Made for you the best mi.., p.6

Made for You (The Best Mistake), page 6

 

Made for You (The Best Mistake)
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  “That’s my way of saying you need a shower,” she snapped. “And would you quit with the flexing? You look like you’re having seizures.”

  “Can I help you with something or did you interrupt my workout just to come ogle me?”

  Right. Keep your eye on the prize. And not that prize. Do it for the mayor’s daughter.

  Brynn tried to let her eyes go soft while maintaining her smile. It wasn’t easy when she had the irrepressible urge to strike at him. Or maybe pull him closer. Or maybe…

  “Brynn?”

  “I need help,” she blurted out.

  His cocky grin abolished all traces of the sexual awareness she’d been feeling a second earlier. Or mostly abolished them, anyway. If only he’d put a shirt on…

  “I have a flat tire,” she said, trying to keep her voice helpless and innocent. “And I called for help, but it’ll be a while, and I have an important appointment at work, and I know you hate me, but if you could just be a decent human for like thirty seconds out of your entire year—”

  “Sure,” he said, interrupting her plea-slash-demand. “I can help.”

  “Oh,” she said, surprised by the lack of a fight. “Thanks…You know about cars, right?”

  “Seems to me all women assume that men being born with a cock somehow correlates to auto-mechanic expertise, but in my case, you’d be correct.”

  She gave him a bland look. “Were you just looking for a reason to say ‘cock’ just now?”

  He grinned. “Maybe. Probably. Let me put pants on and I’ll come take a look.”

  “Don’t forget a shirt!” she called after him. “I wouldn’t want you to be embarrassed when all of the neighborhood dads see your beer belly!”

  She let herself out the front door and headed back to her own driveway, where she called her partner to let her know she’d be late, but that she wouldn’t miss the Blanton appointment.

  At least she hoped she wouldn’t. If Will could use his hands on her car like he had on her body…

  Firm palms bracketing her waist, pinning her to the mattress as his head dipped lower, licking and loving…

  “Ah!” Brynn rapped her knuckles against her head in a futile effort to erase the mental images from her mind. It had only taken her an entire year to forget how good it had been between them. Taken her two more years to remember all of the reasons why they should never ever do it again.

  She was not a savage.

  She was a lady.

  And ladies did not fantasize about soulless men who made a career out of making themselves disposable.

  “So what happened?” Will asked from behind her. She turned, expecting him to still be half-naked just to annoy her. Thankfully, he’d thrown on jeans and an old college T-shirt. Unfortunately, neither did much to hide the body beneath it.

  Think of James. James is fit. James is sexy. James is—

  “Oh, you know, I just went off-roading on a bunch of spikes,” she snapped to distract herself. Fighting with Will was vastly preferable to thinking about his really delicious-looking shoulders.

  “Probably just a nail or something,” Will said, ignoring her bitchiness as he knelt to look at the front left wheel. “You got a spare?”

  “Of course I have a spare.”

  Actually, Brynn had no idea if she had a spare. But her car was only a year old and was pricey as hell. Surely that meant they threw in one of the extra wheel things, right?

  Will gave her a look that said he knew exactly what she was thinking as he popped the trunk and began rummaging around.

  “You golf?” he said, pushing aside her teal golf bag.

  “Taking lessons,” she muttered. “I belong to a group.”

  “Of course you do,” he said, finding a hidden compartment and pulling out the spare tire.

  “What’s that supposed to mean?”

  “It means,” he said, as he swung the tire out and rolled it to the front of the car, “that everyone I met at your birthday party belonged to some club of some sort.”

  “You say that like it’s a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong with cultivating my interests.”

  He paused in the process of setting up some sort of tools. “Do you ever listen to yourself? Cultivating your interests? Is that really what you want your life to be about?”

  Brynn felt her temper rising.“You’re seriously lecturing me on how to live my life? You, who hasn’t been in the same place longer than a couple years? You, who has no idea what it’s like to maintain a steady job? You, whose longest relationship was determined by how long it took you to figure out the color of her sheets…” She broke off, running out of breath.

