The Innocent Liar

The Innocent Liar by Elizabeth Finn

Book: The Innocent Liar by Elizabeth Finn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elizabeth Finn
mind.
    When Fiona and Jake finally entered the small private party room he’d rented at the restaurant, he almost swallowed his tongue. She looked incredible, and as Jake helped her out of a black belted pea coat, he took in her appearance closely. She was wearing a dark charcoal gray skirt that hit her mid-calves, and it fit—not that it was the right size, but it was the perfect size and cut. It hugged her body like a glove—the kind of glove that touched every last ounce of skin without being too small. Her shirt was a dressy black turtleneck that hugged her skin just as nicely as her dark gray skirt did. The finishing touch was a dark crimson pair of pointy toe patent leather heels. The woman knew how to dress, and she was putting his fitted jeans and well-tailored blazer to shame. He’d actually worn jeans thinking she might be wearing jeans, and he didn’t want her to feel out of place—an odd selfless reaction for sure. Boy, had he been wrong.
    Her dark hair was in a knot at the side of her neck, and wisps of loose hair trailed down around her face, framing it beautifully. Jake hung her coat for her, like the good date he was, and Mike stood.
    “Sure do clean up nice, kiddo.” Mike hugged her warmly, and when Candace took in her appearance, she huffed and rolled her eyes. Three wives were there that evening. Mike’s wife, Beth, was sitting beside him. Eli had known her for years. Aaron’s wife, Cinda, was also there. She was politely smiling toward Fiona, but when Eli took in the eyes of Chris’s wife, Kathy, she was glaring at Fiona suspiciously. She couldn’t possibly think Fiona was fucking her husband, but the venom in her eyes said she was unhappy about something.
    She shouldn’t care that Fiona was amazing to look at, but when he noticed the drooling puppy dog look on Chris’s face, he realized she had every reason in the world to be jealous. Kathy leered at Fiona about as maliciously as Candace did, and when the waiter finally arrived to take drink orders, Eli quickly ordered a bottle of Shiraz and Pinot Grigio for the table, hoping the alcohol would cool the mood. He needed it himself just to keep his own jealousy in check.
    Jake’s arm was casually on the back of Fiona’s chair, and he was leaning slightly toward her, speaking quietly. His manner was easy, and while he couldn’t hide his attraction for her, he wasn’t coming off as pathetic either, just interested. Eli watched as she laughed at something he said and cocked her head in a disbelieving way. Jake held his hands up as though he were swearing to some tall tale he was likely telling, and when Fiona caught Eli watching her, she smiled shyly and bit the side of her lip. He ignored her, and he hated himself for doing it. Her face dropped, and she returned her attention to Jake.
    “They look lovely together, don’t they? High time Jake finds himself a nice woman.” Beth’s words made the breath catch in Eli’s throat, and when he turned quickly to her, he caught Mike’s pained expression over her shoulder.
    Mike was onto him. He wrapped an arm around Beth’s shoulder to disagree kindly with his wife. “Oh, I don’t know, Bethy. She seems the type that needs a few rough edges if you know what I mean. Jake’s a bit too easy for her if I were guessing.” Beth looked at her husband then, seeming to consider his words, and when her attention turned back to Eli, it was with a knowing expression.
    “Well, she seems lovely.” Beth placed her old wrinkled hand on top of Eli’s and gave him a good squeeze.
    They ordered a feast of food and two more bottles of wine, and by the time their food was served, the table was pleasantly buzzed. Candace was more than pleasantly buzzed, and when she turned to Fiona from a couple seats away, Eli froze in place.
    “Let me guess, you ran out to buy clothes just for this dinner because you didn’t have anything to wear. Walmart? Kmart? Thrift store?” Candace’s eyes were cold and

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