Off Limits (Sparks in Texas Book 4)By: Mari Carr
One year earlier…
“Closing time,” Lacy Sparks said, gently tapping on Logan’s shoulder. He’d been looking down at his beer so long he had almost forgotten where he was.
“I thought maybe you’d found a way to sleep with your eyes open,” she teased.
He glanced up at her, and then let his gaze wander around the restaurant. He was surprised to find the place empty. Where the hell did everyone go?
Her cousin, Macie was behind the bar, wiping the counter and he could hear Sydney in the kitchen, washing dishes. Lacy had already cleaned the dining area and he hadn’t noticed them doing any of it.
“No problem. I’ll walk you home,” she offered.
Logan wasn’t drunk. Not even close. After all, he’d nursed the last still-full beer for over an hour. But he wasn’t going to turn down the offer of company. Especially Lacy’s. She was one of the reasons he’d returned to Sparks Barbeque tonight. He’d been here earlier with her brother, Evan. His best friend since first grade, Evan had picked him up after work and declared they were going out for happy hour. His friend had been hell-bent on cheering him up. After all, Logan had just gotten dumped. For the first time.
Logan had dated lots of girls, but in the end, he’d always been the heartbreaker because none of them had captured his affections. Until he met Jane.
He should consider himself lucky. Not many men made it too the ripe old age of thirty-three without ever having their hearts ripped out. Of course, the more he thought about it, the more he realized it wasn’t his heart Jane had just tromped all over. It was his pride. His heart had walked out of the relationship about six months ago.
He and Evan had eaten dinner, kicked back a few beers and then Evan had dropped him off at his place. Logan had taken one look around the quiet apartment and then walked the two blocks back to the restaurant. He preferred noise to silence, and there was something very soothing about Lacy’s Uncle TJ’s off-color stories, Macie’s boisterous laughter, and the sweet way Lacy kept stopping by to check on him. When you were with the Sparks family, it was easy to forget what ailed you. The pressure that had taken permanent residence on his chest since Jane moved out last week lifted when he was here.
God. He shouldn’t have bothered coming back. He was shitty company. “Sorry,” he repeated.
Lacy reached out to clasp his hand, giving it a quick, comforting squeeze. “You ready to go?”
He nodded. “Yeah, but shouldn’t I be offering to walk you home?”
She grinned. “I live five blocks from here and I walk myself home every night. Besides, your place is on my way.”
Logan reached for his wallet, but she waved off his money when he tried to pay for the beer. “It’s on me.”
Rather than fight about it, she simply pulled her jacket on and walked to the front door leaving him no choice but to follow. “Night, Macie,” she called out.
“Night, y’all,” her cousin replied wearily. It had been a busy night at the restaurant and they were obviously pooped.
Once they stepped out onto the sidewalk, Lacy obviously decided to take the bull by the horns. “I know you’re upset about Jane. If you ever need someone to talk to, I’m a pretty good listener.”
There was no debating that. While he’d been Evan’s friend growing up, once they became adults, Lacy had stopped being the kid sister and became a friend in her own right. She was one of the most upbeat people he’d ever met. An eternal optimist. Logan liked the humor and positive energy that seemed to surround her all the time.
“I’m not sure there’s much to talk about. The breakup had been coming for a while. Not like it was a total shock.”
He didn’t bother to lie. Logan nodded. “Yeah. Some old boyfriend from back home. Apparently they’ve been chatting on Facebook for nearly a year.”
“Fucking Facebook,” she said with a grin.
The joke worked. He laughed, but didn’t bother to say Jane’s flirting over social media had very little to do with what really broke up the relationship. And it certainly wasn’t anything he could explain to Lacy. Not fully anyway. God only knew what she’d say if he went into all the gory details.