How do you lose everything?
Ask January Cooper.
She was the daughter of a Dallas multimillionaire, the debutante of the year, and the girl most likely to get whatever she wanted.
But when her father is arrested for securities fraud, the girl who had everything starts to lose everything. And once she starts falling, she can't seem to stop.
When she walks into Christian Cutlass's bar, she meets the first person who sees all the way through her. And Christian Cutlass meets the first girl who doesn't care about who he used to be and what he lost one night when he was nineteen years old.
She's gorgeous and hurt. He's twisted in too many ways to count. She's the girl with nothing left to lose. He's the boy who lost everything he lived for.
How do you lose everything? You start by falling.
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I was halfway through my second heavenly slice when I heard Christian laughing.
He was leaning against the doorway. “Are you serious?”
I swallowed a bite and dropped my fork. “What?”
He smiled. "Let me see you do that again."
Feeling oddly ashamed, I cocked my head. “I thought you said it was for us.”
"It is, but that's how you eat pizza?" he asked.
I glared. "Listen, you've been on my case all night. I might suck at bartending, but there’s nothing wrong with how I eat pizza.”
He just laughed. “Oh, yes, there is.”
“Why? Because I use a fork?’
“Well, my feet hurt, my confidence has been destroyed, and I am covered in gin. So if you don’t like how I eat pizza, I’m sorry, but I just don’t have any fucks left to give.”
"I suppose that's my fault?"
"That's funny, because I remember you dropping the bottle of gin.”
I glowered. "Well, I am doing my best. And I am going to eat my pizza however I feel like eating my pizza and there's nothing you can do about it."
He chuckled. "Show me."
"Come on, don't be a baby."
"I'm not going to show you how I eat my pizza. You just saw.”
Grinning, he picked up a piece and tore off a bite. "C’mon. Let me see.”
I pushed the plastic knife into the pizza and cut a bite. Fuck him, I thought. I was hungry and I was going to eat and I didn’t care if he laughed. He was annoying. I knew so many annoying people, I was sure I could handle one juvenile bartender trying to get under my skin. And the pizza was amazing.
He was laughing again.
"Shut the fuck up,” I said.
So much for handling him trying to get under my skin.
"You have no idea what you're doing. Where'd they teach you how to eat pizza? Finishing school? Pick it up. How do you not know this?”
"Like hell it is. It’s pizza. It’s how it’s designed.”
I glared at him, crumpling up a napkin in one hand. "I have had enough of your harassment. I'm exhausted. I'm covered in cheap gin and I'm not going to contract meningitis B from eating pizza with my grubby little hands."
He half-choked on the piece of pizza he was eating as he dissolved into a fit of laughter.
Good. Choke. That’s what should happen when you laugh at me.
"You are the most infuriating person in the whole world. Do you know that?" I told him icily. I tried to cut another bite of pizza and the plate slid and tumbled onto the floor. I shrieked. "STOP LAUGHING!"
He bit his lip and got it under control. "Can I give you some advice?"
“You can do whatever you want.”
He nodded. "Just pick it up.” He picked up a piece, curled it, took a bite and swallowed. "Come on, try it. You're making life harder than it needs to be."
I reached for a slice of pizza and picked it up. I glared at him before I bit into it. “I’m only doing this so you shut up. I don’t think I’ve ever hated anything as much as the sound of your voice. And if I get sick, it’s your fault.”
I took a bite. It was amazing.
"See, you're a natural."
I rolled my eyes, and focused on wolfing down the slice of pizza.
"Yeah, maybe you could teach a seminar. Start a blog. Put it on YouTube."
"Don't sell me short. I could write a whole book," he said. "Survival Skills for Spoiled Brats in Financial Ruin."
"Ha. Ha. Ha.”
“I'll give you five percent of the profits and we can both retire."
"You think you can retire off of your how-to guide for broke debutantes? To where? Skid Row?”
He picked up another piece of pizza and leaned his elbows against the bar. "You can write the prequel. Survival Skills for Spoiled Brats with Limitless Funds. Then we’ll be golden.”
"You can shut the hell up."
He smiled at me.
"And I'm not a spoiled brat."
"You, January Cooper, might be the dictionary definition of a spoiled brat."
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