Home > Hosed (Happy Cat #1)(2)

Hosed (Happy Cat #1)(2)
Author: Pippa Grant, Lili Valente

Just a lube fire and some explosions. No big deal. Not worth rushing to.

He scratches his belly and looks around. “What we got goin’ on here, Ry?”

“The lube exploded,” Olivia says.

“I wasn’t inside the lab when it happened,” Ruthie May adds. “But if you ask me, it was probably a bad reaction between the eco-rubber in the self-lubricating butt plug and the lime in the mango-lime lube.”

The sheriff chews on the ends of his mustache and stares at her, then turns to Cassie. “Where’s Savannah?”

“I’ve got this one!” Olivia chirps happily. “She—”

“She left me in charge while she’s on vacation,” Cassie interrupts. “And right now, my priority isn’t shocking the sheriff, ladies. It’s making sure the factory doesn’t burn down. So back off, Ruthie May. Quiet down, Olivia. And, you—” She points at me with a glower that leaves no wiggle room for interpretation. I’m apparently persona non grata with Cassie Sunderwell. “Take your pretty face off to help keep the building in one piece and make sure my sister doesn’t have a reason to kill me, okay?”

That’s probably a good plan. If that lab explosion gets out of hand, we’ll need every firefighter in a thirty-mile radius for backup.

If there’s as much lube in that building as I suspect there is, the entire town could be at risk.

With one last glance at grown-up Cassie, with her skintight shirt and unexpectedly sexy glasses, I head into the building.

I do not look back, I do not think about what a shame it is that Cassie seems to hate me like ass sores, and I do not dwell too long on the fact that she called me pretty.

Or how much I liked it…

Two

From the texts of Cassie Sunderwell and

Savannah Sunderwell

* * *

Cassie: Hey, Savannah. How are you? I hope you’re resting, relaxing, and showering yourself with the self-care you need to heal. I love you so much.

* * *

Savannah: I love you, too, sissy. And I’m okay. Still sporting a crater where my heart used to be, but if I keep stuffing my face with scones and clotted cream, it will eventually be filled with dairy and carbs.

Maybe.

If not, I’ll move on to haggis next week when I get to Scotland.

* * *

Cassie: You do know that haggis is basically offal stuffed into a cow’s stomach, right?

* * *

Savannah: Ugh! No. That’s disgusting.

But it also sounds filling. Then my heart crater could be full of offal and awful.

* * *

Cassie: Oh, pumpkin. I know it hurts, but someday you’ll look back on all this and be so glad you had an amazing opportunity to see the world and to do something just for yourself, I promise. Probably someday very soon!

* * *

Savannah: *zombie emoji* *heart emoji* *skull and crossbones emoji*

* * *

Cassie: Okay. I’ll keep my platitudes to myself while you’re nursing your wounded zombie heart, but there is a matter we need to discuss. Something happened today. But before I tell you about it, I want to assure you that everything is fine, no one was hurt, and the factory did NOT burn down.

So really, this is a happy story! A great story!

Nothing to be upset about at all.

* * *

Savannah: Oh my God! Was Gordon playing with fire again? I was so nervous when we moved in next to the taxidermy shop, but everyone in town promised he hadn’t lit anything up in years!

* * *

Cassie: No, it wasn’t Gordon. He wasn’t into work yet and he does seem to be reformed as far as I can tell. Though I have to confess I’m creeped out by his shop window. When did he start the stuffed squirrels in battle gear thing?

* * *

Savannah: A few years ago. He’s making a killing on Etsy. Can’t keep enough Mighty Squirrels in stock to meet the demand. People are way into taxidermied rodents dressed as soldiers, apparently.

* * *

Cassie: People are disturbing.

* * *

Savannah: Agreed, but I’m more disturbed by fire right now. Olivia didn’t take me seriously when I said we were going to light people’s sheets on fire, did she? I was sure she understood that was a metaphor.

* * *

Cassie: No. No sheets. The investigation is still ongoing, but we know it started with some lube in the lab. Neil thought he’d put it out, but it ignited again after he left the building, spread to a bin of self-lubricating butt plugs he’d planned to use in another experiment, and then there was a loud, but mostly harmless, explosion.

* * *

Savannah: WHAT?!

* * *

Cassie: Turns out coconut oil is more flammable than one might assume.

* * *

Savannah: OH MY GOD. That’s it. I’m closing down the factory. It’s a sign from the universe. Everything I touch turns to poop. My marriage, my business, my life, my heart.