  Will was looking up at her with a cocked eyebrow. “Oh, I’m sorry, Ms. Dalton. Here I thought you wanted me to help you out.”

  Think of the mayor’s daughter. Think of your career. Think of the big picture…

  “Right,” she grumbled. “Sorry. Please commence with the man-moves.”

  He snorted at her grudging apology, but returned to swapping out her tires. She told herself to watch what he was doing so she could learn how to do it herself. Not that she had any interest in being Ms. Do-It-All-Herself, but she sure as hell wouldn’t be asking him for a favor in the future.

  But she couldn’t concentrate on what he was doing. Her mind kept going back to his barb about her clubs and hobbies. Is that really what you want your life to be about?…

  There was nothing wrong with her life. And she didn’t understand why he’d said “clubs” with such disdain. Lots of women were in a book club. And a knitting club. And a yoga club…and…okay, maybe most women weren’t in all of those clubs like Brynn was, but how was she to remain balanced if she didn’t dabble?

  Plus this way, if she had a falling-out with one group, she’d have the other ones to fall back on.

  See? It was just good sense.

  “So what’s so important?” he asked, maneuvering the spare tire into place with ease.

  “What?” she asked, distracted by her internal moping.

  “What’s the big hurry that you couldn’t wait for Triple A? Must be important if you resorted to knocking on my door.”

  Seconds ago, Brynn had thought her reasoning completely sound. But for some reason now, when faced with Will sitting on the hot, hard pavement wrestling with her dirty tire, it felt a bit…shallow.

  “Just an important client,” she said, striving for confident nonchalance. He was sweating, and it made his dark blond hair curl just the slightest bit and his shirt stick to his torso. It should have looked messy and unkempt. It did look messy and unkempt. It also looked…good. Really good.

  “I didn’t know there was a such thing as an important client in orthodontics.”

  “Why do you always do that?” she asked, tilting her head at him.

  “Do what?”

  “Belittle my career. You always make it sound like I sold my soul to the devil or something.”

  Will stood and absently rubbed some tire grime off his hands as he examined his handiwork. “Just seems boring to me. Not to mention superficial. You get paid God knows how much money to tell kids they need to have you fiddle with their mouths in order to be attractive.”

  “Now hold on,” she snapped. “First of all, you’re the last person to lecture me about noble careers. You’re not exactly curing cancer yourself. And second of all, several of my patients’ oral situations cause real pain and medical issues for them. I’m a doctor. Of teeth. And do you know how many little girls have sat in my chair, crying because someone made fun of their overbites? I fix that.”

  “Well. Let’s just get you a Wonder Woman cape, shall we?”

  Brynn huffed and began digging in her purse for her keys. “I don’t know why I bother.”

  “Bother with what?”

  “Talking to you!” she said, shaking her keys in his face. “Just when I think you’re going to be nice, you get me all…”

  Will took a small step closer. “Get you all what?”

/>   Brynn swallowed dryly and resisted the urge to take a step backward. He was just inches away, and if she’d been slightly sweaty before, she felt downright hot and bothered now.

  “Please step away. Your man-stench is making my hair frizz.”

  He didn’t move. “You didn’t finish your sentence. I get you all what? Riled? Panting? Hot?”

  “I was going to say ‘nauseated,’” she snapped, starting to move around him.

  He moved his body and blocked her way. “I don’t think so, Brynny.”

  She sighed and tried to look unperturbed by his presence. “What do you want, Will? Money? You want me to pay you for playing Mr. Handyman?”

  Just to piss him off, she started to pull her wallet out of her purse. His expression went stormy, just as she’d known it would.

  “Keep your money,” he growled.

  “And have you lording this over me? I don’t think so. How much do you want?”

  Brynn glanced at her watch and winced. Even with Will’s help, she was probably going to be late. In the time she’d spent arguing with him, she might as well have waited for AAA.

