Read Dream Girl Online

Authors: Kelly Jamieson

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary

Dream Girl (7 page)

BOOK: Dream Girl
8.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

"It was probably more than luck,” she said. “Luck doesn't get you far in this world."

Zach pulled into a parking lot near Doc McCue's. “Maybe,” he said. “I actually owe a lot to Connor. I have tons of great ideas, but sometimes I'm a little rash. He likes to plan and assess and make decisions based on facts and logic. I get these crazy ideas and I just want to do them.” He shrugged. “And we did work really hard.” She was right. They'd busted their butts making this work.

He led her into the bar, dim and noisy on a Friday evening. This time, instead of going to the bar, he led her over to an empty booth against the far wall. A waitress quickly arrived to take their order.

"Two Gold Coast Pale Ale,” he requested, the same thing they'd been drinking the night they met.

He looked at Ashlyn sitting across from him and couldn't help but smile. Finally! Relief and excitement bubbled up in him.

He grabbed the menu. “Pizza okay?"

"Sure. I like any kind of pizza."

"Their special is good,” he said. “Was last time the first time you've been here?"


"It's a great place. Connor and I come here a lot. Well,we used to. We've been so damn busy at work lately, we haven't had much time for anything. After we order, you want to play?"

She smiled. “Sure."

They sat there smiling at each other until the waitress bought their drinks. Zach had just ordered the pizza when an older man stopped at their table.

"Zach Montgomery! Haven't seen you here in a dog's age!"

Zach grinned and stood up to shake hands. “Hey, Doc, how are ya?” He turned to Ashlyn. “Ashlyn, this is Doc McCue, the owner of this place. Doc, Ashlyn."

She shook his hand. “Your name can't really be Doc McCue,” she said with a smile.

The man grinned. “No. But I've been doing this so long, that's what everyone calls me.” He turned to Zach. “We need to talk business. I can't keep that Sunshine Brown Ale in stock."

Zach beamed. “We're upping our production. I'll call you."

Doc moved off with a friendly wave.

"We only supply to a few bars and restaurants,” Zach explained. “We're working on a plan for expansion. Demand just keeps growing."

"That's good, right?"

"Hell yeah! Come on, let's play."

Zach's hard-on grew as he watched Ashlyn play. He checked out her ass whenever she bent over and watched her cute little tongue emerge between her lips when she concentrated. She really was sexy as hell.

His jeans felt uncomfortably tight when he took his turn. This time Ashlyn played even better and confirmed his suspicion: she'd been holding out on him.

"Damn,” he muttered as she sank the eight ball in the corner pocket and pumped a fist in the air.

"It's just a game,” she purred, running her hand over his cheek as she passed by him. He grinned like an idiot.

"You're pretty competitive, aren't you?” she asked back in their booth.

"Who, me?” He waited as the server placed their pizza on the table between them. “Maybe a little. But so are you."

She grinned at him and helped herself to a slice.

"Where do you usually play?” he asked.

She swallowed her food. “Sometimes at Double Dan's. My roommates like that place. As a kid, we had a pool table at home. My brothers used to have tournaments all the time."

"What was that like, growing up with three brothers?"

She grimaced. “It was hell. They teased me and beat me up all the time. I was afraid to bring guys home because they'd do the same to them. But I held my own with them. I had to be tough, but my parents tried to make me ‘girly’ by forcing me to take ballet and tap dance and musical theater."

He grinned. “Tap dance? That I'd like to see."

"When hell freezes over,” she said, also with a smile.

"So tell me about your brothers."

She told him about her three older brothers, Tanner, Brett and Liam, all now working for her dad's investigation firm. Then he prompted her to talk about her dad. “That must have been cool as a kid,” he commented. “Having a dad who's a P.I."

"Well, I don't know if I'd say it was
,” she replied slowly. She took a small sip of beer. “It wasn't very cool watching my parents’ marriage disintegrate because he was never there."


She shrugged. “So many times we'd have plans to do something—a family birthday or a school concert—and at the last minute he'd get a call and have to work. I hated it, actually."

"Being self-employed is like that.” He watched shadows flicker in her eyes.

