The Wingman(9)

By: Natasha Anders

“But . . .”

“Where do you want to go? What’s open at this time of night?”

“MJ’s?” he suggested, still with that confused look on his face.

“Perfect. Let’s go.”


Mason couldn’t remember the last time he’d been so confused, amused, entertained, and just plain gobsmacked by someone. Daisy McGregor was not at all what he’d been expecting. He’d spent the last thirty minutes completely bemused by her. He glanced over at Spencer, who was trying—and failing—to chat with Daff. The woman appeared to acknowledge his presence with the occasional shimmy in his direction but didn’t seem to have much to say to him. Mason felt kind of sorry for his brother, but hell, he had tried to warn the guy.

Mason looked up at Daisy, who had jumped to her feet and grabbed her coat, and he wondered at the impulse that had driven him to ask her out to MJ’s. He wasn’t attracted to her, but he for damned sure wouldn’t mind talking with her a little longer. He was enjoying their exchange so much that he was almost resentful of the thumping music and loud background noise in the pub, which made it hard to hear her clearly. So he had suggested they go someplace quieter and had even used the dreaded date word. He shouldn’t have referred to it as such; it fostered expectations.

It would definitely give her the wrong idea. And while Mason had been forced to do a lot of shitty things in his life, he had never deliberately hurt a woman, and he feared that this path would only lead to pain for Daisy McGregor. She was too damned nice to be hanging out with a guy like him. He had tried the long-term relationship thing and decided it wasn’t for him. These days, he tended to fuck and flee, and maybe that made him an asshole, but the women he usually associated with knew what to expect from him. They were happy enough with the short-term arrangements he preferred. Somehow, he didn’t think Daisy McGregor was the kind of woman who indulged in that type of fleeting sexual encounter. Still, he was committed to this now and had to see it through, so he beckoned the waiter over and quietly requested the bill, asking the guy to include Daisy’s drinks on his tab.

“My drinks have been covered . . . Hen night,” she elaborated for the waiter, who nodded his understanding. “Anything in addition to that will be taken care of by my sister. The bombshell in purple over there.”

“No problem, ma’am,” the guy responded and then asked Mason to hold on for a couple of minutes while he retrieved the bill.

Mason and Daisy stood waiting without speaking, the ease of the last few minutes suddenly replaced by a weird tension and awkwardness that told him she was as uncertain about this so-called date thing as he was. Mason was thinking of ways to back out gracefully when Daisy, with the forthrightness that he was beginning to recognize was stock in trade for her, just came out and said exactly what he’d been thinking.

“This probably isn’t a good idea. I won’t hold you to it,” she said with a rueful smile, and he noticed her dimples for the first time. They were cute as hell.

“What do you mean?” he asked perversely, despite knowing exactly what she’d meant.

“I mean going to MJ’s with you is a dumb idea; we should both just head home.”

“I don’t think it’s a dumb idea, and you’re not getting out of it that easily.” Mason was aghast to hear the words cross his lips, and he wondered why the hell he had uttered them when he basically agreed with everything she had just said.

“I’m just saying that we’ve probably exhausted all topics of—” He interrupted her before she could finish her sentence.

“Nonsense. We’re going to MJ’s.”

“Anybody ever tell you that you’re incredibly bossy?” she asked, not doing anything to disguise the irritation in her voice, and he grinned.

“All the time.”

“Fine, but I’m calling it now, this is probably the worst idea in the history of the world.”

“Anybody ever tell you that you have a tendency to exaggerate?” he fired back at her, and she shoved her dark-rimmed glasses back up her nose and rolled her eyes.

“About a billion times a day.” He grinned at her response. The waiter returned with his bill, and Daisy excused herself to go to the powder room.

“Hey, Daisy,” he called as she turned away from him. She stopped and glanced back over her shoulder. “No ducking out the bathroom window.”

She snorted and waved her hand dismissively before walking away.

“I’ll wait outside,” he said as she headed toward the back of the pub. She held one thumb up to signal that she’d heard him but didn’t look at him again.

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