Seven

By: Claire Kent

The Wager




Amy peeked beyond a rack of romance novels so she could see whether Owen was flirting with the pretty blonde who always worked Saturdays at this used bookstore.

Owen charmed every woman he talked to—females from eight to eighty—but Amy decided he wasn’t really flirting with the blonde. She was flirting with him. No doubt about that. But he was just being his normal, charming self.

Not only was Owen gorgeous, with his light-brown hair, blue eyes, classic features, and a body that could prompt drooling even in the coolest of observers, but he also had a posh British accent that drove American women wild. His company had sent him from London to their Baltimore office just for the year. So, with his accent and his looks and his irresistible smile, Amy was used to women falling all over themselves to get his attention.

She’d had to resist the urge to do the same thing five months ago when she’d first met him in this very bookstore.

Amy read mostly on her ereader, but she’d been looking for a book that day that wasn’t out in ebook version. Owen was a self-proclaimed Luddite who preferred to read from pages he could touch. That afternoon, she’d noticed him, of course, as he’d been browsing the history section, but she would have just admired his broad shoulders and tight ass from afar had he not turned his head and caught her leering.

He’d gradually made his way over to her—moving from the biographies to the inspirational section to the mysteries. She’d kept shooting little glances at him, to verify that he was indeed approaching with only thinnest pretense of browsing. Every time she looked over, he’d grab a random book and peruse it with a barely suppressed smile. It turned into a game, with both of them sustaining the façade of disinterest until they were side by side in the paranormal section.

She couldn’t believe it was happening. Hot men didn’t approach her in bookstores. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

But he’d finally made a dry, straight-faced comment about how he thought werewolves were overrated as lovers because of the inevitable wet-dog smell, and Amy had burst into surprised laughter.

They’d started to talk about books. Before she knew it, she was telling him about her small-town upbringing and her one visit to the U.K. She’d been powerless to resist his invitation for coffee. They’d spent the whole day together and then the night together in a hotel.

Amy’s life was neat, orderly, and under control. She liked it that way. Right now, she was focusing on her career, still being in the early stages of establishing her dental practice. Just living in the city was slightly overwhelming for her, after being raised in a rural area, so it took all the time and energy she had to do her work well and not feel like she’d get swept away in the chaos. Later, once she had her career well under control, she would get serious about relationships. Not right now, though.

So, when Owen said he’d like to keep seeing her but it couldn’t be serious, she’d thought that sounded just about perfect.

For the last five months, they’d gotten together every weekend for hot sex and stimulating conversation. They’d set very clear ground rules for how the relationship would work, though. It was just sex and a good time. No feelings allowed. Owen was returning to London on a certain date, where his family, friends, and life were, and Amy wasn’t about to move across the Atlantic and give up the career she was building here.

But six months of great sex? Neither of them was about to refuse that.

So, for any number of reasons, Amy had no right to feel jealous or resentful of the little blonde, who was beaming up at Owen and now putting her hand on his arm—ostensibly to emphasize a point. Amy wasn’t Owen’s girlfriend, and she only had twenty-eight days left to be with him at all. If he wanted to fall in love with this blonde, he had every right to do so.

Amy wanted to claw her eyes out anyway.

She wished Owen would stop smiling at the blonde. Surely he knew how deadly his smile was. Humility had never been one of his character qualities. He should know it wasn’t fair of him to be flashing that smile around to hapless females and then expect them to go back to their days as if he hadn’t left them as puddles of goo in his wake.

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