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Authors: Harper Sloan

Tags: #Corps Security Boxset, #Contemporary, #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary Fiction

Corps Security: The Series (4 page)

BOOK: Corps Security: The Series
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Picking up the salad from the fast food joint up the street, I plop down with a smile.
Made me some grub, my ass. More like drove two seconds away and paid someone else to do it.
Leave it to Dee. Busy as always on a Friday before a long weekend but still making sure I eat and take care of myself. Times like this remind me of how lucky I am to have her in my life; I really don’t know what I would do without her. She has saved me from myself more often than I can count. Knowing she will be home in an hour is just more proof of that. She knows I need her this weekend, so she is closing up shop half a day early.

I finish up lunch and then tidy up the kitchen. I return to my room to collect some laundry and get some housework done before Dee gets home, anything to try to keep my mind free of bad memories.

I know she means well, but I would much rather stay home and just be alone.

I understand why she wants to keep me busy, I really do, but I just don’t think I will be able to do it. Another year of going through the ‘normal’ motions. Another year missing him, missing them, missing everything.

A quick peek at the clock has me picking up my speed. Little Miss Happiness should be floating in soon; I at least need to be ready before the rainbows and glitter start fucking with me.

I’m deep in my closet, trying unsuccessfully to find something to wear today when I hear her . . . singing. Laughing to myself, I let a smile crack my face. Dee can’t hold a tune to save her life, but that will never stop her.

She comes bouncing in my room, smiling from ear to ear, “Hey, you sexy bitch. I see you decided to rock the birthday suit today. Nice choice, although we might have some issues getting into the mall like that. I think there might be laws against this. But hey, more power to you!” She smacks my ass on the way over to park it on my bed.

“What the hell, Dee! Door. Closed. Knock!” I try to scowl at her the way Greg always does to us but end up laughing right along with her giggles.

She flops her flat stomach down onto my bed. “So, my sexy ‘older’ friend, what will be worn on your naked self today? I assume that is what you are doing digging around in that closet of yours.”

“I don’t know, Dee,” I don’t have to fake the scowl this time. “Do we have to do this today? Can’t we just stay in today? I really don’t think I am going to make good company at all.” I’m pleading with her, and I am willing to bet I sound as desperate as I feel. I know I won’t be pleasant to be around today. I planned on a repeat of last night. Shitfaced, falling down, rip-roaring drunk. Healthy? No, but it works. Why should I mess with a good thing?

“Iz, get your skinny ass ready now. We’re going to drive down to the mall, get a new hot-as-fuck outfit for both of us, go see Sway at the salon, and have some serious pampering before Greg comes over to take us to dinner tonight. You aren’t going to sit at home alone. I know that’s your plan. Not again, Iz. Not this year.”

Her eyebrows are puckering and she looks like she will drag me out of here naked if I don’t agree. Jesus. There really is no sense in arguing with her when she gets this worked up. I’ll just come up with some excuse later and ditch her and Greg for a night at home with Jack.

Now, that’s a plan with some promise.

CHAPTER 2

We’ve been shopping for hours. Or at least it feels like hours to a person who does not enjoy shopping. Dee started dragging me around the second we walked through the doors. She is a woman on a mission.

We were in our second store—second store after the three different lingerie stores. I had more freaking panties than I would need in a lifetime. Apparently, step one of Dee’s master plan was making sure I had new everything. I put my foot down the second I noticed her intent. No freaking way.

After a small fight, she finally agreed—one outfit, one complete outfit, and that’s all.

And that brings us to now.

I have tried on what feels like the whole entire dress department. There is always something she finds wrong with each one. Finally, she thrust a bright candy-apple red scarf at me. I say scarf because there is no way there is enough material to call this a dress.

“Uh, Dee . . . where is the rest of it?” I question.

“That’s it, Iz. I just know it. That is the dress!” She’s bouncing—literally bouncing—up and down in place. Her curly hair is jumping right along with her. If I weren’t so annoyed, I would think she is pretty damn cute right now.

“There is no way I am wearing that, Dee. Is there even a back on that thing? And . . . and my vagina is seriously going to be playing peekaboo all night. There is no way, no way at all.”

