Messing With Mac

Messing With Mac by Jill Shalvis Read Free Book Online

Book: Messing With Mac by Jill Shalvis Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jill Shalvis
    And, damn it to hell, she also looked hurt.
    â€œReally, it’s touching how concerned you are about my financial affairs,” she said in a voice dripping with chill. “Truly touching.”
    No one but Mac grinned.
    â€œBut don’t worry about me. I’m going to be just fine.” She turned and walked away, away from the women, away from him.
    Head high, she avoided any more conversation by striding with direct purpose to the veranda doors, which led to the botanical gardens kept by the Historical Society.
    She walked right out the doors and into the night. And like a puppy needing a belly rub, he followed.

    T AYLOR DREW A DEEP BREATH as she stepped into the hot, hot summer night, refusing to react. If she remained numb, then she wouldn’t feel her burning throat and eyes, or the ache in her chest. If she remained numb, she wouldn’t feel the fist around her heart, squeezing, squeezing.
    It wasn’t just the pettiness that upset her, or that she’d thought of those women as friends.
    She didn’t care about them. She didn’t care what they thought.
    It simply all came back to that alone thing. And she felt so damn alone. Ironic, when she considered her own mother had been inside the party. Oh, they’d kissed hello, air kisses of course, not daring to wrinkle their clothes with a hug. They’d smiled and had made light conversation.
    How are you?
    Fine, thanks.
    Oh, good. You look great.
    Surface stuff that meant nothing.
    The night was hot, the air thick with the humiditythat hadn’t faded from the heat of the day, but that was good. She needed the warmth after the chill of the past hour.
    The noises of the party followed her onto the veranda as she walked to the railing and looked down onto the gardens that were considered the most beautiful in all of South Village.
    They were stunning, lovingly tended to by generous Historic Society volunteers. Volunteers not afraid of getting their hands dirty or their silk wrinkled.
    Which meant a Wellington had never gotten on their knees and so much as pulled a weed in those gardens, including Taylor. Oh sure, she’d volunteered in other ways, by attending expensive charity functions and writing big, fat checks backed by her grandfather.
    What kind of woman did that, got to the age of twenty-seven completely supported by someone else’s money? She deserved the pity she’d gotten from those women tonight, but not for the reasons they thought.
    She’d never actually worked hard at anything.
    Until now.
    Leaning on the railing, she rubbed her temples, shedding her tough shell and half her makeup by swiping beneath her damp eyes. Poor little rich girl,she thought with loathing for the moment of self-pity.
    Ex -rich girl.
    Was it so odd that she’d wanted something from her own mother tonight, after all this time? A real hug? A real smile? Even a real touch? She shouldn’t have bothered coming, should have stayed home.
    At the thought of what awaited her there, an empty building stripped down to the studs and a stack of bills so high it made her head spin, her eyes filled again.
    God, she felt so alone. So damn alone.
    At the low, gruff voice she was beginning to know all too well, she stilled. He had a terrible habit of coming up on her in the most vulnerable of moments. “Go away.”
    â€œYeah, about that.”
    She heard his footsteps. Coming closer, damn him. “Mac—”
    â€œYou’d like me to vanish, I know. And believe me, I’d like that, too.
    In direct opposition to those words, he came even closer. Then closer still, until he set a lean hip against the railing, facing her, his chest brushing her shoulder as he stared down at her while she did her bestimpression of someone desperately interested in the flowers.
    â€œI wanted to leave before I even got here,” he said.
    â€œSo what’s holding you?” She wouldn’t

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