Read Unexpectedly Yours Online

Authors: Jeannie Moon

Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary

Unexpectedly Yours (7 page)

“Josh, um...”

“I didn’t mean to scare you.” He was whispering, wanting to soothe her, reassure her. “I’m sorry.”

“I didn’t hear you come in. God, it could have been anyone.”

“It wasn’t, though. It was me.” He’d started to rub the tension out of her shoulders. His fingers brushed the soft skin at her neck, and a wisp of her hair got caught in them. He should step back. Take away his hands. But he couldn’t. What the hell was his problem?

“What are you doing here, anyway?”

“I’m playing golf with Jason in the morning, so I decided to stay out here rather than drive back into the city.”

She let out a deep breath. “Where’s your date?”

“She caught a ride home with friends.” Why hadn’t he stepped back yet? Why hadn’t he let go? “Are you okay?”

“You scared me to death.”

“I’m sorry.” Now his hands, his fingers, were kneading her neck.

Her face was so perfect. Soft skin, a light blush on her lips, and lashes that almost brushed her cheeks. Josh watched as Caroline relaxed into his hands and her eyes drifted shut. When she opened them, she saw how close they were. The only thing separating them was her laptop, and if he moved his face just a little, their lips would touch. It took everything Josh had not to do it. “I... I should go to bed,” she said. Maybe reluctantly?

“Yeah. Of course. Me too.”

His thumb brushed one of her cheeks and Caroline sucked in a breath before looking up. “You really shouldn’t touch me like that, Josh.”

It took him a second to step back and drop his hands. She was right. He shouldn’t.

“Sleep well, Caroline.”

“Thank you.”

He watched her pack her things into a tote bag, and just as she got to the room’s doorway he felt the need to tell her what he thought. “Caroline?”

She stopped.

“For what it’s worth, what I read over your shoulder was good. Hot.”

“Thanks.” She put her head down. Wouldn’t make eye contact with him.

“You should be proud of it.”

“I appreciate that.”

“Sometimes you have to fight for what you want.” His words shot a chill right through him and an inkling of self-awareness sparked inside. Was he talking to Caroline, or himself?

Chapter 6

“You seem upset about something,” Meg said.

“No. I’m just distracted. Work.”

Liar, liar, pants on fire!
Caroline wondered if she just should have gone home when she got up that morning. She heard Jason and Josh leave for an early tee time, and she had the perfect opportunity to escape. But she didn’t. She slept late, dreaming that a big blond guy was making love to her. That was her distraction right there.

Now the men were out at Molly’s soccer game and once again, instead of leaving, she stayed.

“Right.” Meg dropped the tomatoes into the large salad bowl. “Can you look for another job if you’re that unhappy?”

“I don’t know what would change at a new place. I’m still going to be a woman.”

“Is that really the problem?” Meg asked. Being in a female-dominated profession, Meg couldn’t understand how much gender played a role in some fields. Caroline would never say teachers had it easy, Meg worked harder than anyone, but women in teaching didn’t suffer career setbacks for being women. “Is it your boss? If he’s harassing you . . . ”

“Mark? He’s definitely part of the problem. But that it’s possible that may improve soon.”

“Why? Are you going to go out with him?”

While that thought had crossed her mind, more than once, she knew it wasn’t the right thing to do. No, what she was about to tell her sister was pretty pathetic and Caroline had to hold back a reaction that was half amusement, half disgust. Not because what she was about to say was funny, but because it was sadly ironic. “He already thinks I have a boyfriend.”

Meg laughed out loud. One of her full, involved laughs, and Caroline was wondering if she should be insulted. “Oh that’s perfect. You didn’t tell me that last night. Who’s the lucky guy?”

“Umm... well ... ” Oh, what the hell. She didn’t have to tell her sister all the details. “Believe it or not, it’s Josh.”

Her sister froze in place. “Wait. What? Did you say Josh? Our Josh?”

“The one and the same.”

Meg put down the knife and walked around the island. She was quiet... never a good sign in Caroline’s opinion, and when she took a seat right next to her at the island, Meg drew a deep breath and one side of her mouth turned up in a wry grin. “Okay,” she said calmly. “From the beginning. How did this happen?”

“It’s not a big deal.”

“Maybe not, but I sense a good story. Give.”


“I want details.” Meg folded her arms and tossed her mane of blonde hair. “Then I’ll decide if it’s a big deal or not. I told Mom not to let you move into the city.”

She was back to
Control Freak Meg.
Wonderful. Just what Caroline wanted.

“Meg, I’m a grown woman and a professional engineer. If I can keep a skyscraper from falling down, I think can make my own decisions.”

“Caroline, we worry about you. You’re going to have to get used to it.” Meg didn’t budge. She fixed her gaze and stared. “Are you going to tell me?”

“Tell you what?” Turning toward the door, Caroline saw they’d been joined by their mother. Great. She needed one more person ready to tell her what to do.

Caroline wished her mother and her sister would just back off. Since she was thirteen they’d tried to control her every move, telling her where to go to school, whom she should be friends with, how she should run her career— and giving way too much advice on her love life. She knew they cared, but it always felt more like she was being ganged up on rather than helped.

