The Playboy's Proposal (Sorensen Family)(8)

By: Ashlee Mallory



At this, all three kids began talking at once.

Kate reached out and patted Benny’s arm, a smile on her lips. “Welcome to thirty.”



It was two hours later when Benny pulled into the parking garage and maneuvered her Mini Cooper around the corner and to her designated spot.

A spot that was currently occupied. This time by a silver Lexus SUV.

She’d take one guess as to where the owner of the vehicle was right now. The familiar boiling of her blood had her gripping the steering wheel. Fighting the urge to ram her car into the back of the offending vehicle, and the red Ferrari next to it, she drove away.

A couple minutes later, she pulled into one of the few visitor spots out front, relieved at not having to make another trek from down the block, and picked up her cell phone. Kate’s voicemail answered. “Kate? It’s Benny. About that complaint to the HOA? Let’s do it. And I want to add some parking violations to the mix. I’ll send you a copy over in the morning.”

With satisfaction, she hung up. It was time Mr. Henry Ellison realized the whole world wasn’t his playground and that he, like everyone else, had to follow the rules.

As she paused in the hallway outside his door, she rolled her eyes at the faint but distinctive sound of a John Mayer song playing softly.

What. A. Player.

Inside her own place, she poured herself a glass of wine and went to the couch. She kicked off her comfortable orthopedic sneakers and flipped the television on, bypassing changing into pajamas since her scrubs were just as comfortable.

Bonus. Property Brothers was running a marathon, and a new episode was just starting. She settled back to enjoy it, savoring her wine. Only halfway through the episode, she wasn’t paying attention to the show at all. Her thoughts were still on her nephew’s comment from earlier. About being alone.

As if hitting thirty hadn’t been hard enough, having the people she cared about echoing the same thoughts she’d been trying to block out for months hadn’t made it any easier. Usually she shrugged those comments off, excusing her single status as a necessity from her studies and then her work. But in recent months, seeing her brothers reach the level of happiness she’d only seen from her parents—and in fairy tales—she’d started realizing that something was missing from her life.

Not that she hadn’t been in relationships. But she’d never thought for a second that the four months she’d spent with Chip—a twenty-four-year-old orderly with a sweet smile and nice butt but not much happening upstairs—had been anything more than a fling. And when Chip had talked about making it more, she’d ended it quickly, not wanting to lead him on. Because he wasn’t the one. None of the guys she’d gone out with had been. They just happened to be the only ones she wasn’t a complete dork with when she tried to talk to them.

The guys that really made her pulse race, her breath catch…they were never going to want her anyhow. She’d learned that a long time ago. It was women like Daisy, pretty and vivacious, and naturally gifted with social skills, who easily earned the attention of men like Luke Seeley. And Jeff Nausbam before him, and Scottie Hall before them. Benny had resigned herself to halfhearted relationships with tepid chemistry and ho-hum romance—until Kate and Payton came and turned Benny’s brothers’ worlds around. She’d be lying if she said she wasn’t a little envious.

She threw back the rest of her wine and got up to get a refill before turning the television off and heading to her bathroom. She set her glass down and leaned forward, peering into the mirror. It wasn’t that she was ugly. She knew that. Nor was she the same chubby-faced tomboy of her childhood.

But she did have a few more lines around the eyes than she once had. A chin hair that was growing more persistent and darker every year and would require pliers to remove soon, it was so stubborn. She leaned back. Her boobs, massive double Ds and once the bane of her pubescent existence, were only settling farther south.

Basically, everything was downhill from here.

And if she didn’t do something more proactive, she was going to be alone for the rest of her life. She’d be the old, lonely spinster aunt who would be extended the pity invitations to every holiday event.

Something had to change. She had to change. And she wasn’t talking about settling for anything second best. Not anymore.

If she wanted Luke Seeley to see her as more than the dorky new doctor who couldn’t string a sentence together in his presence, she was going to have to do something different.

The question was…what?





Chapter Three

“Your sister’s on the phone,” Marion said just after three on Thursday afternoon.

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