Nixon (Raleigh Raptors 1) - Page 27

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“Right,” Teagan said, dragging out the word. She studied me for a moment and must have noted the plea in my eyes to drop the subject because she immediately flashed me a conspirator's smile. “Let me fill you in on all the deets on the rest of the party.”

I could’ve kissed her for her ability to read my mood.

“You have the intel?” I teased.

“Oh yeah,” she said, scooping up her flute. “You learn a lot while waiting for your man to come back to you.” She cleared her throat. “I know whose boobs are fake, whose wives are loyal and whose are looking, and I can point out to you each advantageous-seeking chick in here.”

“Whew,” I blew out a breath. “I’m so glad I landed on the friend side of your line.”

Her smile faltered. “I’m actually so glad Nixon brought you to us,” she said. “Besides Roman, I don’t have many friends. Any, really.”

I tilted my head, ready to ask why that was, but she gave me that same don’t go there look, and I respected it. I nodded toward the crowd. “Okay, spill.”

An hour later, I’d learned all about the elite in this particular NFL circle and beyond, and I still couldn’t wrap my head around the duplicitous lives some of these people led. I mean, for what? Money? Was that really such a huge motivator for some people? I knew not everyone grew up like I did—raised all over the globe with a pack of clothes on my back and a hot meal at the end of the day being our main goal beyond helping those in the villages we visited—but how could anyone pursue someone solely based on income? Or fame?

I shook my head, knowing this lifestyle may never make sense to me.

“Dance with me?” Nixon’s deep tenor washed over me like a warm bath, and I turned around on the barstool I still occupied.

“I’m not sure if I’m available,” I teased. “I’ve been waiting for my date to come back for nearly an hour now. He should be here any second.”

“An hour?” He cringed, then sighed. “Well, his loss is my ultimate gain.” He held out his hand, the smile on his lips genuine, not for the cameras.

I laughed, sliding my hand into his. “This is true,” I teased and followed him onto the dance floor. A slower tune played, and Nixon slid his hand around my hip to rest on my lower back. He tugged me closer until my body was nearly flush with his. Until I could smell him—all mint and spice and something heady that made my head spin.

“Of course,” I said, shaking my head as he moved us effortlessly on the dance floor.

“What?” he asked, glancing down at me.

“You’d be a good dancer.”

He laughed, tucking me in tighter as we swayed to the beat. The heat from his body made my pulse spike, and our kiss from days ago flashed through my head.

“There’s a lot of things I’m good at.”

“Like throwing footballs?” I teased.

He shrugged, but light danced in his eyes. It was infectious.

“What else?” I asked.

“Cooking,” he said. “Chopping wood.”

I laughed so loud I had to clamp a hand over my mouth to not make a scene.

“What’s so funny?” he asked through his smile.

“Not what I expected you to say.” I beamed up at him. “A mountain man.”

“Not exactly,” he said. “But my family has a house by the lake. And my brothers and I would chop wood for the winter, and take turns cooking for our parents.” He spun us before drawing me in closer.

The picture he painted was much closer to the Nixon I’d associated with my time in Vegas—humble, a bit broody, but calm and confident at the same time. Not the one who posed for the cameras or made speeches at press conferences.

“Sounds amazing,” I said.

“I’d love to show you sometime,” he said, and I stiffened slightly in his embrace.

We’d never talked about the future. Not in any true depth. Too many unanswered questions revolved around the life we’d live once the baby came.

“If you’d like,” he hurried to add, clearing his throat. “When the season is over, and classes are done, and you have time…”

Was he rambling? I gazed up at him, biting back my smile.

“What?” he huffed as he stared down at me.

I shook my head before resting my head against his chest as we continued to slowly rock back and forth to the beat of the music. “Seeing your home by the lake sounds more fun than this party,” I teased.

“Tell me about it,” he grumbled. “Thanks for enduring it with me.”

I squeezed him lightly because I honestly didn’t have the right words to say. Something was shifting inside me, more than the baby that was made from pieces of us. Something hopeful and warm and inviting. Something with a line this side of dangerous and twice as reckless than I usually danced on.


Tags: Samantha Whiskey Raleigh Raptors Romance
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