Legend (Page 39)

I’m pacing minutes later when Brooke comes into my room the very moment I spot the blood on his T-shirt.

“Are they crazy?” I ask Brooke, scowling when I show her the blood on the shirt Maverick discarded.

“Crazy,” she confirms. “Here’s a fresh pair of clothes. They might be a little loose on him.” Maverick steps outside, his chest bare, his hips covered in a white towel, and Brooke’s eyes widen. “Then again, maybe not.” Brooke looks at him narrowly. “Yeah, not so much.”

She sets the clothes aside, steps forward, and jabs him on the chest. “My husband’s got it in his head to help you. He rarely trusts anyone and it’s not easy to gain his respect.” Maverick is quiet. “Whatever it is you have going on, he thinks you’re an okay guy.”

Maverick calmly speaks to Brooke but looks only at me. “Yeah, I’m an okay guy.”

“Good.” Brooke pauses until Maverick seems to force his gaze away from me and back to her. “If my husband brought you here, with his family, you’re his friend,” she says, and her voice softens when she adds, “so I guess it’s nice to meet you, Maverick.”

She hands me a few bottles of oils she had tucked under her arm. “Mustard oil, arnica, take your pick, all anti-inflammatory, get this on him. Racer, what are you doing up?” She plants her hands on her hips in a disappointed-mommy pose when we all spot him by the door.

“I want Weese!” he says defiantly, running inside.

“Reese is busy now. Let’s get you back in bed.”

She sweeps Racer up in her arms before he can reach me, and Racer says, “Mavewick, come see my twains!”

“Later, buddy,” Maverick says, raising his arm to fist-bump with him.

Brooke eyes Maverick curiously, then shuts the door behind them.

“He’s not the only one who wants Reese.”

The dark-thunder voice that speaks rushes over my skin, and I find Maverick watching me with a wistful smile on his face.

My eyes widen.

And my brain leaps to picture me back in his arms, with his lips on mine, his hands on me. It takes every effort in me not to let my eyes trail over his chest, arms, every part of him.

“I want you too.”

Did I say that?

Oh god, his face.

He looks ready to lunge at me. Grab me. Hold me. F**k me.

“What are we going to do about that then?” he asks.

“I don’t know. Maybe,” I whisper, then shake my head. “I don’t know. But I think of you.”

“I think of you too, Reese.”

I look at him as tingles race down my body, and we both smile. As if that’s enough for now.

But is it really? I ache when I think of him. I don’t like thinking that I can’t be with him.

“So you and Remy are getting along, huh?” I ask.

He clenches his jaw and frowns. “We’re competitors, not buds.” He lowers himself down on the edge of my bed and leans forward, elbows to his knees, and the towel parts to reveal his thigh.

“But here you are,” I say. “Remy brought you here and you let yourself be brought.”

He turns to look at me with a new twinkle in his eye, and then looks down meaningfully at the bed we’re, as of this second, now both sitting on. “Here I am.”

In. My. Room.

“The boys say that Riptide wants his last fight to be worth it,” I say, pretending to be busy now studying the massage oil labels.

He frowns thoughtfully, and I lift my eyebrows.

“You didn’t know it’s his last season?” I ask.

“No.” He flexes his fingers, frowning. “All the more reason I’ll be the challenger at the final this year.”

I roll my eyes, but god, he’s amusing sometimes. I love that he speaks without a hint of boastfulness, only fact. There’s a slight frown on his face, and I can almost hear his brain working thoughtfully in the silence. “So pick one.” I show him both oils.

“I don’t need that.”

“Yes, you do,” I counter.

“I don’t.” He gets to his feet, keeps his back to me as he flips open the towel and lets it drop. My eyes widen at the glimpse of his perfectly muscled a*s and long, muscled legs as he jumps into a pair of jeans. Then he grabs the T-shirt and slips his arms inside and jerks it over his head, his tattoo rippling with the move. The gray T-shirt falls to cover his abs as he turns.

And I lift my eyes to his.

“You don’t want me to touch you,” I murmur, heartbroken. “That’s why you don’t want these. Isn’t it?”

“I only want your touch if I can touch you back.”

We stare at each other, his eyes challenging me.

I inhale deeply, then blurt out, “If you give me one minute to get this on your shoulders and torso, I’ll give you a minute too, if you keep it G rated.”

He laughs softly. “G rated is not half of what you’ll be doing to me; you’ll be touching my chest.”

“So?”

He raises his brows.

“I’ll even let you go first. Come on, let me patch you up,” I continue.

He suddenly nods. “I go first?”

I clutch the oils convulsively in my fists as my world starts to spin.

Maverick approaches.

Oh god.

I’m holding my breath when Maverick raises his hand to my hair.

It’s just hair, I tell myself, but the way he rubs a few strands of my hair between two fingertips, looking at them as if they’re gold threads, makes my knees weak.

And I realize I always wear it back, except for rare occasions. Or bedtime. Like now.