Chapter Four

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Emily and Cory walked inside Cabo Cantina, hand-in-hand, where the smell of Mexican food wafted through the air. She noticed a group of girls at a table they passed turn to stare at them as they made their way through the bar to an open table along the back wall. One of them leaned over to whisper to the other girls, who continued to watch them when they sat down.

She reached for one of the laminated menus on the table, trying to ignore the glances being sent their way.

"Have you ever had a margarita that size?" Cory pointed at an enormous margarita glass sitting atop the table next to them.

She shook her head. "No, but I think I'm up for one like that tonight."

"That's almost as big as you are." He laughed.

"So share it with me," she challenged.

"Done. You're pretty persuasive, you know."

"Me or the Patrón?"

"Hmm, tough call." He squinted at the glass and then at her. "I'd normally say the Patrón was at least part of it, but in this case, I think it's all you."

"Those kinds of compliments will get you far." She looked down at the menu. "How do you feel about the key lime margarita?"

"I'd say it looks worth a try. Do you want some food to go along with that bowl of tequila?"

"I could go for some chips and salsa."

"Sounds good." He pushed his menu aside. "I'll go order for us at the bar."

Cory got up from their table and headed for the other side of the room. When his back was turned to her, she scanned the tables around her to look for Jesse. She saw him sitting with Cole, Gavin, Jamie, and a couple of other people she recognized from the Viper Room. He appeared to be deep in conversation with a dark-haired girl whom she'd seen standing in front of the stage at his show.

Surprise, surprise, she thought, feeling a slight twinge of jealousy.

"I wouldn't want to be that guy," Cory commented, sitting down.

"That was fast." Emily tried not to look startled. "What guy?"

"The guy who invited us here. You were just giving him the death stare."

"Did it look like a death stare?" She fought to keep her tone light. "My mind must have just drifted off."

"Whatever you were thinking about, it couldn't have been good."

"It was about the piles of work waiting for me to tackle at home," she said, offering him the first explanation she could think of.

"On a Friday?" he asked. She nodded, scrunching her face into what she hoped passed for an exasperated look. "What do you do?"

"I'm a writer, and I run my own website." She tried to guess what his reaction would be before he spoke. Most of the people she met in L.A. first assumed she was an actress or a singer. She was never quite sure if her lack of being part of the entertainment world worked for her or against her in a city where make-believe was the main industry.

"A writer and a website," he repeated. "Anything I know?"

"Maybe," she answered. "I run Zeeked. It's a fashion website. I do a regular column for another site called Sweltry, too."

"Oh, nice. That's definitely different for this town." To his credit, he looked impressed. "Sweltry does music reviews, right?"

She nodded again, wondering if he was genuinely interested in what she did or if he was simply being polite. "Among other things. I don't write the reviews, but I know the guy who does."

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