“Why the different spelling, then?” He rubbed his thumb over the inside of my wrist again and that small touch caused a lustful tightening in my breasts. I extricated my hand from him.

“Do you know what Darraign means?”

He grunted in amusement. “I didn’t even know it was a word.”

I nodded and looked down at my tattoo, drawing my red painted fingernails over the curled script that spelled out the word. “It means to vindicate. To justify or prove.”

When our eyes met again Craig’s were filled with something . . . something I couldn’t quite identify. “What?” I said softly.

“I think you just might be more than a little magnificent,” he said.

This compliment hit me square in the chest. It affected me in a way “beautiful” could never. “You don’t know me.”

“Then sit there and let me get to know you.”

Since I had no choice to sit there until Angus showed up, I ordered another wine and I nursed it for the next few hours as I waited.

During my wait Craig was never far from me. We were interrupted when more customers came in and the bar grew busier and noisier, but whenever he could get away he came back to chat to me. This time our chatter was more lighthearted as we discussed the people around us and he tried his best to make me laugh.

As three a.m. drew nearer and the club began to empty, I paid my tab and slid off my stool.


Craig’s arm shot across the bar and his large hand wrapped around mine to stop me. Desire blazed in his eyes. “Let me walk you home, Rain.”

Knowing exactly what he was asking, I shook my head sadly, wishing he were a different kind of man. “I don’t do one-night stands, Craig. I’m not that girl.”

I tugged my hand out of his grasp and walked out of the bar.

As I jumped in a taxi outside, I wrapped my arms around myself and willed away the disappointment I felt.

I was gutted.

It wasn’t every day you met someone who made your skin heat and your body spark, who made you laugh and took you at face value. Craig really seemed to like me despite my inability to flirt with him and my inability to be coy. I was forthright, and many men found that off-putting. Not Craig though.

And still it wasn’t enough.

I was still just another body he wanted to fuck.

I decided I disliked him a little for that.

Or maybe it was my dislike of Angus transferring to Craig.


I squeezed my eyes closed, groaning. He didn’t turn up and if he had I’d probably have been too distracted to notice.

Oh, this would never do.

I had to force Craig from my mind, and I needed to start getting serious about revenge.


I have a date tonight. His name is Drew Michaels. He’s my age. Divorced. We’re meeting at D’Alessandro’s at 7:30 tonight. Love Mum xx

Craig stared at the text message he’d just woken up to and groaned.

It was happening already.

Fucking hell.

He flopped back down on his pillow at the exact moment his phone started buzzing in his hand. He brought it up to his bleary gaze.

Stevie Calling.

He answered. “Aye?”

“Sorry, man, did I wake you?”

“I was already up. Barely. You alright?”

“Aye, just wondering if you wanted to come out for dinner tonight? Audrey’s bringing her friend Natasha. I wasn’t supposed to tell you that but unlike my girlfriend I don’t want to ambush you.”

Craig grunted. He and Stevie had been friends since high school, and Stevie had been with Audrey just as long. Neither Audrey nor Stevie believed in marriage, but after ten years together they showed no signs of wanting anybody else either.

Her closeness with Stevie meant Audrey couldn’t understand why anybody would want to remain single. She’d been trying to set up Craig with her friends for almost as long as she’d been with Stevie.

“Thanks for the heads-up, and I’ll pass.” He rubbed his eyes as he sat up, trying to fully wake up.

“Oh? Seeing someone? And by someone I mean your usual casual fuck?”

You’d be surprised, mate. “Nah, I hooked up with a lassie a week or so ago, but I’ve not met anybody since.” Not entirely true. He had met someone but she didn’t do one-night stands. He scowled remembering Rain’s words: I don’t do one-night stands, Craig. I’m not that girl. He’d fucked up by making it about sex right off the bat.

But if it wasn’t about sex, then what was it about?

Did he actually want to date this girl?

She got under his skin, aye . . . but dating? He wasn’t so sure about that.

It was probably best she’d walked out of the bar last weekend and not come back.

So why did he still feel so bloody disappointed?

“You there, mate?”

Craig jolted out his reverie at his friend’s voice. “Sorry. Still waking up.”

“So I’ve to tell Audrey you’re not coming? Have you got an excuse I can use? Because if I tell her I told you about Natasha she’ll be pissed off at me.”

He thought of the text he just got. “Tell her my mum’s going on a date this evening and I promised I’d be on call if she needed me to come get her. Plus I’m working at eight. Not really enough time for a proper dinner date, is it?”

“So your mum’s really going to do this Internet-dating malarkey, then?”


“Well, hope it goes alright, bud. I’ll let you go.”

“Speak to you later.”

They hung up and Craig reluctantly got out of bed to face what was left of the day.

*   *   *

“You’re checking your phone more than Jo does.”

Craig glanced at his colleague Alistair. It was back to the usual Friday team of Craig, Alistair, and Joss. “My mum is on a date. I said I’d come get her if she needed me.”

Alistair grimaced. “A date? Your mum?”

He groaned. “A date.”

“That’s fucking awful, mate.”

“Ugh.” Joss strode by them. “You men need to grow up. Mothers have sex lives too. How do you think you were born?”

“Like Jesus,” Alistair said straight-faced. “And no other fucker is telling me different.”

“I’m telling you different.” Joss poured rum into the glass she was holding and grinned evilly at him. “Your mothers had hot sweaty sex with your fathers . . . and better yet . . . they loved it.”

Craig thought of the vomit he had to clean up in the men’s bathroom last week because the cleaner had called in sick that night. It did the job of pushing out the imagery Joss was trying to plant in their brains.

“You’re a sick lady, Joss.” Alistair tutted. “A mean, sick, sick lady.”

She laughed at them and wandered back down the bar to her customer.

The bar wasn’t bouncing yet since it was still early on in the night, giving Craig plenty of free time to glance at his phone every five seconds.

He was busy staring at his phone when he heard Alistair ask a customer what he could get them.

“A glass of Fuligni, please.”

Craig’s head jerked up at the voice and he felt this overwhelming lightness in his chest at the sight of Rain sitting at the bar. “I’ll get it, Alistair,” he said automatically, and Rain’s gaze flicked uneasily to him.

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