Home > Hosed (Happy Cat #1)(13)

Hosed (Happy Cat #1)(13)
Author: Pippa Grant, Lili Valente

* * *

Cassie: I’m not asking him to marry me, Van. He’s a wild stallion. I’m a sea cow who’s blind in one eye. I’m just considering letting him kiss me again because I actually liked it. I’m smart enough not to let emotions get involved.

* * *

Savannah: Oh, pumpkin pie. YOU ARE THE STALLION. He’s barely a sea cucumber. And at least promise me he’s putting his fair share of effort into the kissing. Kissing is nice. And so far, there’s no artificial substitute. *frowny face emoji*

* * *

Cassie: You could work on that if you came home. Sunshine Toys could develop a lip dildo that simulates kissing. OMG, I just typed that.

* * *

Savannah: You should come here, instead. There’s no reason to keep trying to salvage Sunshine Toys when you could be here with me in Europe where the people are wonderful and the food is full of delicious butter and the roundabouts are so adorable and efficient.

* * *

Cassie: The roundabouts? Savannah. You’re praising ROUNDABOUTS. What’s going on? Are you okay?

* * *

Savannah: Olivia should come too. We could buy an old English estate and turn it into a haven for women who have been done wrong in the game of love. We’ll serve tea all hours of the day and teach women that their sexual satisfaction is important, and that their emotional and spiritual well-being is paramount.

* * *

Cassie: I don’t have the training for any of that. And you don’t have to start over in England! You have half of everything you’re talking about right here, in Happy Cat! Sunshine Toys is just the start. When you get back, you can add extra staff for website expansion with a blog and life enrichment courses. Also, the deserted Mason plantation near the county line would be perfect for retreats. You could renovate it and bring English tea time to Georgia! The driveway is so long, you could even have a roundabout.

* * *

Savannah: You are such a sweet, sweet optimist, dear Cassie.

* * *

Cassie: I learned it from you, Savannah. I miss you. Olivia misses you. Ruthie May misses you. The Happy Cat Gazette misses you. Olivia’s been writing your weekly column, but the last one was a sex position chart based on astrological sign that was four thousand words too long. The editor chucked it and ran a column on making homemade donuts instead, and now everyone’s arguing over yeast versus cake instead of getting in touch with their sexuality.

* * *

Savannah: No one wants my advice right now.

* * *

Cassie: I do! I want your advice.

* * *

Savannah: No. I can’t endorse healthy sexual relationships because I don’t know what they look like. I’m a fraud. And it’s high time I figure out what else I can do with my life.

* * *

Cassie: Getting hurt because you loved someone does not make you a fraud. It makes you human and real and even wiser than you were before. The women of the world need you, Savannah. And everyone in Happy Cat misses you and supports you.

* * *

Savannah: Not Gerald and all those people who think I’m lying about Steve’s torrid love affair with a sheep.

* * *

Cassie: Gerald misses you too! He told me so just yesterday.

* * *

Savannah: He misses me buying cinnamon rolls for staff meetings every Monday morning. By the way, you should buy cinnamon rolls for the staff meeting Monday morning.

* * *

Cassie: The staff miss you too. And forget those people who don’t believe you. They’d take sides with a toaster just to be obstinate.

* * *

Savannah: I can’t come home, Cassie. Not yet. I’m meant to be here. I can feel it. I just don’t know why yet.

* * *

Cassie: Well… If I can help you figure it out, you know I’m here.

* * *

Savannah: I love you, sissy.

* * *

Cassie: I love you too, pumpkin.

* * *

Savannah: Now quit kissing men and go dig into the secret drawer. *heart emoji* *hug emoji* *eggplant emoji*

Twelve

Ryan

* * *

It’s ten, Cassie’s normal breakfast time, and I have a stack of waffles with her name on it. I don’t know if waffles are a good I’m sorry my raccoon fell on us while we were making out offering, but if they don’t work, I have a few more tricks up my sleeve.

I’m pulling the heated stack out of the oven when my phone rings.

Ruthie May’s calling.

I brace myself. It’s Sunday morning, and most of the gossip about Jace and Ginger comes in on Sundays. Saturday is Ginger’s favorite night to hang out at the Wild Hog.

I want to see Cassie, but if my brother’s in a bad spot, I’ll be there.

I put the waffles back in the oven and swipe to answer. “Mornin’, Ruthie May.”

“Ryan. Are you home? Have you looked at InstaChat this morning? Is the sheriff headed down your street?”

