Billionaire on the Loose (Billionaires and Bridesmaids #5)(11)


by Jessica Clare

“You want me to have a word with him?”

Her eyes widened, and then she shook her head. “He’s just . . . weird. And going through some stuff. We’re friends online but that’s it. Trust me when I say that there’s not a guy in my life.”

“Got a feeling that if there was, your friend Gretchen wouldn’t be so eager for us to go out, hey?”

Taylor laughed, relaxing. “She was pretty obvious about it, wasn’t she?”

“I’m not sure she knows the meaning of subtle.”

“You got that right.” Taylor tilted her beer toward his. “Shall we vow to just be friends and ignore her attempts at matchmaking?”

“I didn’t say that,” Loch said slowly. His mouth curled again, and there were the dimples.

Yeah, if she could reach her panties right now, she’d be flinging them off.

“I’m probably not your type,” Taylor blurted.

“You’re not. But that’s why I like you. I’m trying to experience new things while in America.”

“Am I one of the new things you’re going to experience?” The words tumbled from her mouth before she could stop them.

His eyes widened and he laughed again, a hearty laugh that she just flat-out adored. He just looked as if he was having so much fun all the time. “Evening’s early yet, Taylor. We can see where it goes.”

“I’m not turning down the idea, of course. I mean, if I was ever going to hit it and quit it, it’d be you.”

“Thank you for that,” he said gravely.

She waved a hand in the air. “You know what I mean. Jeez, am I out of beer already? I think I need another.” She waved at Doug.

“Don’t get drunk on me,” Loch murmured, leaning in. “I refuse to take advantage of a drunk woman.”

“So I have to be sober if I want to be taken advantage of?”

He laughed again. “Something along those lines. How about just not sloppy drunk?”

She winced. “I am a pretty bad drunk.”

“You don’t say.”

“Very clumsy.”

“God in heaven, help us all if you’re somehow worse.”

She wagged a finger at him and they exchanged smiles. Conversation lulled for a moment. Loch watched the screen over the bar, and new beers were brought to both of them. This was nice, Taylor decided. She wasn’t online. She wasn’t raiding or playing a video game and she wasn’t checking her app that let her communicate with her friends that were online. For once in the last few months, she was absolutely in the middle of real life and not in the middle of a game.

It was oddly relaxing. “So who’s winning the soccer game?”

“Barcelona, but they just got a yellow card.”

“I have no idea what that is.”

His eyes lit up and he began to go on and on about the rules of soccer. Apparently a yellow card was a penalty of some kind and blah blah blah. Taylor just propped her chin on her hands again and watched him talk. He was so stinking handsome. Disney prince levels of handsome. It didn’t matter that he was completely wrong for her and she was completely wrong for him. She could watch him talk all day. His eyes were shining and he was gesturing at the TV and then drawing a make-believe field he was sketching out on the table with a French fry, and she felt like she could watch him for hours.

Days, even.

“Get all that?” he asked.

“Oh, sure.”

He gave her a skeptical look and tapped her second beer. “You’re not going to get pissed on me, are you?”

All right, she watched enough BBC to know that pissed meant drunk. “Nope. I can handle my alcohol, thank you. It’d take five or six of these to get me good and wasted.” She shrugged. “Besides, it’s not like we’re driving. We can take the subway anywhere. It runs past all the major hotels.”

Loch took another sip of his beer. “It run past your place, too?”

“It’s a block or two away, but not a rough walk. Why?”

He shrugged. “You gonna invite me up later?”

“If I did, would you go?”

He nodded. “In a heartbeat.”

Her pulse raced at the thought, but it was Taylor’s turn to be skeptical. “Why? It’s like I said before—we both know I’m not your type.”

Loch grinned at her, and she melted all over again. “That’s precisely why I like you. You’re different than what I expect, but that’s not a bad thing.” He gestured at the pub. “And while I’m in America, I’m determined to expand my boundaries.”

“Expand your boundaries? You make doing me sound like a science project.”

He laughed and toyed with his glass. “Not at all. Doing you would be an adventure.”

“That’s better.” She sat up a little straighter. Adventures were fun, not like science projects. Then she sighed, because adventures made her think about the time she was spending here instead of being online. Her phone had been buzzing all night with incoming texts, and she had no doubt in her mind that Sigmund was probably frantic. It was . . . kind of nice to ignore him, though. She knew she was being bad, but for one glorious night, she didn’t give a hoot. Taylor took another swig of her beer—a light, fruity ale that went down smooth and was a favorite treat she didn’t often indulge in. “I should be going soon anyhow.”

“Because of your game?”

She nodded. “My guild’s probably ready to kill me for bailing out on them.”

He leaned forward. “I’m still fuzzy on the whole guild thing. You want to explain it to me?”

Taylor’s skepticism meter dinged again, but Loch’s expression was serious. He didn’t look as if he was making fun of her. “Boy, you really don’t spend much time on computers, do you?”

“I’m more of an outdoors guy. Hunting and all that.”

“Hunting. Barf.”

“Computers. Barf.”

She laughed. “All right, point to you, sir.”

He took another drink and patted the table. “Out with it, then. Tell me about guilds and why yours is so important.”

“Well.” Taylor considered it, leaning forward as she did. Her hands went around her beer again and she started to peel the label from the bottle. Talking about guild stuff with non-gamers always got her weird looks. No one ever understood the appeal. She glanced over at the TV again, where the soccer game was still on. “I guess it’s a lot like a team sport. We all choose to be on a team together, and instead of fighting against other teams—though you can do that—usually you fight against the computer.” When he nodded understanding, she went on. “Each guild has people that do very specific things. Kind of like positions in soccer. You have your DPS, which is your damage dealers, you have your tanks, and you have your clerics. You need a good balance of all three to run a successful raid.”