Can't Buy My Love
booths made me sick.
    “What’s wrong, Jessie? You don’t look well.” Her eyes lit up. “Did you two overindulge in drinks last night? Maybe get a little cozy—”
    “No!” I set the eggs down on a random shelf and turned around. “I need to go.”
    I didn’t want to go back to Josh’s. I wanted to run home and bawl my eyes out. But my stuff was at his house, and by now he probably wondered where I was. The last thing I wanted was him hunting me down to figure out what had happened. I’d just have to face him.
    When I opened the door to the house, he was in the kitchen searching through the cupboards.
    He heard me come in and turned around with a grin. “Hey, where did you go?”
    “To the store.”
    Cocking his head, he gave me a puzzled look. “But you didn’t buy anything?”
    “No.”
    He closed the distance between us and started to take me into his arms. I pushed against his chest and gave him my cheek when he tried to kiss me.
    “Did my grandma ask you to bid on me?”
    He blinked, looking down at me with confusion. “I don’t think so.”
    “She told me she did.”
    He seemed to think about it for a minute. “When I saw her yesterday morning, she said I should consider it. But, Jessie, you have to know that I would never have bid a dime had I not wanted you.”
    I met his gaze and some of the fight drained out of me. He was telling the truth. I knew him well enough, could see the sincerity in his eyes.
    “Okay.” I nodded. “Why didn’t you tell me you were selling Fisherman’s Feast?”
    His jaw locked and I watched a flush of color steal into his face and neck. That was all the reaction I needed to know he hadn’t been honest with me on that front. I pushed away from him and went into the bedroom.
    “Jessie…” He followed after me, but I ignored him as I started throwing my stuff into a bag.
    “We were in bed last night, brainstorming all these ideas about how to make the restaurant better.” I looked at him as I stuffed my high heels into my bag. “It never occurred to you to say something like ‘Oh by the way I’m selling the place, so it’s irrelevant’?”
    He shoved a hand through his hair and sighed. “It’s complicated.”
    “No, you know what’s complicated?” I spun around and shook my head. “My feelings toward you. How I considered giving up my job—which I make damn good money at—to go elbow deep into the restaurant with you. To turn that place into something even more special than it is now.”
    His gaze grew somber, a flicker of admiration in it. “You’d have done that for me?”
    “I don’t know! I was thinking about it.” I went back to packing. “You’re putting the house up for sale too?”
    His silence was just another confirmation. Tears pricked behind my eyes as I zipped my bag closed.
    “It was good to see you again, Josh.” I slid the bag over my shoulder and gave him a tight smile. “Have fun wandering around the world and spending all the money you’ll get from selling your grandpa’s pride and joy.”
    It was a cheap shot, but I was so hurt and angry I didn’t really care.
    “You don’t understand.” He started to come after me. “There’s stuff you don’t know about.”
    I sidestepped him. “Well, maybe so, but it doesn’t change the bottom line, Josh.” He would still be leaving me. Which meant I’d been stupid enough to invest my heart into something that was a dead end.
    “Jessie…”
    “Forget it. It’s over.” It killed me to say it, but I knew I had to.
    “Over?”
    “This auction agreement. Us. Does it really matter? We both have lives to get back to.”
    His hand fell to his side and he made no further move to come after me. “Let me at least drive you to your house.”
    I stopped in the doorway, glancing back at him one last time. It wasn’t easy, and I tried not to think about the tightness in my throat and the furious churning in my stomach. “It’s probably better that I find my own ride

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