My Own Worst Enemy
“It’s not that I hate Wright Vineyard,” I said, gesturing to the interior of the barn I was currently drinking in with my friends. I shot a pointed look at Jordan and Julian Wright, the owners of said establishment.
Jordan quirked a smile. “I appreciate that, considering you’re here for our one-year anniversary event.”
I held up my wineglass. “See, Julian, I don’t hate it here.”
Julian held his hands up and said, “Hey, I didn’t say that you hate us.” He slid his arm around his girlfriend, Jennifer. “That’s what Hollin has been spouting.”
I seethed at the very mention of his name. Hollin Abbey was…trouble. He was a thorn in my side on a good day and a huge pain in the ass every other day. It was unfortunate that he was the hottest guy in town. He swaggered around like he was some Greek god to be worshipped. And worse, he knew how to push every one of my buttons.
“Hollin is an asshole,” I spat.
Julian laughed. “Obviously.”
His girlfriend, Annie, flipped her long red hair off of her shoulder and leaned forward. “Yeah? You’re not new here.”
“It is kind of his specialty,” my best friend and roommate, Blaire, said.
She’d ditched her signature baseball cap for the night and looked stunning in jeans with her dark curtain bangs falling into her blue eyes.
Bradley shot me a dopey grin. “You should just ignore him, sweetheart. Don’t let him get under your skin.”
I gritted my teeth at the words coming out of my boyfriend’s mouth. It had been six months since Bradley and I had decided to try this for real. After years of on-again, off-again, it was now or never. He was perfectly nice and normal and everything. The kind of guy I should want happily ever after with. Then why did every word out of his mouth make me want to cringe? Why did the thought of continuing this for another six months seem more like a business arrangement than anything with passion? Why was I even doing this?
“Sure. Ignore him,” I said. “That’s a good idea.”
Blaire hid a smile behind her wineglass. Jennifer coughed to try to cover her own laugh. The three of us were roommates, and they’d heard the long diatribe of should I or shouldn’t I dump my boyfriend.
“Hollin isn’t great at being ignored,” Julian said with a smile of his own.
Jordan took a sip of his wine. “We have the entire winery because he was that persistent.”
Jordan and Julian had all of that Wright charm with the dark hair and eyes, enough charisma to spare, and the dominance of someone who always got what he wanted. But the knowing look on both of their faces said that they’d heard about the worst of my relationship, too. Wonderful.
“Just ask every girl he’s three-date-ruled,” I said with an arched eyebrow.
“Three-date rule?” Bradley asked.
I shook my head. “It doesn’t matter. What he said isn’t true. I like it here. It’s just not Sinclair Cellars.”
“Touché,” Julian said.
My father had worked at Sinclair Cellars since the ’70s. He’d met my mom around the same time that she and Abuelita had immigrated from Mexico. After the owner’s kids had shown no interest in the property, my dad had worked his way up and been rewarded with ownership of one of the best vineyards in West Texas. I’d been working there since I was a kid—putting up Christmas lights for our annual display, serving hot chocolate, and giving tours—and I now managed the entire property. It was in my blood.
“You have to admit, the barn is great here though,” Bradley said obliviously.
“Sure,” I ground out. Whose side was he on? “But the wine is better at Sinclair.”
Jordan winced. “Hey, our new vintage is impeccable.”
“And yet we’re not drinking that.”
“Take that up with Hollin,” Julian said with a smirk.
Blaire snorted, Jennifer kicked her foot, and Annie looked like she was going to interrupt. I didn’t want to hear it from them. It wasn’t fair that they knew all my problems when they were all so happy. Well, not Blaire. She was single. But the other two!
“Whatever,” I got out before Annie could speak up. “I’m going to go to the restroom.”
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