Just Business

Just Business by Ber Carroll Read Free Book Online

Book: Just Business by Ber Carroll Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ber Carroll
    â€˜Is Brett a close friend?’ she asked.
    â€˜He’s my brother-in-law.’
    â€˜Oh, your wife’s brother?’
    â€˜No – my sister’s husband.’
    The music pounded away through the brief silence between them.
    â€˜Niamh, I want to apologise for yesterday – for losing my temper like that.’
    â€˜You don’t need to apologise,’ she told him. ‘I met a lot of angry people yesterday. It’s an understandable reaction to the circumstances.’
    â€˜Yes. But I should know better. I work in HR, I know you were only doing your job.’
    â€˜Don’t say any more.’ She stopped him with a smile. ‘It’s forgotten, okay?’
    His eyes held hers. ‘Okay.’
    The crowd chose that moment to surge and she was pushed up against him. He reached out a hand to steady her. It was just a brief innocent touch but it sent shock waves through her body.
    What is wrong with me? she thought for the second time that day and looked around to see where Brett was at with the beer. He was handing cash to the barman – he’d be back soon to act as a badly needed buffer between them.
    â€˜I feel a bit old for this place,’ Scott remarked, looking around at the twenty-something crowd.
    â€˜Me too,’ she admitted. ‘Mind you, Lucinda seems to like it … and apparently Chris, my husband, comes here sometimes.’
    â€˜Does your husband work close by?’
    â€˜Yes, he’s with one of the law firms.’
    â€˜Oh, a lawyer.’
    â€˜Yes, one of those, I’m afraid!’
    They had a quick laugh at the expense of all lawyers.
    â€˜How about your wife? What does she do?’ she asked, starting to relax a little.
    â€˜My wife?’ He seemed taken aback by the question. ‘We’re separated, soon to be divorced.’
    â€˜Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to –’
    â€˜Don’t worry about it.’
    Niamh had another look for Brett. He was edging through the crowd, one step forward and two back.
    â€˜He’s taking his time, isn’t he?’ Scott said, following her eyes to Brett. ‘I should have ordered two beers instead of one. I have the urge to get very drunk tonight.’
    She giggled. ‘You couldn’t get drunk here if you tried. It takes too long to get served.’
    His lips twitched in amusement. ‘Probably just as well. My little girl wakes at dawn – not good if you have a hangover.’
    Niamh couldn’t resist the opportunity to find out more about his home life. ‘Does your child live with you, then?’
    â€˜Yes – her mother isn’t part of the family picture.’
    Brett made it back with the beers before she could ask any more questions. He shouted over the music, ‘Hey, this is a happening place!’
    Scott and Niamh shared a smile; it seemed they were the only ones who felt out of place.
    â€˜What’s so funny?’ Brett asked, looking from one to the other.
    â€˜Private joke,’ Niamh told him.
    He gave her an odd look and then muttered something about needing to get some cash from the ATM.
    â€˜Is he all right?’ she asked, watching him dart through the crowds as if he was being chased.
    â€˜Yeah. I suspect that, somehow or other, he’s come to the conclusion I’m hitting on you – so he’s trying to make himself scarce,’ Scott said with an embarrassed laugh.
    â€˜That’s very considerate of him. Pity his efforts are wasted on this occasion.’ Niamh raised the bottle of beer to her lips.
    â€˜It’s my sister’s fault,’ Scott explained. ‘She’s obsessed with finding me a girlfriend and it’s rubbing off on Brett. The two of them need to be taught a lesson about interfering in other people’s love-lives.’
    He started to talk about his family – Deb, his big sister, and Jenny, his little girl. Niamh

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