Beneath These Lies (Beneath #5)(2)

by Meghan March

But tonight had been different. My vision was hazy, and my legs had been less than steady the last time I’d made the trek to the bathroom with Yve and Elle and another one of their friends. Girl posse, Elle called it. I’d never had one of those before, but I liked it.

“Glad you’re having fun, Val,” Elle said, bringing over one of the newest round of concoctions.

“We can be a girl posse, but only if you don’t call me Val,” I said, accepting the shot.

“Fair enough.” She raised her shot glass and we clinked before downing them. When we both slammed them on the table, she added, “I’m also glad you’re losing that whole prim-and-proper thing you had going on. We need to find you a man to help you lose it the rest of the way.”

Yve joined us. “What’s this about finding Valentina a man?”

“She needs a big bad alpha of her own so she can find out just how good it is on the other side.”

I scrunched my forehead and considered. “I’m not sure I can handle a big bad alpha. Maybe a beta. Someone nice who likes wine tasting and Masterpiece Theatre.”

I always figured if I was going to start dating for real, that was the kind of guy I’d go for. Someone safe. Nonthreatening.

Both Yve and Elle screwed up their faces in disgust.

“Van, get your ass over here. We need you!” Elle called.

We do?

Vanessa, a gorgeous blonde, came over and snagged another shot off the table.

“I should probably stop after this one.” She tipped it back. “But Con likes it when I get a little tipsy. The man lets me climb all over him like a jungle gym. And that’s just the beginning.”

Hearing those words from the woman wearing YSL and Judith Leiber was a little more than shocking.

Elle took in my surprise. “See, alpha all the way. Tell her, Van.”

Vanessa sat and patted the seat beside her for Yve. Yve slid onto the chair. “I’m just gonna say it. The woman’s lib movement can skewer me if they want, but there is something so fucking hot about a guy who isn’t afraid to just toss you over his shoulder and carry you away.”

Both Yve and Elle nodded in agreement.

“Damn, that does sound kind of hot.” I couldn’t believe I was agreeing too. It was the shots talking, not me.

Elle piped up again. “Because it is. Alpha all the way.”

“So where does one find this species of man?” I asked. “Not that I’d even know how to handle one.”

Vanessa waved a hand. “You find one, we’ll teach you all the tricks.”

When large forms blocked the neon lights from the bar, I blinked and looked up, fighting the urge to shrink back in my seat. I was stronger now. It had been over ten years. I was fine. I was with friends. And that was the reason I’d let go tonight. It was truly time to let go. Yve had, and that inspiration was what I had needed to start shedding the past.

It was over. He was dead, and I was not. It was long past time to start living again.

“Sweet thing, you don’t need another shot. Hell, I don’t think any of you needs another shot.”

The man’s voice was deep, and it took me a minute to put it together that he was Elle’s boyfriend. Of course, the way she jumped up from the table and threw herself at him and then climbed the man like a spider monkey was what really gave it away. I could see the alpha thing stamped all over him from the way he lifted her up and grabbed her ass.

“You’re not supposed to be here,” Yve said, her happily slurring words directed at Lucas Titan.

“And yet I am. Your ride awaits.”

I wondered if Yve would say she wasn’t ready. I blinked again and the number of shot glasses shrank by half, and then doubled immediately on my next blink. Yep, it’s time for me to go.

Yve rose and held out a hand. “Then take me home.” Her gazed flicked to me. “After we take Valentina home.”

Lucas glanced at me and nodded. “We’d be happy to.”

I rose from my seat on tottering heels, once again marveling at the fact I’d drunk so much, and that I’d felt completely at ease doing it. Girl posses were awesome.

I reached out with my left hand to steady myself by grabbing the back of the chair I’d vacated, but I misjudged the distance. My balance faltered, and my right hand flew out and smacked into a hard body. An arm slipped around my waist, steadying me. If it hadn’t been for the buzz, and the relief I wasn’t falling on my butt, I would have jerked away.

“Easy there.” His voice was equally deep as Elle’s boyfriend’s, but completely familiar.

Shock fighting with my buzz, I turned my head to stare at Detective Hennessy. Or rather, two Detective Hennessys.

“Had a few?” he asked.

“Maybe,” I said. “You gonna arrest me for it?”

Where the words came from, I didn’t know. I just knew being around Detective Hennessy brought back memories I’d decided to shake off completely, starting tonight.

“You done something you need to be arrested for?”

I shook my head, determined to keep the memories at bay. “No. But I do need to go home.”

I watched as Lord led Elle out of the bar, and his brother, Con, swept Vanessa up in his arms. The gorgeous blonde was beyond walking in a straight line at this point. From the big tattooed Viking of a man’s husky laugh, he didn’t seem to mind. Another alpha.

I want that. Pea green was a horrible color on me, but that knowledge didn’t stop the envy from taking up residence in my chest.

“Ready, Valentina?” Lucas Titan asked, his eyes moving from Hennessy to me.

“I can give her a lift. She’s on my way home. It’s no trouble,” Hennessy replied.

“That okay with you, girl? If not, we’ll take you,” Yve added.

Say what now? My head was swimming with the constant swinging back and forth to follow the conversation. I just wanted my bed. And to make it there without getting sick. With the good detective, at least I’d be safe. He’d helped put the monster in the cage, and for that, I trusted him more than I trusted most people.

“It’s fine. I’m good. I’m ready to go,” I said, taking a step and almost losing my balance again.

Note to self: I need to wear flats the next time I go out with these girls.

Hennessy steadied me, and I waved to Yve as we walked toward the door. She blew me kisses and then Lucas grabbed her ass.