Billionaire on the Loose (Billionaires and Bridesmaids #5)(9)


by Jessica Clare

She totally knew how that felt.

“Well,” Gretchen said, casting a look over at Taylor. “I was going to ask my friend here to give you a tour of the city, but I’m not sure she’s dressed appropriately.”

Taylor looked down at her shirt. She’d switched from her plain shirt (which went best with her scarf) to the spare she carried. “What’s wrong with this?”

“Isn’t that a Starfleet uniform?”

“Well, yeah. You never know when there’s going to be a flash mob of Trekkies. I like to be prepared.”

Gretchen shook her head. “You are so weird sometimes, Tay.”

“I think she looks fine,” Loch said. “And I’d be very appreciative if you had the time to show me around the city, Taylor.” He looked at her with those gorgeous dark eyes and she wanted to swoon like a heroine in a book. Seriously, he was that good-looking. It was messing with her head.

“Gosh, I don’t know,” Taylor said. Her phone was vibrating in her back pocket, a sure sign that texts were incoming, and they probably weren’t happy ones. “I should get back to my apartment soon.”

Gretchen was giving her a you’re crazy look. “To play your game?”

“Game?” Loch perked up. “Do you play sports?”

“Um . . . I play a MMORPG.” Taylor smiled brightly. “It’s almost a sport in that there are teams and things.”

“A MM-what?” Loch’s eyes widened.

“MMORPG,” Taylor repeated. Jeez, this guy was a hunk, but did he live under a rock? “Massive multiplayer online role-playing game. And I should be leading a raid today when I get back home.”

“That can wait, can’t it?” Gretchen gestured at Loch. “You can show him around for a bit, right? Take him to a few of your usual hangouts? Grab a bite to eat?”

“Well . . .” Taylor bit a fingernail and pulled out her phone. An entire wall of texts from Sigmund scrolled past and the pit of her stomach dropped. She looked up. Loch was watching her, and when she met his gaze, he gave her a slow smile. Oh, Jesus, the man had dimples.

Even Thor didn’t have dimples.

“Maybe for a bit,” Taylor said.

“Shall we go exploring, then?” Loch got to his feet and grinned at Taylor.

As long as it didn’t involve Sigmund, she was game. “Let’s go.”

Chapter Four

The moment they got into the city, Taylor felt awkward. She tended to be pretty clueless about people most of the time, but even she knew she was getting strange looks from women on the street. They saw her with Loch, saw her Trek shirt, and couldn’t put the two together. All right, then, time to adjust.

Gretchen did say to take him to her favorite haunts. So Taylor took him first to her favorite comic shop. Superheroes, Dice & More was a mere cubbyhole of a shop downtown, but it was friendly. She knew all the guys there and they were great. What better place to help Loch make a few friends . . . and get a new shirt for herself? The windows to the store were covered in old, faded comic book posters, and she beamed reassurance at Loch when he looked confused. “Just a pit stop,” she told him. “Then we’ll go get a bite to eat and explore the High Line. Unless you’d rather go to a museum or something?”

“High Line is fine.” He walked into the shop, peering at a table of bobble heads and statuettes of mostly naked superheroines.

“You a big reader?” she asked him, winding her way through the narrow shop toward the rack of T-shirts. Most of the black T-shirts were male sizes, but she was pretty sure she’d seen a baby-doll tee last time she’d come in. She found the rack and started flipping through shirts. Captain America, Captain America . . . Thor. The irony of it struck her and she grabbed the shirt.

“Not much of a reader, no.” He smiled at her, and she felt her knees go weak at the flash of those dimples. “Won’t hold that against me, will you?”

“God, no.” She beamed back up at him. It felt like she’d been rewarded each time he smiled at her. “I haven’t read much lately, either. Too much going on.” She headed toward the checkout, where Murder Bill was talking with Andrew. “Hey, guys.”

“Tay!” Bill clapped his hands at the sight of her. “I haven’t seen you in ages! Your pull list is getting enormous. You here to pick up?” His gaze went to Loch and then he looked back at Taylor, frowning. “Bodyguard?”

She laughed and tossed the shirt on the counter. “Why would I need a bodyguard? This is my friend, Loch.”

Bill pulled the shirt off the hanger and rang it up, giving her a wary look. “That guy online still bothering you?”

Her laugh was a bit too forced. Had she mentioned that to him? She needed to learn to keep her mouth shut. “Don’t be silly. It’s nothing. And Loch is a friend from out of town.”

“Ahhh.” Bill looked sad for a moment. “A date?”

“Not a date,” she affirmed, and when he smiled, she smiled back. “Think I can have the store discount on the shirt?”

“For you, Tay, anything.” Bill winked at her and rang her up. The shirt was seventeen fifty, and she only had fifteen dollars in her pocket, but Bill added the rest to her tab and told her she could pay him next time. She went to the back, changed, stuffed her old shirt in her Hello Kitty backpack, and then headed back out to retrieve Loch. He was chatting with the men up front, though neither Bill nor Andrew looked as if they were enjoying the conversation.

“We’re heading out to grab something to eat,” Taylor said, grabbing Loch’s arm. Mostly so she could touch his muscles. Mostly. God, she had it bad for the guy. He was just so damn yummy looking. “You guys want to come?” She looked at Andrew and Bill.

“Can’t. Gotta stay and mind the store.” Bill cleared his throat.

She frowned. He’d closed up before to go have lunch with her. It wasn’t as if the place was booming with business. Oh, well. “Okay, see you soon, then.”

She and Loch left, and they were down the street before Loch spoke again. “You do realize both of them have a crush on you?”

“Huh?” She looked up at him, stopping in her tracks.

He tugged on her arm and neatly pulled her away from an oncoming pedestrian with a stroller. “Those guys. Both of them panicked when they thought I was your boyfriend.”