Kiss Me Like You Mean It

Cross your heart and hope to die.
Promise me you’ll never leave my side.

He pursed his lips. “So you would be honest with whoever you’d ask—explain that you’re just trying to make your ex jealous?”

I nodded.

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking, Violet?” He grinned at me suddenly, like his entire world had changed for the better.

“Probably not,” I mumbled. I was thinking about how badly I had to pee and how warm the parts of my torso were that his arm was in contact with. I was also thinking about how beautiful his chiseled face was.

“Violet, it’s perfect!” he exclaimed. “You and I can pretend to date. My wife doesn’t know you, and she’d be absolutely green-eyed because—let’s face it—you’re proper fit; and Shawn would hear about you seeing me, too, and he would just have to go mental.”

I shook my head to try and get rid of some of the confusion in my brain because I was sure I hadn’t heard him right. “You’re saying you wanna pretend to date me to make your wife jealous?”

He nodded excitedly, and the grin on his face was almost enough to distract me from how absurd the idea was. It hadn’t sounded so crazy when I’d suggested it at first because I was expecting him to just ask me for some introductions to new girls, but once I became the person he was looking at to help fix everything, it sounded a lot dumber. Even in my drunken state, it still sounded terrible with me playing the part—and just about everything sounded good to me when I was drunk.

“She’d never be jealous of me,” I argued.

I would never tell him, but I’d secretly Googled his wife—a twenty-two-year-old tattoo artist originally from London—and she was gorgeous. She and I had the same body frame—thin and standing at just past his shoulders—and even though I clearly had a bigger bra size than her, there was no doubt in my mind that she had a better face.

Oliver’s wife had these thick, pouty lips, a perfectly sculpted nose that was perfectly proportioned to her square face, and these beautiful, brown doe eyes. Meanwhile, I had a nose way too small for my own heart-shaped face; my eyes were so big that they looked half alien; and while my own lips were also thick, they were almost too big, and they didn’t hide my even bigger teeth very well when I laughed or smiled.

She and I were both pale in complexion, but she kept her black hair straightened at shoulder-length with a full fringe across her forehead, and I kept my own reddish brown locks trimmed to dangle just past my chest. The ebony color on her looked much better than the dark auburn on me. Plus, she was British, and that was kind of a deal-breaker—along with the fact that, like Oliver, she was covered in tattoos, and I had absolutely none.

Being British was so much more exotic than being American, and it meant that she had a much better wardrobe than me, too. While all her pictures showed her in stylishly oversized sweaters and chiffon tank tops, it was a fancy day for me if my jeans didn’t have rips in the knees.

Plain and simple: there was no way in hell that Hannah Snowdon-Sykes would ever be jealous of me, Violet Halloway. She even had a better name than me.

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