  At least then she wouldn’t be so…oh, damn, he was right. She was riled and hot. And possibly on the verge of panting.

  “I’ve gotta go,” she mumbled, tearing her eyes away from his. “Think about whatever ridiculous price you want to put on your little hero-task and let me know.”

  Will moved so quickly Brynn didn’t have a chance to react before he’d pressed her against the side of the car, his hands bracketing her waist.

  Then his lips were on hers, and his mouth was every bit as firm and hot and wrong as she remembered. There was nothing soft about the kiss, and she stiffened as his tongue pushed between her lips and moved in silky possession against hers. She knew what he was doing…he was punishing her, torturing her, teasing her with the knowledge that she wanted him even as she hated him.

  And she loathed knowing that he was right. She did want him. Hated that he could make her want him against her will. Still, she refused to let her hands slide around his neck to pull him closer, even as they itched to grab his head and give in to the onslaught of desire that rushed from her neck to her toes.

  Instead she clenched her fist around her keys and refused to give in to her soaring hormones, even if it was the best kiss she’d received in looong while.

  Her mind flitted to James much too late, and her eyes widened in realization.

  And guilt. Bone-searing guilt.

  James.

  She pushed at Will’s chest frantically. He pulled back and searched her eyes, and she gave him her most condescending expression. The one that said That’s right, you just kissed me senseless and I didn’t kiss you back.

  But oh God, how she’d wanted to.

  Think of James, she reminded herself.

  But James didn’t kiss like that. No nice man kissed like that.

  “Well…I’d say your price was a bit high, but I’ll consider us even,” she said haughtily as she pushed him aside and climbed into the driver’s seat.

  Will didn’t move as she closed the door and turned on the ignition. She’d been expecting a gloat, but instead he seemed…thoughtful.

  Nah. Thoughtful wasn’t in Will’s wheelhouse.

  “You’ve got a little issue there,” she said as she put on her oversized sunglasses.

  He didn’t respond, so she waved in the direction of his crotch. “You, um, seem a little…aroused.” She didn’t bother to hide the gloat in her voice.

  “What can I say? Bitchy, ungrateful women apparently do it for me,” he muttered.

  She put the car in reverse. “Thanks for helping with the tire,” she called. “And thanks for making me feel like a prostitute to pay for it.”

  Brynn gave one last jaunty wave before she began driving down the street. She hated that he’d probably leave the flat tire sitting messily in her driveway, but it was worth it to make the dramatic exit.

  And she’d needed to get out of there, fast. Another second with Will pressed against her and she wouldn’t have been thinking about braces, or the mayor’s daughter, or James. Heck, she probably wouldn’t have even made it into the office.

  Thank God she hadn’t kissed him back. She wouldn’t do that to James.

  Or to herself.

  She heard her phone vibrating in her purse, and reached for it as she pulled to a stop at a red light.

  It was a message from Will. You kiss like a houseplant. And you still owe me a favor.

  All the smugness she’d felt a moment ago began to fade. Every instinct told her that being in Will Thatcher’s debt was very, very bad news.

  CHAPTER SEVEN

  A solid career will never let you

  down the way a man can.

  —Brynn Dalton’s Rules for an

  Exemplary Life, #39

  She needn’t have worried about not making it to work on time.

  The mayor and her daughter were fifteen minutes late, and neither an apology nor an acknowledgment of the tardiness was forthcoming.

  Basically, she was indebted to the devil’s son over a flat tire for nothing. Awesome.

  “But I don’t want braces,” Lizzie Blanton said, folding her arms over her thin preteen waist, and sounding more like a spoiled five-year-old than an eighth grader.

  “I can understand that,” Brynn said with a reassuring smile. “Few kids that come in here want braces, but I can pretty much guarantee you’ll be grateful you had them when you’re grown-up.”

  Lizzie gave a huff. “That’s ages away.”

