Just a Bit

By: Alessandra Hazard

“How do you know all of that?” Sela asked, looking at James again. He had stopped talking on his phone and started eating his lunch, glancing at the entrance expectantly from time to time. Gosh, he really was super cute. There was a warmth about him that made him look sleepy and soft and all kinds of  lovely. Sela felt silly thinking about a guy like that, but the word fit. James was lovely.

“He’s a regular here,” Amanda replied. “I couldn’t help but overhear some stuff when he talked to his friend. Speaking of Ryan…” She nodded toward the entrance with a crooked smile and sighed.

Sela turned her head and said, “Oh.”

Because the guy who had just entered the restaurant was easily the hottest man she’d ever seen.

He was over six feet tall, with a firmly muscled body and broad shoulders. He had black unruly hair, a chiseled jaw with a five o’clock shadow, and deep green eyes that were positively sinful. Sela had never thought eyes could be sexy, but this guy’s were.

If James made her think of long, slow love-making and silky sheets, his friend made her think of dirty, rough sex.

“I know, right?” Amanda said with another sigh.

“Tell me he’s single,” Sela said, following Ryan with her eyes as he made his way to James’s table. He moved like a big cat.

Amanda laughed. “The hottest ones are always taken, sweetie. So forget about them. Yes, they’re hot, but they’re both completely unavailable.”


James Grayson watched his best friend of fourteen years make his way toward him—along with the rest of the customers in the quiet restaurant. He smiled ruefully. Ryan tended to have that effect on people.

“I can’t believe you ordered without me,” Ryan said, dropping himself into the seat next to him.

“So rude. Where are your manners, Lord Exmouth?”

Chuckling, James returned his attention to his pasta. “I guess eventually you were bound to rub off on me. Dad has always warned me about it. I should have heeded his advice.”

“Your dad hates me,” Ryan said, grabbing a fork, stabbing it into James’s pasta and scooping a forkful into his mouth.

“Help yourself,” James said, not without sarcasm. When Ryan just smiled shamelessly, James let out a long-suffering sigh. Ryan was impossible. “I ordered for you, too. Could you wait a few more minutes?”

“I could,” Ryan said with the same maddeningly lazy smile. “But yours always tastes better.”

Snorting, James averted his eyes and resumed eating. He wasn’t going to ask Ryan why he was late. He wasn’t.

“Sorry for being late,” Ryan said, as if reading his thoughts. “Hannah asked me to drop her off at her dad’s office nearby. We got a bit distracted along the way.”

James didn’t need to look at him to know he was smirking. “I’m eating,” he said. “Please spare me the sordid details.”

Ryan laughed a little, knocking their knees beneath the table. “Prude.”

“Gentlemen don’t kiss and tell. Ever heard of that?”

“I only tell you, and you don’t count. And I’ve never claimed to be a gentleman. We can’t all know names of our dead relatives to thirty generations back.”

James sighed. “You will never let me live that down, will you?”

Ryan laughed. “Nope. Because your life is ridiculous.”

It kind of was.

James smiled faintly and looked around the restaurant. “Those waitresses are making eyes at you.” They always did.

Ryan glanced over. “The redhead is pretty cute,” he said. “A few months ago I would have totally hit that.”

James reached for his tea and took a liberal swallow. His throat felt dry. He took another gulp.

“So you’re serious about Hannah?” he said casually, setting the cup down. Ever since Ryan had met Hannah a few months ago, he’d been completely fixated on her. James had never seen him so besotted before. Ryan had always been the type to fuck ‘em and leave ‘em—until Hannah.

“Yeah,” Ryan said, his voice softening. “She’s…I think she’s the real deal, Jamie.”

James opened his mouth and closed it. He smiled, searching for words. For the right words.

Thankfully, the waitress brought Ryan’s pasta, giving him a few precious moments to find them.

“So, when is the wedding?” he said.

Ryan laughed, knocking their knees together again. “You going to be my best man?”

James smiled brighter. His cheeks started hurting. “Only if you’re mine.”

Ryan’s grin faded, his green eyes turning intent and hard. “You aren’t seriously thinking of this, are you? Marrying that girl your dad wants you to?”

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