Book Title: Just One of Those Things
Author: Mindy Klasky
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
Matt Dawson has returned to Harmony Springs after ten years of pitching in the major leagues. His father thinks he’s a screw-up who should have joined the Army instead of playing ball. His old buddies think he’s a hero with a bottomless bank account. But Matt knows he’ll never be a hero, not like his brother Jon, who recently died in Afghanistan.
Emily Barton once dated Jon but their break-up was brutal, made even worse when Matt tried to intervene. Years later, Emily remains trapped on an emotional treadmill, regularly changing her apartment, her job, and her boyfriend in a futile attempt to regain her earlier success.
Determined to give back to Harmony Springs, Matt opens an American Discount thrift store. But Emily recognizes a threat to the downtown shopping district and she organizes a grassroots campaign. Will she succeed at driving the American Discount out of town—and Matt out of her life—forever?
Emily gaped at the glass in her hand. At the dripping, empty glass. Slowly, feeling the hot flame of embarrassment kindle in the tips of her ears, her eyes rose to the face of the man whose crotch she’d just christened with her birthday cider.
All six feet and more of him. His dark brown eyes were wide with shock, and his mouth hung open as if he were half-way through a word. His black hair was tousled like he’d just gotten out of bed. Not that she was thinking about Matt Dawson anywhere near a bed…
“Matt,” she finally said. “I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to— I just turned around when Kevin said your name— I didn’t realize—”
“It’s okay,” he said evenly.
But it wasn’t. By reflex, Emily grabbed a stack of napkins from the bar and bunched them in her hand, the way she did when Heather March drank a little too much and the librarian got sloppy from her trademark gin and tonics.
But it was one thing for Emily to dab at a girlfriend’s blouse. It was a completely different matter to mop up the well-soaked fly of a man she hadn’t seen in…what was it? Twelve years?
Of course it was twelve years. She knew exactly how long it had been.
“Here,” she finally said, handing over the clump of napkins.
Matt grimaced and crushed them into a ball. Yeah. There wasn’t exactly a delicate way for him to soak up the cider either. Not that delicate had ever been high on the list of the Dawson boys’ charms.
Kevin Sinclair saved her, passing over another glass of cider and saying, “Emily’s had a rough night.”
Matt offered up the expected questioning glance.
Kevin said, “She was late getting here. Pulled up to her usual parking space, only to find some cidiot asshole parked in her spot. Big black monster of a truck.”
Matt nodded at the cider. “Add that to my tab.”
“You don’t have to—” Emily said. She should be buying him a drink after what she’d just done.
He shrugged. “I’m the cidiot asshole.”
Damn. This night just got better and better.Kev took Matt’s announcement as his signal to start pouring those drinks for the guys at the back.
“Sorry,” Matt said to her.
“It’s no big deal. It’s not like we have assigned parking spaces or anything.” Her forced laugh sounded like a hyena giving birth. She downed half her cider, making it disappear faster than the pint she’d tossed at Matt’s jeans. Which only reminded her to keep her eyes front and center. Pinned, in fact, on a spot in the precise middle of his forehead.
“So, how’re you doing?” he asked.
She spoke to his eyebrows. “Same old, same old.”
From her peripheral vision, she could see his chin jut toward the front table. “Someone’s birthday tonight?”
Crap. There went the tips of her ears again, flaming like she had something to hide. “Mine.” She remembered how to laugh. “The big three oh.”
“That explains the tiara,” he said, without cracking a smile.
She reached up and yanked the plastic contraption out of her hair. “Um, yeah.”
And two point seven from the Russian judge on Emily Dawson’s conversational skills! But all the parts of Emily’s brain that would normally have reminded her to talk about the weather, to ask what brought Matt back to town, to comment on the freaking baseball game on TV—all those parts were shut down by the mantra: Don’t look at his crotch. Don’t look at his crotch. Don’t look at his crotch.