Bail Out Excerpt

By Suzanne Winslow

Rachel dropped her chin into her hands. “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“How much Irish do you speak?”

He grinned, assuming cussing didn’t count. “I only know a few words that my father taught me.”

Rachel’s lips twitched.

“What?”

“Your accent. You’re starting to sound a little bit like your girlfriend.”

He could tell she was teasing him, but he still felt the color rising in his cheeks. “I told you, Caroline and I are friends.”

She sat back and laughed as Lonestar’s “Amazed” began to play. “Matt’s right. Your Irish does come out when you’ve been drinking.”

Nate just shrugged. His accent was a byproduct of parents born and raised in Ireland. His father was proud of his thick Irish accent. His mother tried not to speak with any accent at all, but sometimes it would sneak out when one of her four kids got her riled up. It snuck out on him, too, sometimes, and not just while he was drinking. Times Matt didn’t know about. Moments Nate wished Rachel did.

Leaning closer, enough so that he could feel her warm breath on his cheek, she looked at him. “I have to ask you…did that kiss mean anything at all to you?”

He didn’t know how to answer. He thought about lying or twisting the truth. Or just brushing her off altogether. But he couldn’t do it. “Of course it meant something to me. But it can’t happen again.”

She let out a short laugh. “Then it didn’t mean much at all, did it?”

He stared at her, his throat so tight he could barely breathe. He told himself to keep his mouth shut. Put her first. Forget her.

But no, he looked over his shoulder for Caroline instead and then damn near lost his head. “Rachel, I’m crazy about you.” I love you! He clenched his jaw, determined to salvage the big fat mess he’d made. “But be realistic. I’m not the right guy for you.”

She eased back with defiance. “Who says?”

“How about we start with your brother?”

Her lips pinched together. He’d hit a nerve. “Who says I’m looking for Mr. Right?”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“It means I’m not looking for a ring, Nate. I want to go out, have fun, blow off a little steam. That doesn’t work for you, so I won’t bother you again.”