Saturday Snippet: Real Men Don't Break Hearts - 5

by - February 09, 2013

Background: Nate catches Ally in a vulnerable state. She’s had a bit too much to drink, something she doesn’t often do, and Nate is concerned. He helps her back to her apartment even though she doesn’t want him there.

In her living room he steered her to the couch, where she sank down, the fight suddenly out of her. The bottle slipped from her hands and rolled over the carpet. On the coffee table sat an empty wine bottle and a used wineglass, smudged around the rim. Using his toe, he nudged the fallen bottle under the couch before sitting down beside her.

“How much have you had already?” He touched her shoulder tentatively.

“Just a couple. Honest.” She blinked up at him, her eyes huge and hollow in her pallid face. She screwed up her forehead. “Don’t look at me like that,” she muttered.

“Like what?”

“Like I’m some wino you stumbled across.” She pulled herself forward, resting her elbows on the knees of her jeans so she could press her forehead into her hands. “What are you doing here, anyway?”

“I was just out for a late-night meal.”

“Huh. Don’t let me stop you.”

He shook his head. “I’m not leaving until you tell me why you feel the need to get drunk on your own.”

“Has anyone ever told you how pushy you are?”

“All the time.” He tried to keep his voice light and level. “So why are you feeling so down? Is it because of my buying this building? You should know I’ve got no intention of changing anything. You can carry on renting—”

Stiffening, she lifted her head to glare at him. “I’m good for the rent,” she told him coldly. “I’m making big changes to the store. You’ll see; I’ll pay Mr. Cummings every last cent I owe him. And I’ll pay your rent on time, every month.”

He nodded placatingly. “Okay, so—”

“Did Seth ask you to keep me sweet?” Her eyes grew even harder, her mouth compressing to a thin line. “Is that why you’ve come snooping round here? He didn’t believe me when I said I wouldn’t blab to his fiancée?”

“Seth’s been to see you?” He felt his eyebrows draw together into a tight knot.

“Oh, yes. This afternoon. Didn’t he tell you? He dropped in just to say hello and, oh, by the way, would I mind not saying a word about us to Paige because the poor woman doesn’t know a thing about it.”

Nate clenched his hand on his knee. “I didn’t realize he was down here this weekend.”

She peered closer at him. “Interesting. So you already know that Paige is blissfully unaware of me and the past engagement.”

“Yeah.” He rubbed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I’ve tried to convince him it’s best he tell her before she finds out from someone else, but he won’t listen to me.” Damn Seth! How deluded and insensitive could the guy get? He had half a mind to tell Paige himself but knew he wouldn’t. He’d interfered in Seth’s love life once; he wasn’t prepared to do it again. He studied Ally’s smudged face and his heart dipped. Had she been crying over Seth? Why did that bother him so much?

This is the last Saturday Snippet from Real Men Don’t Break Hearts. If you want to read more, the book is available at all major ebook retailers. Just click on the links on the right hand side of this page. ☺

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