Bridget couldn’t help but grin as she shook the manager’s hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, too. The event is lovely.”
“And she’s well-mannered.” The man’s white-as-snow brows lifted as he clapped Chad on the shoulder. “You’re a lucky boy. I hope to see her at the games in the spring.”
Chad replied, but Bridget really didn’t hear him. Forcing her smile to remain on her face, she hated the suddenly heavy feeling in her chest. She wouldn’t be at the games in the spring. Or if she happened to go to one—which she doubted she would—it wouldn’t be in the context the manager hoped for.
Heart heavy, she excused herself to find the ladies’ room. It was blissfully empty as she smoothed down some of the flyaways that were popping up all over her head and ordered herself to pull it together. She hadn’t wanted to do this in the first place, and she should be thrilled it was almost over.
But she wasn’t.
It had nothing to do with the glamorous life Chad lived—the dinners, the nights out, and all the attention. What she was going to miss was him.
Heading back into the ballroom, she got another glass of champagne, thinking the liquid courage could help, and scanned the glitzy room for Chad. There were so many men in tuxes it was like a sea of hotness. Shell was going to be so disappointed she didn’t score an invite.
“Excuse me,” came a soft, feminine voice.
Turning to the sound, she discovered she was surrounded by what you typically found in a sea of male hotness—its counterpart. The beach of ridiculously hot babes.
Bridget squared her shoulders, expecting an onslaught of catty remarks and probably a lecture on how bad Chad was at relationships. God only knew if he’d slept with any of these women.
“You must be Bridget.” A slender blonde extended a delicate hand. Dressed in a tiny black dress, she looked like a movie star next to Bridget. “We’ve been hearing so much about you.”
“Not from Chad. He’s not the kiss-and-tell type,” another woman said. Bridget thought her name was Tori from an earlier introduction.
“I love the dress,” another woman said, her slanted eyes heavily lined with kohl. “It’s such a beautiful color.”
Bridget opened her mouth but was unsure of what to say.
“I’m so glad he’s found someone,” a raven-haired beauty said. “Chad needs a good woman.”
Bridget was stunned.
A woman with toffee-colored skin stepped forward with a wide smile. “I’m sorry. You’re probably like, what the hell with all of us converging on you. We just get excited whenever there’s a chance we might outnumber the men. My name is Vanessa.” She extended a hand. “My husband is number fifteen—shortstop. Drew Berry.”
Bridget took the hand, recognizing the husband’s name. “It’s nice to meet you.”
Vanessa smiled broadly and made a round of introductions that were a blur to Bridget. “We should do brunch sometime or dinner—you work, right?”
She nodded as another woman grinned. “Or will Chad let you out of his sight long enough? Because he looks like the kind of man who likes to keep his woman busy.”
A flush crept across her face an instant before Chad came up behind her, slipping an arm around her waist. “You doing okay over here?” he whispered, and when she nodded, he spoke louder, addressing the horde of beautiful and surprisingly nice women. “All of you look lovely tonight.”
Vanessa’s eyes rolled. “Chad—forever the charmer.”
“He needs to talk to my husband,” Tori added, and several of the women laughed. “You know what Bobby said to me tonight? That I looked like the best cut of steak.” Her eyes rolled. “You can take the boy out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the boy.”
“Being compared to steak is one of the highest forms of flattery,” Chad explained, giving them his best grin. The one that hooked, lined, and sunk about a thousand women. “I hate to do this, but I’m going to steal Bridget.”
“Have fun.” Vanessa smiled. “I have to go find my husband. Our babysitter charges by the half hour. I’m pretty sure we’ve paid for her college by now.”
After a round of good-byes and a promise to get Vanessa’s phone number to set up brunch—people still ate brunch?—she was alone with Chad again.
He tucked back a wild curl. “You ready to get out of here?”
“Only if you are,” she said. Even though her heels were killing her, she didn’t want to rush him off. And besides, when every evening ended, it brought them one more night—
She cut herself off.
“I am.” He took the glass from her. “Let’s see if we can make a clean escape.”
She let him take her hand, and keeping to the edges of the ballroom, they made it all the way outside before anyone noticed them. A light snow had begun to fall as they hurried past the waiting photographers.
Chad buckled her in again, which caused a flurry of cameras to go off. She shot him a dirty look, which he returned with a smug, knowing grin.
Once inside the Jeep, he turned to her. “So how do you think tonight went?”
Assuming he meant his contract, she smiled as she slipped the shawl off and folded it in her lap. “I think you’re not going to have any problems. Everyone seems impressed with the new, more behaved Chad.”
He chuckled. “I wasn’t talking about that. I meant in general.”
“Oh.” Her smile spread. “It was so much fun. People were really nice.”
“Were you expecting them not to be?”
