Maximum Dare - Vanessa Fewings

For those in need of healing.

This was a bad idea.

Like one of those things that makes perfect sense in your mind but once you’ve done it, it’s perfectly nonsensical. I clutched the fancy gold envelope to my chest, catching a glimpse of my reflection in the bar’s long mirror. I looked worse than I’d imagined, my expression revealing my guilt—and my pain. The dark circles under my eyes were reminders of what had been done to me.

The moment Morgan Hawtry had set her sights on my man, my life had been obliterated. Everything I’d believed to be true was a lie. Seeing the two of them together had left my heart paralyzed.

And this swanky lounge would prove a decent setting for more heartbreak if Nick didn’t even register my presence.

On numerous occasions, I’d passed by Isobel’s Bar, but had never actually ventured inside. Nick had preferred our local pub—the kind of place where he could sit quietly and not have to chat with strangers.

I tried to ignore the warning in my head that being here was a mistake. At twenty-three, this little adventure felt like being back at Uni, where we had made bad decisions and put it down to naivety. But even back then I’d never done anything like this.

I buried the golden envelope in my handbag to hide the evidence of my thievery and then nudged my glasses up my nose to act like I hadn’t just plucked it out of Morgan’s Prada handbag. I’d taken advantage of those moments when she’d been distracted with her tongue in my boyfriend’s mouth.

Okay…ex-boyfriend, but there was still a chance he’d come back.

I needed to believe this.

Nick had to realize this woman was bad news. Surely he’d seen the numerous selfies of her committing idiotic acts of danger. She’d posted countless images of her recklessness. More recently, she’d leaped off seaside cliffs during a holiday in Greece, gotten too close to a rhino at a zoo, zoomed down a city street on a Vespa without a helmet, and last week, she’d filmed herself getting a tattoo of a scorpion on her bum—her birth sign.

The Queen of Social Media had stolen something of great value to me. She’d stolen him—the best thing that had ever happened to me. The man I’d been living with up until three weeks ago, when I’d found the note that told me he was leaving…that he needed time to figure things out. He’d not revealed the real reason.

Thanks to Morgan’s Instagram page, I’d discovered he’d left me for her. She’d posted a photo of her new beau and it had been the love of my life.

She was impossible to compete with. Morgan was quite simply stunning. Not only out of my league but out of my universe.

I’d left work at Harvey Nichols and driven all the way here from Knightsbridge in rush hour traffic to make it to Isobel’s before the new couple bailed and headed off to another party—something Morgan was famous for, since her popularity knew no bounds.

I tried to ignore the many glances from the lounge’s über-posh crowd in their high-society fashions, their snarky looks aimed at my simple black minidress. Or maybe they’d guessed Nick’s ex had arrived and was on the verge of making a scene.

Both Nick and Morgan had looked uncomfortable when they’d first spotted me. If my strategy worked, Nick would take me aside and want to talk with me about why I was here.

That was my in—my chance to warn him.

None of his mates from his football team were here. The only reason I’d found out about this party was because I’d seen Morgan showing off about the event on Facebook.

Turning up like this probably seemed a bit stalkerish—but trust me, this was about saving a man who’d once saved me…back when all I’d known was grief. This was me looking out for Nick now, making sure he didn’t blow up his life for a girl who could never truly love him. It was easy to see why she’d hunted him down. Nick was a rising football star destined to follow in his dad’s iconic footsteps.

Why did he have to look so adorable with his tousled dark blond hair and expressive grey eyes? Chiseled features made him stand out even in this freakishly good-looking crowd, along with his athletic physique. I was now entering the hating phase…the I-can’t-bear-to-be-in-the-same-room phase. Yet Nick still made my insides do a flip-flop.

The last few weeks had been crushing in so many ways. The house