Dream Maker Page 2

I stopped talking to Mag, who Lottie told me was actually called Danny, who wasn’t there.

And I stared at the phone thinking that the issues Lottie didn’t share with me, but the girls at the club did, were that some woman had broken Daniel Magnusson’s heart, and like a definitely toxic dude, his strategy for curing it was sleeping with everything that moved.

However, to be honest, although this appeared to be one more project I didn’t need, even if Lottie hadn’t been entirely forthcoming, my sense was that mostly Lottie seemed like she wanted to fix us up because she liked us both a lot, thought we’d be good together, look out for each other, and in the end, be happy.

I could not imagine what she was thinking.

A commando was so not my style.

A manwhore?

Totally not.

My last boyfriend was shorter than me by two inches, weighed twenty-five pounds less than me and his skin had not seen the sun for probably five years and not because he was a vampire.

Because he was a gamer.

I liked him.

We shared a lot of the same interests. He was funny, he could be gentle, he listened, he wasn’t all that great in bed, but he gave it his best shot, and he felt safe.

Of course, his eventual utter lack of interest in anything but gaming led to the demise of our relationship.

So now, I missed him.

Or the him I’d had before I lost him to gaming.

My thumbs flew over the bottom of my phone screen.

Sounds good.

When and where?

I was folding out of my car when I got back,

I’ll pick you up.

At six.

Pick me up?

For a date?

What was this?


I’ll meet you there. Where is it?

And 6:00 is good.

I was nearing the door when I received,

Picking you up, Evan.


I don’t think it’s fancy.

But I don’t think it’s T and jeans either.


Mac gave me your address.

See you at 6:00.

Of course she did and of course he was old school too.

No one got picked up for dates anymore.

And now I was stuck for a whole dinner.

It was easier to feign a headache or, better yet, period cramps and duck out if I had my own ride.

“Damn,” I whispered, standing outside the doors to the jail.

I texted,

See you then.

Looking forward to it.

I got back an unconvincing,


Me too.



Now I had to spend at least a couple of hours with this guy rather than snarfing down a quick cone while we mutually agreed we didn’t suit, shaking hands, then I’d go home and give myself a facial or watch some Japanese anime or repeat a binge watch of Fleabag or something.


I entered the jail, did the rigmarole check-in, and while doing it, caught up with Officer Bobbie behind the desk (bad news for Bobbie: her kid had the flu so bad, they had to hospitalize him, good news: he was okay now, and mental note: stop by the jail and give Officer Bobbie something fun to give to her recently very sick kid).

Then, I was sat in front of a video screen and I waited for Mick to appear before I grabbed the handset.

But when he appeared, I didn’t grab the handset.

My heart started beating in a strange way I’d never felt before.

It was like there was nothing in my chest cavity, it was hollow, save my heart, and my heart was thumping in there, all alone.

I snatched the handset so fast, my hand was a blur.

And I nearly came out of my skin listening to the warnings about how the police were recording our visit.

When it was done, his name jumped out of my throat.


“Hey, Evie,” he said, his voice wrong, wrong, wrong.




My cocky, criminal, wastrel, good-time, bad-decisions big brother didn’t get scared.

I leaned forward. “Mick—”

“You’re gonna get a text, honey. Take it, and…you know. Just take it and do right by your brother.”

Oh God.

“What?” I asked.

He leaned toward his screen too.

“You…are gonna…get a text, Evie. Take it. And…do right.”

What did that mean?

Before I could find some words to ask him to share in ways that wouldn’t get him into trouble, or later be used to incriminate him, he kept talking.

“I’m counting on you.”


And then he did not ask me to go to Saul.

He did not say the reasons for his current accommodations were all a mistake.

Or he’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Or they’d brought him in on nonsense to lean on him to rat on someone else.

Or one of the hundred other excuses he used.

He did something that sent ice splinters tearing through my veins.

He pressed his middle three fingers to his lips, then pressed them to the screen, hung up his handset, stood and walked away.

Chapter Two

Urban Outfitters


What am I doing?” I asked my reflection as I leaned away from my bathroom mirror and stared at myself.

I was holding a mascara wand in one hand, the tube in the other, and I’d just finished putting on some powder, a little blush, minimal highlights on my cheekbones, under-eye-shadow base over my lids up to my brows to even the skin tone and now mascara.

I didn’t wear makeup unless I was stripping, first, because I had two pounds of makeup on when I danced and that not only felt ick, I figured I was already over my quota, and second, I just didn’t wear makeup.

Okay, lip gloss that was actually lip treatment disguised as lip gloss, of which I had varying colors, but only because this was Denver, Denver was arid, and if I didn’t my lips would be chapped all the time.

So might as well throw a wave at something girlie while I was keeping my skin healthy.

Now, I was going on a date with Lottie’s commando friend and suddenly I was a traditionalist.

Or, probably more accurate, I was going on a blind date with Lottie’s commando friend after my brother freaked me out about some text I’d be getting where I’d have to “do right,” whatever that meant.

And since Mick Gardiner hadn’t done right since he was around the age of two, his version of doing right did not bode well for me.

I’d pushed the wand into the tube and was about to grab a wipe and take all the makeup off, add some moisturizer (again: Denver) and maybe some powder so I wasn’t all shiny, and that was it, when someone knocked on my door.

I looked down at my phone on the basin, touching it to activate the screen.


“Hell,” I whispered, tossed the tube in the basket that contained my measly collection of cosmetics, grabbed my lip treatment that was a shade called “buff” and dashed out of the bathroom.

I slicked on the gloss as I shoved my feet in chili-red Rothy’s points, grabbed my blazer that was on the bed and rushed out of my bedroom.

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