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Page 37 of Just Desserts (Holland Springs 4)

The door opened right as his hands fell away.

Zoe stood there, her gaze going from Daisy to Sebastian and then back to Daisy. “Hope you like pasta.”

“I love pasta,” Daisy said, as she stepped inside, keeping her strides all casual. Dear God, she hoped her cousin hadn’t seen anything. Or worse, Aunt Leah was here and thought she saw something.

Sebastian followed, not saying a word.

Her cousin stopped in the dining room. The table was set for four, and Daisy breathed out a silent sigh of relief. All she really could handle tonight was Zoe and Christian, not the entire Ambrose clan.

“Y’all got here at just the right time,” Zoe said as Christian brought in glasses and a bottle of wine.

“This ought to be great fun,” he said with a wink at her and his wife.

She felt nothing, absolutely nothing, while looking at him. Sneaking a glance over her shoulder, she smiled up at Sebastian. He didn’t smile back, but her heart rate went into overdrive.

“Shall I pour?” Sebastian held out his hand to take the bottle of wine from his brother.

Christian offered the bottle, only to take it back at the last minute. “Before I do, I want to know what we’re celebrating.”

“Well, I’m sure the two of you will understand, more than anyone,” Daisy began.

Zoe shook her head, giving Daisy a sympathetic smile. “We already know. Everything.”

“Oh.” Daisy waved a hand in the air, making sure her ring caught the light. Zoe’s eyes grew wide. “Yay for fake engagements.”

“Very nice ring,” Christian said with a glance at his wife. Zoe gave him a secret smile that made Daisy jealous. Why couldn’t she have that? Oh wait, she had had that, and the guy broke up with her. Over the Internet.

Christian cleared his throat when no one said anything else. “Shall we sit?”

Sebastian pulled out her chair and she sat down. He sat beside her and, after blessing the food, he began to eat. His table manners were beautiful, like him. Everything he did was gorgeous, from the way he ate to the way he drank from his wineglass.

Only he was so silent, so serious.

She wanted to muss his hair and make him laugh. Make him unserious. And oh dear God, was she turning into one of those women? Broody equals sexy challenge?

Sebastian glanced her way, sexy blue eyes slowly raking over her. No, he wasn’t a challenge. She knew he was attracted to her. Hadn’t he kissed her often enough in the past few days to prove it?

“Did you know I brought Sebastian to the dark side, without cookies,” she said, and the table went silent. “He, um, bought The Dukes of Hazzard County series and watched it.”

Christian nodded, and then raised his glass of wine. “Bastian’s always been a pop culture buff. Star Trek’s his weakness. Regularly quotes Picard like a good Trekkie.”.

Like Jules. Ugh. She had to stop thinking of Jules, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t stop thinking of Sebastian either. So she focused on the man that was real, and in the seat beside her. “You are? It is? You do?”

He chewed and chewed, until there couldn’t possibly be any more food in his mouth, before answering. “Yes.” Then he twirled another forkful of pasta in a spoon and resumed eating.

“Oh.”

“Loads. Of. Fun.” Christian finished the rest of the bottle and Zoe shot Daisy an apologetic smile.

“Would you like some dessert?”

Just as Daisy was about to answer, she happened to glance down at Sebastian’s free hand. It was practically balled into a fist. He was uncomfortable, but she wasn’t sure why. Maybe he and Christian were still on the outs.

“No, I’m a little tired. Today was one of those days, you know?” Not a lie. She’d spent all night tossing and turning, trying to figure out where she’d went wrong with Jules.

Zoe’s smile turned sympathetic, and then she turned to Sebastian. “Why don’t you go ahead and take Daisy home?”

Daisy scraped back her chair. “At least let me help with the dishes first.”

“I got them,” Zoe said with a wave of her hand and began to rise. “You two go on.”

Christian shot to his feet. “Sit, love. I’ll take care of this.”

“But you cooked,” she protested, her eyes on her husband’s face.

He leaned down and kissed her. “And you’re sleepy.” His gazed dipped to Zoe’s stomach and Daisy barely suppressed a gasp. Her cousin hadn’t had anything to drink, other than water. Instead she grinned, happy as anything for them.

“I was up late last night writing,” Zoe said, sitting back down again. The unmistakable glow of a pregnant woman shone on her face.

“A baby,” she whispered to herself. Daisy had always wanted one or two of her own. Growing up as an only child had only reinforced her someday fantasy of a husband and kids. Being alone all the time was overrated in her opinion.

“What?” Sebastian asked.

Not wanting to give Zoe and Christian’s secret away before they were ready, she shook her head. “Cupcakes. I baked some today. You can have them for dessert.”

“Let’s go,” he said, and after saying good night to Zoe and Christian, they headed back to her apartment.

Driving around her building to the parking lot in the back, Sebastian parked his car and “Hang on a minute and I’ll walk you inside.”

He opened his door and then opened hers, helping her out.

“You didn’t seem to have fun tonight,” she said as they walked across the parking lot.

He spun the keys to his car around his pointer finger. “I’m not known for my hilarity.”

“And things are still tense with Christian.”

“They are.”

“I thought you were trying to change that.”

“I am.”

“You’re one heck of a poker player, aren’t you?” she asked with a teasing smile.

He rubbed the back of his neck, and then opened the door that led to the stairs to her apartment. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be. I don’t expect you to all chatty with me. Er, the American version, that is,” she said, heated blush rising.

“What do you know of any other version?”

“Plenty.”

“Give me an example, then.”

At the top of the landing, after unlocking the door, she turned to face him and rose on the tips of her toes, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Sure you don’t want to come inside?”

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