I wanted to be the only woman he saw.

Unfortunately, that uncompromising need for full-on love had ruined my relationships. My boyfriends never seemed to live up to my expectations. They never bought me presents just because they saw something that reminded them of me. They looked lustfully at other women when they didn’t think I was looking. It didn’t bother them when another man flirted with me right in front of them.

And they should definitely not fuck other women when they were in a relationship with me. My second-to-last boyfriend, Gary, didn’t seem to understand that one at all!

Maybe what I wanted didn’t exist.

Maybe I was wrong to be so fixated on finding the perfect man for me.

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

But that didn’t mean I didn’t think it wasn’t reasonable to believe that a man who seemed overtly interested in me should refrain from flirting with other women while he was flirting with me!

I scowled at Craig as he said, “That’ll be ten eighty, gorgeous,” to the perky brunette eyeing him like he was bloody David Gandy.

I was right. He called every woman “gorgeous” and “beautiful.”

I’d lied to him before when I said I hadn’t felt anything when he called me beautiful. I had felt the heat of it. But that heat suddenly burnt out and turned to ash. I didn’t like the taste of it and I sipped at my wine and looked away, hating the disappointment I felt.

I stared at the door, willing Angus to appear. If he would just show up I could put my plan in action, ruin his life like he’d ruined Darcy’s, and forget all about the handsome bartender who I’d subconsciously let play me like he apparently played all women. I’d been hurt before by men, but since I’d never been in love, it was a hurt that had only lasted a little while. It wasn’t anywhere close to the hurt that Darcy was feeling. My sweet, beautiful, kind sister, who had already seen enough pain in this life. Angus had cut her open. I didn’t want to be cut open like that, which meant the next time I chose a man I’d pick one who treated me like I was the only woman in the room.


“You never answered my question. Who are you waiting for?”

My head jerked around at his question and my thoughts must have still been obvious in my eyes because Craig’s expression softened to concern. He reached for my hand and murmured, “Darlin’?”

I pulled my hand away before he could touch me and hid the sadness I’d allowed him to see. “I’m not waiting for anyone.”

“Liar.” He gave me a mock-disappointed look and heaved a weary sigh. “I guess I’ll just have to stand here and badger you all night, then.”

“Please don’t.”

As if he sensed the sincerity in my plea, he pulled back a little, giving me space, at least physically. However, he didn’t walk away. “Why are you here, Rain?” His question was serious, all flirtatiousness having ebbed away in reaction to my demeanor.

I smirked. “If that’s a philosophical question then I can honestly say I have no bloody clue why any of us are here. If it’s a literal one . . . I’d tell you to mind your own business.” I added a little smile to lessen the blow of my words.

He gave me a small smile back. “Then I’ll ask you an easier question. How old are you?”

I sighed, realizing he really wasn’t going anywhere. “I’m twenty-four. How old are you?”

“Twenty-five. Where were you born?”

I frowned at the quick-fire question. “Inverness. Where were you born?”

“Edinburgh born and raised. What do you do for a living?”

I cocked my head to the side and studied him. “Are you planning on writing my biography?”

He gave me this mysterious little smile but said nothing else.

“I was told not to talk to strangers.”

“But I’m not a stranger.” He leaned on the bar again, seeming unable to maintain a distance between us. “My name is Craig Lanaghan. I’m a full-time bartender and I hope to own my own bar one day. I have two sisters, Jeannie and Maggie. Jeannie is engaged, Maggie is at university, and with her nest empty my mum has decided to start Internet dating and I hate the very fucking idea of it. I’m a pretty laid-back guy, I like chilling with my friends on my down time, I like the color blue, I like crime novels and foreign martial arts flicks. I never say what I don’t mean, and I never let a woman think I’m offering her more than I am.”

There was a lot to like in all he’d said and I gave him a bemused smile. “I take it you expect me to return the gesture of info dumping.”

He grinned at me. “It would be nice.”

I felt that flutter in my belly again. “Stop flirting with me, Craig,” I repeated solemnly.

His grin changed to a coaxing smile. “Not possible, Rain.”

I sighed and glanced surreptitiously over my shoulder.

Still no Angus.

“You know if you tell me something I might stop pestering you completely,” he offered.

I tried to discern whether he meant it or not and decided I couldn’t tell. Hoping he was serious, I nodded. “My name is Rain Alexander. I own an online clothing boutique with my younger sister, Darcy. It’s called Darraign and we’re doing quite well with it. We design the clothes together and I handle the business side and manufacturing. Darcy is the dressmaker. Most of our stuff is manufactured but we sell limited-edition pieces that Darcy handcrafts. I’m extremely independent and always have been, I know what I want and what I don’t want and I have no room for compromise. I like the color red, I like romance novels and historical dramas. I always say what I mean and I never accept less than what I want from a man.”

Craig’s gaze grew heated at my final words. “In the bedroom or in life?”

My skin flushed at the thoughts I saw swirling in his gaze. “Both,” I whispered.

Our gazes locked and the heat between us intensified as the rest of the bar just melted away, darkness blurring my peripheral vision so all I could see was him. My eyes fell to his mouth and I wondered how he would kiss. Would his kisses be soft, coaxing . . . or would they be deep, drugging . . .

A loud cackle from a girl behind me snapped me out my reverie and I jerked back in my stool, breaking the moment between us.

Craig threw an irritated look over my shoulder before sighing. When he looked at me again, the heat in his eyes was no longer boiling, but simmering quietly. “You own your own company,” he said forcibly, his voice a little thick. He cleared his throat. “That’s impressive.”

I shrugged.

“Should we add modesty to the things I know about you?”

My shrug wasn’t out of modesty. I knew having my own successful company was an impressive feat and as nice as it was to hear, I didn’t need Craig’s opinion to know that. “I’m not particularly modest, no.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Not modest. Interesting. You said your company was called Darraign.” He gently grabbed my left wrist and turned my arm so that he could see the tattoo inscribed on the inside of my bicep. “You have your company name tattooed on you.” He frowned. “Darraign. As in Darcy and Raign?”

“My name is spelled like the weather, R-a-i-n. But yes, Darcy and Rain. Darraign.”

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