Right With Me - Stacey Lewis

Chapter 1


All week the shop guys have been talking about the new girl at Patsy’s. I’ll admit, after hearing how fuckable she is, I’m curious to see how she measures up to their descriptions. That’s the only reason I walk over with them. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

Nick and Angelo promptly make assholes out of themselves, waving at her with big grins on their faces and acting like the teenagers they haven’t been for years. Granted, it’s been way less time for Nick than Angelo since he’s at least ten years older than me and Nick’s barely twenty-five, but they’re only embarrassing themselves.

I turn my head to see if she matches the descriptions they’ve been giving all week, but she must’ve walked into the back because the only one I see is Meg. She’s been here for longer than I can even remember. I know she finds my guys amusing since she’s shaking her head and chuckling, but the new girl is nowhere to be found.

The conversation at the table captures my attention and I look away from Meg to see Angelo patting Nick on the shoulder consolingly. “You’re much too young my friend,” he explains. “A woman like that wants a man who can take care of her and keep her satisfied, not a pup she’ll have to train.” All five men at the table burst into laughter, though I’m not sure if it’s at Angelo’s words or the indignant look on Nick’s face. Since I’m the boss, I look down at my menu and try to keep the smile off my face.

“Bullshit, old man.” Nick raises his arm and flexes it, showing off the muscles he works very hard for. “I can satisfy any woman. All they have to do is look at me and they cream their panties.”

This time even I can’t stop my laughter. “Boy, if you think that’s all it takes, I feel sorry for every woman you’ve had in your bed.”

“Yeah,” Simon agrees, “just so you know, those moans in porn? They’re fake, and so are all the ones you’ve been hearing.”

Everyone starts giving Nick shit after that. It’s a good thing the restaurant is pretty empty right now. The benefit of going to lunch after two, I guess.

The soft sound of a throat clearing silences the laughter immediately, and a hard pang goes through my chest when I meet warm brown eyes in a pale, pink-cheeked face. She’s even better than advertised. I can see why my guys have been making bets on who will get her number first. The second I see her, I want to tell them all to back the fuck off, but I know I can’t.

“What can I get for you guys today?”

Boy, if that isn’t a loaded question. Directing a glare around the table, I tell them all silently to behave. There’s a chorus of, “Hey Hailey” or “Hi darlin’” from the guys sitting at the table as they all start telling her what they want, flirting all the while and making the red in her cheeks deepen.

Hailey. I’m not sure how I haven’t heard her name all week, but I don’t recall any of the guys ever mentioning it.

I’m the last person to order, and when our eyes meet once again my thoughts scatter. She’s staring down at me expectantly, and I can’t think straight. She waits patiently, but the longer it takes me to answer, the more unsure she looks. Her brows furrowing in confusion finally breaks me out of my reverie and I tell her to just, “Surprise me.”

This widens her eyes and I can see she’s starting to panic. “Sweetheart, I’m easy. Patsy’s food is the best around and I’ve never had anything here I didn’t like.” Her whole body sags in relief and she nods quickly, looking almost like a bobblehead doll. If she wasn’t so damn adorable, I’d laugh. Something tells me that would just fluster her further, so I swallow it down.

Once she’s gone, the comments and raucous laughter start right back up, but this time they’re directed at me.

“So,” Nick starts, “it’s like that, huh?” The glacial look I give him should shut him up, but it doesn’t. “Hey, look, I don’t blame you a bit. I’d tap that ass in a heartbeat--”

Hailey’s reappearance at our table with a tray full of drinks cuts off whatever he was going to say. She’s giving Nick an icy look of her own, but she doesn’t call him out for talking about