She considered that. “I guess so.” Then she laughed. “Vanessa invited me out to brunch.”
His answering grin warmed her. “You should go.”
“Not…” She trailed off.
She shrugged. It seemed obvious to her, but maybe Chad wasn’t even thinking about it in the way she was. And she needed to stop thinking about it completely.
Glancing at him, she was struck again by his masculine beauty. Even while he was driving, the look of concentration that pulled down his brows and narrowed his eyes stirred heat within her.
She thought about what he’d done to her—for her—in the dressing room.
Her pulse picked up.
Maybe it was the memories of his wonderful fingers and the pleasure he had given her. Maybe it was the champagne she’d drunk and the great evening she had with him. Maybe it was because Chad was hot, and she wanted to do for him what he had done for her.
Who knew what gave her the idea, but Bridget was going to go with number three and not look back. She’d decided some time tonight that she wanted as many memories as she could gather before their time together ended. She’d need them for the cold winter nights alone in her near future.
So before she lost her nerve, she reached over while they waited at a red stoplight, placing her hand on his upper thigh. Chad’s head whipped in her direction. One single brow went up. She gave him what she hoped was a sexy smile.
His eyes locked with hers, and Bridget took a deep breath. Blood pounding, she slid her hand up his leg and cupped him through his trousers.
Chad’s hips buckled, and he groaned. “What…what are you doing, Bridget?”
She bit down on her lip as she ran her thumb up his length. The man was already hard as a rock. “Just repaying you.”
“Repaying me?” he said hoarsely.
Leaning over farther, she got her other hand involved in the fun and pulled the zipper down. The button was next and—holy momma—Chad was commando and all but straining toward her. Bridget’s gaze drifted up. “The light’s green, Chad.”
“Yeah, green means go.” He hit the gas, but he was barely doing the speed limit.
She eased him out of his pants, sliding her hand up and down his hard length. Moisture built at the tip, increasing each time she smoothed her thumb over its head. It wasn’t long before his hips were moving up into her touch, his knuckles white from gripping the steering wheel.
And she wasn’t done with him.
When they hit another red light, she unhooked her seat belt. Chad’s eyes widened with realization. She gave him a little smile and then bent over, taking him into her mouth.
“Oh hell,” Chad ground out.
His hips pumped up, and she loved that—loved the salty, masculine taste of him. Wrapping her hand around his base, she slid it up while her mouth went down, taking him as far as she could.
“Bridget, you…” Chad groaned. “This was probably the worst and…” He sucked in a breath. “The best idea you’ve had.”
She moaned around him, and he made a low sound deep in his throat. His hand landed on her head, wrapping his fingers through her hair. It wasn’t long before he was guiding her speed. When she flicked her tongue over his head again and his body jerked, she had no idea how he didn’t wreck.
A shudder ran up his body. “Bridget, if you don’t stop, I’m gonna…”
That’s what she wanted. Tightening her hold, she pumped faster as she pulled her lips back, scraping his sensitive head with her teeth.
And that did it.
She felt his release rock through his body. He tried to lift her head, but Bridget wasn’t having it. She was in this to the finish, and boy did she finish him. When she finally lifted her head, she saw that they were going about ten miles an hour and Chad looked like he just rolled out of bed.
His eyes slid to hers.
Bridget licked her lips.
“Fuck,” he groaned out.
Smiling, she tucked his semi-hard sex back into his pants, zipped, and buttoned him up. “Do I need to drive?”
“No. No. I got this.” He put both hands on the steering wheel and nodded. “Yeah, I got this.”
Feeling warm and pleased with herself, Bridget redid her seat belt and settled back.
Several moments passed before Chad seemed able to speak again. “Wow. That was— There are no words.” A lopsided grin appeared on his lips. “It’s a damn good thing no photo-hags got a picture of that, though.”
In that moment, Bridget forgot everything. Turning to him, she laughed out loud. “Yeah, I doubt Miss Gore would be pleased with those pictures.”
The day before Christmas Eve was a lazy day at work. Employees always cut out around three or earlier. Nothing got done, but that was okay, because Bridget and Madison were ready for the Gala and that was all that mattered.
So Bridget played Solitaire on her computer and tended her crops on Farmville until she found herself staring at her computer, thinking about Chad.
Goodness, he’d looked amazing at the event—the whole night had been amazing. A stupid, silly grin appeared on her face.
The Christmas dinner for the Nationals had been perfect and Chad…. She wanted to pat herself on the back for what went down in his Jeep. She had been pretty damn perfect herself.
Though, it probably wasn’t smart to do anything like that again. Even she’d said they shouldn’t complicate things, but she figured she owed him. When he’d dropped her off at her apartment, she’d made a hasty exit, knowing that if she stayed a moment longer, the night would’ve ended in sex.