The Dating Experiment (The Experiment, #2)

The Dating Experiment (The Experiment, #2)

Emma Hart

Chapter One – Chloe

Not all Mondays are made equal.

Some start with you spilling your coffee or starting your period.

Others start with unsatisfying sexual dreams about your best friend’s brother.

If I got another dildo brochure through my door, I was going to scream.

Sure, this was New Orleans, and there were sex shops everywhere, but I didn’t need them through my door, either. Not to mention that walking into a sex shop wasn’t my thing.

I much preferred the privacy of online.

There were two reasons for why I was getting these brochures. Either the mail person was so useless they couldn’t tell the difference between mine and Peyton’s offices, or I was being punked.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Dom was behind it. It was the kind of shit he’d pull just to piss me off.

I rolled up the brochure and, barefoot, crossed my office and the hall to Peyton’s. “Hey,” I said, opening the door. “This came in the mail and I—”

I stopped dead at the sight of the little blonde girl on the sofa. Almost as quickly as I registered Briony’s presence, I whipped the brochure behind my back, so she couldn’t see it.

No matter. She was engrossed in a video on a tablet with a bright pink case. She didn’t even know I was here.

“What’s up?” Peyton asked, rolling her chair to the side so she could see me around her huge PC screen.

I glanced at Briony and pointed, raising an eyebrow in question.

She sighed. “Elliott had to go fix something for an old lady in Baton Rouge, so I said I’d bring her to work with me until his mom is done at the spa.”

“Baton Rouge? Don’t they have builders? That’s a good hour and a half away.”

She held out her hands. “Apparently, he did work for her before she moved from New Orleans to be closer to her daughter. She’s set in her ways.”

“No kidding.” I glanced again at Briony. “I can’t compute you looking after a child.”

“I lived with Dom for twenty-two years, Chlo. I’m sure I used to babysit him, not the other way around.”

There, she had a point.

“True story,” I said.

“What came in the mail?” she asked. “Is it behind your back?”

“Yes, but it’s not a discussion we should have around her,” I said, nodding my head toward Briony.

Peyton held up a finger and slid her chair to the other side. “Hey, Bri?”


“Briony,” she repeated a little more firmly.

She looked up and over at her. “Yeah, Peydon?”

“Sweetie, can you put your headphones on for a few minutes, please? I need to talk grown-up stuff with Chloe.”

“Okay, sured.” Briony picked up the lead of headphones I hadn’t noticed until now. Sticking out her tongue, she put the lead into the tablet with great precision, then put the headphones on her head. After a moment of adjustment, she gave Peyton a thumb up.

Peyton responded with the same, including a cheesy smile, and slid back over toward me. “Okay, shoot.”

I tossed the brochure on her desk. “Is this yours?”

She picked it up. Amusement slowly curved her lips, and when she looked up at me, her eyes sparkled. “No. Why do you have it?”

“Ugh.” I dropped into the chair on the other side of her desk. “They’ve been getting delivered to me for the last few months. I didn’t sign up for them.”

She snorted, only just controlling her laughter. “Sorry, Chlo. Maybe a wrong address?”

I shook my head, taking the brochure and rolling it up. “Nope. They have my name on, and the office address.”

“Maybe you signed up for something, and it was one of those places who share addresses.” She tapped a finger against her lips. “You know, like when you agree to marketing emails from one website, then all of a sudden, your inbox is like fucking eBay threw up in it.”

I glanced at Briony again, but she didn’t even move.

“She can’t hear,” Peyton said. “The volume of those headphones would be audible to a deaf person. Seriously.”

I paused before I replied. In the slight moment of silence, I heard the low buzz of music from Briony’s direction. “Kids. They’re weird.”

“You would know. You share an office with one.” She grinned. “Did he lose his key yet?”

“I’m not going to answer that because I’m afraid to jinx it.” I folded my arms over my chest, still holding the brochure. “It’s been three weeks, and I think that might be a miracle.”

Three weeks after the big blow-out fight at Peyton’s house, I’d relented and given Dom his key back.

It was amazing. He could find Where’s Wally in minutes, but his key? No. He couldn’t find that if it was in front of his face, and if he did find it, he tormented me by hiding the damn thing in various places around the office.

Tylenol bottle. A drawer. A vase. Down the sofa.

All places I could and did find them. We’d basically existed in a state of neither of us admitting that we knew the other was bullshitting for a good few weeks now.

“He’ll lose it now you asked,” I muttered as an afterthought.

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