If I wasn’t careful, I was going to be stretching this shendyt way more than the costume allowed for. My blood heated with need. This was why I hadn’t danced with the cheerleader. I didn’t want anyone besides Teagan.
It didn’t matter that she didn’t want me as more than her friend.
I’d never push the issue.
But I was done pretending like any other woman underneath me was even an option anymore.
Teagan turned in my arms, hooking her hand around my neck as she pushed her ass against me. Her quick, indrawn breath told me she wasn’t oblivious—she felt the proof of how badly I wanted her.
She dipped and blatantly drifted down my body, using hers to rub against every line of mine. By the time she brought her face back to mine, it took everything I had not to kiss her.
“I thought the wig might do it for you.” She gave me a wicked smile as my hand stretched over her belly, keeping my thumb from grazing her breasts.
“Why would you think that?” Why was she thinking at all? God knew I wasn’t, not with her ass cradling my dick, moving with me like we'd already been far closer.
“You always go for the brunettes,” she said softly, reaching up the back of my neck to get a grip on my hair.
I groaned and let my lips skim her forehead. “There’s a reason I never touch the blondes.”
“Not your type?” She tilted her face toward mine.
“There’s only one blonde I’ve ever wanted.” My heart slammed with the admission.
Her lips parted, and her eyes flared wide with surprise.
My lips lifted in a wry smile as her brow puckered in obvious confusion.
“Dance, Teagan.” I kissed her forehead again and kept us moving to the beat.
She nodded slowly, then lost herself in the music for the rest of the song. As the track shifted, she looked across the floor and froze, going rigid in my arms.
Rick stood at the closest grouping of tables, and he must have recognized her at the exact same time because he started in our direction.
Teagan broke away and slipped behind me, disappearing into the crowded floor toward the back exit.
I stepped into Rick’s path. “Don’t even fucking think about it.”
His eyes shone with murderous rage. “She’s mine. Keep your fucking hands off her.”
A mixture of icy wrath and jealousy flowed through my veins, jacking my adrenaline sky high. He’d had her. He’d had the right to touch her, to kiss her, to love her, and he’d used those hands in violence against her and that mouth to demean her into a shadow of herself.
“She belongs to herself, and if you take one step outside that door, so help me God, it will be your last.” I let him see everything I was feeling, and his eyes flared slightly.
“Rick, why don’t you step off?” Nixon asked as he came between us.
“Excellent idea.” I turned and followed the path Teagan had taken, pushing open the back door to the crisp evening air.
Teagan stood on the sidewalk, fumbling through her small purse for her phone.
She spun, her eyes wide with fear for a millisecond before she recognized me.
“Yeah. Fine. I just…I can’t stay here.”
“Okay, where do you want to go?” I asked.
“Oh. Um. I was just going to call an Uber and head home.”
I brushed the hair of her wig out of her eyes. “Then I’ll take you home.”
She flushed. “I don’t want you to have to leave. You should go back in. Have some fun.”
“You’re the only place I want to be tonight.” I jokingly cringed. “Plus, you have my car keys, since this doesn’t exactly have pockets.”
“Oh! Right. Are you sure?” She looked back at the exit door.
“More than. Let’s go home.”
She nodded, then tucked her hand in mine as we walked to my car.
The ride home might have gone down as the most tension-filled ride of my life. I knew she was struggling with Rick’s appearance, but it had also happened right after I’d pretty much admitted that I wanted her.
As usual, our timing was fucked.
What was I even thinking, telling her something like that? She was only four months out of a relationship that had lasted three and a half years. Nothing like fucking up your friendship by announcing a feeling that wasn’t even reciprocated.
“No trick-or-treaters?” she asked as the gate swung open before us.
“Country road. Gated entrance. Unlisted address.” I shrugged. “I miss seeing the kids walk up and down the street like they do where we grew up, but it’s the price you pay for privacy. If you want, we can head that way and help them hand out candy.”
She shook her head. “Not tonight.”
Annnnnd cue awkward. Again.
I parked the car in the garage, and we did the dance-around as we made our way in the house, each careful to give the other space.