Copyright © 2018 by Marie Rochelle
Advice columnist Shay January had the ability to fix her fan’s love lives, but when it came to her own, her skills were non-existent. She always only had one wish in her life and that was to fall in love with a man who would love her for herself.
Flaws and all.
Tate Davidson had played the field most of his life. So much that his brother had given up hope on him ever growing up and setting down. He’d never encountered a woman who made him want to give up his bachelorhood until he met Shay January.
Could he prove to Shay that he was finally ready to become a changed man? Or would one misunderstanding take away theonlywoman he wanted in his life forever?
“Shay, where are you going?” A deep masculine voice questioned, stopping her escape from the noisy celebration. “You aren’t actually leaving the reception without telling me goodbye, are you?”
Shit! She was so close to making it outside and away from him. Her hand was just mere inches from wrapping around the door handle. Where in the hell had he come from? When she last glanced around the room, he had been surrounded by every single smiling female, despite the fact he had shown up with his gorgeous Katy Perry-looking girlfriend.
Damn it! Why did he have to find her? Shay was beyond pissed that she hadn’t moved fast enough to get out of the building before he noticed she was gone. For some reason, he had become her shadow.
What made him leave his plus-one and seek her out instead?
“Yes, I’m leaving,” Shay answered without looking at the person behind her. Hopefully he would get the hint and leave her alone. He needed to go back into the ballroom to his stunning date or any other woman who wanted his attention, but not her.
“You can’t leave yet,” he informed her. “I won’t let you.”
She rolled her eyes. “Why can’t I leave?” Why did I even ask the question, because I know I’m not going to like the answer.
“Is there a reason you aren’t looking at me? Are you going to make me talk to the back of your head for the rest of our conversation?” he asked. “If you think that will make me leave you alone, then you don’t know me that well. I will stand here until you look at me.”
Sighing, Shay January spun around, staring up into the brilliant, dark blue eyes of the very handsome Tate Davidson. She didn’t have to look at him because she already knew what he looked like. She saw him every single time she went to visit Keri Walker at Davidson Financial. Well, now her best friend was Keri Davidson since she’d just married Richie, Tate’s older and much nicer brother, in a beautiful ceremony. It was something any princess would have been jealous of.
“Alright, I’m looking at you but I’m not going to change my mind about leaving. I need to get home. I’ve already told your brother Richie and Keri congratulations on their marriage before I left. They had an exquisite wedding. I’ve had a really good time being the maid of honor, but I’m tired so I’m out of here.”
Please just leave me alone and let me get home.
Keri was more like a sister to her than a best friend, and she would do anything in the world for Keri. So, she accepted her duties as maid of honor. Now that Keri was happily married it meant her job was over and she was out of here. All she wanted to do was get into a nice, hot bath and relax before working on some letters for her column, which was due in a couple of days.
Well, she thought she was out until Tate decided to hunt her down. Shit, what would he possibly want with her?
“Mr. Davidson, what can I do for you?” Shay asked, hoping he would make it quick. She had a hard enough time fighting her attraction for him when other people were around. It was almost impossible to do at this very moment with him standing so close to her.
Tate’s eyes narrowed at her. “Aren’t you breaking with tradition? I thought you were a rule follower.”
Shay sighed before continuing. “Tradition? I don’t have a clue what you are talking about.”
Why is he talking in code?
“I thought the maid of honor was supposed to at least dance once with the best man at the wedding,” Tate answered, giving her a boyish grin “You have been avoiding me all night long. Every time I’ve come in your direction you got away from me. However, now that I caught you, Shay, you aren’t going to escape. I want that dance. You know that I’m right.”
Her mouth fell open and then she quickly closed it. Is he out of his mind? There was no way in hell she was allowing herself to be wrapped up inside Tate’s strong arms and pressed against his hard, muscular body. She wouldn’t be able to keep her secret if she let him that close into her personal space. He would know how much she wanted him. No, it wasn’t going to happen.
