Her favorite place.

She’s going fishing for intel.

“So what, Ems?”

“So what’s your plan for tonight?” she asks with a knowing look. “With the guy. That sexy AF bartender. His face is magazine perfection.”

“Yessssss. Very GQ.”

“Like if Idris Elba and Angelina Jolie had a love child.”

A laugh bursts from me. “That’s the image you’re putting out there?”

“Idris is male perfection.” She drags a finger down her cheek. “And Angelina has great cheekbones.”

“You realize he looks nothing like Angelina Jolie and that, in fact, I’m not attracted to Angelina Jolie?”

“You’re not? I had nooooo idea.”

I haul her in for a noogie, since she deserves one. “Smart-ass.”

When I let her go, she says, “My point is that he looks like two of the hottest celebs ever. Can you agree they’re both quite pretty?”

“Yes, they are both quite pretty,” I say, imitating her. “But maybe can we go with Idris and Chris Hemsworth?”

Her eyes light up. “Yes. In my dreams.”

I sigh contentedly. “Yeah, mine too.”

I linger on that image for a few more seconds, and I’m guessing she does too—because who could resist?—before she reconnects to the present. “Are you really going to go back there though?”

I nod decisively. “Absolutely. I’m going to go see him, and I’m going to lock that down.”

Emma rolls her eyes. “Oh, you’re going to seal the deal, James? And how exactly do you plan to do that, since he already kind of turned you down?”

I arch a brow. “Did he turn me down?”

Emma laughs, nudging me. “I believe what you told me last night was that he said it wasn’t going to happen. That feels a lot like he turned you down.”

I shrug it off. “Technically. But he also made a point of saying he wasn’t breaking his rule last night. Leaving it open for tonight. All I have to do is work my magic this evening.”

I glance over at her, waiting for the sisterly comeback I know and love, but Emma’s not even listening. She’s peering around like she’s looking for something.

I stop in my tracks, waving my arms. “Earth to Emma.”

She turns and gives me an adorable smile. “Right, please tell me all about the guy you’re going after. I can’t bear to miss a single detail, even though I’ve only been hearing about the hot guys you’ve wanted for the last twelve years.”

“I don’t think you’ve ever complained about it before,” I say.

“Probably because I still find you far too amusing for my own good.”

“See? I’m kind of irresistible to everyone, including my own sister. Therefore, I’m going to make sure this guy says yes to me.”

I’ve got just the plan for tonight too. The right clothes. The right aftershave. I’ll lay on my classic mix of cocky and charming, and then, before he even knows what’s hit him, he’ll be dying to take me up on my offer.

Hot hotel sex, here we come.

Pun intended.

“Well,” Emma says, with a delighted tone in her voice, “it looks like now’s your chance. There he is.”


My job is to anticipate. To be ready for whatever hits me.

But this surprises the fuck out of me.

I turn around and blink. I’m looking at the man I wanted to take home last night. And he’s smirking at me.

“Better than Hemsworth. Better than Elba,” I say to my sister.

Emma leans closer and whispers, “And I think now’s the perfect time for me to go to that bookstore.”

She makes a shooing gesture then adopts her best British accent. “Right. Cheerio. Carry on.”

And before I can say anything more, she’s gone.

And I don’t miss her.



Dean saunters over. He stops a foot away, appraising me, his dark eyes roaming up and down my body.

Yes, enjoy the view, sexy bartender. Feel free to enjoy the view.

“Seems like you can’t quite stay away from me,” he says, his expression a touch too close to unreadable.

And that could be a problem if he thinks I’ve followed him. That shit is not my style. “I didn’t expect to see you here,” I say, shaking my head, trying to course correct.

“It’s okay, Fitz. Admit it. You were kind of stalking me.”

I hold up my hands in a stop sign. “No, I swear. I had no idea you were going to be here.”

Dean tips his head toward the next line of booths and gives me the slightest grin. “Oh, well, then. I’ll just be on my way.”

Like I’m letting him get away. Especially with that hint of a smile saying he doesn’t want to leave me. Yup, I’m reading him loud and clear now.

“That’s not necessary.” I step forward, setting a hand on his arm. His strong, toned arm that looks fucking fantastic in that shirt. “I just didn’t want you to think I was trying to engineer something.”

His gaze swings to where I’m touching him. Damn, he feels good, but if I leave it there, I do look too eager.

Tags: Lauren Blakely Romance
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