Home > Dangerous Exes (Liars, Inc. #2)

Dangerous Exes (Liars, Inc. #2)
Author: Rachel Van Dyken

Prologue

Los Angeles

2015 Emmys

My heart was in my throat as I weaved past hotel guests and down the hall. My entire world felt like it had just fallen sideways.

It was going to be fine.

I just needed proof.

I needed to know whether I was right—or crazy.

I prayed for crazy as I pulled my key card from my purse with shaking hands. Drunk couples walked by me. It was supposed to be a party, I was supposed to be having fun, enjoying myself.

Three a.m. and people were still drinking and networking, and I was . . . panicking, overanalyzing, controlling, as per usual . . . everyone but my fiancé.

Up-and-coming Hollywood director Wayne Alvillar, even his name sounded like something you’d see in bold script flashing across the big screen in giant black letters.

I calmed my breathing, pushed my shoulders back, and shoved open the door.

The lights were on. That should have been my first clue. If he was sleeping, they’d be off, right?

I quietly stepped into the Presidential Suite and surveyed the pristine marble floor, the way the lights bounced off the white rock. The fireplace was on and the sleek flat-screen TV was blaring a Friends rerun. I made my way down the hall, past the fully stocked wet bar and into the main bedroom. The shades were pulled, creating a dark glow across the king-size bed. Wayne was sitting there watching TV as if he really had decided to escape the madness of the party like I’d been told.

Then again, I’d also been told he left on the arm of a Hollywood actress.

I was clearly going crazy.

“Hey, baby.” He flashed me that million-dollar capped smile and patted the side of the bed. “You wanna watch a movie? I thought I was tired then saw the news. My speech was so good.” He shook his head in disbelief. “I was so damn nervous.”

“It was . . . perfect,” I said, kicking off my heels and joining him on the bed.

He turned and nuzzled my neck with a kiss.

Yup, I really was losing my mind.

He wasn’t cheating on me with an actress.

He loved me.

His hand moved to my breast as he pressed an open-mouthed kiss to my neck.

I sighed into him and fell asleep.

Two hours.

I was in his arms for two hours.

Two peaceful hours of knowing that we really did belong together, that my perfect life really was as amazing as it looked on TV.

I had it all.

With a sleepy grin, I got up from the bed and walked to the bathroom, and nearly tripped over the rug. I straightened it then saw Wayne’s crisp white shirt bundled in the corner under a towel.

I rolled my eyes, the guy was sentimental, so he’d want the shirt he’d won an Emmy in. I grabbed it and froze.

Perfume.

Lipstick smudges.

More perfume.

Blonde hair wrapped around a few buttons. Blonde hair I recognized because it was so glaringly different from my own dark hair. My hands shook.

I dropped the shirt like it was diseased as rage and pain filled my body so quickly that I had to hang on to the door to keep from passing out. I sucked in a harsh breath, and then another.

We were engaged.

I had a plan.

I was looking at houses.

I’d ordered invitations for the wedding.

I tried to get my breathing under control but it was no use, the rage won out over all the hurt, over the sound of my heart breaking. I charged into the room and slammed a pillow over his head until he jolted awake, then punched him in the face.

And when he recovered.

I did it again.

I wish I could say that I walked out after that, but I took him back.

Again.

And again.

And again.

Until I found them together and almost smashed a bottle of wine over his head after he tried to stupidly explain what went wrong and where I could do better.

Yes.

Better.

And that’s where my story starts.

In a wine shop yelling at the man I thought was going to be my husband, falling apart in public only to lock eyes across the room with someone who looked like she’d had an even worse day than me.

I thought my life was over that day in that wine shop.

And then I met my soon-to-be-best-friend Blaire and realized . . .

It had only just begun.

Chapter One

ISLA

There was a very fine line between love and hate.

Or in my case, a very thin fence where hate decides to set up across the street and stare at you through binoculars even though you’ve repeatedly threatened to get a restraining order.

I glared. Jessie freaking Beckett.

Ex-target of Dirty Exes, the PI company my best friend and I built from the ground up.

Ex-quarterback.

Ex-pain in my ass.

I heaved out a breath, that’s a lot of exes. A hell of a lot of exes. He gave me a small wave.

I flipped him off.

“He still there?” Blaire Hunter, my best friend and business partner, asked, turning the page of Cosmo while reaching for another piece of licorice.

“Yup.” The p popped on the word, my chest ached with misplaced anger—it wasn’t him I was angry at, it was the situation, the entire situation. I slammed the binoculars down, causing our receptionist, Abby, to jump in her seat.

Blaire held out the bucket of licorice. “Maybe it will help?”

“He’s trying to ruin my company, how is sugar going to help?” I paced in front of my desk and tried to think of all the ways it went wrong.

Maybe it was the fact that for the first time since building the PI company, we were wrong about a target.

His wife was our client and had hired us to catch him in the act, but she had been the real cheater in the marriage, the user, the manipulator—but all the signs at the time had pointed to him. Every damn time.

I stretched my arms above my head and then pulled my tuxedo jacket tight over my plunging white blouse. I didn’t do well with chaos.

I was a planner.

I had one Erin Condren planner for work, and another for home and recreational activities like my biweekly running and yoga sessions.

I even mapped out my meals on the front of my fridge in different-colored chalk for each day of the week. I’d never faltered in my routine, I never forgot to highlight, to color code. It was my life.

Until Jessie.

He was the wrench you throw in the perfectly good engine, causing it to sputter to its death.

I picked up the binoculars again, despite Blaire’s heavy sigh. “He’s just . . . staring right back at us. Leaning against his stupid Tesla like he owns the world. Why is he even driving a Tesla?”

“Why are we mad about his car again?” Blaire asked in a bored voice.

I glanced over my shoulder. “Don’t you have a date with your perfect man-bun-wearing millionaire hotel-empire-owner slash bartender?”

“I love that you actually included the slash.” Blaire laughed. “And yes, yes I do.” She walked over to me and jerked the binoculars from my death grip. “Give it a rest, he’s just trying to get into your head. He’s still pissed about everything that was leaked to the press.”

“That wasn’t our fault and you know it.” I put my hands on my hips. “That was his blood-sucking wife trying to make us and him look bad.”

I’m a professional.

I’m in control.

Breathe in and out.

Everything is fine.

I’m co-partner of one of the premier PI companies in Hollywood.

I’m the Beyoncé of catching cheaters with their pants down.

Everything.

Is.

Fine.

“Right.” Blaire nodded slowly. “But in the end it just made him look stupid in front of the entire world—in front of a world that he’s trying to make a better place through all of his charity endeavors, which means, even though he’s not a terrible person, everyone now thinks he is.”

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