Your Alluring Love (The Bennett Family)(2)

By: Layla Hagen


“You are amazing. I can’t believe I missed so much,” I say after she finishes.

“Then stick around. Are you here to stay this time?”

I shake my head, sipping my bourbon. “Moving to London in three weeks.”

She casts her eyes toward her glass. “Moving?”

“Yeah. I got the job of executive producer for The 300.”

The 300 is an internationally successful, long-running English show, and it’s taken me years of hard work to finally have my shot at being at the helm.

“Congratulations.”

I elbow her playfully. “Might want to sound a little more enthusiastic.”

“I am happy for you. I know how much you love the show. But we’re going to see even less of you from now on, huh? I always admired people who could just move wherever they found a job they loved. Won’t you feel lonely? But then again, I suppose you’re used to it, what with all your traveling.”

Her question is legitimate, and I’ve asked myself the same thing. The truth is, all these years while I was traveling I imagined that whenever I would settle down, it would be in San Francisco. But then the opportunity of a lifetime came up, and I won’t throw it away just because I have to start a new life overseas. But hell, I would have loved for this loud and boisterous clan to be a bigger part of my life again, like they used to.

“You can visit often,” I assure her.

“I’d love to. Those Brits and their accents are so sexy.”

I grip my glass tighter, the thought of Alice and another man not sitting well with me, which is ridiculous. She and I always had a dangerous dynamic, always danced a little too close to the flirting line, but she’s not mine. I have no claim on her. I repeat the mantra in my mind a few times as Alice tugs at her lower lip with her teeth.

“You can stay with me when you visit.”

“Thanks. I don’t like hotels much. Always prefer a friend’s couch over it.”

I lean slightly toward her, my eyes still on her lower lip.

“You can even have my bed.”

Alice exhales sharply, right before she bursts out laughing.

“That’s not what I meant. I was saying you could have my bed, and I’d sleep on the couch.”

“Such a gentleman.”

“How else can I keep up with those sophisticated Brits?”

It takes her a few seconds to calm down, and then she flashes me a megawatt grin. “I was going to mock you for the worst pickup line in history. You sure you didn’t mean it?”

Her cheeks are red and the flush is spreading down her beautiful neck, which tells me I’m not the only one who entertained thoughts of the two of us crossing the line of friendship, heading straight to full-blown flirting. The things I’d do to this woman between the sheets. Damn, I need to keep my head straight.

Alice deserves someone to take care of her, make sure she’s always happy. All things I can’t even attempt to give her, considering my imminent departure.

“I’d never dare to,” I tease. “Your brothers would kick my ass.”

She clutches her heart theatrically. “I’m wounded. After telling me you think me capable of the perfect murder, you think I need my brothers to do the ass kicking for me?”

Laughing, I shake my head. I always laugh way more when Alice is around. She raises her glass to her mouth, and on an impulse, I cuff her wrist midair, rubbing my thumb in little circles. I notice with satisfaction as goose bumps form on the skin of her arms.

“I missed your smart mouth, Alice.”

She parts her lips, and I’d bet anything that she’s about to serve me a sassy reply, but Blake joins us before she can utter a single word.



***

Alice



Nate lets go of my wrist the moment Blake pulls up a chair in front of us. My skin is still tingling where he touched me. This man is too potent, I swear. It doesn’t help that I’ve had a crush on him for years. With dark hair, piercing green eyes, and a lean but muscle-laced body, he’s pure temptation. Always has been, but like fine wine, Nathan Becker gets more irresistible as time goes by.

“Alice, don’t monopolize Nate,” Blake says. “He’s a hard man to get a hold of.”