The Soul Mate Page 3

I inwardly shuddered. The idea of holy matrimony had never interested me, and Mandy sure as shit wasn’t selling it. Honestly, I didn’t want to fall in love. It just didn’t appeal to me. I saw all the negatives and none of the positives. Being single with a great career as a zoologist was more than enough for me. It didn’t take years of therapy for me to figure that my dad passing away when I was young and my mom falling into a deep depression had shaped that view. But, hey, I got lonely sometimes and a girl had needs. Hence my magical one-nighter.

“I was thinking about what you said—about needing to put myself out there more. I considered online dating.”

Mandy grinned. “But?”

“Filling out that long profile and answering hundreds of random questions was so daunting, and I didn’t like the idea of putting all my personal info on the Internet. It just didn’t seem necessary to exchange names with someone I merely wanted to exchange bodily fluids with.”

Mandy patted her heart. “Sometimes you make the feminist inside me very proud.”

I rolled my eyes. “So I figured before I went that route, I wanted to try things the old-fashioned way first. I got dressed up cute and went to a bar I never normally go to—you know, one of those young, hip, way too crowded places?”

She nodded, totally absorbed in the story. “A meat market is the technical term, yes.”

“I sat alone at the bar, sipped my drink, and made eye contact with a couple of cute guys around the room. A few minutes later one of them came up to talk to me.”

Her eyebrows wiggled. “And bow-chicka-wow-wow?”

I laughed. “Not exactly. He was cute, but he didn’t get my blood pumping. After I made an excuse about needing to go to the restroom, I spotted the most gorgeous man I’d ever laid eyes on sitting alone in a booth in the corner. He looked so unhappy, and I thought that was so odd—like the two of us were the only ones in the entire club who were just enduring this scene rather than partying it up like everyone around us seemed to be.”

“Hmm.” She nodded thoughtfully. “Then what happened?”

I closed my eyes for a moment, and it was almost as if I was right back inside that club, the bass of the music pulsing through my veins, the handsome stranger’s electric blue eyes locking on mine from across the crowded room—the hair on the back of my neck standing up when I realized he was even more attractive than I’d first realized—and then ducking my chin to scurry away—sure that no man in his class would ever been interested in me.

“A few minutes later, when I came out of the restroom, I was ready to call it a failed mission and head home. But Mr. Tall, Dark, and Sexy was waiting for me.”

As a delicious shiver traveled up my spine, I recalled the way he’d towered over me, even in my wedges, and the commanding edge to his voice when he asked if I’d like to get a drink with him. I’d merely nodded, my voice trapped beneath the weight of my libido.

“He led me to his private booth in the back, where we ordered another drink and talked.”

Mandy frowned. “If this story doesn’t end with you taking it up the honeypot, I’m out.”

I laughed at the unusual euphemism. “I’ll speed things up for you.” Mandy didn’t need to know about the way the conversation had flowed so easily that night, or the current of raw sexual tension snapping between us with every barb we exchanged.

“A little while later he asked if I’d be interested in going someplace quieter, where we could talk. He suggested his place, and off we went. His apartment was gorgeous—one of those glittery sky-rise places that towers above the city.”

“I’m jealous—did this hunk have a name?”

“Mason.” Just the feel of his name on my tongue provoked a response in my body I wasn’t ready for.

“Then what happened? Don’t spoil the fantasy and tell me his meat-stick didn’t measure up. There’s nothing worse than a tiny wiener, am I right?”

“It was an absolutely amazing night. Perfect in every way.”

“Sweet baby Jesus… You’ve got to give me more than that!”

I shook my head. “I am not telling my boss every gritty detail of the best sex of my life.” Only because if I remembered it with that much clarity right now, I’d soak my panties while at work. No bueno.

“Damn, girl. I’ve got to give it to you.” Mandy reached her fist out to bump mine. “I’m all proud and shit.” She faked a choked-up voice and had me laughing again. “Now I see why you’ve been in such a good mood.”

It was crazy what good sex and a couple of orgasms could do for the soul. It was two weeks later, and I was still positively glowing.

Mandy and I worked in silence for a few minutes, her happily clicking away on the keyboard as she replied to a couple of emails, and me completing the log to note the time I’d done the interior pen cleanup earlier.

That nauseous pit was back, lurking in the center of my belly.

“That’s weird,” I muttered to myself.


I shook my head. “I’m sure it’s nothing, but…” I paused, my eyes fixating on the calendar in front of me as a cold panic crept down my spine. “No, it’s nothing. Couldn’t be.”

“What’s nothing?” Mandy pressed again.

“I just, I’ve been having these waves of nausea for the past couple of days.”

“Are you sick?”

“No. I feel fine during the day—for the most part. It’s usually just first thing in the morning when I get out of bed and then a couple of random times throughout the day. It’s probably a low blood sugar thing.”

Mandy looked skeptical. “Bren. I don’t mean to scare you, but those were my exact symptoms during my first pregnancy. You and this mystery man used protection, right?”

“Of course. We used a condom.”

“But your cycle’s late, isn’t it?”

I guess my wide-eyed glance at the little desk calendar had been sort of obvious. I nodded. “By a couple of days. No big deal.” But it felt like a huge fucking deal. I could not be pregnant—not by some one-night stand suave player who picked random girls up at the bar. No, no, no. That only happens in bad rom coms. My hands went clammy and I started to sweat. As the world spun around me, I considered the implications of having my perfect life imploded by an unplanned pregnancy.

Mandy licked her lips. “Listen. I don’t mean to freak you out, but maybe you should go in to the doctor—get checked out. Condoms break all the time. It’s possible you could be pregnant.”

“I’m sure it’s nothing. I can pick up one of those over-the-counter tests on my way home tonight if it makes you feel any better.”

Mandy shook her head. “Those tests aren’t reliable so early in pregnancy. Let me call my guy. Seriously, I have the best gynecologist in the entire city. I freaking love the guy. He normally has a six-month wait list for taking new clients, but a friend got me in, and maybe I can do the same for you.”

“What’s so great about the guy?” Call me crazy, but I had a hard time believing one could actually have an enjoyable experience at the gyno’s office. I barely tolerated my annual visits. That cold metallic feeling of the speculum, and that awful K-Y Jelly. Ugh. No thank you.

Mandy’s gaze softened and she got this faraway look in her eye. “He’s smart, sweet, and professional, and he just has this way about him that makes you feel comfortable. Everyone loves him. And his office feels more like a spa than a clinic. Low lightning, soft music, plush cotton robes instead of those horrible paper napkins they used to make me wear at my old doctor’s office. They have a freaking cappuccino bar in the waiting room. You’ll love it, I promise.”

“It does sound nice.” I chewed on my thumbnail. “And it would be nice to know, I guess, what’s causing this nausea.”

Mandy nodded and grabbed her cell phone from her back pocket. “Let me see if I can get you in next week. No promises.”

I waited anxiously while she dialed and spoke to the receptionist. She spelled my name and then waited on hold for a few seconds. Mandy’s eyes widened as she checked the clock. “Yup! She sure can. Thank you so much!”

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