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Keeley took one look in the mirror and ripped out the bobby pins holding her brown locks back. Twenty minutes she'd been standing in the bathroom, curling and fidgeting with her hair and what did she have to show for it? Absolutely nothing. If anything, her hair looked worse—like a monstrous version of Albert Einstein's. Normally, she would put it in a bun and called it a day, but today wasn't any day. In exactly thirty minutes she would be meeting with Talon for the first time since sending those texts.


Her skin tingled with equal parts excitement and nerves. The meeting felt monumental, even bigger than their first date—which on paper didn't seem logical, but in a weird way it made sense. All the secrets, all the dirty laundry was out in the open. There were no more excuses for running away. This was it. They were finally getting a chance to date on an even playing field. Nothing was holding them back.  

Now if only I could tame this beast, she thought to herself as she grabbed a hairbrush and started untangling the knots.

Ten minutes later, she headed downstairs with a sore scalp and what felt like ten pounds of hairspray. She went into the living room to get her purse and bypassed her brother who was parked in front of the TV, lying on the couch in the same position she'd seen him since breakfast.

"You going somewhere?" he asked idly, one hand behind his head, the other on a remote flipping through channels.

"The boardwalk."

"I'll go with you." He dropped the remote and started to sit up. "I need to get out of the house."

"You can't," she said in a panic.

"Why not?"

"Because..." Because she didn't want her brother to mess up her relationship again. No, that wasn't fair. It wasn't his fault things went south with Talon.

"Because what?" he asked, standing up. He stretched his arms wide and yawned, looking like a bear coming out of hibernation. "And don't tell me it's because you're going to The Shack."

"I'm not."

"Good." When Zach learned what happened with Van, he had a fit. He wanted her to quit immediately and find a new job. "Those people should never have put you in that position."

"They didn't. Shawn couldn't have known what would happen."

"He knew that his friend had a problem." He held up a hand when she started to protest. "Has Van even bothered to thank you for possibly saving his life?"

"No," she replied, fiddling with the car keys. "I haven't heard from him." However, Shawn had called her several times to update her on his condition.

Zach gave her a knowing look.

"He was in the hospital," she replied defensively. "He couldn't call. Besides, he just checked himself into a rehab program."

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