Page 29 of Unexpectedly Yours

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Christ almighty. She wouldn’t have told her family about their night together, would she? Because if anyone in this room found out he’d slept with her, he’d have some serious explaining to do. As long as someone didn’t kill him first.

Then, Mrs. Rossi snapped at her older daughter. “Megan, stop.” That got Meg’s attention. “She didn’t leave because of you, Joshua. Meg was giving Caroline a hard time about the two of you having dinner on Friday. It was very nice of you to look out for her.”

Look out for her? He hadn’t watched out for her. He’d done her every way he could think of without hurting her physically. The woman was like a drug and Josh had to get her out of his system.

Meg wanted him to stay away from Caroline and he got that. He wasn’t the type of guy to trust in a relationship with her sister. He’d earned his reputation.

There wasn’t much he could do about that. In the long run, it was better if Caroline stayed away from him. The more he thought about it, though, the more he realized he liked her way too much. She made him lose his mind and the last thing he needed was a woman who drove him to distraction. Caroline, and his reaction to her, was a dangerous, dangerous thing.

He’d figured that out when they talked last night.

Something drew him to her. She wasn’t his usual type and he wondered if that was the attraction. She was different. She was sweet, natural and smarter than anyone he ever met. She also didn’t take his crap.

An ache developed in his core when he thought about the fact that he wouldn’t be able to bury himself in her, that he wouldn’t wake up wrapped around her. But Josh knew this was safer.

For him. For her. For everyone.

Meg was still seething and he didn’t know if it was because of Caroline or her mother. It’s possible it was both, but seeing his sister-in-law slamming kitchen drawers, Josh was pretty sure it was abouthim.

“Meg, we had pizza and watched a movie.”Not a lie.“Did she tell you she was getting hit on by that guy from her office?”

Meg nodded, but didn’t look up as she examined different knives in the butcher-block holder.

“She’s having a tough time at the firm,” he continued. “If nothing else, I gave her a break.”

“A break?”

“Yeah, a break. Have you met her boss? He creeps her out and her onefriendwas pushing her to go out with him.” He ran his hands through his hair and paced around the kitchen. “She didn’t want to go, and my being there gave her an easy out. It looked like she had a date, so maybe the asshole will leave her alone.”

Jason had grabbed two beers from the fridge, took off the tops and handed a bottle to Josh. He took a long pull and let the hoppy taste of the brew slide down his throat.

“Should she be worried about him?” his brother asked.

“He’s already sabotaging her at work. The firm she works for is doing the consulting for that property Dad wants to buy and develop. She asked to be put on the project, but since she’s been turning this guy down, and he’s in charge, he picked someone else.”

“She told you this?” Meg had stopped playing with the knives. Always a good thing in his book.

“The other night. Over pizza.” Josh took another sip of his beer and leaned his hip into the wall. “She’s not helpless, Meg. Not by a long shot. And the writing thing? You guys have to cut her some slack there. Why shouldn’t she do what she loves to do?”

Meg kicked her foot lightly against the cabinet. “I know, but she’s so naïve about some things. She may never get published and if she’s spending all her time doing that, what kind of life is she having? She’s never had a serious boyfriend. Hell, I don’t think she’s ever had sex.”

She said it right as Josh took a sip, and he inhaled part of what was in his mouth, ending up choking on it.

Jesus. Thank God they didn’t know.

He was coughing, violently, trying to get the last of the beer out of his lungs, all while thinking of what he could say in response. Mrs. Rossi had moved to his side and while he was bent forward with his hands on his knees, she patted his back. Always the mom.

The mom of the woman whose virginity he took. Shit. He was never going to forgive himself. Never.

“Are you okay, Josh?” She was so damned nice. She was always nice to him.

“Yeah. That was just a little too much information.” He didn’t let on how fucking pissed he was. Pissed on Caroline’s behalf. Even when she wasn’t there, they were talking about her like she was a misguided teenager. “Meg, I know you love your sister, but you have got to stop thinking she doesn’t know what she’s doing. And what you just said? That’s no one’s business but Caroline’s.”

“But...” she sputtered.

“Meg,” Mrs. Rossi said. “Joshua is right.” She was still the only one who called him Joshua. And for some reason she seemed to like him. Go figure.

“I just know Caroline,” Meg said. “She may be all analytical, but she’s as emotional as I am; she just doesn’t show it.”