Home > The Virgin's Guide to Misbehaving (Bluebonnet #4)

The Virgin's Guide to Misbehaving (Bluebonnet #4)
Author: Jessica Clare

Jessica Clare - Bluebonnet #4 - The Virgin's Guide to Misbehaving

The Virgin's Guide to Misbehaving (Bluebonnet #4)
Jessica Clare

billionaire/romance/erotica

 

ONE

There were days, Elise Markham decided, when the world seemed to be hideously unfair.

If the world was fair, she wouldn’t have been born with that awful port-wine stain on her entire left cheek. It didn’t matter that she’d had it lasered away in her teen years. When she looked in the mirror, she could swear she still saw traces of it there, discoloring her from jaw to brow. And if she saw it, so did everyone else. If the world was fair, karma wouldn’t have then turned around and slapped her with scoliosis during puberty that involved wearing a bulky back brace and made her even more of a social misfit.

If the world was fair, that would have been enough and she wouldn’t have had to go through the other awful things teenage girls did, like pudgy thighs and pimples and braces. But she had. She’d endured those things and then some.

All of which had told Elise by the age of thirteen that the world wasn’t fair, and she needed to stop wishing it was.

Because, if the world was fair? Her new friends would not be trying to set her up on a blind date.

“What about that really quiet, tall officer?” Miranda asked, raising her margarita glass and licking the salt from the rim. “The one who’s the sheriff’s son. He’s not bad looking. He gave me a ticket last month for speeding and I thought he was kind of cute. In a law-officer sort of way.”

Miranda and Brenna sat across from Elise in a cozy booth at Maya Loco, the only restaurant in tiny Bluebonnet. Beth Ann was at the bar, getting a refill on her drink and chatting with a friend. It was busy in the restaurant, the noisy hum of voices and clinking forks making it difficult to hold a quiet conversation.

Not that it stopped the women she was seated with. At her side in the booth, Brenna shook her head. She twirled her short red mixing straw in her drink as she spoke. “He hooked up with that weird blogger chick. Emily’s sister. You’re a few months too late.”

“Oh. Rats.” Miranda screwed up her face. “I know this is a small town, but Jesus. There have to be some hot, eligible men around here.”

“It’s really okay,” Elise said, but her voice was so quiet beneath the din of the restaurant happy hour that she wasn’t sure anyone heard her. “I don’t need to date.”

“I stole the last hottie,” Brenna said with a sly grin. She winked at Elise and adjusted her purple bangs on her forehead. “Lucky for me he’s into tattoos and kinky sex.”

Elise made a face at the same time Miranda did. “Um.”

“That’s her brother, you sicko,” Miranda said. “Gross.”

“Doesn’t matter. He’s hot. Those uptight clothes and frumpy glasses? Mmm.” Brenna fanned her face. “Great big cock—”

“Still her brother,” Miranda said.

Elise nodded. Brenna was weird. Sweet, but weird. No one could predict the things that came out of her mouth, so it was best for Elise to just sit back and let someone else correct Brenna when she spouted off. Not that Elise would ever say something to hurt Brenna’s feelings—her brother’s fiancée was strange, but Elise thought she was great. Brenna marched to the beat of her own drum—she wore old T-shirts and ill-fitting clothing more often than not. Actually, most of the time it was Grant’s clothing, which was odd to see. But her uptight, once-lonely workaholic brother worshipped Brenna, and for that, Elise adored her as well.

“There’s got to be someone,” Miranda muttered.

“Someone for what?” Beth Ann slid into the booth next to Elise.

Self-conscious at the appearance of the statuesque blonde, Elise straightened, careful to raise one shoulder above the other so it wouldn’t look like she was slumping. Adolescent scoliosis had made her incredibly aware of her posture, and she was constantly self-correcting and hoping no one else noticed. Of her three new friends, Beth Ann was the most intimidating. Miranda was pretty but scholarly. Brenna was cheery and strange, and dressed like a slob. But Beth Ann? Beth Ann was completely perfect, from her delicately manicured nails to her faint tan in November and her immaculate blond hair. She was also dressed in a dainty gingham dress topped with a matching cardigan and slingbacks.

She was intimidating, all right. But Beth Ann was also the sweetest person that Elise knew, and she was going to be her partner in a new business venture, provided Elise decided to stay in Bluebonnet. But . . . she hadn’t decided yet.

“A man for Elise to date,” Miranda offered, delicately licking a large grain of margarita salt off of one finger. “Since we’re all paired up, we thought it might be a good idea to find Elise a man, too.”

Elise shook her head and whispered, “I really don’t—”

Miranda snapped her fingers, cutting off Elise’s thoughts. “I know! What about one of Colt’s brothers?”

“Oh, honey, no,” Beth Ann said in her sweet drawl. “Berry’s the only one close to her age and he’s not right for her. At all.”

Brenna leaned across the table toward Elise and gave her a mock-conspiratorial whisper. “Colt’s brothers are all named after guns. Berry’s short for Beretta. It’s all very redneck.”

“Honey,” Beth Ann said again. “She knows that. She grew up here, remember?” Of the four women at the table, only Brenna wasn’t originally from Bluebonnet.

“Actually, I don’t know them all that well,” Elise said in a small voice. “I went to boarding school as soon as I was old enough.” And she’d never left the house much before that, too ashamed of the gigantic purple mark that had disfigured her cheek. Even now, she had to fight the urge to drag her long hair over that side of her face to hide it. “But it’s okay.” She did remember hearing Grant’s stories about Colt’s poor-as-dirt family while she was growing up. Not that she was a snob, but when even Colt didn’t want to associate with his family, it was bad.

Beth Ann patted Elise’s hand. “We’ll find you a good guy, honey. Don’t you worry. I have a few single clients. Let me think.”

God, she didn’t want anyone. Or rather, no one would want her. But her friends seemed determined to find her someone to date, which made her want to cringe and hide. She felt like a charity case, which only made things worse. Our poor ugly, shy friend can’t find a man? We’ll just have to find one for her.

The worst part was that she knew they meant well; but it still hurt. It hurt that she was ungainly and unattractive enough to have to resort to charity. Being single and alone was so much easier. No hopes to get up. “I don’t really want to date right now, Beth Ann,” Elise said in a low, soft voice. “I just don’t think—”

“Nonsense,” Brenna interrupted. “You just sit in your room every night over at the bed-and-breakfast unless we drag you out. That’s not healthy.”

“That’s not true,” Elise protested, then bit her lip. Okay, so it was a little true. “Sometimes I go out and take photos.” But only at times when she wouldn’t risk running into too many of the nosy, well-meaning people of Bluebonnet. People who would stop and try to have a conversation with her.

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