Home > Just What I Needed (Need You #2)(7)

Just What I Needed (Need You #2)(7)
Author: Lorelei James


“Why?”

“The interior designer they hired is a nutjob. She wanted the walls to have flair. I told her the walls need to be structurally sound. She actually asked if I could keep three random sections of the lath-and-plaster wall intact and ‘open’ so her designs could pay homage to the ‘bones’ of the building’s past.” I shook my head, still in total disbelief about that idiotic idea. “Yeah. No problem. There’s no reason to fix the water-damaged sections of the walls and ceilings because cracked plaster looks so freakin’ cool covered in shimmery blue paint as it’s falling down on top of you.”

Brady laughed. “You could totally mess with Mom and tell her you’ve got your eye on a feisty interior decorator, but neither of you wants to pursue a relationship outside of working hours until the job is done. That’d buy you . . . what, another year?”

“You are one devious bastard. No wonder no one screws with you at Lund Industries.”

He flashed me a sharklike smile. “Only one person I want screwing with me.”

I smirked back at him. “How is the lovely Lennox?”

“Amazing.”

“Annika was singing her praises the other night when I went over and fixed her broken closet door.”

“She loves working in Annika’s department. I love the fact she’s kept PR’s office budget in line for the first time in two years.”

“You two totally geek out together about numbers, don’t you?”

“Yes. I finally found a woman who understands that talking about a balanced P&L and above-average quarterly projections makes me hot. One of these days you’ll find a woman who’ll gaze at you adoringly while you yammer on about the benefits of using your big tool to hammer on hard wood.”

“Wow. I’m disappointed you didn’t work ‘nailing her’ into that sentence.” I drained the last of my beer. “In all seriousness, I am happy for you, Brady. I don’t want you to think I resent you.”

He raised both eyebrows. “Wait. You don’t blame me for Mom’s recent matchmaking threats?”

“Oh, I totally blame you. I just wanted to clarify that I don’t resent you.”

“Good to know.”

I shrugged.

“So let me clarify something. You’re not involved with anyone right now purely to spite Mom? No offense, but that’s some fucked-up logic.”

“Mom doesn’t have that much control over my life—my job does. I’ve been busting ass since this spring trying to keep my various projects running on schedule. At the end of a long workweek, I’m too freakin’ tired to hit the bars. After the other night, when I did meet a woman I might be interested in? She gave me a fake name and number. That just drove home the point I suck at the whole dating thing.” Heaven knew I had plenty of bad experiences to back up that statement.

Brady cocked his head. “Wait—run that by me again.”

There was no way to spin it so I didn’t look like a loser who needed my mother’s matchmaking skills, so I didn’t bother. “What’s hard to understand? I. Suck. At. Dating.”

“Bullshit.”

“Yeah? That’s why you guys call me a magnet for crazy?”

“That’s better than Nolan insisting you only date women who need fixing,” Brady reminded me. “But still . . . you haven’t brought a woman to any family thing since before I met Lennox.”

“Exactly. I’m out of practice for this dating shit since I’m team captain of ‘Hit It and Quit It.’”

“I’ve seen you in action. Chicks fall all over themselves for a chance to run their fingers through your long golden locks or to stroke your beard.”

“Piss. Off.”

“I’m serious. The last family brunch you attended at the club? Lennox kept pointing out the women who were checking you out in all your lumbersexual glory.”

I repeated, “Piss. Off.”

He held up his hands. “Don’t snap at me because you’re so busy trying to avoid Mom’s attempts to fix you up that you’re missing other opportunities.”

“Yeah, Mr. Love Connection? So why did my most recent opportunity give me a fake name and number?”

“I don’t know. Tell me what happened.”

Like I wanted to relive that. “Forget it.”

“No can do. Talk.”

“Fine. I had an early-evening appointment with Bob Higgins at his office downtown. He was a total douche and I needed a drink to wash away the bad taste I’d gotten from the meeting, so I walked into the first bar I saw. I’m scouting the joint for a place to sit and I’m there . . . maybe a minute when this sexy brunette marches up, twines herself around me and lays a big wet kiss on me. My first thought was that it was a ‘Kiss a Stranger’ bachelorette party dare.”

“Was it?”

I shook my head. “Her friend had ditched her and then her ex and his new squeeze showed up in the bar. She wanted to save face . . . by sucking mine, evidently.” Just thinking about that kiss was enough to get me riled up again because it was good. Damn good. And she knew it was too.

“Dude. That stuff never happened to me when I was single.”

“It doesn’t happen to me either. We started talking and I found out her name is Amelia Carlson. We shared a brief rundown of our crappy days. Things were going really well. She wasn’t looking over my shoulder to see if the ex was paying attention to us. She was invested in the conversation—so was I. I made sure she knew I wasn’t playing her, looking for a quick hookup. Sounds freakin’ lame, but we connected and she agreed to go out with me. But before I could pin her down for a day and time, Dallas called in a panic.”

“Did her damn car die again?” Brady demanded.

“Yes. So when I got there, I told the tow truck driver to drop it off at my mechanic’s place. I don’t know why she’s so dead set against buying a new car. It’s not like she doesn’t have the money.” Then something occurred to me. “Maybe it’s a college thing. She wants to struggle like her friends who have shitty cars and no cash?”

“Who knows with Dallas? Maybe she should’ve been looking for the ‘check engine’ light instead of looking at the sky for an astrological sign. Back to the story about fake-name-and-number chick.”

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