Authors: K. Bromberg
I laugh out loud at her. “I know, but it’s my own damn fault for falling in lov—”
“I knew it!” She jumps up, pointing at me. I close my eyes and shake my head, cursing myself for slipping. “Shit, I need some more wine after that revelation!” She starts to walk past me and then steps back to look me in the eye. “Listen, Ry, have you cried over this? Over him?”
Uh-oh! She has her “I’m going to get to the bottom of this” look on her face. I just stare at her and my silence is enough of an answer. “Listen. I know he looks like a damn Adonis and probably fucks like a stallion, but, sweetie, if he’s what you want, then it’s time to make him sweat a little.”
I snort at her. “That may be easy for you. You’ve played these games before, but I have absolutely no fucking clue what to do.”
“You turn the tables on him. You’ve shown him what life’s like when you’re around…now that he’s into you, you need to show him what it’s like when you’re not. Let him know that he’s not your every breath or thought—even if it fucking kills you.” She sits on the arm of the chair and stares at me. “Look, Ry,
every guy wants to be him and every girl wants to fuck him
. He’s used to being wanted. Used to people pursuing him. You need to act like you did in the beginning—before you went and fell in love with the bastard—and let him chase you.” I just stare at her, shaking my head at her frankness. She tilts her heads and twists her lips up as she thinks. “I know he made you cry, but is he worth it, Rylee? I mean really worth it?”
I stare at her, tears pooling in my eyes, and I nod my head. “Yeah, he is, Haddie. He…he has this side to him that is the exact opposite of the brooding, bad boy player the media portrays him as. He’s sincere and sweet. I mean it’s more than just the sex.” I shrug, a smile tugging at the corners of my mouth when she arches her eyebrow at me. “And yes,
it’s really that good—
“I knew it!” she shouts and points her finger at me. “You’ve been holding out on me!”
“Shut up!” I shout back, giggling along with her. She stands, wobbling a bit before grabbing my empty glass.
“C’mon, spill the deets for dried up old me. How’s his Aussie kiss? How many times did he make you come when you went to his house?”
I blush a deep crimson, loving and hating her at the same time. “
? What in the hell are you talking about?”
She lets out a naughty laugh and has an impish gleam in her eyes. “How’s his mouth
?” she laughs, deliberately looking down at my crotch and then back up at me with a raised eyebrow. I just stare at her with my mouth agape and a giggle I can’t help bubbling out. “Let me live vicariously through you.
I squeeze my eyes shut in embarrassment, unable to look at her. “Well I’d say he speaks Australian like a damn native.”
“I knew it!” she yells, wiggling her ass in a little victory dance around the family room. “And…” she prompts.
“And what?” I play stupid.
“His stamina, baby. I need to know if he deserves the Adonis label in more than just the looks department. How many times?”
I twist my lips as I mentally run through the various times and places Colton and I had sex. “Hmmm…I don’t know, eight times maybe? Or nine? I lost count.”
Haddie stops mid-dance and her mouth falls open before spreading into a wicked grin. “And you were able to walk? You little vixen. Good for you!” She turns and teeters before heading toward the kitchen to grab another bottle of wine. “Fuck, I’d put up with a whole lot of shit from a guy if he can perform like that. I guess I was right about the stallion part,” she teases from the kitchen, making a horse neighing sound that has me doubled over in laughter.
My phone rings and for the first time in several days. I don’t jump up to get it. I’ve had enough to drink and have had enough false alarms that I know it’s not Colton. Besides, according to Haddie I need to make him sweat a little.
Easier said than done
. My resolve lasts two rings before I start to get up, stumbling in my inebriated state. I tell myself that I’m not answering it. No way. Haddie will kill me.
…even if I’m not going to answer it, I still want to see who it is.
“Well if it isn’t the man of the hour,” I hear Haddie say as she beats me to it and reads the screen of my phone. I stare at her with confusion as she flips on the stereo and picks up my phone to answer it.
