His eyes skim down my body, and I have to stop from squirming under his perusal.
“It was worth every penny.”
I blush again. I really need to stop with that.
We arrive at the event. Carrick offers me his hand to help me out of the car, which I’m grateful for. It’s an awful lot easier to get in this car than out of it in this dress and shoes.
“Thanks,” I murmur as he closes the door behind us.
Then, he does something that surprises me. He takes hold of my hand like it’s the most natural thing in the world for him to do.
Maybe it is. He does spend a lot of time with women. He’s probably done it without realizing.
So, I don’t question it, or what the tingling sensation in my body means either.
I feel him rub his thumb over my hand, and then he lifts it, looking at it.
“I had a manicure,” I explain, knowing why he’s staring at my hand with interest.
He smiles softly. “Looks pretty.”
And I’m mush on the floor. Just a big pile of girlie goo.
Once we’re inside, I glance around, taking in my surroundings.
The venue itself screams fancy. And it’s filled wall-to-wall with beautiful people wearing beautiful clothes, women with jewelry dripping off of them like ice. Everyone exudes wealth.
This is the glamorous side of Formula 1 that I don’t usually see, and I feel a little out of my depth.
Carrick grabs us a couple of glasses of champagne from a passing waiter.
“Let the crazy begin.” He chinks his glass with mine.
And crazy is right because that is the only quiet moment we have together—or I should say him. The moment people see he’s arrived, they’re on him like bees on honey.
It’s interesting to watch how he is with these people—charming with the females, of course, but he’s guarded, not the relaxed guy I spend my time with. He’s more serious, focused, like he feels he has something to prove. Maybe he does.
All I know is I’m glad he’s not this Carrick with me, that he feels he can be himself with me.
I’ve been working my way through some serious glasses of champagne, which keep magically appearing in my hand. After making as much small talk with strangers that I can manage, I excuse myself to the restroom.
When I come back to the party, Carrick is talking with an attractive blonde. He’s wearing that gorgeous flirty smile of his. And he looks very interested in whatever it is she is saying.
A flash of jealousy hits me. Hard.
Annoyed with myself for feeling that way, I decide to leave Carrick to his conversation, and I head to the bar.
I want to order beer, but all the women here are drinking wine or champagne or fancy-looking cocktails. I don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb with a bottle of Bud in hand, so when the bartender asks for my drink order, I ask for champagne. Might as well continue on as I’ve been going.
“If you wanted a drink, you should have come and told me. I would have gotten you one.”
I jolt at Carrick’s voice beside me.
I slide a glance at him. “You looked busy. I didn’t want to interrupt.” Shit, that came out sounding a lot like jealousy. And I really didn’t mean it to. Did I?
A grin edges his lips. “I wasn’t busy. And you’re always a welcome interruption. You know that.”
The bartender puts my drink on the bar. Carrick hands him his credit card before I get a chance to pay.
“Jameson on the rocks, please, mate.”
I frown at him. In response to my frown, I get, “Andressa, I don’t take a woman out and expect her to get her own drinks.”
“That’s what you would do on a date. This isn’t a date,” I remind him.
The bartender puts a whiskey down in front of Carrick.
He picks it up, holding the glass near his lips. “Maybe not, but I’m still buying your drinks. End of.”
Did I mention he was drinking whiskey at the time?
“Shit, it’s gone up my nose!” He winces, cupping his nose with his hand.
The sight of him, all handsome in his tux with whiskey dripping down his chin, is one I’ll always remember.
Laughing, I grab a napkin from the bar and pass it to him.
“Thanks.” He dries off and then shakes his head, trying to clear it. “Fuck, that felt weird.”
He grins that boyish grin of his at me, and it punches me in the chest, leaving me feeling momentarily breathless.
“Anyway, where were we?”
“I called you a Neanderthal, and you snorted whiskey up your nose.”
“Thanks for the thorough recap.” His blue, blue eyes sparkle at me under the lights of the bar. “I’ve been called things before but never a caveman.”
Putting my glass down on the granite, I rest my elbow on it. Chin in my hand, I stare up at him. “What do you usually get called?”
“Do you mean before or after sex?”
My face immediately flushes. I’m not a prude—I work with rowdy, oversexed men all day long—but Carrick just talks so openly about sex in a one-on-one way that I’ve never known before.
It always sounds so intimate when he talks about it.
Or maybe it sounds intimate because the sex he talks about, I want him to be having with me.
“You’re blushing.” His fingertips touch my cheek. “Have I embarrassed you?”
“Nope.” Moving my head back, I pick my glass up and take a gulp of champagne. Then, I straighten up, resting my side against the bar. “Before sex?”