I Flipping Love You (Shacking Up #3)(10)

He lifts his eyes from the phone in his hand when the bell over the door tinkles. He sets his coffee on the little table and motions to the empty seat across from him as he rises. Why does his smile have to be so pretty?

“You’re early.” It comes out sounding like an accusation.

Pierce’s smile widens. His lips are so full; his teeth are so white and straight and perfect. “So are you.”

I drop down in the chair across from him and immediately produce my checkbook. “Shall we discuss the quotes?”

He ignores my attempt to get right down to business. “What can I get you to drink?”

“I’m not thirsty. Thank you for the offer, though.” I should be somewhat polite considering my plan to haggle a discount.

I wait for him to take a seat, but he doesn’t. It means his crotch is at eye level, and it’s difficult not to allow my eyes to drift in that direction. Especially when he stuffs his hands in his pockets. I finally yield and meet his amused gaze. “I bet you’re a caramel macchiato woman.”

I frown. Maybe he really is some kind of crazy stalker. “How would you—”

“Your grocery cart was full of sugar. Lucky guess. Any modifications, or just the way it is?” He takes a step toward the barista.

“You can’t buy me a coffee. I already owe you money. I don’t want to owe you more.”

“Technically your sister is the one who owes me money. I’m just lucky I get to deal with you instead.” I can’t tell if he’s being sarcastic or what since I don’t think I’ve been a particular joy to deal with thus far.

I lurch out of the chair and duck around him with a complete lack of grace so I can get to the counter first. I place my order and attempt to pull up my app, but Pierce reaches around me and scans his first. I mutter a reluctant thank you and wait for the macchiato I had no intention of purchasing, but am very much looking forward to drinking—even if it’s on Pierce’s dime.

He stands right beside me while I wait. “You look nice,” he says conversationally.

I glance in his direction. “Thanks.”

“What’re you doing after this?”

Probably going home to masturbate to the image of your pretty face. “I have to work.”

“Do you do that from home?”

“Sometimes.” I don’t enjoy being asked questions about myself, partly because my family history is less than ideal. It’s one of the reasons I struggle with dating. The whole let’s-get-to-know-each-other part is a problem. For most people, banal questions about family and employment are easy to answer, but not for me.

“You’re a real talker, aren’t you?” Pierce asks, that wry smile still in place.

“Sometimes.” The barista passes me my drink and I follow Pierce back to the table he’s secured for us. I notice we’re tucked into a corner.

“You sure had a lot to say last week in the grocery store.”

“Well, you were throwing out accusations, and making sexist comments, so of course I had something to say, which brings us to the reason we’re here.” Using that as a way to bring it back to business, I pull my checkbook out and the quotes. “I’m willing to cut you a check for the dealership quote, minus twenty percent for objectifying me.”

“Do you work in sales or something?”

“Or something, not that it has anything to do with you being sexist or my sister hitting your car. Your quote is for $3122. A twenty percent discount would bring it down to roughly $2500.”

He sips his coffee, or whatever it is, regarding me from over the rim. “If you think that’s fair, you can go ahead and write a check for $2500.”

I can’t believe he doesn’t even argue over the 20 percent. Or that this could be so easy.

“On one condition,” he adds.

Of course. I set down the pen. “And what would that condition be?”

“You agree to go out with me.”

I frown. I’m sure it’s an unbecoming expression.

That ever-present grin widens and his eyes, quite literally, twinkle as he clarifies. “On a date.”


“Why not?”


“Because why?”

Because you’re gorgeous and I’m attracted to you and it makes you exactly the kind of guy I should definitely not go out with. “I don’t understand why you want to go out with me. It’s not as though I’ve been particularly friendly, or even a little nice or encouraging.”

He leans forward, as if he’s going to tell me a secret. “I find you attractive, and I like that you’re sassy and not a pushover. I also like a challenge.”

“I’m seeing someone.” It’s not exactly a lie since I have a date with Terry later this week.

“Oh.” Pierce’s smile disappears, and he leans back in his chair. “Why didn’t you say something before?”

“It’s new, and I didn’t feel as though I owed you an explanation.” I’m not sure why I feel as though I owe him one now either.

“Are you exclusive?”

“I don’t date more than one person at a time.”

“Why not?”

“I just don’t.” This guy is super-insistent to the point of being unnerving.

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