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The MacDonald Brothers—Book Two

Emily Matthews

First Edition published March 2021

Copyright © 2021 Emily Matthews

EPUB Edition

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only and may not be re-sold or given away to others.

Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


Sam MacDonald sat in a downtown sports bar, knowing exactly how this night would end.

“I don’t know why I let you talk me into shit like this.” Sam sat across from his brother Jake, watching the Knicks game on one of fifty big-screen TVs mounted on the wall. It was the finals, and Sam thought they were both interested in rooting for their home team, but Jake clearly had other things on his mind.

“Because you love me and want to spend time with me?” Jake asked innocently, batting his eyelashes.

“You invited me to come watch the game and have a couple of beers. You didn’t say anything about going out to do it.”

“What? I didn’t know you were a hermit now. We are having beers, and we are watching the game.” He took an obligatory glance at the nearest TV.

“I’m watching the game. You’re watching the woman at that table over there.”

Jake’s gaze snapped back to Sam. “What?” he asked, cupping his hand around his ear and pretending he couldn’t hear. Sam rolled his eyes.

“You better be careful, bro, or you’re going to die alone. It won’t kill you to get out and meet some new people,” said Jake. It didn’t take long before his eyes wandered back to the woman he’d been checking out.

“I swear if you leave me…” The words no sooner left Sam’s mouth when the woman got up to go to the bar. Jake was hot on her heels. “Shit,” Sam muttered into his glass. “I’m gonna kill that kid.”

Sam was only three years older than Jake, but he’d taken on the role of father early in life, and it was hard to let go. He’d become the man of the house at fourteen after their father passed away unexpectedly. Since that day, he’d been looking after his mother and four younger brothers.

How this night ended would be no surprise. Jake would meet a woman, make up some bullshit excuse to leave with her, and Sam would get stuck with the bill and no ride home. This was why he hated going out with Jake.

Jake was chatting it up with the woman at the bar, and Sam could hear her raucous laugh from across the room. He wondered how she could breathe in her painted-on jeans. His brother had the oddest taste in women.

Resigned, he took another swig of his beer and turned his attention back to the game.

“You like the Knicks or the Blazers?” a female voice cooed. He smelled her before he saw her. The overpowering scent of flowers made his nose itch.

“The Knicks.” Jake had also failed to mention it was ladies’ night, which meant hardly anyone was here to watch a game.

“Oh, of course. Because you’re from New York. Duh, Amy,” she said, apparently referring to herself in the third person. Annoying.

“What makes you think I’m from New York?” Sam asked, even though he knew the answer.

“Everyone knows you’re from New York, Sam. You are Sam MacDonald, aren’t you? Most eligible bachelor in Seattle?” He could see she was beginning to doubt herself at his lack of reaction. She blinked furiously, as if bringing him into focus would clarify the confusion.

“Oh, no. I get that a lot, but my name’s Ted. I’m the night manager at the Bellevue Target.” He felt bad lying, but the white lie seemed nicer than telling her to bug off.

“Oh.” Her smile fell. “Well, still, do you mind if I sit and watch with you?”

“Sorry. My brother’s coming right back, and then we’re leaving.” He offered a weak smile. This was her chance to bail without looking like a jerk, and she took it.

Muttering “Nice to meet you,” she hurried off as quickly as her sky-high heels would take her. Guess beer with Ted wasn’t as enticing as beer with Sam MacDonald.

When the commercials started, he glanced around the room and landed on the woman who had accompanied Jake’s new friend. She was looking at her watch, tapping her foot, and no doubt wondering how long she had to wait before she could leave her friend.

She stood out from the other women at the bar. Her legs and cleavage were covered, her heels were only two inches rather than four, and her makeup was subtle, not slathered on with a trowel. There was an air of class and dignity about her. He got the impression she was a professional of some sort. Maybe a lawyer. Bright blond hair fell in waves below her shoulders, soft and touchable. Something a man could run his fingers through without getting all tangled up in hairspray.

They made eye contact, and she gave a sympathetic smile. She had blue eyes—blue like his mother’s hydrangeas. He smiled back and rolled his eyes. She chuckled and shrugged her shoulders in a what-are-ya-gonna-do kind of way.

Was she flirting? Probably, but that was nothing new to Sam. He’d inherited his father’s good looks, and women were always coming on to him. The money didn’t hurt either.

Sam’s problem wasn’t that he didn’t like women. He liked most of them just fine. His problem was that he didn’t trust them.

As a well-known entrepreneur and co-founder of one of the most successful companies in the country, if not the world, he didn’t want for much. As one local magazine described it, he had more money than God.

He also had a horrible track record of miscalculating intentions and incorrectly deciphering motives. At least when it came to women. He’d been burned too many times to count, and it had left him with a cynical streak the size of Texas.

Thirty-eight was getting up there, though, and while he often thought about finding a woman he could settle down with, meeting one who was interested

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