Unexpectedly Yours (Page 24)

“Come eat something,” Tegan urges me. “You know there’ll be no bacon left if we leave the guys alone with it for five minutes.”

I smile, glad for an excuse to stop wallowing over a man who probably hasn’t given me a second thought. “You don’t need to ask twice.”

We head back inside the house, to where everyone is collapsed around the huge dining table, eating breakfast and groaning over their hangovers. Technically, the house belongs to Tegan’s brother, Dex, and his fiancée, but a whole bunch of people are crashing here for the holidays too. It’s been fun staying in the middle of all the activity. With Tegan’s brothers, and Dex’s bandmates, it’s been a frat house kind of feel: late night drinking, movies, and impromptu music sessions, enough chaos to keep me distracted from the hollow ache in my chest. And tonight should be even more hectic: a big blow-out New Year’s Eve party that half the town seem to be invited to.

Suddenly, Dex’s fiancée, Alicia, lets out a shriek. She bounces up, clutching her phone. “It’s here!” she cries happily, “Oh my god, it’s happening!”

“Now?” Dex looks over from the kitchen.

Alicia nods. “Now! They were on their way over, and her water broke. They’re heading to the hospital now!” She rushes to find her coat, and Dex grabs for his sweater, pulling it on over his tattooed torso.

“What’s going on?” I turn to Tegan, who’s already frantically texting, a huge grin on her face.

“Carina went into labor,” she beams. “Our friend. And my future sister-in-law. At least, I think that’s how it works.” She frowns for a minute, then shakes it off. “Either way, this is big. She was due around Christmas, and they’ve been doing everything they could to make it come.”

“A New Year’s baby, that’s great.”

Alicia rushes back in, looking breathless. “I was going to run to the store for party supplies, but could you—”

“Don’t worry about it,” I reassure her. “We’ve got it covered.”

“Thank you!” She pulls a list from the counter. “We just need plates, paper napkins, that kind of thing. It’s not exactly glamorous…”

“That’s fine,” I smile, taking the list. “I’ve helped run fundraisers for the help-line before, so I know the drill.”

“Angel.” Alicia hugs me quickly, then turns back to Dex. “Keys?”

“Right here,” he says, holding them up. “But aren’t you forgetting something?” he adds with a grin.

Alicia looks blank.

“Shoes, sweetheart.” Dex laughs affectionately. “You’re not going to get very far like that.”

Alicia locates some sneakers and they head for the door. “Text me the minute you have news!” Tegan calls after them.

Tegan drives us into town in a beat-up old pickup truck. I look out the window at the quaint Main Street and small clapboard houses and smile. “I never would have guessed when we met you’d wind up out here. You seemed LA through and through.”

She laughs. “Tell me about it. But, this place is home to me now. There’s just something about it. Plus, Ryland has his family here, and I guess I do too now.”

“That must be nice,” I say, a little wistful. My mom is in Arizona with her third husband now, and my dad moved to Canada after the divorce. Our family gets by on long-distance calls and the occasional holiday visit, but it’s not the same, and I know it.

Tegan nods. “It’s funny how things can change, in just a split second. One minute, I was alone at a bar in Vegas, and the next, I saw Ryland. And that was that.”

“You really think you can fall in love that fast?” I gulp. I’ve been avoiding thinking about the “L word” since leaving New York.

“I think some people are just meant to be together,” Tegan says simply. Then she glances over. “Oh, crap, I’m sorry. Here I am going on about love and destiny, and you’re the one nursing a broken heart!”

“It’s fine,” I lie.

“Have you heard anything from Matt?” she asks.

“Just voicemails,” I sigh. “I don’t want to talk to him yet. Or ever again.”

“So, it’s a good thing!” Tegan declares brightly. “You can move on, and find the guy you’re really meant to be with. Maybe you’ll meet him tonight. There’ll be plenty of men at the party. Hell, you can take one of my brothers off my hands if you like.”

I laugh. “Thanks, I think.”

“Seriously,” Tegan adds. “Ash has such a stick up his ass these days, he could use some fun. And Blake needs to quit dating those Hollywood airheads and find a real woman for once. You guys would be perfect together!”

Tegan’s older brothers are about as gorgeous and charismatic as they come, and any other woman would be falling over themselves for a set-up, but to me, they don’t come close to Austin.

“I think I need to take a break from dating for a while,” I tell her. “Figure out how to avoid making the same mistakes all over again.”

“Simple,” Tegan says darkly. “Don’t date a coward who can’t get it up.”

I burst out laughing. “Tegan!”

“What? It’s the truth!” She gives me a mischievous grin. “OK, so if dating’s off the table, how about a New Year’s kiss? My best friend Zoey is flying in later for the party. Between the three of us, we should be able to find you a hunk of delicious man candy to chew on for the night.”