“Yeah,” I whisper.
“What? What did he do?” Cara asks angrily.
“He knocked me around a bit when I kicked his ass out.” I shrug. “We’re in the middle of a legal mess, and I just don’t need to add this to it.”
“Our lips are sealed.” Jill’s smile spreads widely across her pretty face. “I know a famous person!”
“I’m not famous.” I wave her off with a laugh.
“Uh, Lo, yeah, you are.” Cara pats my shoulder. “Your books are being made into huge movies.”
“I guess.” It’s still weird to think about.
“Do you know who the actors are gonna be?” Jill asks.
“No.” I shake my head and laugh. “The producers have that job.”
“Don’t you have a say?” Cara asks.
“They asked who my dream cast was, and they do consult me, but at the end of the day, it’s their decision. It’s their movie.”
“Wow.” Cara grins. “Do you get to go watch the filming?”
“Can we come too?” Jill hops in her seat like a teenager.
“Where are we going?” Josh asks as the guys join us on the deck. Ty’s eyes meet mine. They’re warm and happy, and my body immediately warms, and I know it has nothing at all to do with the alcohol.
“Can we tell them, Lo?” Jill asks.
“Ty knows.” I shrug.
“You told them?” Ty asks me softly, and kisses my forehead.
I nod shyly. “They were reading it to me, and I couldn’t help it.”
“I’m fucking lost,” Zack complains. “What are we talking about?”
“Well?” Jill demands, her body quivering in anticipation.
“Okay, but first, let me just say, it’s really important that this stays between the six of us. Please.”
Josh tilts his head to the side, watching me carefully. “Okay.”
“Of course,” Zack replies. “Who are we going to tell?”
“You know these books Cara and I have been reading?” Jill asks the guys, showing them my book.
“The smut books? Yeah.” Zack rolls his eyes.
“Hey, don’t knock the smut books,” Josh informs his brother, wiggling his eyebrows. “They’re really good inspiration.”
I giggle and turn my face into Ty’s chest, embarrassed. He rubs his hand over my back and kisses my head.
“She writes them!” Cara exclaims, pointing at me.
“Really?” Josh asks with raised eyebrows.
I nod and bite my lip. “I do.”
“Why doesn’t everyone know about this?” Zack flips through my book, reads silently, then swallows hard and closes the book carefully, making us all laugh.
“Jack,” Josh murmurs. “That fucker.”
“It’s okay,” I assure them all. “I’m fine. I don’t need to go public to be happy. I’m proud of them, and now my friends know, and that’s all that matters.”
“I’m so excited for you!” Jill exclaims happily. “Can I have sex with the actor who plays Stephan in the movie?”
“Jesus, Jill,” Zack growls.
“What?” She blinks at us innocently.
“Uh, I’ll see what I can do.” I laugh and shake my head at her. She’s nice.
And she’s my friend.
“Did you have fun?” Ty asks, and kisses my hand as he drives us back to my place.
“I did.” I pull my hand from his and push my fingers through his soft hair. “They’re really cool and they make me laugh.”
“And they love your books, so that must be good for the ego,” he adds dryly.
“Tonight was good for my ego. It was fun to hear them talk about the books. About what they like about them, and when Cara read from it, I thought I was dreaming.”
“Don’t you ever interact with readers?” Ty frowns.
“I do online,” I reply thoughtfully. “And it’s fun. But this was the first time face-to-face. It was fun.”
“I’m glad.” He squeezes my thigh affectionately as we pull into my driveway.
“Shit, is that my alarm going off?” I ask in panic as he comes to a stop.
Headlights fill Ty’s car from behind us.
“Stay in the car.” His voice is firm as he jumps out of the car as a second car joins the first behind us.
Thank God, it’s the cops.
But I’ll be damned if I’ll stay in the car and sit idly by while my house alarm is going off.
I jump from the car and stomp over to the guys.
“I told you to stay in the car.” Ty’s voice is exasperated.
I just shake my head. “No way. I want to know what’s going on.”
“Your alarm went off about ten minutes ago,” Dan Teller informs me. He’s one of the newest cops on the force in our small town. “Will you please key in your code and we’ll look around?”
“I don’t want you going anywhere near that house until we know it’s safe.”
“I have you and three cops with me, Ty.” I gesture to Dan, and Kyle and Adam, who pulled in behind Dan. “I’m safe.”
As Ty swears under his breath about stubborn women, I lead the guys up to the front door and key in my pass code, silencing the alarm.
“The alarm company said it was a breach in the windows in the back of the house.” Kyle pulls a flashlight from his belt and gestures to the other two. “Each of you circle the house and I’ll go through the back.”
“I’m coming too,” I begin, but Ty grips my upper arm in his hand and pulls me against him.
I frown up at him but he just raises a brow, daring me to defy him.
Talk about stubborn.
The officers are gone for what feels like forever and I’m just about to tell Ty where he can shove it and go find them when they come through the house to the foyer where Ty and I are waiting.
“There’s no one here, but we need to show you something.” Adam’s face is grim as he gestures for us to follow him to the pool house.
“Motherfucker,” Ty growls when we reach the pool. All of the windows in the pool house have been broken. Large rocks from my garden litter the cement floor, along with shattered glass.
“Don’t walk in here,” Kyle warns me as I take in the destruction around me. The bottom of my pool is full of glass as well.