One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths, #2)(10)

“And you knew I’d be furious today,” I say with a resigned sigh.

She shrugs. “The tattoo is pretty. I promise you’ll like it when you see it.”

I pretend to study a mark on the ceiling for a moment as I clench my jaw stubbornly. I’ve never held a grudge against my sister. Never. This may be a first.

“Oh, come on, Livie! Don’t be mad. Don’t pretend you didn’t enjoy last night. You told me it was the best night of your life. About a thousand times. Besides”—she rubs her shoulder and I know she’s not even aware of it—“we deserve to have some harmless fun together after what we’ve been through.”

My eyes catch the long, narrow surgical scar along her arm. A scar that puts all of this into perspective. “You’re right,” I murmur, my finger trailing the thin, white line. “It’s nothing.” There’s a long pause. “You said it was pretty?”

She flips through the rest of the pictures until she finds one of the finished product: Livie Girl, in delicate scroll writing between my shoulder blades. It’s no more than four inches wide. Now that the initial shock has subsided, my heart swells seeing it. “Pretty,” I agree, staring at the beautiful calligraphy font, wondering if my dad would agree.

“Dad would love it,” Kacey says. Sometimes I swear my sister has a channel into my brain. And every once in a while, she seems to know exactly what to say. I smile for the first time this morning.

“I washed it for you last night. You’ll need to clean it a few times every day for the next two weeks. There’s a bottle of Lubriderm over there.” She waves a lazy hand toward a desk. “Wearing light clothes will help with the tenderness.”

“Is that why I woke up practically naked?”

She snorts and then nods.

My hand moves to rub my brow. “It’s all making sense now.” Drunken, idiotic sense. I study the picture again. “Is it supposed to be that red and puffy?”

“Yeah, there was some blood.”

I groan at the thought, my hand pressing against my still-queasy stomach.

“I think there’s another planter over there.”

I groan again. “I’ll need to replace that later today for Reagan.”

We lie in silence for a long moment. “How did you end up on the top bunk, by the way? That really sucks,” she says. Some of the dorm rooms have bunks. Some of the rooms are too small to separate the bunks into two individual beds. We ended up in one of those rooms.

“Reagan’s afraid of heights, so I gave her the bottom. I don’t mind.”

“Huh . . . I guess that makes sense. She’s so short. Almost a dwarf.”

I turn to shoot a scathing glare at my sister. Reagan is right below us. Sleeping, but right below us!

There’s another long pause before Kacey continues with that devilish little smile. “Well, I hope she doesn’t mind your rampant sex life. It could be lethal for her if this thing isn’t stable.”

Sudden tittering tells us Reagan is in fact awake and listening. “Oh, don’t worry. I know the rules,” she calls out in a groggy voice. “I have a red sock we can hang on the doorknob when Livie’s in here with Ashton—”

I yank the covers over my head because I know exactly where this is going and my cheeks are flushing furiously. Somehow I’ve ended up with my sister’s mini-me as a roommate. Unfortunately my sheets aren’t soundproof, and I have no problem hearing Kacey’s continued teasing. “No need, Reagan. Livie likes witnesses.”

“I noticed. From what I hear, so does Ashton. And I’m okay with that because that body is to die for! He has the most incredible chest. I could run my tongue down it all night long. Just like Livie did—”

I burst out in nervous giggles, both horrified and delirious. “I did not. Stop!”

“Not until you admit that you enjoyed messing around with him last night.”

I shake my head furiously.

“His ass is hard too. I’ve copped a feel before. Not the two-handed grip that Livie had on him, though,” Reagan continues.


My raised voice only feeds Kacey’s amusement. “I can’t wait until the first time she has a two-handed grip on his—”

“Okay! I enjoyed it! Immensely! Stop this conversation now, please! I don’t ever want to see him again.”

“Until the next time you’re drunk.”

“I’m never drinking again!” I declare.

“Oh, Livie . . .” Kacey rolls over to snuggle against me.

“No, I’m serious! I’m like Jekyll and Hyde when I drink.”

“Well, Dad did say there’s always a bit of crazy in even the most reserved of the Irish. You sure proved that last night.”


“Ashton called me ‘Irish.’ Why?”

“I don’t know, Livie. You’ll have to ask him the next time you guys get drunk and make out.”

I roll my eyes but don’t bother to respond. Something is nagging at me still.



My eyes pop open. I pull the cover off my face. “Did Ashton get a tattoo on his butt that says ‘Irish’?”

There’s a long pause. And then Kacey bolts up, her eyes wide and bright, her mouth hanging open. “I totally forgot about that!” She and Reagan are suddenly howling with laughter. “How did I forget about that?” Jutting a finger in my face, she says, “You dared the cocky bastard!” She’s clapping her hands with a level of giddiness I rarely see from Kacey. Or even a four-year-old hopped up on sugar. She raises one up to me and, after a long pause, I give her a reluctant high five. “You think you have regrets, Livie? Wait until he figures out why his ass is sore . . .”

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