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Copyright 2022 Michelle DaytonThe stranger had a British accent, dark hair, funky glasses, and wore both an expensive cashmere sweater and a bored expression. He couldn’t have looked less local if he’d tattooed “I’m from away” on his forehead. “Do you know the Wi-Fi password, by any chance?” Of course I did; I’d installed it. “Nope.” OK, that was unnecessary. Don’t piss off the tourists, Jane. Jim’s pub couldn’t handle a one-star Yelp review from some asshole. He threw up his hands. “No sign posted with the Wi-Fi info. Nobody pouring drinks.” He let out an exasperated huff. “No wonder this place is a dying shithole, right? The bar, the whole town.” Strong words, stranger. Maybe I agreed, but I was allowed to think so because I lived here. He, however, could take his opinion and shove it straight up his ass. The need for caffeine was real. I stood, put my palms on the bar, and boosted myself over it. The stranger put his phone on the bar with an angry slap. “Are you kidding? Are you the bartender? You’ve just been sitting there ignoring me the whole time I’ve been here?” I almost wanted to say yes. Because that haughty, entitled tone in his prettily accented voice made his face a prime candidate for a fist. “I don’t work here,” I said flatly, although I did pick up shifts in the summers sometimes. “I just know the owner.” The stranger cocked his head and considered me. Changed tactics. “Do you know him well enough to grab me a beer?” He smiled, and it changed his whole damn face. He went from haughty and bored to…zing! There was a teasing tone in his wry voice now, complimented by curved lips and a flash of white teeth. A knowing, flirtatious glint in his dark eyes. Hmm. This was a person used to getting everything he wanted. Too bad for him that I hated people like that. Maybe I didn’t want a soda after all. Maybe I wanted something else. I slowly took a pint glass from the shelf and pulled a draft of Spotted Cow, all while making extreme eye contact with the stranger’s amused gaze. But instead of sliding the beer over the bar, I walked around it, grabbed my laptop, and strolled slowly to the back office, enjoying an enormous gulp of the beer on my walk. I ignored his “what the hell” and called over my shoulder, “Enjoy your stay in our shithole town.”
About Michelle DaytonThere are only three things Michelle Dayton loves more than sexy and suspenseful novels: her family, the city of Chicago, and Mr. Darcy. Michelle dreams of a year of world travel – as long as the trip would include weeks and weeks of beach time. As a bourbon lover and unabashed wine snob, Michelle thinks heaven is discussing a good book over an adult beverage.
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