Only with You (The Best Mistake #1) - Page 32

“What do you think?”

“Right. You’re not so much about the talking. But we can’t just ignore it.”

He sighed and resumed eating like some damn Regency duke. She decided to wait him out, and several minutes passed as they ate in silence.

“I don’t know how to explain anything,” he replied finally, sounding a little lost. “I don’t really know what I want, or what’s going to happen on Monday. I just want…” His eyes met hers, and she melted at the bewildered longing in them.

“Yes?” she prodded quietly.

“I’m tired of being alone every weekend,” he said, eyes locked on a mushroom.

She swallowed against the sudden rush of emotion, and slowly the intention of running away faded. She knew that by not leaving immediately, she was signing herself up for the most intense heartbreak of her life, but she couldn’t walk away. Not now.

“Okay,” she said quietly. “I’ll stay. But you’re taking me to the mall to buy some underwear.”

The relief on his face made her heart twist, and she turned her attention to the eggs before he could read her expression.

“I like lace,” he said, plucking a mushroom off her plate. “Lacy panties. Tiny ones. Black is nice.”

“Oh really, you prefer your women in tiny black lacy panties? That’s completely new to me, since most men I’ve been with preferred faded white granny panties. This is so original of you!”

“If you’re going to talk about past boyfriends, I won’t cook for you. We’ll be stuck getting horrible, soggy Chinese food.”

Sophie secretly loved cheap, crappy Chinese. Preferably straight from the box. But she could give a little. “Fine. I can be bought by fine French cuisine. Ooh, what about crepes? What are we going to do today, anyway?”

He raised an eyebrow.

“Oh no, Mr. Wyatt. No more hanky-panky until I have my clean panties. And we need an activity.”

“That is an activity.”

“Such a man,” she muttered. “How about a movie? Museum? Walk in the park?”

“I want to play Monopoly,” he blurted out, looking completely surprised by his own admission.

Sophie couldn’t help her laugh. “You own Monopoly?”

“Well…no. But we could buy it. They still sell it, right?”

“Yeah, pretty sure they still sell Monopoly,” she said gently. And if possible, she fell just a little more in love. She was willing to bet that this man’s opportunities for board games had been few and far between.

Picking up their plates, Sophie cleaned up, and turned back to find him watching her with an odd expression, which she ignored. They had to keep this light or the entire weekend would explode in their faces.

“Shall we?” she asked brightly. “A panty and Monopoly expedition?”

Ten minutes later, they were in Gray’s car, engaged in a heated argument over the radio station, both wearing slightly goofy smiles. Please don’t let this weekend end, Sophie thought.

“I get to be the banker,” Gray was saying. “I’m good at it.”

“You drive like a grandpa. I think that bicyclist just passed us.”

“I’m safe,” he replied.

“Yes, that’s very shocking to everyone who knows you. I’m driving home.”

“No. No way,” he said, turning on his blinker a full five minutes before the turn toward the mall.

“Fine, then. I think Victoria’s Secret has a sale on white, full-coverage cotton diapers.”

Gray groaned. “You kill me. What the hell am I supposed to do with you?”

But Sophie couldn’t bring herself to respond. The answer in her heart hurt too much.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Can I take you out again?”

Brynn looked up at the handsome man standing on her front porch and wondered why she didn’t feel more than an indifferent hum.

Evan McCain was perfect for her. Handsome, successful, conventional. A lawyer. Stable. But the first date, which was perfect on paper, had been merely pleasant. All of her usual criteria were fulfilled, but she couldn’t seem to muster any excitement about a future date.

She studied his classically attractive face, and assessed. Her parents would love him—he was the ultimate son-in-law material. Her friends would approve. He’d fit in perfectly at Trish’s elaborate dinner parties.

Sophie would be the only one less than impressed. She’d write him off as “too perfect,” which had never made sense to Brynn. What was better than perfect? Brynn had never understood why Sophie craved

unpredictability, passion, and change. It was so messy.

But for the first time in her adult life, Brynn was beginning to wonder if her sister might be onto something. Perhaps Brynn was missing out on some crucial factor by only dating men who fulfilled her carefully configured checklist of required qualities.

She thought briefly of Will, but immediately pushed him away. Talk about a man who had none of her required qualities. Well, except for the looks, of course. Will was definitely handsome, if you liked the obvious, male-model thing.

Brynn hadn’t seen him since the depraved scene on his kitchen floor a month before. He’d called a couple of times, but she hadn’t picked up. He was probably calling to gloat that he’d found her underwear, which they’d been unable to locate during the awkward morning after. Brynn wasn’t adept at spontaneous sexual encounters, and she certainly had no idea how to handle the aftermath of that particular mistake.

She’d was ashamed to admit that she’d even lied to her family about having to work on Sunday nights in order to avoid seeing Will at dinner.

“Brynn? Have I lost you?” Evan asked with a gentle smile. “How about next weekend?”

Oh, what the hell. The guy may be as exciting as Wonder Bread, but she was sick of being single.

“Sure!” she agreed with more enthusiasm than she felt. “How about Friday?”

Evan gave a quick victorious grin, perfectly masculine without being chauvinistic. It should have been appealing. Hell, even a month ago, it would have been appealing. Right up until the moment she found herself pinned against the wall of Will Thatcher’s bachelor pad.

“Kiss me?” she said suddenly to Evan. He looked slightly surprised at her forwardness, but plenty willing.

She regretted her impulsive request as soon as Evan’s head dipped toward hers. But maybe the kiss of another man would banish the demon of that man. She tried to lose herself in Evan’s kiss, she really did. But the harder she tried, the more she realized it wasn’t right.

When they finally broke away, he too seemed aware of the lack of chemistry.

“You’re sure about Friday?” he asked.

