Nixon (Raleigh Raptors 1) - Page 46

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I gave her a quick hug. “You’re stunning,” I said, eying her simple but elegant black dress. I’d considered going the same route, but the hunter green I’d selected hugged the new curves and bump I’d recently acquired.

“Thank you,” she said, glancing away as she did any time I gave her a compliment. I scanned the area behind her, wondering where Roman was, or Rick. “How are you feeling?” she asked.

“Fantastic,” I answered honestly. “Four months and we’ve made it to the second trimester which thankfully means a lot less morning sickness and a whole lot more energy.”

“Really? That’s great news!”

Nixon slid his hand over my lower back. “It’s true,” he said. “You have been much more…energetic.”

Heat flushed over my skin as I teasingly glared up at him. I pinched the hard muscle on his bicep, not at all hidden by the immaculate black suit he wore. Teagan laughed softly, and I brought my attention back to her.

“How are—”

“Nixon!” Rick’s voice cut over mine as the burly man made his way over to us. The drink in his hand sloshed over the rim of his glass, and he quickly licked off the contents. “Bro, you donated a million? What, felt like making an example out of all of us or do you need a favor from the governor?”

A million?

Holy hell. I knew the man made an incredible living, but to be in the position to simply write a check for a million for charity had my head spinning.

“Keep it down, man,” Nixon chided, his jaw flexing. “I didn’t want half of North Carolina to know that.”

Rick shrugged, sliding an arm around Teagan’s shoulders without ever having actually looked at her. “Next time give the rest of us a heads-up.”

“Why?” Nixon asked, his muscles tightening. “You rarely donate to any of the charities the Raptors sponsor each year.”

Rick stilled, his eyes locking on Nixon’s. “What’s biting your ass?” He shook his head, a sloppy smile on his face as his eyes landed on me. “Or should I ask what’s not biting you.”

I glared at him, my lips parting—

“How many have you had, Rick?” Teagan asked, and Rick’s cocky smile shifted to pure ice as he withdrew his arm from around her and finally looked down at her.

“Was I talking to you?” His words were low and calm, and I almost didn’t hear him despite him standing only a few feet away. Teagan’s eyes widened, but she quickly looked down and away.

“Rick,” Nixon said, his tone pure warning. “Walk with me.” Nixon flashed me a look, and I nodded, assuring him I’d be all right.

Rick rolled his eyes but followed Nixon as he navigated them around the edge of the gardens, stopping every so often at a new group of mingling people. Another party full of celebrities, political power-players, professional athletes, coaches, and so on.

“He isn’t always like that,” Teagan said after a few quiet moments. She fiddled with the drink in her hand. “This season has been really hard on him. He’s under a lot of pressure…”

And things will get better once he’s achieved x, y, z.

I’d studied cases like hers hundreds of times—not that she was a client or a case—but I couldn’t always turn it off. Couldn’t always act like I didn’t see what others couldn’t. She may be happy with Rick, but it wasn’t exactly a healthy relationship.

“I get it,” I said honestly, hoping that my Spidey sense was overreacting. Could be possible, especially with the pregnancy hormones. I could be overly protective of my new friend and simply cranky at anyone who threw shade her way. “It happens.” I shrugged. “But, you know, I’m here if you ever need to vent.”

Teagan smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “Thanks, Liberty,” she said. “I really appreciate it.” She sighed. “I like having you around. I’m glad Nixon is being good to you. I’d hate for him to run you off.” There was a lightness returning to her tone that helped set my nerves at ease.

I don’t run from you.

The promise we’d made each other echoed in my mind.

“Not yet,” I teased, my eyes scanning the crowd. He stood between Roman and Rick. I’d found him like I’d always known where he was. The man wasn’t hard to miss with his incredible frame, dark hair, and penetrating gaze that had the ability to render me absolutely useless. “I do love his little family, though,” I said, smiling at the way he laughed at something Roman had said. “You and Roman and Hendrix,” I clarified in case she thought I was talking about Nathan.

“Yeah,” she said. “It’s funny how the team is like a family, only more intense in some ways.”

I nodded. “I guess you have to be when you all rely on each other on a daily basis.” I straightened as I watched a few blondes stroll up to the group of men, their smiles wide and laughs loud. One of them seemed vaguely familiar—a cheerleader?—and put her hand on Nixon’s arm.

Tags: Samantha Whiskey Raleigh Raptors Romance