* * *

Cassie: Your heart is not poop. Your life is not poop! Steve is poop. You are unicorn hair plaited in a beautiful braid, sprinkled with sugar and sunshine.

* * *

Savannah: Thank you, but I’m done kidding myself, Cass. I should have closed everything down before I left town.

* * *

Cassie: No! You have a great team here. Everything’s fine, and it’ll be running like a well-lubed machine and waiting for you when you’re ready to come back.

* * *

Savannah: I’m not coming back. I’m going to eat my way through the United Kingdom. Then I’m going to sail to the Netherlands and smoke my way through every pot shop in Amsterdam. After that, I’ll drink my way through France until my money runs out and I end up homeless on a beach in Italy selling seashell necklaces to survive and talking to myself because I won’t understand anyone else. But since I don’t speak Italian, I won’t be able to communicate, make friends, or fall in love, and my heart will never be broken again. So homeless madness will end up being a fair trade.

* * *

Cassie: Stop it. You are not going to end up homeless. You are going to grieve, get back on your feet, and reclaim the helm of this wonderful company you’ve built.

* * *

Savannah: You hate the company.

* * *

Cassie: I do not, I’m just…shy around dildos.

* * *

Savannah: You shouldn’t be. Dildos just want to make you feel good, Cass. Dildos are our friends, unlike dicks attached to actual real life men.

* * *

Cassie: I don’t think dildos have life goals, but I see your point.

* * *

Savannah: Good. You should take a few home and see which one you like the best. Take them all. I’m shutting down.

* * *

Cassie: Say I do take all your dildos. For argument’s sake, not because I want one, much less all of them. Then where would the rest of the world find safe, eco-friendly sex products that put a woman’s pleasure first? You’re revolutionary, Savannah. You can’t let humanity down.

* * *

Savannah: I can’t give humanity’s nether regions third-degree burns, either. Or God forbid, blow them clean off! The products aren’t safe if they’re exploding. Someone could have been hurt, and if they had, I never would have forgiven myself.

I’ve got to close. It’s the only answer.

* * *

Cassie: Do that and you put a lot of people out of work, Van. You don’t want to rush into a decision like that, especially when there’s a chance the products weren’t to blame.

* * *

Savannah: What do you mean?

* * *

Cassie: Like I said, the investigation is still ongoing but…

The specialist they called in said it could be arson.

* * *

Savannah: What?!

* * *

Cassie: It’s not a given, but it looks like the chemicals might have been tampered with. We should know more when they get results back from their lab in a few days.

* * *

Savannah: Who on earth would do such a thing? Put people in danger like that? I mean, I know some folks think it’s scandalous to have a sex toy company at the edge of town, but…

* * *

Cassie: It’s in the middle of town. Right by the post office.

* * *

Savannah: Well, yes, but the sign is very tasteful.

* * *

Cassie: The sign is a sun having an orgasm.

* * *

Savannah: She is not. She’s just happy!

* * *

Cassie: Too happy.

* * *

Savannah: That’s like saying babies are too cute or ice cream is too delicious or water slides are too much fun.

* * *

Cassie: I’m just playing devil’s advocate here. And looking at it from the perspective of an older person who grew up in a less free-and-easy time… I can understand why they’re freaked out. But that’s no excuse for putting lives in danger. So if this is a case of sabotage, I’ll hire security and make sure the factory is so closely guarded nothing like this will ever happen again.

In the meantime, we’re back to business as usual tomorrow. We’ve moved product development to another space while we clean up the old lab and Ruthie May is going to bring in a box of Maud’s famous Sunshine-inspired cookies from Dough on the Square to get everyone excited about a fresh start Tuesday morning.

* * *

Savannah: The vagina cookies or the penis ones?

* * *

Cassie: I…don’t know. I didn’t realize they were those kind of cookies.

* * *

Savannah: Oh, yeah, Maud is a big Sunshine fan, even if her husband is a stick in the mud who hates fun. She makes the most adorable sexy sugar cookies. The vagina ones have a little sugar pearl clitoris on them and everything!

* * *

Cassie: Oh God.

* * *

Savannah: What?

* * *

Cassie: Nothing. That’s just kind of gross, isn’t it?

* * *

Savannah: You ate penis lollipops at my bachelorette party without a problem. Don’t you believe in equal representation of genitalia in baking and candy-making?

* * *

Cassie: What I believe is that you were meant to run this company and I can’t wait for you to come home, rested and rejuvenated and ready to lead Sunshine Toys into a bright and shiny new future.

   
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