Read Dream Girl Online

Authors: Kelly Jamieson

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary

Dream Girl (10 page)

BOOK: Dream Girl
3.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

"How about we go rollerblading along the beach? Then I'll cook you dinner."

She smiled and raised her brows. “You're going to cook for me?"

"Sure.” He smiled back. “You haven't lived until you've tried my beef carbonnade."

She shrugged, smiling widely. “Sounds good."

When he pulled up to the sidewalk in front of her house, he got out and came around to open her door for her, which was so sweet. Then he walked her to her front door and they stopped there, on the little porch, facing each other, the sun shining through the bougainvillea vine. The neighbor across the street was watering his yard, and the earthy smell of wet dirt mingled with the faintly fishy ocean air.

"Thank you for the pizza, and beer and pool,” she said softly. “And everything."

He smiled slowly and leaned towards her. His mouth brushed hers. God, he was a good kisser! She slowly melted inside as his lips touched hers. She kissed him back, a soft, gentle kiss, and then drew away. Their eyes met.

"Thank
you
,” he said. She wanted to throw herself against him and kiss him all over, but she held her trembling body back. “I'll pick you up at four."

Ashlyn let herself into the house with a little wave, lost in a hazy daze of desire and romance. Holy crap! She was acting all girly and fluffy. This was so bizarre.

She pulled the curtain aside and peeked out the window to watch Zach bound down the sidewalk and into his vehicle, and then drive away. She let the curtain drop back into place and turned around, falling back against the window, closing her eyes and smiling dreamily.

"Where the hell were you?"

[Back to Table of Contents]

 

Chapter Nine

Ben's sharp question startled Ashlyn, and she jerked herself upright and opened her eyes.

He stood there with a huge mug of coffee in his hands, wearing a ragged pair of shorts and a T-shirt worn thin from too many washings. His eyes behind the black frames of his glasses rebuked her. She shook her head and smiled.

"You look...” He frowned, unable to find the right word.

"What?"

"Love sick."

"Bah.” She waved a hand and moved into the living room. Doug was sprawled out on the couch watching his favorite anime show, Ninja Vampires or something. Ben threw himself down into an armchair.

"Hey, you're home,” Doug said, sitting up. “Where were you?"

"Out. I ... went out."

Doug looked at her and nodded encouragingly. “Uh-huh ... and?"

"This is the funniest story.” Ashlyn forced a laugh as she sat down beside Doug on the couch. “Sort of. Okay, not funny. Actually, it's pretty bad. I screwed up big time, and I don't know what to do about it."

Doug and Ben stared at her.

"My dad asked me to help with a case, just as a consultant for some possible computer stuff. So I went to the meeting yesterday afternoon, and you won't believe who it was."

"Connor Montgomery,” Doug said.

"Hey! How'd you know that?"

He shrugged and grinned. “You've been talking about him for weeks. It had to be him."

"Well, this is the funny part. Connor was there, but so was his brother, Zach. They look almost like identical twins.” She paused and looked at them. “It was actually Zach I met that night."

"Oh.” Ashlyn could see the wheels turning in their heads as they processed this information.

"So, he wasn't really married,” Ben said slowly, frowning.

"That's right.” Ashlyn gave him a bright smile. “He's not married. Isn't that great?"

"Wait a minute,” Ben said. He pushed his glasses up with his middle finger. “If you thought he was Connor and you told his wife he was cheating on her..."

"That's the not-so-funny part,” Ashlyn admitted. “I gave her wrong information. And I'm not sure, but I think they split up because of that."

"Holy shit,” Ben said. “That
is
a screw-up."

"Didn't Connor recognize you?” Doug asked in confusion.

She shook her head. “I can't totally figure it out, but I can only guess that his wife hasn't actually looked at the video. Stupid bitch."

"Ashlyn!"

"Well, really, that's just brainless to dump your husband without checking the evidence,” she said defensively.

"Whatever,” Ben said. “What are you going to do?"

"I have no clue.” She sighed.

"Okay, so that was yesterday afternoon. Where have you been ever since then?” Doug asked.

"Um ... well, Zach took me out for pizza after, and we played pool. Then we went back to his place."

Both of Ashlyn's friends just stared at her. Ben mumbled something under his breath that sounded like “shit.” Doug grinned. “So you went for it."

