Nixon (Raleigh Raptors 1) - Page 42

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“I’m sorry!” I scrambled for the cloth napkin and hurried around the table, desperately trying to right my fumble. More flashes popped around us, and I froze, reality crashing down on top of me.

Paparazzi. Six of them. All capturing me acting like a complete idiot, toweling off Nixon Noble’s crotch.

“Ohmigod,” I said, completely mortified as I dropped the napkin. Not only had I embarrassed myself, but I’d likely humiliated Nixon. I hurried toward the exit of the restaurant while Nixon turned his back on me to face the group still flashing their damn cameras.

“Guys,” I heard him say as I made it to the doors. “You know I’m always ready to answer your questions outside, but in here?”

I didn’t have to turn around to know he flashed them his most charming and polite smile. The one that only the public saw. Not the real Nixon edged with pain and raw vulnerability and fear and mischief and delight…

And omigod I’d be all over the media soon.

“Hey!” Nixon called, jogging to catch up with me. I’d made it all the way down the block. Where was I headed since his driver was likely waiting somewhere near the restaurant? No idea. But I had to get away. Had to escape the mortification, though I wasn’t sure if it was possible.

“Liberty,” he said, his tone half-plea, half-command, and it did things to my body.

I stopped and slowly spun to face him.

His hands gently clutched my shoulders. “You didn’t have to run off.”

“I did!” I snapped. “God, Nixon. That was mortifying.”

His shoulders dropped, the lines of his mouth rigid. “I know it isn’t easy being thrown into this world. I’ve dealt with it so long it’s like second nature.” He sighed, backing up a few steps. “I shouldn’t have forced you into all this. Put you in a position to be embarrassed—”

“Me?” I cut him off. “No, Nixon.” I rolled my eyes. “You know I don’t give a shit what people think of me.” His eyes flared wide. “It’s you,” I said, and I had to speak around the lump in my throat. “I’m…Nixon. I’m not the girl they usually see on your arm. I’m not a model or a celebrity or a socialite. Hell, I don’t even own a car made in the last decade! I have enough clothes to fit into a backpack, and I certainly don’t have the poise and grace of someone meant for the cameras.” My stomach sank with each fact I stated. “I’m humiliating you.”

A deep groove furrowed his brow as he returned to me, our bodies nearly flush. “That’s bullshit,” he said, and chills erupted over my skin at his tone. “You could never embarrass me. Hell, you could’ve stripped my pants off to dry them back there, and I wouldn’t have blinked.”

I snorted, arching a brow at him.

“Okay,” he said, a soft smile shaping his lips. “I may have blinked, but you know what I’m saying.” His arms snaked around my back, pressing me to him. “I won’t stop you if you run for your own reasoning,” he said, smoothing his hands up and down my spine. “But don’t run from me because you think you’re hurting my image. Because fuck that.”

I tilted my head to meet his gaze, reading the sincerity in his eyes, the weight of the night settling over my chest. I wrapped my arms around his hard middle, squeezing him back. “Fine,” I said. “I won’t run from you. On one condition.”

“Anything,” he whispered.

“You don’t run from me, either.”

Understanding rippled in his gaze, and he visibly swallowed. I watched the battle rage over his features—the want to let me in, but the need to keep me out. A protective instinct, one I couldn’t rip off and let bleed all over the both of us.

So, instead of forcing the issue, instead of selfishly prodding, I reached up on my tiptoes.

Nixon met me halfway, his lips slanting over mine in a sweet touch that stole my breath.

And then he was hauling me against him, spinning me to gently press my back against the brick wall of the building. His tongue slipped between my lips, a claiming and a request. I opened for him, drinking him in, relishing the taste of him, the feel of his hard, warm body against mine. The way his broad frame blocked out the world beyond and nothing existed except us.

I sighed between his lips, my fingers digging into his back muscles as his kiss set me on fire.

“Liberty,” he growled between kisses. “I can’t get enough of you.”

I turned liquid at his words, at the desperation and hunger in them—for me.

Raised voices echoed from down the street, and Nixon tensed against me. He broke the kiss, his eyes churning with want, and took my hand.

I followed his gaze, noting the paparazzi had followed us outside of the restaurant despite his requests for them to leave him alone for the night. He fished out his cell, and after a quick text, his driver pulled around the corner. Nixon tucked me in the back of the sedan, sliding in next to me as the driver headed toward home.


Tags: Samantha Whiskey Raleigh Raptors Romance
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