him, reluctance in her gorgeous eyes. “She came to the inn yesterday to warn me to back off—she promised that she was going to do whatever it takes to get you back and that I was only going to get my heart broken in the end when she won.”

“Oh, and she also referred to herself as your wife,” Bailey huffed. “Present tense.”

What the fucking fuck!

The idea that Dana would try to take Jessica from him, after everything she’d already taken, ripped through him.

There was no way he was going to sit back and let her get away with that shit.

“Hey, guys.” Dahlia suddenly appeared beside Bailey, smiling broadly at them all.

Cooper barely even registered her. He couldn’t see anything past his anger.

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