  Brynn and the mayor exchanged a commiserating glance over Lizzie’s head. Not as far as you think, honey. After her near breakdown in the bathroom on her birthday, Brynn knew all too well how fast time went. No matter how carefully you planned, no matter how diligent you were, time kept chugging along and soon you were thirty-one and falling rapidly behind on all the things you’d thought you’d have checked off by now.

  She wished someone would have told her when she was twelve not to let any of your life goals depend on someone else. Because even the most perfect guy could drag his feet to the altar and then you were screwed.

  “Dr. Dalton?”

  “I’m sorry, what?” Brynn said, forcing her attention back to her sulky patient.

  “I can wait for a couple months? At least until after yearbook pictures?”

  “I don’t see why not,” Brynn said with a careful glance at the mayor, making sure she wasn’t contradicting parental preference. “My braces recommendation for you is primarily for cosmetic reasons at this point. You won’t be doing any harm to your teeth or jaws if you hold off.”

  Actually, Lizzie Blanton’s mouth would be just fine without braces for a lifetime, but Brynn wasn’t about to volunteer that.

  Still, the cosmetically fueled recommendation brought to mind Will’s accusations that her career choice was superficial and shallow.

  He was wrong.

  She knew firsthand that having straight teeth wasn’t always about vanity.

  Sometimes it was about confidence.

  Twenty minutes later, the mayor and her daughter were off to buy some frilly “fro-yo” milkshake the mayor had promised, and Brynn was in her office reading a mind-numbing article about some newfangled retainer.

  But she couldn’t concentrate.

  It seemed she couldn’t go two minutes without some flare of self-doubt creeping into her brain, and the latest offender was wondering why she’d busted her ass to get to work for such a mundane appointment.

  Not that there was anything wrong with the daughter or the mother, but they’d been pretty standard patients. She waited for the zip of excitement that she’d just met the mayor. But…nothing.

  Knock it off. You love your job. You’re just irritated because you let Will Thatcher kiss you.

  And the kiss had been fierce and unwanted. And if she’d felt a little bit of a tingle, it’d definitely been irritation. Not lust.

&nb
sp; Brynn jumped at a knock on the door, seeing her partner and friend standing in the doorway.

  “So how’d it go with the pseudo-celeb’s daughter? Was she a total prima donna?” Susan Wee asked.

  Brynn smiled in welcome, gesturing her partner into her office. As far as work relationships went, Brynn and Susan were perfectly suited.

  They were both calm, and friendly without being bubbly. Most importantly, they were damn good orthodontists.

  When Brynn had decided to start her own practice, she’d known a partner would be inevitable, but finding someone she could trust and who wouldn’t drive her nuts had taken longer than expected. Susan was younger than Brynn had wanted—only a couple years out of school—but her work was flawless and her chair-side manner was perfect.

  The fact that the women had become friends was icing on the cake.

  “I wouldn’t say Lizzie Blanton is a prima donna,” Brynn said, idly tapping her pen against her desk. “She is, however, a major brat.”

  Susan shrugged as she dropped into the chair across from Brynn. “She’s twelve. Of course she’s a brat.”

  “I don’t think I was,” Brynn mused, pursing her lips.

  “Me neither,” Susan said cheekily. “I was a perfect child. And pretty perfect now, if I do say so myself.”

  Brynn forced herself to smile back. It was a long-running joke between the two of them. Perfect jobs, perfect boyfriends, perfect lives…

  It was supposed to be a point of pride, having crafted her dream life through sheer organization and hard work.

  But today it felt…stale.

  Damn Will Thatcher.

  Her wave of self-doubt should have been limited to one day of birthday blues, but instead her discontent had been hovering above her head like a cartoon storm cloud. His unexpected presence brought back too many memories of her less-than-stellar moments.

  Like the time she’d keyed his car. Or the time she’d told his junior-year girlfriend that he was gay.

  Or the time she’d woken up in his bed. Naked.

  Don’t go there. The man had no bearing on her future.

 
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