1st to Die Page 2

Casey scrunched her face up as in pain. “Is he still in jail on those voyeurism charges?”

Emma bobbed her head. “Thankfully, the state is pretty tough on asshats who set up hidden cameras in the men’s locker-room at the gym!”

“Well, those are the extreme cases.”

“Frankly, some of the other girls in our department think I need to write a book on bad dating experiences!”

“Now wait a minute. You’ve gone out with some decent guys, too.”

Emma sighed. “And the instant they realized I wasn’t going to bed with them before the appetizer arrived, they bolted for the door. If we actually made it through dinner, then the stench of my marriage and baby desperation drove them away.”

Casey grinned. “See you’re going about this the wrong way. You need to give in to the idea of throwing caution to the wind and having mindless sex to conceive.”

“I don’t think so.” Emma shook her head. “Just because Connor bailed on the idea of sperm donation, doesn’t mean I’m giving up. Somehow, someway, I’m going to have a child to love.”


Aidan Fitzgerald rubbed his blurring blue eyes. He peeked through his fingers at the clock on the computer screen. Damn, it was already after seven. Even if he wanted to finish the project, his brain was too fried. He could barely make out the words in front of him. He turned off his computer, secure in the thought that his newly elevated promotion of Vice President of marketing meant he could wait until the morning and not have someone bitch at him for slacking off.

With a groan, Aidan rose out of his chair and stretched his arms over his head. He grabbed his bag and headed to the door. As he flipped off his office lights, his stomach rumbled. There was probably nothing at the house to eat, so he’d probably need to pick up something on the way. For a brief instant, he wished there was a woman waiting on him with a home-cooked meal. He quickly shrugged the thought away. A couple of meals weren’t worth the hassle of long-term relationships. In the end, he was much happier with begging dinners off one of his married sisters. At least until they launched into one of their tirades about how he couldn’t be a bachelor for the rest of his life, and at thirty-two, it was time for him to settle down and have a family.

“Bullshit,” he muttered under his breath at the thought. The attractive cleaning lady down the hall raised her head.

She then gave him an alluring smile. “Goodnight Mr. Fitzgerald.”

“Goodnight Paula,” he replied. He smacked the button for the elevator, fighting the urge to close the gap between them and strike up conversation. He raked a hand through his sandy blond hair and shook his head. Talking to Paula would most likely lead to some tryst in the storeroom closet, and as much as he would enjoy that, he was getting a little old for those kinds of hook-ups.

The elevator jolted him down to the first floor. Heated voices met Aidan the moment he stepped off, causing him to grunt in frustration. Damn, the last thing he needed after working late and being cock-teased by the cleaning lady was to come up on some domestic dispute. And from the tone of both a man and woman’s voice, that’s exactly what it was.

“Connor, I can’t believe you cornered me here at work!” a woman hissed.

“What was I supposed to do? You won’t answer my calls or emails. I had to see if you were all right.”

“I told you to leave me alone, and I meant it!”

“But I love you, Em. I don’t want to lose you.”

At the sound of scuffling, the woman’s voice raised an octave. “Stop! Don’t you dare touch me!”

The protective side of Aidan stirred at the woman’s tone, sending him barreling around the corner. “Hey! Get your damn hands off her!” he bellowed.

The couple startled at the sight of him. The woman’s tear stained face flushed crimson, and she ducked her head to avoid Aidan’s intense gaze. Immediately, he recognized her—Emma Harrison, 4th floor advertising, and the woman he’d tried unsuccessfully to take home from the company’s Christmas Party. From the way she refused to meet his eye, he knew she recognized him as well.

Aidan turned his attention to the guy, Connor, whose eyes were wide with fear. He hastily dropped his hands from Emma’s shoulders and took several steps back. Connor looked like he was ready to bolt out the nearest exit. Aidan then realized how intimidating he must appear with his fists clenched at his side, his jaw hard set. He tried relaxing his stance, but his blood still pumped so hard in his ears he couldn’t.

Connor held up his hands in surrender. “I’m not sure what you think was going on, but we were just talking.”

Aidan narrowed his eyes. “I think from the way she was crying and begging you to stop touching her, it was a lot more than talking.” He started to ask Emma if she was all right, but she blew past him and escaped into the restroom. He glared at Connor.

“Look man, you’ve got it all wrong. I—”

“What’s not to get? You obviously can’t let your ex-girlfriend or ex-wife or whatever she is go, even though she can’t stand for you to touch her!”

Nervous laughter erupted from Connor. He silenced it the minute Aidan cocked his eyebrows at him and took a step forward. “Trust me, you’re so very, very wrong. Emma’s not my ex.”

“Then what’s the deal?”

Connor cleared his throat. “Fine, you want the truth? Here it is. I’m g*y, and Emma’s been my best friend since middle school.”

Aidan’s mouth dropped open. “Seriously?”


“Huh…then I stand corrected. Sorry about that.”

Connor shrugged. “It’s okay. I probably would’ve done the same thing if I thought some ass**le was hassling a woman. Well, I probably wouldn’t if he was twice my size like you.” He glanced past Aidan to the bathroom and grimaced. “Dammit, I hate when she’s mad at me. I don’t think she’s ever been so angry and so hurt. I just don’t know what to do to make it right, ya know?”

Aidan shifted on his feet, sensing the conversation was headed into emotional territory, which was somewhere he tried avoiding at all costs. He held one hand up. “Hey man, it’s really none of my business.” But the moment the words left his lips, he was sure they had fallen on deaf ears. The anguished expression on Connor’s face told him he wouldn’t be getting away without hearing the full, dramatic story, unless he literally tried to out run him.

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