Sweet Little Lies (Heartbreaker Bay #1)(9) by Jill Shalvis

Sean didn’t say anything and Finn blew out a breath. He knew that sometimes he got caught up in being the boss and forgot to be the older brother. “Look,” he said, “it could’ve happened to anyone, don’t take it so hard—”

At the sound of a soft snore, Finn craned his neck and swore.

Sean lay sprawled on his back on the couch, one leg on the floor, his arms akimbo, mouth open, dead asleep.

Finn strode over there and exercised huge restraint by kicking his brother’s foot and not his head.

Sean sat straight up, murmuring, “That’s it, baby, that’s perfect—” When he saw Finn standing over him, he sagged and swiped a hand down his face. “What the hell, man. You just interrupted me banging Anna Kendrick.”

Anna Kendrick was hot, but she had nothing on Pru Harris. “You’re not allowed to sleep through me kicking your ass.”

Sean didn’t try dispute the fact that Finn could, and had, kicked his ass on many occasions. “Anna Kendrick,” he simply repeated in a devastated voice.

“Out of your league. And why the hell don’t you sleep in your own office? Or better yet, at home.”

Home being the Victorian row house they shared in the neighborhood of Pacific Heights, half a mile straight up one of San Francisco’s famed hills.

“I’ve got better things to do in my bed than sleep,” Sean muttered and yawned. “What do you want anyway? I’ve cleaned my room and scrubbed behind my ears, Mom.”

“I’m not your damn mom.”

This earned him a rude snort from Sean. Whether that was because Finn had indeed been Sean’s ‘damn mom’ since the day she’d walked out on them when they’d been three and ten, or simply because Finn was the only one of them with a lick of sense, didn’t matter.

“Focus,” Finn said to his now twenty-two-going-on-sixteen-year-old brother. “I found the error you made in the payroll. You somehow set everyone to time and a half.”

“Oh shit.” Sean flopped back to the couch and closed his eyes again. “Rookie mistake.”

“That’s it?” Finn asked. “Just ‘oh shit, rookie mistake’?” He felt an eye twitch coming on. “This is a damn partnership, Sean, and I need you to start acting like it. I can’t do it alone.”

“Hey, I told you, I don’t belong behind a desk. My strength’s in front of the customers and we both know it.”

Finn stared at him. “There’s more to running this place than making people smile.”

“No shit.” Sean cracked open an eye. “Without me out there hustling and busting my ass to charm everyone into a good time every night, there’d be no payroll to fuck up.”

“You think that’s all this pub is, a good time?” Finn asked.

“Well, yeah.” Sean stretched his long, lanky body, lying back with his hands behind his head. “What else is there?”

Finn pressed his fingers against his twitching eye so that his brains couldn’t leak out, but what did he expect? Back when he’d been twenty-one, he’d been as wild as they came. And then suddenly he’d found himself in charge of fourteen-year-old Sean when their dad had gotten himself killed in a car accident. It’d been hell, but eventually Finn had gotten his act together for both his own and Sean’s sake. He’d had to.

When Sean had turned twenty-one last year, they’d opened the pub to give them both a viable future. And if Finn’s other goal had been to keep Sean interested in something, anything, he couldn’t very well now complain that Sean thought life was all fun and games.

“How about making a living?” Finn asked. “You know, that little thing about covering our rent and food and other expenses, like your college tuition? What are you now, a third-year sophomore?”

“Fourth I think.” Sean smiled, though it faltered some when Finn didn’t return it. “Hey, I’m still trying to find my calling. This year probably. Next year tops. And then the good times really start.”

“As opposed to what you’re doing now?”

“Hey, we work our asses off.”

“You work part-time at a pub, Sean. By the very definition of that, you’re having fun every single day.”

Sean snorted. “Seriously, man, we need to redefine your definition of fun. You’re here twenty-four seven and you know it. You should’ve let Trouble show you what you’re missing. She’s cute, and best yet, she was game.”

“Trouble?”