I’m practically panting with anxiety. I’ve spent the last two years hiding my body. I lost all the weight I gained during my marriage, but I still see the fat girl I once was when I look in the mirror. Dee is constantly on my ass to stop wearing my ‘ratty-ass jeans and man shirts,’ which is what she affectionately calls my lack of style. I like my style. Jeans and tees—it’s easy and perfect.

Shit.

Sighing, I look down at the scrap of beautiful red material, thinking to myself,
it’s just one night. One night of wearing a scarf to keep that smile on Dee’s face.
After everything she has done, parading around with my vagina smiling at the world is a small price to pay.

“All right, you pushy little shit. I’ll see what it looks like on, but don’t blame me if it doesn’t work,” I tell her with fake exasperation.

Turning from her smiling face, I step into the dressing room and remove my street clothes once again. Once I pull the miniscule piece of fashion over my hips, I bring the tiny strings that will hold this ‘dress’ on my body over my arms and set them in place on my shoulders. Reaching behind me for the zipper, I meet bare skin.
Called
it,
I thought to myself. Placing my palm against my back, I confirm that there is, in fact, no back. I slowly turn around and face the mirror, sealing my fate. Unable to stop the small gasp that escapes my lips, I look myself up and down.

Is that me?

The dress fits perfectly, but then again, with Dee, I knew it would. The front of the dress fits snug across my chest, making my average-sized chest look a cup larger than my small C’s. The straight neckline starts just under my collarbone, essentially covering everything. The small straps going over my shoulders make my frame look sleek and petite.

Not too bad.

Taking a deep breath, I turn around to check out the damage. Another small gasp escapes before I bite my lip and take in everything the back lacks. I can see the straps holding the dress up, hugging my shoulders as if they fear at any second they could snap. I follow the exposed line of my spine all the way down to the two dimples above my ass and the small piece of red fabric hugging my cheeks—barely.

How am I supposed to wear underwear with this dress?

Dee chooses this moment to start tapping on the dressing room door impatiently.

“Izzzzzy,” she sings. “Izzy, I know what you’re doing in there. Stop freaking your freak and let me see!”

I crack the door, giving her another one of Greg’s mean looks. “I’m going to kill you for this.”

She laughs as she pushes herself into the dressing room with me, taking me in from top to bottom and then back up again. The smile that comes over her face creeps me the hell out. I don’t think I have ever seen
that
look before. She looks so . . .
Shit
. . . she is practically oozing joy.

“I knew it! I just knew it. Izzy, you have been hiding this banging body for way too long. No more. Maybe we should keep shopping.” She looks down at her watch. “There’s still time. I could have you outfitted in a few hours. The works—dresses, skirts, slacks, blouses . . .” She trails off; I don’t even think she is speaking to me anymore. I am almost a hundred percent sure her eyes have just glossed over.

“Denise Anne Roberts, you calm yourself down right the hell now. I told you one outfit. ONE! I did not say we would spend the rest of eternity buying the whole damn mall. One, Dee. One dress. I already caved on the lingerie.” I whisper sharply at her.

She gives me a hurt look before that creepy little grin comes back.

“Okay, okay . . . Damn, Iz. No more clothes for now. But one day you will let me do a complete makeover. We still need shoes, so let’s go, birthday girl. Get naked and let me have that awesome dress while you put those ratty-ass jeans and ugly ass man shirt back on.”

She’s bouncing again, and damn it, even though I smile, I’m slightly worried about what I just got myself into.

Two hours later, we finally reach the salon and our favorite stylist in the world, Sway. Sway is a short, fat African-American man with long platinum-blond hair. When he isn’t rocking his trademark heels, I can almost look him in the eye. Sway, whose real name is Dilbert Harrison III, is the funniest man I have ever met. How often in small-town Georgia does a small black man come up to you with four-inch heels, skinny jeans, and a tight-fitting shirt on, kiss both cheeks, and pronounce you looking “marvelous, darling”? Not very often, I promise you that.

Sway has been itching to get his hands on my thick, long mahogany hair. He was shocked the first time he styled it and I told him I didn’t touch color products. I have always been blessed with perfect hair. It’s dark brown with so many different shades of auburn that when the sun hits it you can almost see it set fire.

