Home > Say You're Mine (The Gallaghers Series)(11)

Say You're Mine (The Gallaghers Series)(11)
Author: Layla Hagen

I texted Josie, telling her we’d arrived while my friend Cooper led us to our table.

I studied my brothers as we sat down. They were busy studying Cooper. I barely held back laughter.

“Are you going out with him?” Dylan asked once Cooper was out of earshot.

“No. I know him from the touring agency. We’re friends.”

“Aha, riiight.” Ian sounded unconvinced.

Dylan sat up straighter, keeping his eyes trained on Cooper when he returned to take our order. He spoke in short sentences, using a clipped tone. He’d gone into what I called “alpha intimidation mode.”

Ian shook his head, clearly having as much trouble fighting laughter as I did. I ordered for Josie too, because she’d messaged back saying she was going to be a few minutes late and was starving already.

“Guys, leave poor Cooper alone. I’m really not romantically interested in him,” I said once we were alone again.

“Hey, I didn’t do anything,” Ian said. “Dylan’s the Neanderthal of the family.”

I wondered what they’d do if I told them who I actually was interested in. Ian would probably go into the same mode right away too. He liked to say that Dylan got all the Neanderthal genes, but I had enough proof growing up that that wasn’t the case.

Ian yawned.

“Late night again?” I asked him. “Work or conquest?”

“Not work,” Dylan answered for him.

“Okay, then I don’t want any details, brother dearest. Wait, except one. Was Dylan out with you too?”

Dylan cocked a brow. “Why would you think that?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe you can get back in the game with Ian as your wingman.”

Dylan glared at me. “I don’t need a wingman.”

Ian laughed. “He always says that. Personally, I think he’s afraid I’ll be stealing his conquests.”

“Ha! Like that’s ever happened,” Dylan replied.

“Nah, I can’t see that happening,” I cut in. “But Dylan’s a lone wolf. Always did like to do things on his own without even telling us.”

“Yeah, maybe asking for advice once in a while wouldn’t be bad. To avoid shooting myself in the foot, like I did with Lina.”

I sat up straighter. That was an unexpected answer. Dylan had been in a relationship with Lina for many years before she abruptly broke his heart. Unlike Ian, who’d always insisted he was a bachelor for life, Dylan only started saying that after the break-up. He’d never given us details though. I’d pestered him for months to open up, if not to us, then someone else he trusted. I hadn’t wanted to nag, but if there was one thing I’d learned in my career as a therapist, it was that negative experiences and emotions were best aired out in the open, either by talking or writing them down. Out with the shit, so we could make room for good emotions, give them enough space to fill our lives with happiness.

Was he finally taking my advice?

Ian and I exchanged a glance. He looked as surprised as I’d felt. I didn’t push though, afraid Dylan would put his ice wall up around himself again.

“I asked her to marry me. She said she wasn’t ready. That she wasn’t sure she wanted to spend her life with me.”

Oh shit, shit, shit!

“Fuck!” Ian exclaimed, which summed up my thoughts. But something in his expression also told me this wasn’t completely news to him. Had he found out from other sources?

“I’m so sorry, Dylan,” I said sincerely. “But... honestly, I’m not sure what advice we could have given you. If she wasn’t sure after you’d been dating for so many years... Just know this. It’s not your fault. And it doesn’t mean you can’t be happy with someone else.”

Dylan snorted. “Not going to happen. I’m enjoying being a bachelor.”

Oh, if I saw Lina, I’d give her a piece of my mind. I rolled my palms into fists under the table, hoping Dylan couldn’t see how pissed I was. Yeah, the Neanderthal gene really did run deep in our family.

Josie arrived with Sophie, and I swear my heart exploded with joy. She was so tiny and pink. Josie carried her in a sling around her, and I only saw her tiny nose sticking out, as well as the little hands and feet.

Josie had cut her hair into a bob right before giving birth, but it had grown a little bit already. The look absolutely suited her; the brown tresses framed her face beautifully.

“My God, she’s cute,” I exclaimed. I wanted to hold her, but I was terrified of babies when they were so little. They looked breakable.

Ian seemed to be thinking along the same lines I was, but Dylan was brave. He’d even held little Sophie at the hospital right after her birth.

“Sis, are you sure it’s okay for you to be out and about with Sophie?” Dylan asked, voice full of concern.

“Of course, I checked with the doctor. She sleeps most of the time anyway. At least during the day. The nights are more complicated.”

Our server brought the food right away.

It wasn’t Cooper. My brothers had successfully intimidated him.

I tried to imagine how Brayden would react if my brothers gave him the same treatment, and I was certain he wouldn’t be one bit intimidated.

“I’m starving,” Josie exclaimed. “But then again, I’m always hungry these days. And still craving impossible things. Lucky for me, my husband succeeds at everything he puts his mind to.”

“Like giving you and Sophie absolutely everything you want?” I asked.

“Exactly.”

“A man after my own heart.”

We’d ordered mushroom omelets, mashed avocado with tomatoes, black bean pasta, and eggs Benedict. They made their own bread here, and the wafts of nuts and raisins made my mouth water.

“Why are you two looking so intently over there?” Josie asked Ian and Dylan.

“Our server’s interested in Isabelle. So we’re interested in him,” Dylan said smoothly.

“Or, well, our former server. He seems to be avoiding us now,” Ian added.

Josie stopped in the act of cutting her omelet. “My God, so much testosterone,” she said.

“They’ve toned it down now. It used to be a lot worse when I was in high school,” I explained. Josie was older than us, and she’d moved to New York to a boarding school when she was in high school. Though she’d visited often, she’d missed out on a lot of things, such as Ian and Dylan’s overprotectiveness where I was concerned.

“But I do think we’re entering a new era where these two will channel some of their protective instincts toward Sophie,” I said.

Ian laughed. “Doesn’t mean we can’t annoy you two as well.”

I grinned, helping myself to some eggs Benedict from Ian’s plate.

“Hey, don’t steal my food!”

“Payback for being annoying,” I teased.

Dylan and Josie started laughing, and before long, Ian and I joined them too.

It took me right back to eating breakfast at our parents’ home as kids. We’d had laughing sessions, which I’d insisted upon, because I’d read in a magazine column that laughter had a therapeutic effect. I’d been a bit bossy even as a kid.

“What’s everyone up to?” Josie asked.

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