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Waking Up Married(4)

By:Mira Lyn Kelly



If not for his mouth.

This guy had one of those slanted smiles going on. The kind so     lazy only half of it bothered to go to work. And yet, something about the ease     of it suggested a near permanence on his face, while its stunted progress     implied—well, she supposed that was part of the lure. It could really imply     anything.

That smile was the kind women got lost in while trying to     unravel its mystery.

Only, Megan was through trying to read signs and figure guys     out. Which was why she pried her eyes loose from the table where this one had     settled in with a friend or associate or whomever, and forced herself to refocus     on Tina and Jodie...who were totally focused on her.

In tandem they leaned forward, resting on their elbows.

“Window-shopping the gene pool, Megan?” Tina asked with a     knowing smirk as one pencil-thin brow pushed high. “See something you like?”

Jodie’s eyes narrowed. “His suit is too perfectly cut to be     anything but made-to-measure. The suit, the watch, the links. This guy has quality catch written all over him. Megan, quick,     cross your legs higher and give up some thigh. Tina, get his attention.”

Megan’s lips parted to protest, but Tina was a woman of action.     “Wow, Megan, I knew you were a gymnast, but I didn’t think anyone’s legs could     do that!”

Tina’s face took on an expression of benevolence and she     crossed her arms, leaning back in her seat. “You’re welcome.”

Needles of tension prickled up and down her back as she     struggled for her next breath. Eyes fixed on the tabletop in front of her, Megan     held up her empty martini glass and prayed to the cocktail gods for a refill.     When she thought she could manage more than a squeak, she cleared her throat and     replied to anyone within listening distance, “I’m not a gymnast.”

At which point Tina and Jodie burst out laughing.

* * *

“It may not seem like it now, but you’re better off     without her...”

Connor Reed shifted irritably in his chair, swirling the amber     and ice of his scotch as he listened to Jeff Norton forfeit his status as one of     the guys. “Noted.”

And not exactly a news flash.

“...You and Caro were together for almost a year... It’s okay     to be hurt...”

Hurt? Connor’s eye started to     twitch.

This wasn’t guy talk. It wasn’t the promised blowing off of     steam with which he’d been lured to Sin City.

It wasn’t cool.

“...a blow to the ego, and for someone with an ego like     yours...”

Growling into his glass, he muttered, “We need to get your     testosterone levels checked.”

“Whatever,” Jeff answered, unfazed. He was as secure with his     emotional “awareness” as he was with his position as Connor’s oldest and best     friend. “All I’m saying is you were ready to marry Caro two weeks ago. I don’t     believe you’re as indifferent as you make out to be.”

“Yeah, but you never want to believe the truth about me,”     Connor replied with an unrepentant grin. “Seriously, though, Jeff, like I told     you before, I’m fine. Caro was a great girl, but hearing what she had to     say...I’m more relieved than anything else.”

The following grunt suggested Jeff wasn’t buying it.

And to an extent, the guy might be right. Just not the way he     figured.

Connor wasn’t heartbroken over the end of the relationship     because his heart had never played into the equation. Callous but true. And     something Caro had understood from the first.

Connor didn’t do love. All too well he understood the potential     of its destructive power. He knew the distance of its reach, had experienced the     devastation of its ripple effect. No thank you. He hadn’t been signing on for     more.

What he’d been after was a family. The kind he’d only ever seen     from the outside looking in, but coveted just the same. The kind his father     hadn’t wanted some bastard son to contaminate, and his mother had been too deep     in her own grief to sustain. So he’d been determined to build his own.

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