Beautiful Sacrifice

Beautiful Sacrifice by Jamie McGuire Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Beautiful Sacrifice by Jamie McGuire Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jamie McGuire
chimed again, and I looked up, half-expecting to see Kirby and Gunnar. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d forgotten something. Instead, I saw Taylor standing next to the hostess podium.
    “Why are you here?” I asked.
    The double doors swung a few times before they stilled, a sign that Phaedra had excused herself to the kitchen.
    “I came to take you to dinner.”
    “I canceled,” I said, stuffing my remaining tips in the pocket of my apron.
    “I know.”
    I lowered my chin, already annoyed. “What is it with you civil servant types? You think that because, historically, women have somewhat romanticized your line of work that you’re automatically guaranteed a date?”
    “No, I’m just hungry, and I want to hang out with you while I eat.”
    “We’re closed.”
    “So?” he said, genuine in his cluelessness.
    “So, you have to leave.”
    Taylor shoved his hands into his jeans pockets. “Trust me, I want to. I’m not oblivious to the fact that you sort of hate my guts. Inherently bitchy women don’t appeal to me.”
    “Right. You prefer the easy ones who pretend to be progressive by going Dutch, and then they are all too eager to fall in line with the hotshot-groupie stereotype by the end of the night in hopes that they’ll somehow hook you with their impressive blow jobs.”
    Taylor choked, stopping just short of where I sat, and he leaned his back against the bar. “You’ve got me all figured out, don’t you, Ivy League?”
    “Were you a psych student? Are you trying to maybe shake me up a bit by analyzing my violent temper and then throwing in a few Freud quotes for good measure? Trying to make me feel inferior with your academic prowess? Let me guess. You went to Brown? Yale? Big fucking deal. I might not have a graduate’s degree, but I went to college. You don’t scare me.”
    “Dartmouth. And community college doesn’t count.”
    “I wholeheartedly disagree. I have a bachelor’s in business and a master’s in women’s studies.”
    “That’s insulting. You haven’t been within a hundred yards of a women’s studies course.”
    “That’s just not true.”
    I blew my bangs away from my face, exasperated. “Women’s studies?”
    He didn’t flinch.
    “Why?” I seethed.
    “Because it’s relevant.”
    My lips parted, but I snapped my mouth shut again. He was serious.
    “Okay, I was kidding about the master’s, but I have taken a couple of courses geared toward women’s studies. I’ve found the reading material is on the right side of history.”
    I raised an eyebrow.
    “I might be a civil servant type, but I’m educated. I went to Eastern State University in Illinois, and it’s a damn good school for its size.”
    “Wait. Did you say Illinois?” I swallowed away the sudden tightness in my throat.
    “Yes, and you’re right. I also have a doctorate in bullshit, and I saw you coming a mile away.”
    “Where is Eastern State University from the town of Eakins?” I asked.
    Taylor grimaced, unsure about where I was going with my line of questioning. “ESU is in Eakins. Why do you ask?”
    My heart sped up, booming so hard against my chest that my head began to throb. Breathing was no longer on autopilot. I sucked in air and then blew it out, trying to remain calm. “So, do you go back there very often? Reunions maybe?”
    “I’m from there, so I go back all the time. You didn’t answer my question.”
    By his expression, I could tell that he knew something was up. The entire tone of our conversation—along with my attitude—had changed.
    I watched him watching me. I tried to keep my face smooth and the truth from reflecting in my eyes.
    All the cash in my shoebox upstairs was to pay for a plane ticket to Chicago, a rental car, and a hotel room in Eakins, Illinois. It couldn’t just be a coincidence that this guy had breezed into my café and taken an interest in me.
    “Just curious.”
    His shoulders relaxed, but a spark still smoldered in his eyes.

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