Bite Me(5)

By: Shelly Laurenston

Livy shrugged, watching as her mother leaned in and whispered something to the woman. “Then I suggest we not let her in the backyard.”

“Livy—”

Whatever her mother said, it must have been a doozy, because the woman leaned back, then hauled off and slapped Joan across the face, snapping the She-badger’s head to one side.

Slowly Joan looked at the much younger woman. Her head tilted to the side, cold black eyes examining, judging. Then she head-butted the model, causing the full-human to scream and stumble back. Joan followed that up with a left hook to the jaw, a right to the gut, and another left directly to the face. And she did it all without an ounce of anger. If she were angry, that supermodel would have been missing her eyes.

Joan held her hand out and one of her sisters placed a switchblade in her palm.

Before Toni could say a word—and Livy knew she would because all this was beyond the understanding of the much more controlled and polite Jean-Louis Parkers—Livy strode across the room.

“Let’s see how many Vogue covers that face of yours gets now,” Joan calmly stated, her hand with the blade pulling back.

She was just swinging it down when Livy caught hold of her mother’s wrist, held it.

“No, Ma.”

Lips pursed, her mother looked at her with that disappointment Livy had gotten used to seeing years ago. Ever since Livy had told the man at the candy store he’d given her back too much change. Something her mother had never forgiven.

“No,” Livy insisted.

“You and that weakness of yours.” That weakness being Livy’s conscience. She didn’t use it often, but the fact Livy used it at all disappointed her family greatly.

Joan yanked her arm back. “I know you didn’t get that nature of yours from my family.”

“So you blame us?” Aunt Teddy demanded. “Any weakness this girl has is your fault, Joan. Definitely not my handsome brother’s.”

As if the bleeding, sobbing mistress no longer existed, Joan and her sisters faced off against the Kowalskis.

Livy walked back to Toni’s side. “I’m in the mood for waffles. You want waffles?”

Eyes wide, the jackal said, “But your family—”

“They’ve got snakes in the backyard.” She grabbed Toni’s wrist and led her toward the hallway. “So they don’t need waffles.”

“Yes, but what about—”

Knowing exactly where this was going, Livy stopped by her father’s mistress. “If I were you,” she warned the foolish woman, “I’d get out of here. And feel free to go to the cops at your own risk.”

Figuring she’d done all that she was morally responsible to do, Livy continued out the front door, down the steps, and toward the limo.

“Wait!” a voice yelled from behind them. “Wait!”

Livy stopped, turned around, her hand still tight around Toni’s wrist.

Jake ran up to her. “Going for waffles without me, cousin?”

“I figured you’d be braving the snakes in the backyard.”

“With those vicious little bastard pups? Don’t let their age fool you. They’re mean. But more importantly . . .” He held up a set of car keys. “We can take Dad’s Bentley.”

Livy snorted and released Toni’s wrist so she could snatch the keys out of her cousin’s hand. “Let’s go.”

The pair began to walk off, and Toni emphatically stated, “I’m not going anywhere with either of you two driving!”

Livy looked at her cousin and, smirking, the pair walked back, grabbed Toni by the arms, and dragged her behind them.

“You can’t do this!” Toni protested. “This is kidnapping! A brutal, senseless kidnapping!”

“Stop bragging,” Livy teased.

“I know,” Jake joked. “Like she’s so important she just has to be kidnapped in a two-hundred-thousand-dollar car.”

“God, how much?” Toni demanded. “Your father is going to have your ass if anything happens to this car!”

“Your lack of faith in my driving skills hurts me.” Livy stopped next to the beautiful car, its bright yellow paint job nearly burning her retinas. Yeah. Kowalskis weren’t exactly known for their subtle sense of style.

“Just so we’re clear,” Toni informed both Kowalski cousins, “if I die because of your insane driving . . . I will never forgive you.”

“Noted. Now get your skinny ass and narrow shoulders in the car.”

“She does have freakishly small shoulders,” Jake noted once they’d forced Toni in the backseat.

“I know. But I don’t hate her because of it.”