“That’s it, ladies. I’m done with bad boys,” I declare, holding up my drink like I’m holding up my hand to swear on a bible. “They aren’t good for anything but breaking my heart.”
And I should know. I’ve had a lot of experience.with broken hearts. But I cannot resist the bad boys. Something about their intensity, their aloofness, their disdain for the rules draws me, and I get hurt. Every. Time.
I blame my pious upbringing. I mean, when you’re the daughter of a pastor, and always surrounded by church boys, you totally want the opposite when you have a chance.
And let’s say, I didn’t have my chance so much as I took it.
Since I’m two weeks out from my latest break-up, who cheated on me with not one but two girls—even after I said I was down for a three-way—and I’m with my girls, my college friends on our yearly girls trip, this one celebrating Riva’s thirtieth birthday, I decide to make my declaration. They’ll help me stick to it.
Well, they will this weekend, anyway. I live in Phoenix, states away from any of them.
States away from here, come to think of it. Maybe one last fling…
“A good boy is going to bore you to tears,” Diane says, heartfelt, leaning forward, her long legs stretched in front of her. “You’ll be running screaming for the door in no time.”
“Oh, yes,” Spencer drawls. “All that opening the door for you and buying you flowers for no reason gets really old, really fast.”
I look over at her and point, as if to put a pin in the conversation so we can get back to that, but Diane is adamant.
“You will have nothing to talk about, so he’ll fill all the silence with his nerd talk, or his church talk, or…”
I wince, because I remember those guys from when I was a teenager.
“Just because he’s a good guy doesn’t mean he’s a nerd,” Spencer asserts.
Again, I make a mental note to ask her what is going on, but I’m not sure I’ll remember because, well, I’ve had a bit to drink.
Yes, to celebrate Riva’s thirtieth, we are doing a club crawl, and there are no holds barred. In fact, we’ve already misplaced two of our group, Maya and Chelsea. Par-TY. So now there are five of us: Diane, Spencer, Riva, me and Jamie. And don’t worry. We have a car—not just an Uber, but a car, with a driver and everything. Yeah, we went all out for Riva, because she’s the first of us to switch decades, and also she’s always been kind of like our den mother, from the time we were in college. She took care of us, so we’re doing this for her.
Anyway. Back to me.
“So, where does someone meet good guys?” I look around the bar, but you can’t really tell by looking, can you? I mean, maybe those guys at the bar with glasses, but Spencer is right, you can’t just judge them like that.
“You could go back to church,” Riva says.
I give her a withering look because she knows my issues with church, big-time. Growing up, I literally lived in a church. Well, you know, the house behind it. Every minute we weren’t in school, we were doing church work, with all the good church people who kind of felt like they had a hand in raising me. When I turned sixteen and wanted to go on a date, we had to go clear across town so I wouldn’t have spies everywhere reporting back to my dad if the boy put his arm around my shoulders (which, am I wrong, always seemed so romantic in books, but in real life is awkward as hell?)
So I rebelled a little. I saw the freedom other kids had, and I wanted it for myself. Maybe it was good those other adults in my church had had a hand in raising me because I almost ended up in jail a couple of times, but didn’t, thanks to the sheriff who was in my dad’s church. I don’t think he ever told my dad, either, which endears him to me until this day.
I think my parents were probably a little relieved when I went to college, and maybe a little worried they’d be throwing their money away because when I got there I went crazy. But I managed to get to class (most of the time) and graduated (mostly on time) mainly because of Riva.
But. I had a lot of fun, too, and these are our old stomping grounds—some of them more updated than others—and I may be enjoying myself a little too much.
“Why don’t you let me pick you out someone tonight?” Diane asks. “I’ll pick out a good boy, and you give him a chance.”
I look at my friend skeptically. Why would I trust her taste? I can’t remember the last time she’s talked about a guy. To be fair, she lives a thousand miles away from me, and I’m not as close to her as I am to some of the other girls in the group, like Spencer.
Still, I haven’t done a great job picking out my own guys, right? So how much worse could her choice be?
“It’s a deal,” I say, extending my hand, and we shake on it.
She turns away and starts scanning the room, apparently looking for prospects.
Riva keeps watching the door anxiously. I take a bit of time to realize it’s because her ex suddenly showed up at the first club we were at, which is why we left. I guess she’s worried he’ll show up here. I still haven’t gotten the whole story about that, but you know, whatever. I know he’s not a bad guy, but he’s her ex, and he showed up on our out-of-town trip without being invited, and you have to admit that’s weird.
To get her mind off it, and off my own declaration, I lean forward and grab her hand. “Let’s go dance.”
So the five of us, looking fine, I might add, charge to the dance floor and form a tight little circle to dance in, just like we used to back in college.
After a few songs, Diane leans in. “Let’s go to the next place.”
There isn’t really a next place. We don’t have a plan, just wandering down the strip, looking for a vibe.
And I’m starting to think I might want to try on a good boy for size.
One Steamy Night is available in Kindle Unlimited January 31!