Tate couldn’t know what it would do to her to be out on that dance floor with him. She wasn’t about to embarrass herself in a roomful of Keri and Richie’s guests. Her leg was killing her and trying to dance on it would only make her limp worse. Earlier, it had taken everything she had to even go down the aisle with Keri’s family and friends watching her.
Besides, she had stood on her leg too long during the nuptials. She’d been ready to leave after twenty minutes. However, she hadn’t wanted to disappoint Keri by not being there on the biggest day of her life.
Nothing was going to take her away from her plans already laid out in her head. Not even a few moments in the well-defined arms of the gorgeous man standing in front of her. He would probably fill her dreams tonight like he had done ever since she first saw him at Keri’s house over two years ago.
She prayed Tate wouldn’t give her any problems. She wasn’t up to fighting with him tonight. “I’m sorry. I guess I’ve to break with tradition tonight, but I’m leaving. I’m pretty sure the woman you came with wouldn’t mind taking my place,” Shay said.
Tate’s smile grew even wider as he stared down at her. “My date does love being the center of attention, but that probably comes from her being a fashion model. She will dance with any guy here if someone is looking at her. I doubt she will be upset if we share one little dance,” he replied, winking at her. “I mean, we have to show everyone how it’s done. So, are you ready to go back into the party with me?”
Crossing her arms under her breasts, she held Tate’s steady gaze with her own. “Isn’t she your date? Why are you talking about her like she is someone you just met an hour ago?”
“Yes, she might be my plus-one but that doesn’t mean Vanessa is my girlfriend or anything. I needed someone on my arm, so I called her up and here we are. Speaking of dates, why didn’t you bring someone with you?”
Dropping her arms in disbelief, Shay stared at Tate before shaking her head. She wasn’t in the mood for his teasing. Not tonight, when her knee was throbbing. It was taking everything she had in her to stand here and have this simple conversation with him.
“Why are you asking me something you already know the answer to?” Shay demanded, tired of dealing with Tate.
Turning around, she opened the door and walked out. Shay was trying not to limp any worse than she had to do as she made her way towards her car in the parking lot. How could he ask her something so insensitive? Tate knew no one would want to be her date to a wedding, not with her disability. He really needed to stop asking her dumb questions all the time. It was beginning to wear on her nerves.
“Shay, wait,” Tate said a second before his long fingers wrapped around her elbow. “I─”
“Tate, there you are,” an unfamiliar female voice hollered behind them. “I’ve been looking all over the wedding reception for you. What are you doing outside with her?”
Shay glanced down at Tate’s fingers, then over her shoulder at Vanessa, who was staring at them with a slight scowl on her perfect face.
“Hmmm… I think your plus-one actually thinks she’s your real date,” Shay whispered, shaking off his touch. “Why don’t you go to her, so I can leave?”
“She isn’t,” he told her. “Please stay. I really want to dance with you, Shay. I’ve been looking forward to it all night. I promise I won’t keep you out on the dance floor too long.”
She wasn’t in the mood for Tate’s pity attention. She knew he was only being nice to her because either Richie or Keri asked him to do it. She hadn’t forgotten the look of discomfort that crossed his face when he first saw her limping at Keri’s house.
Tate had only taken a quick glance at her before he turned away and gave his complete attention to his future sister-in-law. He was only being nice out of loyalty to his family. But he didn’t have to do it because she wasn’t interested in pretending, they were anything more than acquaintances.
“I better go,” Shay said, easing away from Tate until she put a good distance between them. “Go back to your date and enjoy the rest of the reception.”
Making her way across the parking lot, Shay stopped at her car, unlocked it and got inside. Closing the door behind her, she rested her forehead on the steering wheel, trying to block out some of the shooting pain. Once she got it under control, Shay lifted her head, started her vehicle and drove off without bothering to even look at Tate and his date.
She truly wasn’t concerned about what either one of them was thinking about her. All she wanted to do was take care of the pain in her leg before it got too bad. Nothing else mattered for the rest of the night besides reliving the ache in her bone.