Sidequest for Love - Page 36

What? He had a cheeky smile and a smashing personality.

“To what do I owe the pleasure of a phone call at this hour?” I answered. With the time difference, Neil was probably still in the middle of his workday.

“Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I can’t make our video call tonight,” he said reluctantly.

Just like that, disappointment set in. I’d been looking forward to our call all day. “Oh? Is everything all right?”

“Everything’s fine. Something just came up.”

“What came up?”

There was silence on his end for a moment before he replied, his voice tight, “Callum and Paul are taking me for a lads’ night out in the city.”

I noted the weariness in his voice. “Well, that’s going to be a boatload of fun. Why do you sound so stressed about it?”

I heard him exhale a heavy breath. “Callum’s gotten this idea in his head that he’s going to be my wingman. Sometimes I wonder if he has any clue what he actually looks like.”

I barked a laugh. “Callum Davidson knows exactly what he looks like. I can’t count the number of times he’s been conveniently topless on Running on Air.”

“Right, well, either way, it’s going to be a disaster. Any woman I try to talk to will only be interested in him.”

My smile vanished as my eyebrows drew into a frown. “If that’s the case, then none of them have an ounce of taste. You’re a catch, Neil. When are you ever going to realise that?”

“You think I’m a catch?” he asked, sounding surprised.

“Of course I do. You’ve got a steady job, your own flat, a smart dress sense and impeccable personal hygiene. You’re organised, reliable, and kind. Need I go on?”

“You’re forgetting that I’m also stiff, uptight and a little bit awkward,” he argued.

“Oh hush. You’re only stiff and awkward when you’re uncomfortable. Once people get to know you, you’re great. I can personally vouch for that.”

“That’s very kind of you to say, but it’s not that simple.”

“Why isn’t it?”

“Well, for a start, you’re not like most women.”


“It’s not a criticism. I think it’s wonderful how you see the world. You don’t dismiss people because of their imperfections. In fact, you seem to enjoy people far more because they’re imperfect. But in my experience, the women I meet in bars are looking for tall, dark, and handsome men with six-figure salaries.”

I was shaking my head as I listened to him. “I disagree. I think that a lot of women think they want tall, dark, handsome, and rich. And sure, money can help make life more comfortable, but what they really want is a man who’s kind, a man who listens and is genuinely interested in who they are, a man who cares about their happiness and wellbeing. That’s you, Neil,” I said, feeling somewhat breathless at my declaration. “You are the ideal catch for the person who actually takes the time to look beneath the surface.”

He didn’t say anything for several seconds, and I started to worry I’d said too much, revealed something I hadn’t meant to reveal. But then Neil spoke, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the world would be a better place if it had more people like you in it, Afric.”

A smile graced my lips as I lifted my chin. “That’s very true.”

He laughed softly, and I loved the sound. “How are you? I hope you don’t mind me cancelling our call tonight.”

“Not at all,” I lied. “And I’m fine, really good, actually. My brother Billy is visiting. Currently, he’s taking a nap and snoring his head off on my couch. He said the flight took a lot out of him. I told him if a one-hour flight takes a lot out of him, then he’s not going to last long in this world,” I paused to laugh. “Speaking of siblings, how’s Rosie? I think I spotted her commenting on my live stream the other day. She wouldn’t happen to be a librarian, would she?”

“Yes, she’s a trainee librarian. I actually had a call with her earlier. She’s been fretting about this new book club she’s hosting at the library where she works. She’s worried nobody’s going to show up.”

“Well, Billy and I can go if you like?” I offered impulsively. “Fill out the numbers. Plus, Billy can talk for Ireland, so he’ll be only too happy to fill any awkward silences.”

“Seriously? You’d do that for Rosie?”

I’d do it for you. I also couldn’t resist the chance to meet Neil’s sister in person and quiz her about her brother.

“Sure, I haven’t got anything else on this week, and I do love a good book discussion. Send me all the details, and I’ll be there.”

“Rosie might faint if you show up. She’s such a fan of yours.”

“If she faints, I’ll make sure to catch her,” I said with a chuckle.

Tags: L.H. Cosway Romance
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