I’ve got it bad. Bad enough to be sporting semi-wood in the middle of a crowded room. And she’s not even here.
I take a sip of water, not really listening to the chatter around me. What does she do on her nights off? Frequent clubs? Hang out at a coffee house and chastise unsuspecting men on the unfairness of the glass ceiling? That makes me smile. I love the way her pert nose scrunches up when she’s irritated and her wide green eyes narrow into slits. Like she won’t hesitate to kick someone’s ass if she thinks they deserve it. Totally hot.
The water I’m drinking is warm and tastes of plastic. I set the bottle down harder than necessary. An antsy, irritable feeling grows within me. I don’t want to be here. I’ve heard all these stories and jokes a thousand times before. And while I love my guys, I’m bored. I want to hunt down Anna Jones, rattle her cage, and see what she throws at me. But I don’t know where to start looking. And it pisses me off.
I’m about to tell Gray that I’ll see him tomorrow, maybe hit the sack in an effort to at least try to get some needed sleep, when I feel a familiar tightening in my groin and along my back.
I have no explanation for how or why it is that I know when she’s near. I just do. Like a magnet to metal, my body swivels and my head lifts. And there she is.
Everything stops. My heart in my chest. My brain function. Fuck me sideways. Just someone stick a fork in me. I’m done. She isn’t in her standard t-shirt and jeans, or one of her soft little sweaters. She’s in some strappy top that barely contains her br**sts, those creamy, beautiful br**sts that bounce and jiggle with each step she takes. Those br**sts are going to be the death of me. I’m afraid I’ve audibly groaned.
And damn if I’m not the only one who’s noticed her. Too many eyes are glued to her chest. My hands clench. I’m no different than them, maybe worse, because I’ve made a habit of staring at her. But I’m itching to smack heads, send those eyes forward and off of her. I also have the sudden urge to whip off my shirt and tuck her into it.
She makes her way farther into the room, and I see the skirt. A swishy black thing that clings and sways around her pale thighs. Strong yet soft thighs that I know would feel so good parting for me, that would wrap me up and hold me tight. Je-sus.
A frown mars her face, drawing her auburn brows close and pinching her lips. If there is anything I love more about her than her br**sts, it’s her lips. Deep pink and plump, those lips entrance me. Lips I’ve wanted to kiss since I first laid eyes on them.
She isn’t happy to be here. And she scowls back at a pair of girls who look at her as if she’s an intruder. I know those girls. Sports groupies. “Cock Jugglers” are what Gray calls them. And though it’s crude, it’s fitting. They’ve serviced more than half the team. Ugly experience has taught me to keep far away from them. I don’t like the smirks they’re giving Anna. She shouldn’t be here. We shouldn’t. I want to take her out of here and just drive somewhere. Maybe to that coffee house in my imagination. I’d be happy to have her lecture me on all the ways I annoy her.
Her eyes scan the room as if seeking a way out.
Look this way, I tell her in my head. Look at me. Give me those wide, green eyes. Lock them on to me with that intensity I feel down to my bones.
Look at me.
Look at me.
As if she hears me, her pale shoulders tense, and my body seizes with hot anticipation. Her long lashes sweep upward and, bam, those eyes find mine. It’s like being blindsided, only heat and breathless pleasure overwhelms me instead of pain.
Her full lips part as if she’s taking a shocked breath, and I find myself doing the same. Jesus, I want her. She watches me, a mixture of anxiety and raw excitement gleaming in her eyes. I need to find a way to erase that anxiety. I need to know her better. Nothing on earth is stopping me from going to her.
Adrenaline rushes through my veins and my heart rate increases. Game on.
INSIDE THE HOUSE is just as I feared. Packed, hot, and loud. Guys appear to make it their sole purpose to shout out to one another. Inane music is pulsing through the speakers and bouncing off the walls.
Eyes follow me as I walk by. I don’t belong. They know it. I know it. Girls frown as if trying to figure out why I am here and who invited me, and guys take long looks at my boobs. I’m now cursing my choice of top. And Iris.
Iris, who darts like a minnow through the crowd in her quest to find Henry. The instant she does, he pulls her in and sticks his tongue down her throat. His hands grab her ass to haul her in closer.
Yeah. I don’t have any desire to stand next to them now. My only refuge is to find a beer and a corner to nurse it in. Because of my three-inch boot heels, I hover at 5’10.” High enough to see over most other girls’ heads. High enough that when I move into another room, I instantly spot him. And he’s looking directly at me.
Of course. I am now officially going to kill Iris.
I want to look away, but I can’t. I never can when it comes to him. His mouth hangs open slightly, as if he’s shocked to see me here, which makes two of us; I’m shocked to be here. But then, as if it dawns on him that it’s really me and not a nightmare, his lips quirk up at the corners and a glint comes into his eyes.
I wonder if all my happy parts are somehow connected to his smile because they flare at that expression, going warm and tingly. Which annoys the hell out of me.
Then he moves, walking away from the group of people surrounding him without a backward glance.
Disabled as I am by my uncooperative body, I stand unmoving as he comes for me. His big body cuts through the crowd like a blade. God damn, but he looks fine, his long striding legs encased in worn and faded jeans that hug his thick thighs. His moss brown t-shirt clings to his chest like a love song, highlighting the breadth of his shoulders and the leanness of his waist.