Home > Savor (Billionaire Bachelors Club #3)(5)

Savor (Billionaire Bachelors Club #3)(5)
Author: Monica Murphy

Like a nightmare. Like a handout. I should say no. I don’t want to feel beholden to anyone. Bad enough I feel that way toward my boss. I owe him so much and he hasn’t a clue.

I don’t want Ivy to feel like she has to take care of me either. So embarrassing.

“Just say yes, Bryn. Come on.” Ivy’s tone is cajoling, and I give in because I’m a weak suck, and I can’t help myself.

“Fine. I’ll do it. But I have final say on everything, okay? All the shopping options and whatnot,” I tell her, my voice firm.

“Yay! You won’t regret this, I swear.” I can literally hear the excitement in her voice. Maybe this shopping excursion means more to her than I originally thought. “Oh, and Bryn?”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t tell Matt about this shopping trip okay?”

“Oookay.”

Well.

That was weird.

Chapter Two

Bryn

WE MEET FOR lunch at Ivy’s friend’s place of business in downtown St. Helena. The Autumn Harvest Bakery and Café is super cute and super popular, if the crowds of people in line to purchase sandwiches, baked goods, and coffee drinks are any indication. The moment I walked in I wondered if we’d be able to find somewhere to sit.

Until I noticed a pregnant Ivy waving frantically from a table on the far side of the café and relief flooded me.

I wind my way through the crowded restaurant, my gaze going to the menu, which is written in chalk on a giant blackboard hanging above the counter. The soup and sandwich options sound amazing and my stomach growls in anticipation.

Yikes. Hope that doesn’t happen when I meet Ivy’s friend. Talk about making a tacky first impression.

“Bryn! So good to see you.” Ivy hops up from the table and envelops me in a hug like I’m her long-lost friend. I return the gesture, oddly touched by her affection since I never really get that sort of thing anymore.

I withdraw from Ivy first and smile at the woman who’s now standing next to her. She’s young, with long blonde hair pulled back into a loose ponytail and cool, assessing blue eyes. “This is my friend Marina Knight,” Ivy says, gesturing at Marina with a wave of her hand. “She’s the owner of Autumn Harvest and my future sister-in-law.”

“Stop, please.” Marina rolls her eyes. “Your brother hasn’t made it official yet.”

“Trust me, he will.” Ivy laughs. “Marina, this is Bryn James. She’s Matt’s assistant.”

“Oooh.” That long, dragged out sound is telling. “I’ve heard lots about you.” I both dread and long to know what they’ve said.

“Nice to meet you,” I tell Marina as I shake her hand. All formal and business-like, I sound good. Calm and collected when usually this type of stressful situation tends to bring my Texan out.

It took me over a year to learn how to talk without all those twangs and y’alls but it sure doesn’t take much for me to slip right back into it if I don’t watch out.

“Great to meet you too,” Marina says with a touch too much enthusiasm. “Ivy’s told me so much about you.”

Really? I’m stunned. I figured they might’ve gossiped about me in passing but that’s it. Why in the world would Ivy talk about me to her friend? I’m so in the dark this afternoon I’m scared I won’t survive it.

We all sit down and Marina goes over the menu, explaining what she thinks are the best dishes and expounding on their specials of the day. Once we’ve decided, she calls one of her employees over and he takes our orders—a special perk of being with the owner.

Everyone else has to stand in line and place their order at the counter.

“So Ivy said you want a makeover.”

“I never said any such thing,” I tell Marina, sending a surprised glance in Ivy’s direction. She maintains an expression of innocence, looking downright angelic. I see her devil horns peeking through her hair though.

“Come on, Bryn. You wouldn’t refuse a pregnant woman, would you?” Ivy blinks at me, the epitome of sweetness and light and my hard feelings at being pushed into something I didn’t want to do melt a little.

“You’re going to use that excuse as long as you can, aren’t you?” Marina asks, rolling her eyes.

I know right then I’ll like Marina.

“The entire pregnancy, absolutely,” Ivy confirms, smiling. “Bryn, I can tell you’re uncomfortable with this, but please. I’m a hormonal pregnant lady who wants nothing more than to have fun today. And having fun means finding you a gorgeous dress and going to the spa.”

Just the word spa has dread curling in my stomach. Spa equals expensive. I should know. I’ve never been to one because I can’t afford it.

“You’re scaring her, Ivy,” Marina says, her voice low. “Stop laying it on so thick. Maybe you should tell her the truth.”

The truth? That sounds ominous. But there’s no truth to be told, at least not yet. Ivy merely smiles at me, then changes the subject. We talk about everything and nothing while we wait for our food, Marina and Ivy chattering on while I interject when asked. Other than that, I remain silent, drinking in the cute yet hip atmosphere of the café.

Our lunches finally arrive and I dive right in, holding nothing back. I’m freaking starved and usually I eat at home, rarely going out, only because I know hardly anyone. And, since I don’t cook, I eat pitiful meals that consist of Lean Cuisine microwaved meals or premade salads I pick up at the local grocery store. After I finish, they always leave me feeling empty and unsatisfied.

Kind of like my life.

Halfway through my sandwich, I realize the other women aren’t eating. Glancing up from my plate, I catch both Ivy and Marina staring at me like I’m an alien who just landed on planet Earth.

I slowly chew what’s in my mouth then swallow, setting the sandwich carefully on my plate. “Um, do I have something on my face?”

Marina shakes her head. “Do you never eat? Because you’re acting like a starved woman.”

“I don’t get out much,” I admit, feeling infinitely stupid.

“Give her a break and take it as a compliment. Clearly she loves your sandwiches,” Ivy says, her smile kind.

“I’m not giving her a hard time. I just . . . we don’t normally see girls our age devour a sandwich like that,” Marina explains.

This makes me feel even worse. I’m an absolute pig. But I eat such crappy meals, and I really don’t think a soup and sandwich indulgence will do me any harm.

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