Bride by Design 3: Manchala Nights

Bride by Design 3: Manchala Nights by Alicia Roberts Read Free Book Online

Book: Bride by Design 3: Manchala Nights by Alicia Roberts Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alicia Roberts
with my work, but I couldn't help thinking that I was making a grave career mistake by not working with Colin. He had promised me a job with his firm even if he didn't get the Manchala project, and I stopped myself whenever I caught myself in the middle of a daydream about redesigning a hotel lobby.
    Katie had gone through her breakup just fine without me, and it turned out that even after I came back home, she preferred the company of her new , bar-hopping work friends to boring evenings spent with me. I tried not to feel ignored, and I knew Katie needed to enjoy some wild freedom and drunken bar-hopping to get over her ex. But I finally admitted to myself that Colin was right - I had no reason for wanting to leave Manchala just because of Katie's crisis.
    The logical part of my mind told me to swallow my pride , apologize and beg Colin for a job. But I would never do that. I had no intention of taking advantage of him, and I didn't have the stomach to face him as a boss.
    Even worse, I missed Colin. I wouldn't admit this to myself during the day, when I tried to keep busy with work, but at night, just before I fell asleep, I'd remember the way he smelled, the way his muscles felt when I pressed up against him… He'd been so kind to me, arranging that boat when he learned how I felt about tiny planes, and he'd trusted me enough to confide about his past.
    And I'd repaid that kindness and trust with im petuous and unreasonable demands. I realized now that I'd acted like a spoilt child. But it was too late - I might care about Colin, but I didn't think he'd forgive me for my behavior. The sex had been great, but he didn't need me around for that. He had lots of choice and for all I knew, he was onto his new "girlfriend" by now. I studiously avoided looking at the tabloids, but I couldn't keep Colin off my mind.
    On Thursday, I went out to lunch wit h Margaret, the receptionist. We'd gotten to be friends quickly, and I thought it would be nice to get to know her better.
    We chatted about work and the weather for a while, and then she told me about the other people who had applied for my position. 
    "You were a last minute choice for the firm," she confided , over a chicken salad.
    "How come?"
    "Well, Brian had someone else in mind. But Colin Anderson called him the week before and told him you were a great designer."
    My heart thumped wildly and I tried not to choke on my sandwich. I felt as though I'd stopped breathing. What was going on? "Why did he do that?"
    Margaret shrugged casually. "He said he knew your work through that blog, and Brian assumed you'd done some private work for his firm but he didn't want to admit it. Are you feeling ok?"
    I'd lost my appetite and I must've turned quite pale. I nodded silently and clutched my stomach, pretending I had cramps.
    Margaret poured me a glass of water and looked a bit confused about what to do, but I regained my composure and drank the water.
    "Thanks," I stuttered. "I don't know what happened there."
    "Oh, it's ok," she murmured. "It happens sometimes."
    I nodded, and stayed quiet, answering in monosyllables when Margaret asked me questions, and allowing her to spend the rest of the meal telling me about her cats. But I ba rely understood what she said. The image of Colin calling Brian kept turning over in my mind - why had Colin helped me get this job? What was he trying to do and why?
    I couldn't find the answers to those questions and I felt confused as I went through the rest of the day, doing basic admin work and filing papers.
    When I got home, I shut myself up in my room and tried to figure it out calmly .
    It didn't make sense, I hadn't agreed to do anything for Colin when he called Brian. He must've thought I wouldn't agree to his proposal , and maybe wanted to help me get a job if I didn't wind up working for him. Or had he foreseen the possibility that he wouldn't get the job in Manchala,

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