Dirty Exes (Liars, Inc. Book 1)

By: Rachel van Dyken

Prologue

BLAIRE

This was not how I pictured my life going.

Not even a little bit.

A rat scurried by.

I held my breath and closed my eyes.

The smell of sewer burned my nostrils and made me cringe when I thought about how much money I’d spent on my lululemon yoga pants. Yeah, these stains weren’t coming out any time soon.

I was the adult version of Dora the Explorer, crawling through the sewers of downtown LA like I was searching for fabled alligators.

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a princess, so like I said, not how I pictured my life.

I tried to stop myself from gagging as something that looked like dirty toilet paper floated past. I grunted and kept stumbling through the dark tunnel.

I hadn’t been close to my parents.

Their deaths left this giant gaping hole in my heart where I knew something was supposed to fit, but nothing ever did. My brother poured himself into sports—and I poured myself into this idyllic little fantasy that I would be the mom I never had.

It seemed like a good idea. Marry well. Be the mom I’d been denied. The mom I’d always wanted. One who’d make casseroles on Mondays, pot roast on Sundays, have a white picket fence—that was the dream. Or maybe the dream was just to be loved.

The sound of cars above me had me panicking, one earthquake and I’d go splat beneath a semi hauling fish.

Because that was the type of luck I had.

I checked the text message again and used the flashlight on my phone to peer up at the ladder leading to the street.

Isla: Downtown. Eleven p.m. Shaggy’s Steakhouse. Alleyway

“Bingo,” I whispered and quickly plugged in my fiber-optic camera. God bless iPhones and all the little gadgets that come with them. As quietly as possible, I climbed the ladder and shoved the camera up through the gritty metal hole.

“Come to Mama,” I whispered as my adrenaline spiked.

Isla said she’d lure him out of the restaurant with the promise of a quickie, and the cheating idiot—the one who really needed to learn how to shop in his own garage, if you get my meaning—was clearly all over it. What was it with men who thought that money made up for their overactive sweat glands and jowls the size of my ass?

“God, you’re a beautiful woman,” the lying, cheating bastard crooned in a gravelly voice that reminded me of those antismoking commercials. My face twisted with disgust while I recorded. The angle was perfect, and the streetlights may as well have been spotlights on his eager face.

“Awww.” My best friend and business partner shrugged a shoulder and forced a laugh. She tugged down the front of her dress, and the cheater took one look at her breasts and made a choking noise. Apparently he had an overactive salivary gland too. “You’re such a nice guy. How are you not married?”

“Just haven’t found the right woman, I suppose.” He toyed with the black material near her right nipple, flicking it with his swollen and heavily ringed pointer finger. I kept myself from throwing up.

“Is that so?” She leaned in. “How is that even possible?”

“No idea.” He leaned in.

Oh, honey, I appreciate the dedication but he probably tastes like an ashtray. Don’t do it, don’t do it. I briefly contemplated closing my eyes so I wouldn’t have to witness any forthcoming kiss. Only a best friend would notice the slight grimace Isla made before backing up and sliding a manila envelope out of her bag and shoving it into his chest.

“What’s this?” He chuckled at the envelope while she made a gagging noise and wiped her mouth. The guy hadn’t even kissed her, yet her body was in distress, poor thing.

“You got it?” She looked down at the sewer cover.

I moved the fiber-optic cable up and down in an affirmative motion.

She smirked at him. “You’ve just been served. You’re also on camera, so say hi to your wife and the rest of the Dirty Exes, our live Facebook group. And while you’re at it, you may as well say good-bye to half of everything you own, according to the prenup you signed three years ago. But you know what? Half doesn’t seem nearly enough to put up with your shit.”

I cackled.

His phone buzzed.

“Better answer that, I’m pretty sure that’s your soon-to-be-ex-wife just making sure you’re aware that she saw the live video.” She smiled triumphantly. “Oh, and nice doing business with you.”

With great effort, I removed the sewer lid then heaved myself up the rest of the way. The cover felt like it weighed twenty-five pounds, and I nearly smashed my fingers in the name of catching another cheater. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

“You smell.” Isla scrunched up her nose when she waltzed over to me. “But you’re dedicated, I like it.”