“Nothing,” Caroline said, answering her sister’s question about her new love life.

“Stop,” Meg said. “Just tell us.”

Caroline knew she wasn’t going to get out of this so she gave them the basics. That was all. “I was out after work Friday and Mark was hitting on me. Josh ran interference and took me to dinner. Mark can draw whatever conclusion he wants.”

“Where were you on Friday?” asked Mom.

Caroline shrugged. “I don’t know. Some bar in Midtown.”

Her mother rolled her eyes. “Caroline, really. Bars?”

Now she was going to get a lecture about staying safe in the city and finding a husband and moving home and working in a smaller firm on the island. No way was it going to happen. She didn’t want to live in the suburbs yet. And as for finding a husband, she’d love it, but she’d be happy with a decent guy to date.

“Where did you eat?” Meg asked.

“We picked up a pizza and went back to his place.” She could see from Meg’s face that that was already too much information. She shouldn’t have said anything. Josh was out with Jason and Molly, but when he arrived, Meg was going to be all over him. Then Caroline thought about that for a second. Maybe it wasn’t a bad thing. He could use a hard time.

“You went to his loft?”

“Whose loft?” Her mother was lost.

“Josh’s loft,” Meg said with concern. Her and Jason’s marriage may have been rock solid, and the relationship with Josh was better than it was when they first got back together, but there was still a lot of tension because Josh had a relationship with his parents. Meg couldn’t get past how they tried to steal Molly from her, and even though Josh helped in getting the whole mess straightened out, Meg was still working on trusting him.

“Josh Campbell?” Mom asked. Meg nodded like she’d just tattled on Caroline for missing curfew.

“Oh,” her mom said. “Oh. Well, that’s okay.”

“What?” Meg had gone from smug to psychotic in a split second. “Josh is too much for her to handle.”

“Handle what?” Caroline heard herself say. “There’s no handling going on.”
Not anymore at least

Meg hopped off the stool and poured two glasses of wine. One for herself and one for their mother. None for Caroline. “It’s not a good idea.”

“What, us being friends?” Caroline was really getting pissed. Her life was being tossed around like a football. “Since when is this your decision, Meg?”

“I’m your big sister. I’m supposed to look out for you.”

“Looking out for me doesn’t include telling me how to run my life. Who I see is my business, not yours.”

“Do you understand what you’re doing?”

“Meg, there’s nothing to understand. It was fucking pizza! End of story.”

!” her mother yelled. “Your language!”

“My language?” Caroline stood and went to grab her purse and jacket from the hook in the adjacent mudroom, then returned to her mother and sister. “Mom, in case you haven’t noticed, Meg curses like a fifteen-year-old boy.”

Putting on her jacket, Caroline took out her cell and threw her purse over her shoulder. “Here’s the deal... I’m leaving. When you two accept the fact that I’m an adult, who has her own mind, who can curse when she wants to, see who she wants to, I’ll come back.”

Meg leaned back against the island. “How are you going to get to the train? You don’t have a car.”

“Seriously?” she asked, holding up her cell phone. “You know, I do have one of these. It’s an amazing device. Watch. With minimal effort, I can call a cab.” Pressing the button, she continued. “Did you know there’s an app for that?”

Within seconds, her phone would make the call for her. Screw her sister.

“It’s a lovely service. They’ll send a car to take me to the train for a nominal fee.”

“When did you become so damn sarcastic? I’m only trying to help!”

“I guess you rubbed off on me, Meg.”

“Caroline, please,” her mother implored. “Don’t leave.”

“Sorry, Mom. I’ll call you.” Kissing her mother on the cheek, Caroline headed for the door. She didn’t expect to run into Jason, Molly, and Josh coming in from Molly’s soccer game.

“Aunt Caroline! We won!”

“Hey, sweetie. That’s great!”

“Where are you going?” Molly asked. “I want to show you the town I built with my Legos.”

“I have to go, Mol. I’m not...” She looked up at Josh. “I’m not feeling too well. I’m going to go home.”

“You feel fine,” Meg called out. “You’re running.”

Josh’s eyebrows shot up. “Why are you running?”

“Because I’ve had enough,” she said.

“What the hell happened?” Jason asked Meg whose hands were braced behind her as she leaned back into the counter.

“Did you know your brother had dinner with my sister on Friday?”

Jason grinned. “As a matter of fact, I did. They had pizza at the loft.”

And really great sex, Caroline thought.

“You didn’t tell me?” Now Meg was angry. She didn’t like being kept out of the loop.

Josh was watching her and it looked like he had something on his mind. “I don’t know what this has to do with you, Meg.”

. The whole room went quiet.

“Caroline is my sister. I love her and I don’t, I don’t... I’m not sure of you yet. I’m getting there, but...”

“Meg, you’re not being fair.” Crap, why did Caroline say anything? Why? There wasn’t anything she could do, which was why she was going to leave.

