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.Don’t you see? The more he liked the fake you, the less you liked yourself.And then what happened?”She looked away.“He stopped liking the fake me because I did.”Her sister framed her face with her hands.“He was too self-absorbed and too much of an asshole to ever truly like anything or anyone but himself.You know it.”The song changed to “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme A Man After Midnight.”“I know it here.” Meredith pointed to her head.“But I can’t feel it here yet,” she added, putting the finger to her heart.Jill wrapped her arms around her.“You will, Mere.Believe it.”Thank God for sisters.She blinked back tears.She had a story to do.This was no time for self pity.“So, do you want to see my new underwear?”Jill laughed and let her go.“Okay, but I think I’m going to need more beer first.” She sailed into the small kitchen.Meredith had been too embarrassed to tell Jill about it before, but now seemed like a good time.“The underwear goes with my post-divorce alter ego,” she called out.“It’s a superhero.”Jill popped her beer open.“Do you have a cape?”Meredith put her finger to her lips and smiled.“Not yet.”***Jill caressed Meredith’s La Perla like it was fine china, a sudden feeling of envy shooting through her.She wanted to be the kind of woman who could pull off wearing sexy lingerie.“I’m going to embroider DW on some of these for you,” she informed her now wild-side sis.“Give them a real superhero feel.Divorcée Woman.I love it!”She still couldn’t believe her always-cotton sister had ditched comfort for pure sex appeal.If Meredith couldn’t get her confidence back in this stuff…“The lucky guy—or guys—in this town are going to lose it when they see you in this.”Her sister blushed, actually blushed, so she ragged some more.It’s what sisters did.“They’ll last about thirty seconds the first time, but hopefully it will get better after that.”Since that was Jill’s limited experience with sex, she could only hope.Maybe when she found her true love, he’d be able to go all night, like Nora Roberts’ heroes.“It’s not like I sleep with a lot of guys.”“Right,” Jill murmured.“That guy in college, the one when you first moved to New York, and then Rick-the-Dick.We need to find you a real man, honey,” she drawled.“You’re incorrigible.”“That’s what Grandpa says.” She plopped against the headboard, settling in beside Meredith.“So, we need a plan.”“We?”“Well, I’m going to be your pimp, so to speak.”Meredith jostled her.“Oh yuck.Never call yourself my pimp again.”“You don’t think it’s funny?”Meredith nailed her in the head again with a pillow.“Right, I’m a divorced superhero with a pimp sister.What’s not to laugh about?”Jill jumped off the bed and rifled through Meredith’s larger suitcase, sorting through the paperbacks.“You’ve lost your funny bone.So tell me, Divorcée Woman, who’s your favorite Nora Roberts hero?”Meredith crawled over to the edge of the bed.“Man, that’s like asking me about my favorite food.”Jill held up a book.“Mine’s Roarke.Hands down.That guy is smokin’ hot.I could write an ode to his hotness.” She threw aside a J.D.Robb paperback.“But we’re not going to find a Roarke here.”“Okay, but I’m still going to fantasize about finding him.” Meredith picked up Sea Swept.“Ah, my first Nora book.Hard to find someone hotter than Cameron Quinn.”“Oh yeah.Badass race car driver returns home when dad dies to take care of an orphan boy.That was a great series.His advertising executive brother, Phillip Quinn, was pretty hot in Inner Harbor, but a little urbane for my taste.The guy complained about getting blood out of a cotton blend, remember?”“Yes, but he was a wine snob like me.We’d be a match made in heaven.”“Haha.Okay, give me two more.” Jill leaned against the suitcase.After Meredith’s crazy attraction to Rick-the-Dick, she wasn’t sure what her sister went for in a man.“Then I’ll have something to work with.All of them need to be small-town guys.”Meredith flopped onto her back.“How about Bradley Vane from Key of Valor? Owner of a home goods empire who looks hot in a suit, but isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.”“Oh, I love the Key series.It’s awesome how the heroines battle evil with their hunky heroes.Keep going.”Pressing her finger to her lips, Meredith gave a secret smile.“It’s an oldie but a goodie.How about Alex Stanislaski in Convincing Alex? He likes redheads, and I’ve always loved a rugged detective even though I think having handcuffs in the bedroom would scare the bejesus out of me.”Jill hooted.“Oh, Mere, you’re too much.I personally like his brother, Mikhail, better in Luring a Lady, but I’m more into the hot-tempered artistic types.”“Your love affair would end when he discovered you painted your coffee table purple.”“So we’d argue about my taste, and then we’d have great make-up sex.I’d paint everything purple for that.”Meredith bashed her with a pillow.They grappled before pushing apart, panting.Jill reached for another book.“What about the McGregors?”“Who doesn’t love that series? But they’re hardly small-town people.They’re as rich as Croesus.”“Who?”“Never mind.”“Now that I think about it, Grandpa kinda reminds me of The McGregor.”Boy, Jill wasn’t far off there.He was the patriarch of the Hale family.“Let’s hope he doesn’t meddle more than usual.So what do you think? What is my hero type?”Jill crossed her arms like she’d seen her old professors do when stating an academic opinion.“My conclusion is Meredith Hale likes a man who’s smart and a little urbane with a healthy streak of badass,” she concluded in a stuffy English accent.“Hot.Definitely hot.”“Anyone come to mind?”“The cop’s easy.We have a new deputy sheriff in town.Larry Barlow.Ripped and intense with a big dose of badass.As for the others, I’ll make a list.Then we can plot—haha—how you’ll meet them and draw them into your La Perla web.” She bopped Meredith on the head with a book, enjoying the childish playacting.“Of course, if you flashed them your undies, we wouldn’t have to do much to draw them in.Ever thought about streaking through the grocery store in your ittie bitties?”Meredith rolled over and gave her the stink eye.“Like Mr.Jenkins did a few years ago after his wife died?”“Well, it did get him more casseroles from our local widows.He’s happily married now.”“Great, even streakers find happy endings.”Jill sat on her heels.She didn’t like the despair in Meredith’s voice.Damn Rick-the-Dick to hell for messing with her sister.“Wait here a minute.I have something I want to give you.”She raced across the hall to her bedroom, stubbing her toe on a hardcover of Black Hills.“Shit, that hurt.” Sifting through the necklaces hanging from a nail on the closet door, she untangled the one she wanted and raced back.“Here,” She thrust it out.“I want you to have this [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]