Dirty Red (Love Me With Lies)
Author:Fisher, Tarryn

He didn’t even look at my legs. I sighed.

 

“Well, I was going to say something smart ass about being poisonous too, but I think by the looks of you, you need a good dose of Jamba Juice or something.”

 

He cracked up.

 

“See, I’m funny,” I quipped.

 

“Yeah,” he smiled. “A little.”

 

Emboldened, I tucked my elbows back to my sides and twisted my barstool to face him. My knees were now touching his outer thigh, and he made no attempt to move away.

 

Sucker.

 

“So — ” I pulled a pearl cigarette case from my pursette. “This is my other vice, do you mind?” He looked at the cigarette poised at my lips and shook his head. I lit and inhaled in one smooth move I’d managed to perfect.

 

“What’s your name, Mr. Sad Eyes?”

 

His mouth twitched at the corners as his eyebrows did a little dance upward.

 

“Caleb,” he said. “Caleb Drake.”

 

I tried Drake on with my name and decided I liked it.

 

I blew my mouthful of smoke toward the ocean.

 

“I’m Leah … and if you play your cards right, I could be Leah Drake,” I raised my eyebrows.

 

“Wow. Wow …” he said again. “That’s almost refreshing.”

 

“She didn’t want to marry you?” I asked sympathetically.

 

“She didn’t want to do a lot of things,” he said, swallowing the last of his Scotch and standing up. He was wonderfully tall. I mentally placed myself right underneath his arm, which must make him at least six one.

 

I waited for his next move. Whatever he did, he was mine anyway.

 

He stood up and kissed my hand. I was confused.

 

“Goodnight, Leah,” he said. Then to my utter astonishment, he walked away.

 

Confounded.

 

I thought we had chemistry.

 

 

 

I thought about him the following day as I nursed my hangover. Who was he? Why had he come? What had she done to him to make him pass me up? Me! I briefly entertained the idea that his ex was a celebrity. God knows he was good looking enough to break a celebrity’s heart. I thought about his cool nonchalance, the flutter I felt when he finally looked at me. Had I ever had to work that hard to make a man look at me? No. And when he did look, you wanted him to stop. He looked at you like he already knew you — direct, slightly bored, judgmental. He made you wonder how it would feel to be on the other side of that look, to have his eyes on you because he wanted them there.

 

I dug around a little bit, tried to find out who he was and where he hung out. I was a talented sleuth. My social network was broad and within two phone calls, I knew where to find Caleb Drake. Two more phone calls and I had someone setting us up on a blind date.

 

“Wait at least a month,” I said to my cousin. “Give him more time to lick his wounds before I save him.”

 

 

 

One month later, I was walking up to a sushi joint called Tatu, the heat clinging to my bare legs, my heart boom booming against my ribs.

 

“No way,” he said as soon as he saw me.

 

I feigned surprise. Dipping my head down, I asked, “Single and British, looking for a redhead?”

 

He laughed a stomach laugh and hugged me.

 

He was wearing a white button down, rolled to the elbows with khaki shorts. He was golden bronze, like he’d been tanning every day since I last saw him.

 

“How do you know Sarah?” He held open the door for me, and I stepped past him.

 

“My cousin,” I smirked. “How do you know her?”

 

Of course I already knew the answer. Sarah’s boyfriend and Caleb were frat brothers. The night of Katine’s party he’d tagged along with them.

 

I listened as he explained the connection. His accent was sexy. When we followed the host to our table, he put his hand on my lower back. It was familiar and possessive. I liked that. I wondered if he would have done that if this were our first time meeting.

 

“You know how Sarah lured me into this blind date?” he asked.

 

I shook my head.

 

“She told me you had good legs.”

 

I smiled and bit my lip. “And?” I extended them out from under the table, ankles together. My dress was dangerously short. Of course I knew he liked a good pair of legs. I’d grilled Sarah’s stupid boyfriend for an hour to find out everything I could about him.

 

He grinned. He looked me in the eyes when he said, “Not bad.”

 

I felt the tingle all the way down to my toes. That was the look I was waiting for.

 

 

 

 

The next morning I woke up in his bed. Stretching, I looked around his room. My muscles were luxuriously sore. I hadn’t been bent that many ways since I was a gymnast in high school.