Legend (Page 63)
I’m not real with them, and I guess, neither are they with me.
I realize now that they always seem careful and distrustful around me. As if they believe I’m falling off the wagon any second now.
They order drinks. “She’ll have water.” Miles signals at me.
I smile. I used to be grateful that he looked out for me. Now I’m annoyed that he feels the need to make the decision for me, the request of water for me.
“I’ll have a sparkling water with lime,” I say. “Thanks.”
“Spill the beans, Reese. What does it feel like to travel the country and be part of all the excitement?” Avery asks.
“I spend more time with Racer than anyone else, and he’s very exciting. ER visits included.”
“Ohmigod, poor you. Why even work during the summer?” Avery asks, pulling Gabe’s arm tighter around her shoulders. “You should’ve come to the fight with us,” she says. “The eye candy was ridiculous!”
“Reese is immune to all that, she likes brains rather than brawn, right, Reese?” Miles says.
“I like both, actually,” I say.
Miles lifts his brows. And I lift mine back.
“Riptide is scrumptious. Avenger is absolutely wicked! He’s scary though,” Avery continues.
“Dude, I’d piss my pants faced with that,” Gabe says, laughing.
“Speaking of.” Miles stretches his arm out on the seat behind me. “So the one-on-one with Riptide? You think that’s possible?” he asks.
“It would be incredibly cool,” Gabe seconds.
I shift forward. Not liking Miles’s arm near me. It’s new for me, and it makes him shift a little closer.
Our drinks arrive, and I’m reaching for my sparkling water when the waiter sets a penny right on the corner of my napkin.
I blink and look at it, and my stomach starts whirling. I lift my head and anxiously scan the crowd. I don’t notice Miles, Avery, and Gabe are looking behind my shoulder, in shock. I don’t notice how my body is starting to crackle. I don’t notice how my heart is speeding. I don’t notice anything but the fact that I’m scanning the crowded club for a glimpse of dark hair, gorgeous metal eyes, and my rebel maverick.
And with the achingly delicious make-out song of “Madness” by Muse in the background, I start when I see a flash of dark hair in my peripherals.
Lips against my ear whispering, “Dance with me. . . . ”
He takes my hand without waiting for my reply, the hand clutching the penny. He takes it from my fingers and, when he wraps his arm around me, slips the penny into the little pocket at the hip of my dress.
We’re in the center of the dance floor.
We stand there, among the shimmering dresses, the bustling bodies, the noise. At the booth, my friends are gaping. Avery is doing Maverick with her eyes and I don’t want her to look at him. I don’t want anyone to look at him. He’s mine.
He’s looking down at me, jaw clenched a little in frustration, eyes smoldering with desire.
I check him out in his worn jeans and the soft T-shirt he’s wearing. He looks freshly showered and shaven. There’s a light shade of purple, high on one cheekbone, and it only accentuates his hotness.
I can’t breathe or concentrate or think when Maverick slides his arm around my waist.
I feel drunk. I’m a puddle in his arms.
His lips curl a little when I can’t move, and he takes my wrists to wrap them around his neck. “You don’t dance, Reese?” he teases me huskily. “You put one hand here”—he settles it on the back of his neck—“the other one here”—he settles that one on the back of his neck too. “You let me pull you close.” He does. Until our bodies are flush and I can feel him and I’m alive. And he whispers in my ear, “And you move with me.”
His hands open on my hips and splay outward, to encompass my a*s.
This a*s is mine. . . .
I lift my head, and he looks wicked. Smiling wickedly. I’m drunk with the sight of him.
His gaze flicks to my mouth, and I can feel him kiss me.
I suddenly press a little closer, then he whispers in my ear, “That’s right, Reese, dance with me,” and he reaches up to slide his hands down my bare arms, over my shoulders, down my curves as we start dancing.
He just fought. He just got into the finals, and I know this because I was clinging to news from the team like a junkie. Testosterone pulses through Maverick’s body in the usual fighter’s high, and I grab his jaw and press my lips to his, then quickly embrace him and keep moving with him as I whisper, “You’re going to the finals.”
He whispers back to me through the music, “That’s right. And I want you there with me.”
We’re still moving, but he eases back to put a few inches between us and study my face. His face is raw. His eyes are hungry.
There’s something more than desire in his eyes. There’s something primal.
And I think Maverick wants me for Christmas.
And for Thanksgiving. And Easter.
And I think Maverick wants me right now.
On the dance floor.
I wrap my arms around his shoulders, the square muscles that are straining his shirt. “Miles was my sponsor in AA,” I say, close to his ear so he can hear me through “Rollercoaster” by Bleachers. “AA prefers for heterosexual men and women not to sponsor each other, but I thought he genuinely wanted to help. He kept telling me that he saved me. And I thought I was in love with him because he gave me a chance to try to find myself. But a real man would’ve told me the truth. That I saved myself.”