My pulse leaps and I start for the door, grabbing my keys on the way. “What happened? Where’s Jace? Is he okay?”

“Jace? You think Jace had something to do with it?” She cackles. It’s a muffled cackle, like she’s trying to hide it, but it still carries through the line. “Oh, you think he found Ginger’s stash?”

“Stash?” Fuck. She’s into drugs? If she’s getting my brother hooked, I will kill her. Never pegged her for the druggie type, but I’ve been wrong a time or two. “Stash of what?”

“Of sex toys,” Ruthie May says. “Jealousy makes a man do crazy things.”

My pulse starts to slow as I drop my keys back on their hook. “Ruthie May, what the hell are you talking about?”

“You haven’t been online today? Or seen Cassie?”

“Cassie? No. Not y—Ruthie May. Spell this out for me.”

I grab my tablet and pull up InstaChat, which Ruthie May probably suspects I’m doing, because instead of going for a dramatic delivery, she blurts, “The dildo-pocalypse hit Main Street last night!”

I open my mouth to answer, but my screen is suddenly filled with pictures of sex toys littered all over Main Street and Sunshine Square, named after the Savannah Sunshine TV show, of course, not the sex toy factory.

Dildos in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Feather ticklers. Vibrators. Condoms. Packets of lube. Some stuff that I can’t even identify, but which sort of resembles gymnastic equipment.

“Are you looking at the pictures?” Ruthie May is breathless with excitement.

“Uh-huh,” I confirm.

“You think Jace did it?”

“What—no. I thought he— Ruthie May, I can promise you with utmost certainty that neither I nor any of my brothers had anything to do with this. I’m ending this conversation now.”

“Okay, but can you go check on Cassie? You were about to say you hadn’t seen her yet, weren’t you? You two have plans?”

An incoming call beeps through. I glance at my phone display and can’t help a grin.

There’s something magical about Cassie’s name lighting up my phone. There’s also relief that she’s still willing to talk to me.

“No, Ruthie May. I have to go so I can go feed George his breakfast.”

“He’s out in the square gnawing on a dildo right now.”

Shit. My phone beeps again. “Good to know. Talk to you later, Ruthie May.” I hang up and switch over to Cassie’s call. “Hey, pretty neighbor. You doin’ okay?”

“Ah, um…” she replies, her voice strained.

“Listen, don’t sweat it. The sheriff will figure out—”

“No! No, please don’t call the sheriff.”

“Cassie?”

“It took me twenty minutes just to work up the nerve to call you. Promise me you won’t call the sheriff.”

“Okay, okay. No sheriff. I’m coming over, and we’ll figure this out, okay?”

“Can you—could you—leave your phone at home?” she whispers.

“I—”

“Please?”

“Okay.”

“Just let yourself in. The door’s open. Bye.”

She hangs up before I can ask anything else. I hesitate long enough to grab the hot plate of waffles, then I dash out the door and across our lawns. When I get to Savannah’s house, I duck under the Steve The Cheater Doesn’t Live Here Anymore sign, give a quick knock, then push the door open. “Cassie?”

“Are you alone?” comes the muffled answer from somewhere near the back of the house.

“All alone,” I confirm, setting the plate on the coffee table in the living room before pushing farther into the cottage. “You okay?”

There’s a pause. “Mostly.”

I follow her voice. “Where are you?”

“The bathroom.”

There’s a wince in her voice that sends me speeding through the living room and down the hall to Savannah’s bedroom, which is almost as Zen-like as I would’ve imagined it. Warm colors on the walls, paper lantern lampshades, and the soft scent of something I can’t identify tickles my nose. “Cassie?”

“You left your phone at home?” Her voice echoes from a doorway around the other side of the king-size bed with the white fluffy comforter that’s wrinkled in the middle of the mattress. Despite my best intentions, I can’t tamp down the primal surge of arousal that ricochets through me at the thought of Cassie tangled up in that bed.

“Phone’s at home. What’s wrong?”

“Just—” There’s a huge sigh. “This is so freaking embarrassing,” she mutters.

“Can I come in?” I ask, hesitating by the door to the open bathroom.

“Yes,” she moans.

Slowly, I step inside and for the second time in five minutes, I’m speechless.

She’s covering her face with her hands, but her cheeks and neck are scarlet, flaming red. Even her arms are blushing.

So are her bare legs.

Which are sticking out of the toilet all akimbo, her toes at attention in the air.

   
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