"Yeah, I guess I did. I know it's a bad idea, but God, he's so hot,” she groaned. Ben scowled but said nothing. “I had the best time.” She let her head fall back against the couch.

"Ash, that's a hell of a mess,” Doug said with concern.

"I know. I can't tell him. That would be violating my client's confidentiality. But I feel guilty for not telling him. And I feel even guiltier for helping to split up what was probably a perfectly good marriage."

"You have to tell Connor's wife,” Doug said, leaning forward.

She nodded wearily. “I know. But when I do, I can kiss Zach goodbye. When he hears about it, he won't want anything more to do with me."

Doug's smile held a hint of sympathy; Ben's did not.

"When are you going to tell her?” he asked.

She shrugged. “I don't know.” She glanced at her watch. “Omigod! I've got studying to do, and Zach's picking me up at four."

"You're seeing him again?” Ben asked incredulously.

Doug just grinned.

"We're going rollerblading, and then he's going to make dinner for me at his place.” She sighed, smiling at the thought of seeing him again, and drifted down the hall to her bedroom, pushing caution aside.

"What the hell?” Connor asked. “That was fast work. Didn't you just meet her yesterday?"

Zach had poured himself another cup of coffee and wandered out onto the deck where Connor and Rocky were relaxing. Rocky rose to greet him with a swishing tail, even though he'd only been gone half-an-hour.

Zach grinned. “Nuh uh,” he said. “
That
was my dream girl."

Connor gaped at him. “That was
her
? The girl you met at Doc's that night?"

Zach nodded, still grinning. “Yup. I don't know how I got so lucky, but I found her again. And this time she didn't run away."

"Clearly,” Connor said dryly. “Wow. Well, she is pretty cute."

"She's awesome. I'm going to marry her."

"No.” Connor scowled. “Do not do that again. Luckily the last time you proposed to someone you hardly knew, she turned you down. Get a grip, man."

Zach relaxed back in a lounge chair with his hands behind his head. “Don't worry,” he said mildly. “I haven't asked her yet. I'll wait a little while."

"You'll wait a
long
while before you do something so stupid,” Connor admonished him.

"Yeah, yeah.” Unconcerned by his brother's anxiety, Zach smiled as he gazed out at the ocean.

"Did she tell you why she ditched you those other times you met?"

Zach frowned. “Uh ... no. But she said she had a reason."

Connor gave him a disgusted look. “And that was good enough for you?"

Zach shrugged. “Sure. I trust her."

"You trust everyone."

"Whatever. She's a sweetheart. She must have had a good reason. She'll tell me some time."

[Back to Table of Contents]

 

Chapter Ten

Her homework was a bust.

Ashlyn struggled all afternoon to focus on school, but her mind kept wandering helplessly back to the feel of Zach's hands and mouth on her, the things they'd done, the things he'd said.

Thank God Ben and Doug were both working, so there was no chance of them saying something to Zach when he came to pick her up. She regretted telling them about the whole mess. She had violated client confidentially by doing so. Of course, when she'd told them the story that first night, she'd had no idea this was going to happen, that they might actually meet Zach-slash-Connor. She often discussed her cases anonymously, knowing there was no chance her roommates would ever know who she was talking about. She sighed, looking out the window, watching for Zach's SUV.

He pulled up out front, golden hair tousled and spiky as usual, sunglasses covering his gorgeous eyes. He jumped out of the SUV and bounded with his typical energy up to her front door. She flung it open before he could ring the bell.

Although his baggy cargo shorts and short-sleeved shirt were loose, she could tell how big and muscular he was. His calves below his shorts were hard and sinewy, the tanned skin sprinkled with dark gold hairs. He grinned.

"Ready?” he asked. She nodded and shut the door behind her, her leather bag slung over her shoulder, her rollerblades in her hands.

He found the nearest exit onto the freeway and accelerated rapidly into the heavy Saturday afternoon traffic. Ashlyn gripped the door handle as he made a speedy lane change. Yikes. But as they continued, she realized he was a good driver, fast but focused. He drove the way he did everything—full of energy and enthusiasm. It wasn't very far to the freeway exit for his place, and soon they were pulling into his driveway again.

"Seems like I just left here,” she said with a grin, getting out of his car.

He smiled back, tossing the keys in his hand as he led the way in.

Connor was lying on the couch, drinking a beer and staring blankly at the television. Rocky lay on the carpet beside him, but came to his feet and strolled over to Zach, feathery tail waving. Zach leaned down to pat him, sighing at the sight of Connor. With an apologetic glance at Ashlyn, he said, “Hey Connor, why don't you come for a skate with us?"

