Home > Dare Me (The Donovans #1)(3)

Dare Me (The Donovans #1)(3)
Author: Samantha Chase

The only plus side to it? It meant her parents were leaving her sister Ryleigh alone for a little while. Apparently, she was their prime target for the last four years, and poor Ryleigh was at her wit's end. So for now, Arianna was willing to take one for the team and go out on some dates to make her parents happy. They didn’t need to know that she was still harboring a bit of a broken heart. She’d get over it eventually.

Maybe.

And now that she was an adult, no one was scaring guys away like they used to. Just thinking about all the boys her brothers had harassed and threatened back in the day was enough to make her roll her eyes. They never truly succeeded in making anyone run or break up with her, but it was cute how they tried.

Now, no one was getting chased away. If anything, whenever she was down at their family pub, Donovan’s, Patrick and Jamie were practically sending eligible guys her way! It had actually become a bit of a fun family game and maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if even one guy had given her even a hint of the feels, but…they hadn’t.

Damn you, Will Jameson!

Flopping back against the pillows, she tossed her phone aside with disgust. She couldn’t keep doing this to herself. The smart thing to do would be to delete all those pictures and just forget about the whole thing. Maybe she’d be able to focus on meeting a nice guy if she didn’t keep pulling up Will’s picture and making comparisons.

Maybe.

Her phone chimed again. “Dammit, Mark, I said I’d let you know,” she murmured before grabbing it. Her sister’s name popped up and it made her smile.

Ryleigh: So? How was your night?

Rather than texting her back, Arianna simply hit the call button.

“I wasn’t expecting you to call,” Ryleigh said with amusement.

“Well, I know why I’m home and in bed by eleven. What’s your excuse?”

“The date went that well, huh?”

“Mark was really nice, but…”

“Ugh…not again, Ari. They can’t all be nice guys that you have zero interest in. It’s just not possible!”

“Sadly, it is,” she said wearily. “We had a great dinner and then he wanted to take me to some bar where a friend of his was playing in a band.”

“Say no more. I hate when they have a friend in a band,” Ryleigh replied. “It never goes well.”

“Exactly.” The sigh was out before she could stop it. “Look, I’m more than happy to keep going out with these guys if it takes some of the pressure off of you. I know Mom and Dad have been pressuring you to find Mr. Right…”

“And Gram and Pop,” Ryleigh interrupted. “They joined the campaign too.”

“Oh, no…”

“So did Nana and Grandpa. And Uncle Ronan. I’m telling you; it’s been brutal. I appreciate you stepping in and giving them a new focus, but they haven’t forgotten about me. I’m going out with Gram’s hairdresser’s nephew tomorrow.” She groaned.

“And you couldn’t get out of it?”

“Nope. I said I had planned on working at the pub that night since Saturdays are so busy, and Dad said not to worry, that he’d get someone else to cover the shift.”

“Damn.”

“I know.” Now it was Ryleigh’s turn to sigh. “Is it wrong that I just want them to back off a bit? I mean…I’d like to meet a great guy too! Most of my friends are married already and here I am getting old and running out of prospects!”

“Ry, you’re only twenty-six. That’s not old.”

“Tell that to Mom and Dad. If you listen to them, I’m practically ancient and on the verge of becoming an old maid.”

“Oh, stop. They did not say that!” she said with a laugh.

“Wait…keep passing up these nice guys and they’ll start labeling you just like they’re labeling me.”

“Doubtful. I’m only twenty-three. I’ve got a few good years in me yet.”

“That’s what I thought too and yet…here I am.” She paused for a moment. “Other than the friend in the band thing, what was wrong with this guy?”

“I don’t know…”

“He wasn’t Will,” Ryleigh stated, because…well…she was the only person Arianna had confided in.

“I didn’t say that.”

“You didn’t have to. Look, I’m not trying to be mean, but…it’s been a year. It’s time to move on. You have to accept the fact that he just used you.”

“But he didn’t!” she countered. “How did he use me? We didn’t have sex! We walked around San Francisco and ate dim sum and went on a sunset cruise! Where was the using?”

“Okay, okay…calm down. Don’t get all pissy.”

“It’s not fair, Ry. How could the universe find me this perfect guy like that and then he just disappears?”

“Something could have happened to him, Ari. Have you thought about that?”

“Why would you even say that?” she cried.

“Um…”

Tears stung her eyes. “I’ve tried not to think like that, but…oh, God! What if it did?” Honestly, she had thought that exact thing far too many times and would immediately tell herself not to think like that.

“This isn’t helping anything,” Ryleigh reasoned. “The important thing here is that you stop thinking about this guy because he didn’t care enough about you to keep in touch. Let’s just say that he was a major jerk and move on.”

They’d had this conversation at least a dozen times in the last year and, as much as it pained her, Arianna knew this needed to be the last time. Swallowing hard, she nodded. “You’re right. It’s been a year and…and I just need to pretend like that day never happened.”

“I’m so sorry…”

“Don’t be. I’m the idiot who fell in love on a single date. I mean…knowing me, I’m probably over-romanticizing the entire thing.”

“Yes! Yes, that’s it! You made it seem like so much more in your head when, in reality, he wasn’t all that.”

Nodding, she forced herself to agree. “Okay, no more talking about this or any other dating topics. Let’s talk about Liam. Has anyone gotten a definitive date out of him yet for when he’ll be home?”

“All I know is it’s next week sometime,” Ryleigh told her. “Have you thought about where you’re going to go? Have you even looked at apartments for yourself?”

“Um…”

“Ari! Come on! You make great money, how is it that you can’t find an apartment? Have you talked to Patrick? He’s always got property available.”

“I haven’t really talked to him about it in a while. Most of the places he manages are out of my budget. Plus, I guess a part of me wasn’t sure this was where I wanted to stay.”

“You mean at Liam’s?”

“No. Laurel Bay. I’ve been looking at jobs…elsewhere.”

Her sister was silent for several long moments. “Like how far elsewhere?”

“Like…back in Chapel Hill where I went to school. There are a lot of opportunities there, and…”

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