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Accidentally Engaged: A Romance Collection by Nikki Chase (21)

Brock

I manage to hold off on contacting Nina until the end of the day. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to because after a week of basically being with her 24/7, it’s like a part of me is missing, not having her around.

But still, despite checking my phone every twenty minutes and watching the clock on my office wall slowly inch its way around, I don’t text her until I get out of the office.

I wonder how she and Dean are getting along.

If I know Dean—and I do—he’s probably regaling her with tales of my past conquests, trying to warn her off me. Telling her I’m a womanizer and a serial dater. I wouldn’t expect anything less of him, and to be honest, I guess I can’t blame him.

If he was dating my little sister . . . well, actually I wouldn’t really mind. He’s so dependable and sensible, you couldn’t really ask for more from someone dating your sister.

And sure, maybe I haven’t always been dependable and sensible, in my personal relationships at least, since Rosa screwed me over.

But I also haven’t felt this way about anyone since she broke my heart. What I feel for Nina is real, and if Dean screws it up for me, I don’t know what I’ll do.

All these thoughts and more race through my mind as I endure the drudgery of the work day, finally pulling my phone out as soon as I get home.

How’s it going? Has Dean managed to warn you off me yet?

She replies a minute or two later, and I yank my phone out of my pocket. It’s like I’m a teenager again, dating for the first time. It’s ridiculous.

Hey, Brock. He’s feeling weird about us being together. I’m trying to set him straight, but you know what he’s like. Stubborn as a damn mule. Might take some work.

I sigh and massage my temples.

Yeah, I know what he’s like. You want me to talk to him?

She replies almost immediately.

No, it’ll only make things worse. Leave him to me, I know how to handle him. It’ll just take some time for him to come around to this. I guess it didn’t really help with him seeing us practically doing it on your desk. He’s my brother. I know how to get him wrapped around my little finger. :)

I hope she’s right. Dean can be fucking tenacious when he wants to be. And I get the feeling that, when it comes to his little sister, he’s not about to back down that easily.

Yeah, he probably thinks I’m an asshole for sleeping with his sweet, innocent little sister. If only he knew the truth ;)

I smile, wondering how Nina’s going to react. I hope my little text reminds her of what we were doing just before Dean interrupted us, how she was moaning on my desk and begging me for more . . .

My phone beeps.

I’ve got to go. I’ve been hiding from him in this bathroom for too long already to text you, he’s probably getting suspicious. I’ll update you tomorrow at the office. Probably better if we don’t stay together tonight.

I put the phone down with a sigh, hoping it doesn’t ring until Nina gets back in touch in the morning. I don’t want to deal with any work calls this evening—my mind’s not in it. I’m barely managing to keep on top of my workload as it is without this new distraction.

I just hope Dean doesn’t completely lose it because I could really do without losing one of my oldest and best friends over this. As long as he calms the fuck down and realizes that his little sister is old enough to make her own decisions, things will work out.

But with Dean, there’s no guarantee of that.

I spend a weirdly somber evening at home.

I used to love spending the evening at home alone. Being able to eat what I like, watch whatever I like on TV, and just have some peace and quiet? Bliss.

But things are different now. I miss Nina’s laugh, her cheesy wisecracks, the warmth of her body next to mine. We just . . . fit together, like it was always meant to be this way.

I wander through my dark, empty house, deep in thought, pondering my next move. I try and watch some TV, but my thoughts drift, always back to her.

Does she feel the same way? Or is this just a fun little thing for her?

I don’t think it is, but if there’s one thing Rosa taught me, it’s to never completely let my guard down. You think you know someone until you realize you never did at all.

I eventually decide to go to bed, hoping that I can at least get some sleep. I manage to fall into a fitful sleep, but I’m woken around 3am by a new text.

I blearily grab my phone, blinking as the harsh light illuminates my face.

Is it Nina, texting me because she can’t sleep either? Maybe she misses me as much as I miss her.

My initial excitement turns to anger as I see who the new text is from.

It’s Rosa, yet again.

Why haven’t you texted me back, Brock? I’m a member of your family now, remember? It’s not polite to ignore your relatives.

“Fuck off,” I say to the screen. “Jesus Christ . . .”

I have no idea what her game is, but it’s not going to wash with me. I’ve had enough of Rosa’s mind games for one lifetime, and there is no way I’m getting sucked back into all of that bullshit.

* * *

The next morning, I decide it’s better to focus all this anxious energy on work, instead of sitting at home stewing on it all.

But when I arrive at work, Nina’s waiting for me outside my office. Just catching sight of her makes my heart beat a little faster and butterflies flutter in my belly. I resist the urge to pull her into an embrace and kiss her, mindful of everyone else in the office.

“Wow, you’re early today,” I say. “I’m impressed.”

She nods, playing the consummate professional, but I can see the smile dancing in her eyes.

“I thought I’d get a head start on all that filing,” she says with a little laugh. “Seeing as we didn’t finish it yesterday.”

I glance around, seeing if anyone’s listening to us. Every head appears to be down, working, but that’s no guarantee nobody’s listening. In fact, I’m certain they are. Gossip and offices go together like cheese and wine.

“I appreciate that,” I say, trying to keep my voice level. “Let’s go take a look at what we still need to get done.”

She follows me into my office. When I finally get the door closed behind us and the blinds drawn, I let out a sigh of relief and pull her into my arms.

“Fuck, it’s stifling having to keep this hidden from everyone,” I say with a sigh. “When can we let them know?”

“Not yet,” she says, concern etched on her face. “I’m still the new girl, still getting to know everyone. I could do without the ‘office slut’ stamp.”

“If you say so. But remember that I can fire anyone I like, being the boss and all. If anyone’s saying gross shit like that to you, just tell me.”

“Come on, Brock, don’t be naive. They’re not going to say it to my face, are they? Just to each other, behind my back. Anyway, I’m guessing you want to know how things went with Dean?”

I nod.

“Don’t look so serious,” she laughs. “He hasn’t forbidden me from seeing you or anything like that. He caught a flight back home this morning. He’s agreed to back off a little. It’s not like there’s anything he can actually do to change my mind about how I feel, and I think he realizes that. Maybe he’ll finally start treating me like an adult. Who knows? I wouldn’t say he’s exactly happy about what’s going on, but he’s not going to interfere. I got that much out of him.”

I breathe a sigh of relief, making a mental note to call him up later on, have it out, man to man. At least he’ll be an adult about it.

“Good,” I say. “Because soon, he’ll see that he has nothing to worry about. Forget the past—it’s gone. Done. I would never do anything to hurt you, or jeopardize what we have together. I promise you that, Nina.”

She wraps her arms around me and looks up at me with those beautiful, big eyes of hers. I feel my heart swell.

“I know that, Brock. And Dean told me some more about what happened to you in the past. And you don’t need to worry either. I’m not that kind of person, to play with someone’s heart and feelings. What we have together is real.”

I lean down and kiss her softly and slowly as we melt into each other.