I resisted the urge to hiss. I’d been to more than my fair share of these public events now, and yet somehow, I still wasn’t used to the constant pawing for Nixon’s attention. God, it must be exhausting—the sport of hunting for a rich and famous partner to exploit.
“Ugh,” a feminine groan snapped me out of my sizzling stare. A gorgeous young girl with fiery red hair tied back in a wonder woman braid strolled right between Teagan and me. She plucked the glass from Teagan’s hand and tossed back the contents. “These things are always the same.”
“Savannah!” Teagan chided, but a genuine smile shaped her lips. “If your dad catches you drinking my drink he’ll kill me.”
“Drank,” Savannah said, setting the now-empty glass on the bar.
Teagan shook her head at the bartender’s silent question.
“I’m almost twenty-one,” Savannah said as she leaned against the bar. Her black romper showed her mile-long legs which were capped off with some moto boots, studs lining their seams. Her eyes tracked someone across the greenery, and I followed her gaze to Hendrix Malone, one of Nixon’s best friends.
Hendrix wore a suit of royal blue, no doubt to accentuate his crushing blue eyes. He’d kept his blond hair disheveled with that just-rolled-out-of-bed look, as if he needed to rebel against the clean lines of his immaculate suit. And that smile? Pure mischief as he walked through the gardens like he was on the prowl.
Savannah tensed slightly when she caught me watching her, and then rolled her eyes. “It’s a curse,” she said. “Being surrounded by hot men constantly. You can’t look anywhere without spotting one.” The girl radiated strength and that I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude.
I instantly liked her.
Teagan laughed, nudging her. “Please, no more sneaking drinks tonight? I’d rather not get an earful from Coach.”
“He’d go after Rick first,” Savannah said, then shrugged. “Or maybe Roman. Either way, he adores you, so your murder accusations are completely off-base.”
“You’re Coach Goodman’s daughter?” I asked.
“The one and only,” she said, extending her hand. “And you must be the infamous Liberty Jones. The mythical unicorn capable of making our broody-ass quarterback smile for a change.”
I raised my brows, my heart fluttering slightly at that declaration. “I suppose I am,” I chuckled as I shook her hand. “Nice to meet you.”
“Same,” she said, glancing at Teagan as she returned to leaning against the bar. “It’ll be nice to have some fresh, decent blood in our little girl gang, yeah?”
Teagan nodded. “Liberty is the real deal. Nothing fake about her.”
“We can’t stand fake.” Savannah waved an arm at the blondes who were heading toward the bar we gathered around.
The same ones who’d been all over Nixon and Roman and Rick not five seconds ago. Had they been sent to get drinks, or had the boys made an excuse to get away? I hated that I didn’t know for certain, because while Nixon and I had grown so close these past few weeks, we hadn’t had a label discussion. Hell, I was the one who had emphasized that us having sex didn’t mean anything.
Out of fear.
Yes, I’d been a coward. I didn’t want to explore the growing feelings for Nixon because I had no true way of knowing we’d work out in the end. We were from such different worlds and the idea of getting my heart crushed while trying to raise a baby? Not something I’d want to add to my memory book of baby’s first year.
So, in all legally binding terms when it came to us, he was a free agent. Capable of dating, fucking, or pursuing whoever he wanted.
My heart dropped into my stomach at the thought, and it was a battle to keep my spine straight as the girls stopped not in front of the bar, but in front of us.
“You’re still tagging along with Daddy, Savannah? How cute.” The one in the middle—clearly the leader of the vapid gang—said. She wore a glittering white and gold fringe dress that barely cleared her perfect ass, with sparkling heels to match. She didn’t have a flaw on her body—even her hair had defied the soft breeze that had caused mine to frizz over the last hour.
“Ah, Jackie Lynn,” Savannah said, and the name clicked in my head. She was, in fact, a Raptors cheerleader. The head one, if I remembered correctly. “I see you’re still husband-hunting. How long has the search been on…two years? You think you would have settled down by now.”
Jackie Lynn tilted her chin up, her gaze narrowing on Savannah for a second before she dismissed her entirely and turned to look at me. “This one always jokes,” she said, pointing her thumb at Savannah. “I don’t believe we’ve met before.” Her eyes raked my body and paused over my stomach for a few seconds. I resisted the urge to smooth my hand over it protectively.