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Need You for Mine(5)

By:Marina Adair

“Adam?” a sultry voice teased again. From the other room. “Where are you?”

Harper cleared her throat and took a step back. A big step back. “He’s out here, Baby.”

Four things hit Adam simultaneously. First, he’d come here tonight with the stacked blonde he’d met at the bar for a private lingerie show and a fun game of spin the spinner. Second, he’d almost had sex with a girl named Baby. Third, he’d just made out with the weird art teacher. And fourth, he’d liked it.

Hell, based on the tent in his pants and the way he was gasping for breath, he’d more than liked it. His lips still tasted like some kind of fruity umbrella drink, and he wanted another sip.

Which brought him to the biggest revelation of the night: Harper Owens was a closeted hottie. And if she’d disliked him before, which he could only assume since she’d never looked twice at him until tonight, then she’d hate him now.

Her hair was magically back up in its messy twist, her dress was zipped to the neck, and she was shooting glares frosty enough to cryogenically freeze his nuts for decades to come.

“Oh, hey, Harper,” Baby said, stopping at the entry to the dressing room. She was in stripper heels, fishnets, and three leather straps that strategically crisscrossed her body. Her hair was ratted, her lips ruby red, and she should have had him revving to go. Only Adam was too busy watching Harper. “What are you doing here?”

“I was about to ask you the same thing,” Harper said.


Clovis Owens rested all her weight against the Fanny Wrappers display and patted her brow with the chartreuse cheeky boy-shorts she was folding. “Oh dear, that’s not good. Not good at all.”

“I know,” Harper said, handing her grandma her cane, wondering just how betrayed the older woman felt. Clovis was the kind of person who gave her trust so freely, who wanted to see the good in everyone, and Harper hated to think of her being hurt by Baby’s actions. “But she didn’t take anything, no one got hurt, so it all worked out.”

“I don’t care if she took anything,” Clovis said, her face going a little pale. She hobbled over to the counter, her cane clicking against the wood floor.

On cue, Jabba, the resident go-fetch king, came shuffling out from under the stool, a candy wrapper stuck to his muzzle. Shaped like an overstuffed sausage with kitten legs, Jabba was too short to sniff any higher than shin level, so he put a few wet doggie marks on Harper’s ankle, then plopped down next to his master, eyes zeroing in on her cane, willing it to fall and roll across the room.

Clovis flipped through her phone book, a big round rolodex that was older than dirt and could rival Vera Wang’s. “Do you think if I call her back, she’d give me a second chance?”

“Call her back?” Harper pulled up a stool and helped Clovis sit, then gave her a glass of water. She was more upset by the situation than Harper had guessed.

“The girl needs this job. I gave it to her as a favor,” Clovis said, wringing the life out of the boy-shorts. “What am I going to tell her mom?”

“That she picks up strangers at bars and brings them back to her place of work.” Clovis narrowed her gaze in warning. “Too soon? Okay, well she just graduated from college with a double degree,” Harper said in a soothing voice, realizing Clovis was concerned over the girl’s well-being. “She’ll be fine.”

Something Harper knew for a fact. She’d seen to it personally. Letting Baby go had been a no-brainer, and although Harper made a point to listen to her brain, she answered with her heart. And her heart had said Baby wasn’t a bad person, just young and flighty. And after a lifetime of dealing with flighty women, Harper had formed a soft spot for them.

“Her degree is in microbrewing and dance”—Clovis reached for the phone—“and since she moved to wine country and the only gentlemen’s club we have around here involves whacking weathered wooden balls and wearing regulation croquet knickers, she’ll be homeless by the end of the week.”

“Which is why,” Harper said, putting the phone back on the hook, “I hooked her up with a job at the Barre and Tap. She’ll be helping out with the evening dance classes since Sara is pregnant.”

Sara DeLuca had moved to town a few years back with her son and opened the Barre and Tap, a kids’ dance studio that also offered senior classes in the evening—including senior pole dancing. She’s also fallen in love with one of her students, Trey DeLuca.

Sara and her reformed playboy were married within months and now expecting a child. It was incredibly romantic and gave Harper hope that love was everywhere—even in a town of six thousand.