Exhausted from my shopping mission with Dee, I sit down and tell him to go for it, whatever he wants.

“Sweet baby Jesus in a manger . . . Sweet child, oh Lord have mercy, please tell Sway that I am not hearing things?” He turns his excited eyes on me with a look of elation, pure elation.

“Go for it, Sway. Just please don’t make me regret this.” Smiling at him through the mirror, I let myself drift off.

The first time I met Sway was when Dee and I arrived in town two years before. He was our second stop after unloading all of her stuff and my few boxes at our new house. Dee had explained to me on the drive that this was our new CHAPTER in life. A chance to start from scratch and become new people. I knew what she was giving up to run with me. She had a very successful insurance company in Bakersville, North Carolina. Luckily, she was your typical trust fund baby, so it wasn’t hard for her to up and leave. She’d left her second-in-command in charge with plans on expanding wherever we landed. We’d taken everything we owned and drove south. The one and only saving grace I’d had was an account Dee had helped me set up with the money my grandfather had left me when he passed away five years ago.

Her money had bought us the house, but mine insured I had time to heal before I needed to make any plans.

The one plan I did make immediately was to get rid of the Stepford wife look Brandon had pressed upon me. Sway tried but it took time, and finally my hair was long and lush again, falling almost to my ass in thick waves. I don’t look a lot like that scared housewife anymore, thank Christ for that.

Sway is muttering off and on about the newest purses he just picked up at the Coach store, the earrings he planned on matching with each new purse, and which heels he would wear with what. I swear that this man was done a great injustice when he came out with a dick.

“Oh, honey, did I tell you about the new man who just bought up the space next door? Oh sweet love of all the gods above, he is huge, darling. Just huge. I bet he is huge everywhere, if you know what I mean?” He looks down at me with such seriousness that it takes me a minute to follow the flow from purses to man candy.

“What? Oh, right . . . Good-looking, huh?” I respond, hoping that I am following.

“Girl, you have no idea. What Sway wouldn’t do to catch the eye of that walking wet dream. He was at least seven feet tall—at least! Huge—I am talking muscles on his muscles. I do
not
know how his shirt stayed together. It was stretched so tight against that sexy chest and those fine arms. Makes me want to just fall at his feet and pray he swings my way. But I tell you this, there is no way a man as man as him swings for the rainbow. No way. Shame for Sway, but girlfriend, as beautiful as you are, this is good news. Best news. We should set something up. You would love him. Thick black hair. Now, I would love to get my hands on that thick mop of lusciousness . . . yes I would.” Did I mention that Sway could exaggerate slightly when he got excited?

I’m starting to get a little concerned about the orgasm Sway seems to be having about this man while he is holding scissors to my head. This could be bad.

I smile hesitantly up at Sway and his dreamy eyes. “Sway, babe? You know I love you, but I have no interest in you fixing me up. None. So get it out of your head right now.”

“Oh girl, one of these days you will meet a man and he is going to knock you right on your ass! Mark my words, girlfriend. Knock you straight on that perfect little ass!” he replies with a naughty grin.

“Doubtful, Sway. I am done with the male gender. I might even take a page out of your book and start batting for my own team.” I laugh and sit back, allowing myself to relax now that the scissor-wielding man has calmed down.

Dee and I finish up with Sway and his minions of beauty right around five with just enough time to rush home and get dressed before Greg comes to take us to dinner.

Pulling up to the house, I notice a package on the step. Calling out to Dee, I step out of the car and grab a few bags, stopping to pick up the package and unlock the door. Dropping the bags in my hand, I quickly disarm the security system and make my way into the kitchen. Dee comes in right when I drop the package on the island and turn for a knife.

“What’s that?” she asks.

“Not sure. No return address. Probably something from a client for my birthday,” I reply, distracted by my mission to cut away the tape.

Dee goes about her own business, walking down the hall to her room, surely to start her getting ready process.

Cutting the rest of the packaging tape away, I peel open the flaps and start moving around the packaging popcorn.

I move a folded piece of paper out of the way, placing it on the counter, and remove what appears to be a frame. Carefully turning it over, I gasp and drop the picture to the ground, shattering the glass all around my feet.

BOOK: Corps Security: The Series
3.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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