"Nobody should work that much,” she said firmly. “Actually, he was having an affair. That's what finally ended their marriage."

Zach felt his mouth drop open in surprise. “Really?"

She shrugged. “I don't talk to my dad about it, but that's what my mom told me."

"So your parents are divorced?"

"Yeah. It was just made final about a year ago."

"That sucks.” He thought of his own parents, married thirty-five years and still crazy about each other.

One corner of her mouth lifted. “Yeah. I still feel bad for my mom."

"But you work for your dad."

"Sometimes.” Her lashes fluttered down, creating feathery shadows on her cheeks. “He and I get along okay, but I don't know if I'll ever forgive him for what he did."

Zach blew out a breath. This was a downer. “So what do you think of your brothers following in his footsteps?"

She lifted a shoulder. “It's their choice,” she said. “I just hope when—or should I say
—they get married, they get their priorities straight."

"And you? You plan to work for your dad when you graduate?"

She lowered her eyes. “No way! I just ... uh ... help with some computer forensics. I guess I did inherit some of that investigation mentality. But I'm applying for jobs at computer security companies."

He raised his brows with surprise. “Why not work for your dad?"

"I want something more nine-to-five,” she answered determinedly. “I want a life. I may never get married, but I do have interests apart from computers. And if I do have a family, it won't be fair not to make them the priority."

"Why won't you get married?"

"I don't believe in marriage."

? “Just because your parents split up?"

She shook her head, but didn't look at him. “Not just that. I've seen stuff ... well, never mind."

"Wait. How do you plan to have a family if you don't get married?"

"Please,” she said, giving him a pointed look. “You don't need to be married to have a baby."

He stared at her. “That's true,” he agreed. “I guess I'm kind of traditional that way."

She smiled at him. “Well, everyone's different."

"So what are those interests you have other than computers? How do you spend your time when you're not working or going to school?"

"I like hanging out with my friends. Playing video games. Rollerblading, going to baseball games. You know I like pool. How about a rematch?” She tipped her head to the pool table.

He slid out of the booth and held a hand out to her. Video games! Baseball! Rollerblading. And sexy as hell. She really was the perfect woman. Other than that marriage thing...

[Back to Table of Contents]


Chapter Six

She played to win. The first time they'd played, yeah, she'd let him win, wanting to stroke his ego that night. Tonight, she had no intention of throwing the game.

But damn, he was good! She could only watch in helpless admiration as he kicked her butt in their second game. And he looked so good doing it. The muscles and tendons in his strong brown forearms corded as he held the cue, his long fingers sexy as they rested lightly on the shaft. Her imagination pictured those fingers on her, and a delicious shiver ran down her spine. The determination in his eyes aroused her, and muscles flexed and rippled in his arms and shoulders when he shot. And his butt ... as he bent over the table, she had to take a deep breath when she saw how the faded denim of his jeans hugged his ass.

Despite her annoyance at losing, she had to smile at him as they hung up their cues.

"Good game,” he said, giving her that gorgeous eye-crinkling smile. He ran a hand through his tousled hair and changed the spikes to all different directions. It still looked good. She got very warm.

"Another beer?” he asked.

"Um...” She'd barely been able to choke down the first one, but she didn't want him to know she didn't like his beer.

"One more,” he said persuasively, and she nodded against her will.

The icy cold beer actually didn't taste so bad. She resisted the urge to hold the cold glass against her hot face.

They sat and talked, laughed and drank their beers. “I like watching you play pool,” Zach said with a wicked grin. She couldn't help but smile back at him, her eyes on his.

"Why is that?” she asked deliberately.

"You have a great ass.” His frankness took her breath away. His hot, dark gaze held her immobile in her seat.

"Well, thank you.” She smiled. “I've never heard that before."

"Bullshit,” he said. “I bet you hear that all the time. Actually, you're pretty gorgeous all over."

Her chest tightened as her breath caught and her heart thumped loudly. “So are you,” she whispered before she could stop herself. Their hands were resting on the table, and his slid forward and grasped hers. His skin was warm, his hand big and a bit rough. It was a very masculine hand, and she loved the feel of it. Desire hit her low in her tummy, and she felt her breasts swell a little. Yikes.

