Dread pools in my stomach. If I cancel drinks will he take the bakery out of spite?

I hate to admit it, but part of me secretly wants to see what happens when we talk—and not just what happens with the bakery.

I fish my phone out of my bag and sigh, feeling shaky. I punch the number from his card into a new message and send him a text.

Hey, I’m really sorry to do this but I have to cancel. I don’t have a ride.

The little text bubble from him pops up almost immediately.

I’ll be right there.

What? I shake my head instinctively and text him back.

What do you mean?

He answers.

Come outside.

I grab my purse and open the garage door just as that damn fancy blue sports car is pulling up in front of my house. Thomas parks at the curb and steps out. If it’s even possible, he looks hotter than before. His suit has a blue sheen to it, and it’s fitted even closer to his body than the one this afternoon. It leaves little to the imagination, which of course sparks my imagination, wondering what he looks like under that suit. He looked good in high school, but we never got that far. I was interrupted by Fiona’s phone call before that part of the night. Good God, even though I think I might hate him, I want to see what he’s hiding under that suit. “What are you doing here?”

He smiles. “I was going to surprise you and pick you up.”

“And how, exactly, do you know where I live?”

“Your father’s address is on the loan papers. I assumed you were staying with him while you’re in town.”

I take him in, and the suit strikes me again. “Why are you this dressed up for drinks?”

He leans back against the car, the picture of leisurely luxury. “I thought we’d go to Heron’s Nest.”

“Are you serious?” Heron’s Nest is one of those restaurants that you have to wait weeks to get into. I don’t think I own any clothes that are fancy enough for Heron’s Nest. “They would laugh me out of the door in this outfit.”

I walked right into that one, because he scans me from head to toe again, and I swear that I can feel his gaze as it travels, warming me up, sizzling across my skin.

“I think you look great.”

Ignoring the heat rising to my cheeks, I wave him off. “I can’t go there. That’s too much for just drinks.”

One half of his mouth pulls up into a smile. “It doesn’t only have to be drinks.”

I try not to let him see the shock I feel. “Yes. It does.”

“The blush on your face tells a different story.” I shake my head. He continues, “I’m already here, Rose. It would be a shame to cancel now.”

I incline my head toward the car. “I know a place we can go.”


“I’ll show you. But I’m driving.”

He looks at me, then at his precious car. At first I think he’s going to back out of the deal and I can be free of these nagging fantasies of this night leading to something more.

But he doesn’t back out. He tosses me the keys.

I slide onto a leather seat that feels like butter.

He’s in the car too, and the purr of the engine vibrates through me.

We end up at a tiny, hole in the wall bar that I used to come to with my friends in high school. Thomas wouldn’t have even known it existed. We lived in different worlds. It’s called The Spot and they didn’t care that much that our IDs were fake—we were mostly playing pool and drinking watered-down beer. It’s exactly the kind of place that I’m dressed for. Thomas, not so much.

“Here?” he says, looking concerned.

“Here,” I say. “The drinks are cheap and it’s loud enough to cover our conversation. Plus, there’s the added factor that it’s not pretentious as fuck.”

He laughs softly before getting out of the car. “Then lead the way.”

A hush falls across the room when we enter. That’s something that I’ve only seen happen in movies, but given the way Thomas looks right now, I can’t actually say I’m that surprised. The conversations resume after a second, but I can see the way people are looking at him. Not me. The women’s gazes have an edge to them now—a hunger, and the men’s have a disdain that comes from realizing they’ll never be as attractive as the man who walked in. I’m not sure if they know who Thomas is. Probably yes, given the way the Logans are known in Hawthorne.

I make my way over to an empty table and sit. The way Thomas glances around the room tells me he’s uncomfortable.

I have to admit that seeing his discomfort brings me pleasure—I’m petty that way. It’s a little endearing, honestly. The Logans don’t slum it. I’m sure this is the first dive bar he’s ever been to in his life.

Tags: Penny Wylder Dirty Brothers Billionaire Romance
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