Brynn forced a smile. “Of course! I look forward to it.”

He gave her a small smile, looking a lot less interested than he had before their lackluster kiss. He made some noncommittal comment about double-checking his schedule and calling her.

Brynn had given enough polite brush-offs in her dating career to recognize when she was receiving one, but she couldn’t bring herself to care that this was probably the last she’d see of Evan the lawyer. She couldn’t blame the guy—from the way she’d kissed, he probably thought she was frigid.

She sighed and let herself inside, anticipating a hot bath, a good book, and a cup of tea.

The sight of the man sitting on her couch had her screaming like a banshee and dropping her purse. “What the hell are you doing here?”

Will held up her latest issue of Cosmopolitan without glancing up from the magazine. “Did you know,” he said, “that the average American woman has seven sexual partners in her life? Isn’t that interesting?”

Brynn took a deep breath to steady her pounding heart.

“Which notch is Evan on your bedpost?” Will asked thoughtfully. “Five? Fourteen? Thirty?”

“You were spying on me?”

He shrugged. “Open window, perfect hearing. Very awkward.”

Brynn let out a snarl. “Get out of my house. How did you even get in here?”

He sighed as though she was being an unreasonable child, and reluctantly set the magazine aside after dog-earing a page. “If you must know, your mother gave me a key. I stopped by to fix their computer and she asked if I could drop off the pie dish you left at their house.”

“My house isn’t even remotely on your way home. You mean to tell me that my mother expected you to drive all the way out here for a six-dollar pie dish?”

He merely watched her, somehow managing to look both amused and disinterested. “No. I volunteered,” he said simply.

“Why would you do that?”

“To spy on you and Romeo, of course. Who was he? Accountant? Chiropractor? Does he supply the retainers for all your snaggletoothed teens?”

Brynn gave a small, secretive smile as though the thought of Evan got her juices flowing. “He was a lawyer. Very rich. Very handsome.”

Will snorted, and followed her into the kitchen. “He sounds absolutely riveting. How was the kiss?”

“That’s some pretty thorough spying,” she said in response.

Brynn pulled down two wineglasses even as she told herself that he would

absolutely not be staying. “Why are you here? And no more crap about my pie dish. I’m not really in the mood for company. I’m tired, cranky, and sort of…”

“Horny?”

“I was going to say pissed that you’re in my home, unexpected, without asking. If you’ve come to apologize about our…episode, let’s get it over with and then you can leave.”

He frowned and stepped closer. “Why the hell would I be apologizing? I don’t apologize for f**king, Brynn. Not when the woman is as willing as you were.”

A blush crept over her face. She had been willing. More than willing.

“You’re not seeing him again,” Will said.

“What? Who?”

“That idiot that was stupid enough to leave after one kiss.”

“The Neanderthal routine doesn’t suit you, William. What can you possibly care about who I date?”

The expression that flashed over his face might have been hurt, but it was gone before she could identify it. “Did that night mean so little to you, Brynn? You’re already looking for your next conquest?”

She looked at him more closely. “Aren’t you? Wasn’t what happened between us just the latest move in the power game we play?”

And then she saw it again. It wasn’t just hurt. It was vulnerability. Had that night mattered to him? Did she matter to him?

“Never mind,” he said roughly. “I’ll be going. I didn’t mean to intrude upon your postdate euphoria.”

The moment had passed and damn if she didn’t want it back. “No, Will, wait.” She reached out a hand, but stopped before she touched him. “Can’t we just…can’t you…”

“What?” he asked, watching her intently. “What do you want?”

“I…I just wanted to make sure that you hadn’t told anyone about us.”

His eyes went colder than she’d seen them. “No. Not a soul. You weren’t worth the bragging rights.”

That stung, but she didn’t let herself swipe back. “You should go. And I’m sick of skipping my own family’s dinners so that we can avoid each other. Maybe you could miss one once in a while?”

Will gave her a disgusted look. “Exactly how old are you, Brynn?”

She blushed, but stood her ground. “Look, I know it’s immature, I just…I can’t see you after knowing that we…”

She shuddered a little at the intensity of the memory, and saw immediately that he misinterpreted the reaction as disgust.

“All right. If that’s what you want.”

His voice was so dead that she almost panicked. Almost begged him to take her again. But instead she gave a businesslike nod. “Good, then we’re agreed. It doesn’t have to be forever. I just need a little space.”

“Baby, I’m about to give you all the space you need,” he said with a blank expression.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she yelled at his retreating back.

But her only answer was the resounding slam of her front door.

CHAPTER NINETEEN

Sophie hurriedly closed the e-commerce website she had up on her work computer when Gray walked by. He was growling into his cell phone as he passed, but he gave her a small wink.

Her toes curled. She couldn’t help it.

Watching as he headed toward the kitchen, she pulled up the website browser window again. She couldn’t believe she was shopping for ties.

She felt oddly giddy about it, even if she was mostly doing it out of guilt. She’d thrown out one of his ties last night. The one Brynn had gotten him.

For starters, it was the clothing equivalent of a coma. And second…well, it was just weird to see something in his closet that her sister had picked out.

And even though Gray hadn’t seemed the least bit fazed by her demand, she was feeling just the tiniest bit guilty. Just because the man was practically made of money didn’t mean he wanted to be throwing his clothes out on a whim.

So she was buying Gray Wyatt him a new tie. One that left her mark on him.

Now if she could only decide between the purple penguins or the salmon-colored polka dots…

Sophie’s eyes bugged out when they caught on the clock. It was practically noon and she’d barely started her work. The tie would have to wait. She bookmarked the site and reluctantly pulled up the Blackwell deal. Negotiations were nearly final, but the details seemed to change every second Sophie thought she’d finally get the chance to hit print.