Wish I May

Wish I May by Lexi Ryan

Book: Wish I May by Lexi Ryan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lexi Ryan
Tags: Romance, Contemporary
want anything to do with me.”
    I cross my arms. “You heard, or she wanted to work for you and you turned her away?”
    A rush of pink moves up her neck and blooms in her cheeks. “She told you?”
    I shrug. “It came up.”
    She dries her hands on a towel and sighs. “I’m not a bitch, you know? But my business means everything to me, and I had to make a hard decision.”
    I’m not sure the decision was that difficult, but I can hardly be upset about it. Not when the result puts Cally so close to me. “It’s going to work out after all. She’s renting the apartment above the gallery, and she’ll run her business out of there.”
    Her lips form a perfect circle of surprise. “Are you sure that’s a good idea? People will think you approve of what she does.”
    My jaw tightens. “What do you mean by that?”
    She lifts her chin. “I mean, her mom gave twenty-dollar hand jobs in her massage parlor. Maybe worse. Whether it’s fair or not, people are going to assume like mother, like daughter.”
    I have to give Meredith credit for putting it out there like that. Most people tiptoe around the rumors. Regardless— “That’s bullshit.”
    “Of course it is.” She frowns. “Total bullshit. But people believe what they believe. It could really hurt the gallery. Just think about it.”
    I cross to Grandma’s liquor stash beside the sink and pour myself two fingers of brandy. I shoot half of it back without tasting it. “I’ve thought about it. And my mind’s made up.”
    “You’re a good guy. She’s lucky to have you.”
    I shake my head. “It’s not like that,” I say, then I toss back the rest of the brandy.
    “I promise I had nothing to do with tonight,” she says softly. “In fact, I’m a little embarrassed, but you know how Grandma and her friends go rogue in their matchmaking efforts. When I found out Cally was back, it was obvious why you started blowing me off. I don’t want to be in the way.”
    And the Asshole of the Year award goes to me . I drag a hand through my hair. “I didn’t mean to blow you off. I thought we were keeping things casual.” Fuck. I even sound like an asshat.
    Her cheeks bloom red again. “This is so embarrassing. I thought…I mean, when we seemed to get along so well.”
    Dammit. “I never meant to give you the wrong idea.”
    She holds up her hands. “It’s totally my fault. I just hadn’t wanted anything serious and then you….” She shakes her head. “See? Totally embarrassing. But no harm, no foul, right? I mean, we’re on the same page now, and you can carry on with Cally without worrying about me.”
    “I’m sorry, Meredith.”
    “Don’t be. Please. I owe you the apology.” She drops her voice to a whisper. “I’ve been too much of a coward to tell my grandmother you’re not interested, and I just want her off my back for a little bit, you know? I really hope you don’t mind. I promise to tell her soon.”
    “So here we are.” I take the carafe and finish preparing the coffee. “I don’t suppose it would help if I told you that you can do better than me?”
    Her cheeks flush. “I think we both know that’s not true.”
    She’s really pretty, but her red-tinged cheeks only have me comparing her to Cally, which isn’t fair since all I’ve been able to think about for days is the way Cally responded to my touch in the back of that restaurant.
    I press the brew button on the machine and pour myself a cup of coffee from the thermos on the counter.
    “Grandma just wants great-grandbabies. And you know what? Things not working out between us was good for me.”
    “It was?”
    “I realized I just need to do it.”
    I raise a brow. “Do what, exactly?”
    “I’ve decided not to wait on babies,” Meredith says in a rush. “So, even though I’d really like it if we could still be friends, it’s probably good that you won’t be around much. I don’t want my store-bought sperm to get jealous.”
    I choke on my coffee. “I’m

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