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Legend (Page 25)

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I edge a little closer, my heart pounding, fear choking me.

His hands are on my hips.

Spanning my waist.

All it takes is a match to light a fire, and He. Is. The match.

Maverick waits, looking down at me impatiently, his chest heaving with his breaths. As beautiful and male as ever and looking at my mouth.

And I can’t.

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I can’t.

I just can’t.

A guy like him could totally wreck a girl like me.

I take his huge hand, uncurl his tightly curled fingers, and set a quick, almost haphazard kiss in the same place he held the penny. “Good luck.”

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He curls his hand and smiles at me, and I turn and walk away, smiling too.

SIXTEEN

THE DENVER FIGHT APPROACHING

Reese

The next morning at the gym, he’s already inside. I take a treadmill while I see him gloving up, and I see the girls looking at him and going over to talk. I can’t take the way he actually removes his earbuds and talks to them. He keeps glancing my way, curious about something.

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And I don’t know why I can’t hold his gaze.

I dreamed of yesterday all over again. In my dreams things got heated pretty quickly, and I’d actually had the balls to kiss him. On those perfect lips.

I’m scared as he looks at me that he’ll see what I’m feeling.

That he’ll see what he makes me feel.

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I glance away when I feel his eyes on me, but when he actually starts training, I watch him, the heavy bag swinging side to side. He drives his fists forward. I know that he uses the earbuds to block out distractions, and he seems to be listening to the sound of his fists. They make different sounds depending on how front and center he slams the bag. He’s testing out hits.

He shifts positions to take on the back of the bag, facing the room, and our eyes catch when the bag swings to the side and his face is revealed.

He’s wearing the most bloodthirsty expression I have ever seen.

He stands there, a full head taller, twice my weight—at least. And packed with muscle. My heart beats a dozen times. The bag is hit a dozen times. And he still won’t look away. There’s something dangerous in his gaze. Making my heart speed up and my body feel out of control. I want to know more about him—all there is to know. But he’s more impenetrable than the bag his fists are knocking. He’s like a steel wall, with steel eyes. Eyes that pierce. Like knives.

I wonder how he moves in bed.

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All hard but fluid.

If he loses control.

I wonder what it takes to make him smile. Not smirk, not a brief smile, a real smile.

After putting in my time, I head for Racer and take him to a nearby park. I brought snacks for us—for Maverick and me—thinking I’d invite him with us, but it turns out I’m a coward and I couldn’t. And now I tuck them back into my backpack. I’m so strangely lust-lovesick that I’m exhausted and sleepless, to boot.

♥ ♥ ♥

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Maverick

I ALWAYS KNOW when I hit right depending on the sound I get. I start getting the long, hard, deep sounds, one after the other, and I know I’m hitting right. I haven’t been on the mark today because I caught her watching me and got hard.

Something about feeling those light blue eyes, pure as a clean sky, makes me react. I have trouble tearing my eyes off her. I like to stare at her face. I like to trace the oval shape with my eyes, take in her plump, puckered-looking pink lips, and the sleek little nose of hers with a total of three freckles at the bridge. I even like to wonder how many more freckles she’ll get if she keeps taking Racer to the park.

Forcing myself to focus, I feel the sweat on my brow as I continue slamming. The heavy bag swings side to side. I drive my fists forward. I keep my earbuds in to block the distractions but she’s still in my head.

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I clench my teeth and test my hits, frown hard when the bag doesn’t make the noise I want.

I shift my arm, pull in from my abs, and there. WHAM.

I shift position, facing the room. The treadmill she just emptied. But I remember her walking there. Her eyes catching mine. My dick going wild.

I’m twice as heavy and a full head taller, packed with muscle. She’s all girl and woman and it took all my willpower to focus on training and look away. I feel dangerous when I look at her. My heart pumps faster and I want to know more about her, all there is to know. I’m as impenetrable as the bag I’m hitting, but she’s as elusive as the air. I could be a steel wall with steel eyes, but the truth is, what I feel, I feel it hard too.

And I want to kiss Reese like I want to win tonight.

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I stop punching, and I tell Oz I’m taking an hour.

I head to the front desk. “There a park nearby?”

“Sure. Two, three blocks this way.” The attendant points with her finger, and I say thanks and pull up my hoodie, heading to the park.

I spot the stroller by a field, where Reese sits with a book and Racer sucks on a crimson lollipop.

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“Mavewick!”

We fist-bump. “Hey, buddy.”

Reese drops her book and looks at me, blue eyes wide in surprise. Then her cheeks flush pink, and I shove my hands restlessly into my hoodie pockets. Hell, I want to lean over, take her face in my hands, and kiss her mouth and taste her until she can’t remember her name, much less the guy back home.

She scoots over and pats the spot next to her, and I drop down and look at her. Reese is a virgin. I need to take care with this girl. Be patient with this girl. Patience is not my strong suit, but patience wins this fight, and I’m not losing, just like I’m not losing in the Underground.

“Hey.” I lean over and brush my lips to her cheek, then smile down at her when she glances worriedly to see if Racer saw. He giggles, watching us. Then I take her hand in mine and just sit there for a few minutes; ten minutes later I’m lying down and pulling her into my arms so she can read her book with her head on my chest. She sets the book aside and closes her eyes, inhaling as if I relax her. “Watch Racer for me? I haven’t slept well at all.”

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