Conner didn't even look at him. “No thanks."

While Zach opened a closet and dug out his own rollerblades, Ashlyn looked around. She hadn't gotten a really good look at his living room last night. The room was sparsely furnished, with only a huge leather sectional and a big-screen television. Light from the wall of floor-to-ceiling windows cast sharp shadows. “Come on,” Zach said, “there's a path not far from here.” They sat on the front steps and put on their skates, then rolled easily down his driveway to the road.

"You're not bringing Rocky?"

"Nah. I love the mutt, but right now I want you all to myself."

At the road, Zach turned in a smooth curve to skate backward, facing her, and she smiled at his easy skill. “You're good."

"You too,” he said, eyes gleaming. “I play in a roller hockey league with a bunch of guys. Just for fun."

"Ah,” she said, pushing smoothly along the road. At the end of the street, a small paved path led between two houses to the beach path, which was sunny-Saturday-afternoon busy with cyclists and pedestrians, skaters and skateboarders.

They skated along the beach, a crisp breeze off the ocean keeping them cool in the sunshine. Ashlyn felt so alive, aware of the warmth of the sun, the breeze cooling the perspiration on her skin, her muscles working smoothly. They skated and talked easily, and after a while stopped at a little kiosk where Zach bought her a Coke. They sat on a low wall and looked out at the wind-roughened ocean, where sailboats dotted the water with color.

Ashlyn extended her legs in front of her, the skates heavy on her feet, and sipped her drink. The sweet fizz tickled her nostrils and throat.

"Sorry for inviting Connor along earlier,” Zach said. “He just mopes around all the time. I felt I needed to at least try to get him up off his ass."

Ashlyn nodded, guilt heavy in her stomach yet again. Damn. She had to do something, or her guilty conscience was going to lead her to something really stupid, like blurting out a full confession to Zach. Client confidentiality, she reminded herself desperately. It was up to Jessica Montgomery to decide if she ever wanted to tell anybody what she'd done—not her.

But it was up to her to tell Jessica. She sighed.

"What's the matter?” She glanced at Zach and realized he'd heard her heavy exhalation.

"Nothing,” she said lightly. “Should we head back? I'm feeling hungry."

"You like to eat, don't you?” he asked with that sexy, boyish grin. He took her empty cup from her and tossed it in a big trash bin nearby. Then he grabbed her hand and they skated lazily back the way they'd come, hand in hand. Like he was her boyfriend, she thought crazily, girlishly.

But it felt so good having her small hand enveloped in his large, rough one. Her legs were shorter than his, and he matched his stride to hers, their strokes equally smooth and rhythmic. And it felt so right.

Maybe this would all work out, she thought hopefully. Hell. Who was she kidding? This was all going to come crashing down around her soon. And what did it matter? She was in no way looking for a relationship. Men were never faithful, and hoping for commitment was just asking to get kicked in the teeth. She'd have one more night with him tonight, tomorrow she'd have to see him on business, and Monday she'd make her confession to Jessica Montgomery.

Taking a deep breath, she smiled up at Zach as she skated along beside him, holding a little tighter to his hand.

When they got back to his place, the most delicious aroma of cooking beef greeted them. Without asking, Zach opened two bottles of beer and handed one to her as she sat on a stool at the kitchen island. He opened the oven door and leaned in to lift the lid off a large casserole and stir the contents.

Ashlyn's stomach growled a little. “That smells incredible,” she said, appreciating his nice butt in his jeans as he bent over. When he stood up and turned around, he caught her checking out his ass and grinned.

She felt her cheeks warm but smiled at him. “Nice ass,” she said impishly. “Bet you've never heard that before."

He laughed and started to move towards her; but just then, Connor slouched into the room. Ashlyn could tell he hadn't shaved recently—probably not since Friday—because she'd noticed how clean-cut and businesslike he'd looked at that meeting, compared to Zach's casual surfer look. Today he was definitely scruffy in baggy gym shorts and a T-shirt.

BOOK: Dream Girl
3.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Murder of a Sweet Old Lady by Denise Swanson
Costa 08 - City of Fear by Hewson, David
Legends! Beasts and Monsters by Anthony Horowitz
Stage Fright by Peter Bently
Neighbors by Jerry D. Young