We nod our heads at each other, like we have an understanding. I hold her hand tighter when I can tell she is about to let mine go. “So your father’s nice.”

“Yep, but I’m sure he was about to give you the third degree. Much more than a first date warrants… I mean not that this is a date… or anything.” She stutters and her face blushes prettily.

She looks away and gasps. I try to see what she’s staring at, but I can’t because of the number of people on the dance floor. “What are we looking at?” I ask her, with my mouth against her ear.

Her tremble shakes her body and she answers me huskily, “My brother and my best friend.” She points to the couple kissing on the dance floor. I don’t think she realizes it, but she’s put her hand against her heart. The one with mine in it. So my hand is grazing her nipple as she holds our hands to her chest.

“Well, it looks like your matchmaking worked,” I tell her.

“Oh no, here comes Ford.” She drops my hand instantly.

I watch the man coming toward us and I put my arm around her with my hand on her hip. I don’t know if this is another man going to try and cop a feel or just an innocent hug, but I know I’m over sharing her at this point.

“Ford, this is Brent. Brent, this is my brother, Ford.” She introduces us and I shake the man’s hand right before she swats him on the chest.

“What are you thinking bringing Jacksons ex fiancée to the party? Have you lost your mind?” She puts her hands on her hips and I can’t stop the smile that forms on my face. She’s a sassy thing for sure.

“Abby, you know I don’t like her. Hell, it’s killing me.” He looks around us and then leans down to whisper, “The station is investigating her dad. They wanted some inside intel and since I have family connections I was nominated.”

She nods at him. You can tell he feels guilty for bringing Jackson’s ex with him. Abby takes sympathy on him and points out to the dance floor. “I think Jackson’s okay with it.” Jackson and Megan are still kissing, when abruptly they break apart and he’s pulling her off the dance floor.

“Shit. There’s Emily.” And he points to a woman standing in their path off the dance floor. Ford hollers bye over his shoulder and takes off to intervene.

Abby doesn’t take her eyes off them. “You okay?” I ask her worriedly.

“Uh, yea, I’m fine, it’s just, there’s something else going on with Ford. I’m just worried about him,” she admits easily.

I grab her hand once again. “Well, do you want to go talk to him?”

She shakes her head. “No. He’s got enough going on tonight. But I will definitely check on him tomorrow.”

She smiles up at me. “So now you have met all of my crazy family—well, most of them. I have some pretty interesting cousins too, but they’re not here tonight. Anyway, now that you’ve met them all, what about something to eat?”

I brush a stray hair out of her face and put my hands on each of her hips. I shake my head side to side.

“No. You’re not hungry? Okay, what do you want to do?” she asks me, staring at me.

“Dance with me.” I reach for her hand.

Her eyes widen, alarmed. “I never dance. I’m not very good. Trust me, I’m doing you a favor by telling you no.”

I tug her toward the dance floor. “I wasn’t asking.”

Chapter 3


When Brent pulls me to the dance floor, he doesn’t stop until were at the far end toward the back of the room. The music is slow and he slides his arms underneath my robe, pulling me toward him until our bodies are pressed against each other. His hands are resting low on my back and I tense up thinking about him sliding them down my backside.

“You okay?” he whispers in my ear.

I give in to the dance and lean my cheek against his bare chest. “Yes.”

We sway quietly for a few minutes and I slide my hands from his waist, up his solid chest and then wrap them around his neck. He leans down and kisses the top of my head and for a second I forget to breathe.

“Honey, I don’t want to embarrass you in front of your family,” he whispers to me.

I lean my head back to look at him. “Embarrass me? What do you mean?”

“Well, I thought this was a good idea to have you in my arms…” he starts and I stiffen at his words. I start to pull back from him, but his hand slides down my back and cups my cheek. His fingers graze my bare skin at the bottom of my shorts and I suck in a breath.

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