Rock With Me(8)

By: Kristen Proby



“Let’s grab some breakfast.” He gestures to the café and loses his scowl. I shouldn’t spend any more time with him. But the thought of going home with no job to go to and really nothing planned for today doesn’t excite me.

“Okay.”

He leads me to a booth and we settle in across from each other.

“Coffee?” the waitress asks as she approaches the table.

“Sure,” Leo responds.

“No thanks,” I murmur and grab the menu. “Just orange juice.”

“No coffee?” Leo asks as the waitress leaves.

“No,” I wrinkle my nose in disgust and read the menu, as if I don’t already know what I want. “I hate coffee.”

“You do realize that you live in Seattle, right?” He chuckles and takes a sip of his black coffee. “I think enjoying coffee is a law.”

“Don’t call the coffee police. I never developed a taste for it. I love this place.” I close the menu and sit back in my chair and can’t avoid looking at him anymore.

My insides do a double flip. It should be illegal to look like him. His hair is wet, but his style is a messy feaux-hawk anyway, so it looks fine. He’s casual in his running clothes, tattooed hands wrapped around his mug, and it’s easy to forget that he’s a celebrity.

He’s just a guy.

The waitress brings my juice and takes our orders and leaves us.

“So.” He leans back and braces an elbow on the back of the booth. “Why aren’t you working today?”

“How do you know I’m not?” I ask.

“You said last night that you’re not working any more. Why not?” His eyes narrow slightly, and he’s watching me closely.

No lying.

“I got fired,” I answer and take a sip of juice, trying to clean the bad taste that word left behind.

Fired.

His eyebrows climb into his hairline in surprise. “Why?”

I shrug and look down at my juice. I don’t want to tell him this.

He leans in and takes my hand in his and I can’t stop the instinctual jump that comes with being touched.

What is wrong with me?

“Why do you flinch every time I touch you?” he asks in a low, tight voice.

“I don’t know,” I whisper.

“Look at me.” His voice leaves no room for argument, so I look up into his angry gray eyes. “Tell me.”

I shrug again and shake my head. “It’s stupid. I’m no victim, Leo. You don’t know me well, but I would think you’d know me well enough by now to know that I don’t take shit from anyone.”

“Okay, go on.” He keeps my hand in his and rubs his thumb over the back of my hand.

God, that feels good.

“I don’t want to talk about it.” And that’s the truth.

“Okay, fair enough. We’ll save it.” He smiles reassuringly, but doesn’t release my hand.

Where is our food?

Not that I’m hungry now, but I’d really like to have my hand back. He runs his thumb over my knuckles again, sending a tingle through me. I slide my hand out and away from his against the table and grip my juice in my hands. My hand is cold not just because of the cool juice but because of the loss of contact.

He smiles softly, and I find myself smiling back.

“You are beautiful when you smile, Sam.”

“Um, thank you.”

“Tell me about your job,” he demands and sits back as our food is delivered.

“I was the editor at Seattle Magazine for eight years.” I sprinkle pepper on my omelet and take a bite.

“That’s a long time.”

“Yeah, I liked it. I was good at it.”

“So what happened?”

“About a year ago, my boss wanted me to run a piece on Luke. He figured since Luke’s my brother, I should be able to get an exclusive with him, his new wife, run a spread in the magazine.”

“But you’re not a reporter,” Leo interrupts with a frown.

“No, but he wanted me to make an exception, since he knew I wouldn’t let anyone else do it.” I lower my fork to my plate and take a sip of juice. “I told him absolutely not.” I shake my head as I remember the anger on my boss’s face when I told him I wouldn’t do the piece.

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