She could see desire in his eyes too. He wanted her as much as she wanted him. She was suddenly aware of her femininity. As a tomboy, she'd always been comfortable around guys ... her brothers, their friends, even many of her own friends were guys. Hell, even her roommates were guys. And although guys had found her attractive in the past, she'd never been a girly girl who knew how to flirt and act sexy.

She'd learned how to act for her sex decoy job; but for that, it was more important to be able to engage a man in conversation and have some shared interests than to be overtly flirtatious.

But sitting there with Zach, his eyes on her in that frankly appreciative way, lust clearly outlined in his handsome features, she felt so much like a girl. Her skin was sensitive and aware; she lifted a hand to her hair and flipped it behind her shoulder seductively. Her breasts lifted as she took a long, slow breath in. They felt full, the nipples hard, aching to be touched. And she knew that rush of warmth low in her tummy had dampened her panties. She shifted in her seat and saw his eyes darken as he watched her.

His hand turned hers over, and he covered her palm with his other hand, his fingers lightly touching her. She licked her lips and, when she looked up from their joined hands to his eyes, she saw him watching her mouth intently. She melted even more.

"I should get going,” she said. Her stomach tightened. She'd had so much fun tonight. More fun than she'd had in ... forever, maybe. The flutters of sexual excitement low in her tummy were something she hadn't experienced for a long time, and it was so delicious, so exciting, so ... fun.

"We could go back to my place,” he suggested slowly, softly, watching her carefully. She lifted her eyes to his and bit her lip.

"You know you want to.” His voice was like velvet.

She nodded.

"Come on."

She felt hot as his gaze locked on her, warm and attentive, and she looked down.

He paid their bill and took her hand as they walked out of the bar. She was caught in a daze. The cool night air brushed over them, and when she shivered, he let go of her hand so she could put on her sweater.

When they arrived back at his house, the front door was unlocked and the alarm disabled.

They were greeted by an ecstatic Rocky.

"He really loves you,” Ashlyn commented.

"I rescued him,” he replied. “I guess that counts for something. We're buddies, aren't we?” He rubbed the dog's head while Rocky gazed up at him adoringly. Zach glanced down the hall toward the bedrooms. “Connor's here."

Oh, shit. She still wasn't certain Connor didn't know who she was.

"Does he live with you?” she asked, following him into the front hall.

"For now he does,” Zach answered, somewhat grimly. “Guess he's already in bed."

The kitchen light was still on, but the living room overlooking the ocean was dark.


Ashlyn bit her lip. Bleh. She could not force down another beer. She felt so bloated from drinking two. “No thanks,” she said. “I don't drink much."

"Okay.” He seemed unconcerned by that. “Let's go sit out on the deck."

He led the way through the dim living room and opened the sliding French doors. Rocky followed them out and flopped down on the deck near the door.

Potted shrubs and flowers lined the huge multi-leveled deck, and outdoor furniture with thick cushions looked inviting. A long, steep staircase led down to the dark beach.

"This is beautiful,” she said, walking to a railing and looking out at the dark ocean.

"Thanks,” he said. “My sister-in-law is an interior designer. She helped decorate the deck. The house still needs a lot of work inside, though."

She could hear the ocean gently, rhythmically whooshing onto the shore, the foam faintly visible against the dark water. Stars sparkled in the deep midnight-blue sky. “I'll bet it's really spectacular during the day."

"Mmm.” She felt him come up behind her and put his hands on the railing on either side of hers. His body barely touched her, but his warmth did, and she wanted to lean back into him. “I love the ocean."

"Me too,” she said quietly, taking a deep, slow breath of cool salty air. She felt him move closer, and his big hands covered hers where they rested on the wooden railing.

"I can't believe I found you,” he murmured against her hair. She closed her eyes. Her body tingled with the need to feel him. She took shallow little breaths, and her breasts swelled with longing. Then she did it—she leaned back against his big, hard body. She felt a little rumble in his chest behind her, and his arms came around her, pulling her even closer. He pressed his mouth against her hair, holding her like that, and his heart thumped wildly at her back.

BOOK: Dream Girl
8.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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