Just a Bit Confusing

By: Alessandra Hazard

Sela looked at the cutie—James. “Does he have a girlfriend?”

“Not a girlfriend,” Amanda said. “A betrothed. He’s been betrothed to Lady Megan Cadogan since birth.”

Sela chuckled. “Really? People still do that?”

“The rich ones still definitely do.”

Sela shook her head. “It’s crazy. It’s not the Middle Ages.”

“Tell it to the Earl of Lytton. Apparently he’s very eager for that marriage—the Cadogans practically own half of Europe and apparently you can never be rich enough. But I guess the Graysons wouldn’t still be so relevant if they didn’t make sure they kept and increased their power and wealth.”

“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.

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