“Fair? I don’t have to be fair. When it comes to my family—”

Josh cut her off and stopped her cold. He had his hands firmly planted on his hips and his size made him intimidating; he towered over everyone in the room, including his brother. “You have some nerve, Meg. You tell me you don’t trust me. You try to run your sister’s life. Who do you think you are?”

Caroline watched, just watched the big man, the oldest of the four of them, tell her sister where she could take her attitude. His confidence and strength rolled off his wide shoulders. He was impressive. If you liked that sort of thing in a guy.

“Your sister is helping me decipher problems I’m having with a real estate project. Stuff that’s way over my head. She’s a life saver.”

“I know she’s smart, but there’s more to life than being smart. I’m trying to watch out for her.”

“What you need to do is respect her. She’s an engineer, a writer. She’s pretty amazing and more than able to handle herself.”

Oh God. Oh, God. He didn’t. Now she’d have to kill him.

“What the hell is he talking about?” Meg looked at Caroline.

Caroline, however, was looking at Josh. He’d just outed her and she could barely speak. “Why did you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Tell? About my writing. I trusted you and you blurted it out like it’s nothing. It’s personal.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. You’re talented.”

“Okay, so she has a hobby,” Meg said.

The noise in her head was thrumming. A constant din that was getting louder and louder. It filled her head with the voices. The arguing. The noise.

She wanted to scream.

Throwing her bag on the table, that’s exactly what she did.

“All of you shut up!”

It was just loud enough to make an impact, especially since Caroline never yelled. “None of you should talk. You all say things and make decisions for me like I’m not here.” She paced in a circle. “I am here. I’M RIGHT HERE!”

She’d never been so angry. Never been so hurt. And it wasn’t one person, it was everyone in the room, except the little girl who didn’t understand why her aunt had gone crazy.

“Oh, honey,” her mother began, “we know you’re here. We just want what’s best for you.”

“When do I get to decide what’s best for me, Mom? When?” Her mother was trying to form an answer when Caroline turned on Meg. “And my writing isn’t a
, Meg. It’s what I want to do with my life.”

“Maybe if you focused on your job, on what you’re good at,” her sister spat out, “you wouldn’t be having problems at work!”

“You don’t know anything about what goes on at my job. Nothing. The firm is a nightmare. I might be good at it, but I’m in an impossible situation.” Caroline went over and gave Molly a strong hug. “I love you, Molly, and I’m sorry you had to see all of us angry; see you soon.” Her poor niece looked so confused.

Now Meg was standing next to Jason, who was rubbing her back, trying to calm her. Her mother sat at the kitchen island, her head down, wringing her hands.

Josh looked stunned and sad. Caroline didn’t care.

She grabbed her bag and started out of the house, taking out her phone as she walked. “I’m out. See you... whenever.”

Jason shook his head. “You’re not calling a cab. I’ll take you to the train.”

Josh pulled his keys from his pocket and his hand drifted to Caroline’s arm. “You stay. I’ll take her.”

Caroline was getting sick of being handled and pushed Josh’s hand away. “I’ll call a cab.”

“Don’t be stubborn.”

“Stubborn? Everyone seems to have an opinion of me today.”

Jason walked over and kissed Caroline’s cheek, understanding that he needed to back off. “Feel better. If you don’t want Josh to drive you, I will. Or I’ll call a car for you.”

“Thanks, Jason.”

She hugged Molly again and turned back to Josh. “I’m going. I’ll get my own ride.”

She got as far as the side door, and stopped, taking a breath to calm herself, and looking at Josh, who’d followed her.
Who was stubborn?

He leaned in and ran his hand over her shoulder. “Don’t be pissed. I’m sorry.”

There was a shudder that let her know he could still own her, and there was no way she could allow it. No stinking way. “You had no right to talk about my writing. None.”

“Maybe not, but you need to stand up for what you believe in. Don’t expect people to take you seriously if you won’t talk about it.”

“You have no idea...”

“If you’re not even able to talk to your family about it, why should anyone care? I’m your friend and I had no idea...”

“We’re not friends, Josh.” Caroline stepped back because if she was too close to him, undoubtedly she was going to get all stupid again. “We’re just not.”


“It can’t... I just...” How was she going to say this? “I’m too emotional, and you don’t really want to be friends. I’m a responsibility.” It was happening again. She was getting stupid.

“You make me crazy. You know that, right?”

“Right back at you,” she said. “I’m going to leave. See you around.”


But Caroline ignored him as she tapped her phone and made her call.


She was a pain in the ass. Stubborn. So fucking stubborn.

When Josh walked back into the kitchen, everyone’s eyes turned to him. His brother looked confused. Meg looked like she was going to kill him, and Mrs. Rossi... well, she looked content. Maybe even a little happy.

Other books

The Accidental Woman by Jonathan Coe
Star Wars - First Blood by Christie Golden
Riverwatch by Joseph Nassise
Yazen (Ponith) by Nicole Sloan
Cover Me by Joanna Wayne Rita Herron and Mallory Kane
Barren Cove by Ariel S. Winter
Change of Heart by T. J. Kline
Tides by Betsy Cornwell
Savvy by Law, Ingrid Copyright 2016 - 2024