This is not going to be pretty
. Haddie drunk and being protective of me is not a good combination. “Give me the phone, Had,” I say but know it’s no use.
“Rylee’s phone, can I help you?” She shouts as if she’s in a club, her voice rising with each word. She grins at me and raises her eyebrows while he must be speaking on the other end. “Who? Who? Oh, hey, Colby! Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you were Colby. Who? Oh, hiya, Colton, this is Haddie. Rylee’s roommate? Mmm-hmm. Well look, she’s a little drunk right now and a lot busy, so she can’t talk to you, but I’d like to.” She laughs loudly at something he says. “So here’s the deal. I don’t know you very well, but from what I do, you seem like a decent guy. A little too much in the press from your shenanigans if you ask me as you make jobs like mine a little harder, but hey, no press is bad press, right? But I digress...” She laughs, making a non-committal sound at Colton’s response. “Wine for starters, but now we’ve moved on to shots,” she answers him. “Tequila. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that you really need to get your shit together when it comes to Rylee.”
I think my mouth just fell to the floor. I wish I could see the look on Colton’s face right now. Or maybe I don’t want to.
“Yes, I was talking to you, Colton. I. Said. You. Need. To. Get. Your. Shit. Together.” She emphasizes each word. “Rylee’s a game changer, babe. You better not let her slip through your fingers or someone else is going to snatch her right out from under your nose. And from the looks of the sharks circling tonight, you better kick that fine ass of yours into high gear.”
I’m so glad that I’ve had a lot to drink because if not, I would be dying of mortification right now. But the alcohol does nothing to diminish my pride in Haddie. The woman is fearless. Regardless of how I feel, I still glare at her and hold out my hand asking for my phone. She turns her back to me and continues making agreeable sounds to Colton.
“Like I said, she’s quite busy right now, choosing which guy will buy her next drink, but I’ll let her know you called. Uh-huh, yes. I know, but I just thought you ought to know. Game. Changer.” She enunciates and laughs. “Oh and, Colton? If you make her fall, you better make damned certain you catch her. Hurting her is not an option. Understood? Because if you do hurt her, you’ll have to answer to me, and I can be a raving bitch!” She laughs deviously. “Good night, Colton. I hope to see you around once you figure your shit out. Cheers!” Haddie looks over at me, a smug smile on her face as she switches off the stereo.
“Haddie Marie, I could kill you right now!”
“You think that now.” She snickers, the neck of the wine bottle clinking against the rim of our glasses as she refills them. “But just you wait and see. You’ll be kissing my boots when this pans out.”
We finish our wine quotient for the night and are sitting on the couch, mellow, relaxed, and a little drunk, talking about the other events of the week. The local eleven o’clock news is wrapping up on low in the background when a spot for what’s next on Jimmy Kimmel Live runs. I’m listening to Haddie when we both hear Colton’s name mentioned as a guest. Our heads snap up and we stare at each other in surprise. With the events of the past couple of days, I’d completely forgotten his mentioning it to me.
“Well this will be interesting.” She raises her eyebrows at me as she shifts her focus to the television.
We watch the opening monologue, and although the jokes are funny, I don’t laugh. Maybe it’s the somberness from too much wine or the apprehension of what’s to come, but Jimmy’s just not making me laugh. I know that Jimmy will mention the array of women on Colton’s arm, and I’m not in the right frame of mind to hear it tonight.
“So our next guest is, how do I describe him? A master of many talents?
A man in the driver’s seat
? Let’s just say he’s one of Indy’s brightest talents—being listed as the driver to bring the circuit back into the spotlight—and one of Hollywood’s hottest bachelors. Please give a warm welcome to the one and only Colton Donavan.” The crowd in the studio erupts into a frenzy of female screeches with a few mixed in
I love yous
I suck in a breath as Colton walks out on stage in a pair of black jeans and a dark green button up shirt. Every part of my body leans forward in my seat as I drink him in. Study him. Miss him. The camera is at a distant angle, but I know firsthand the effect that his shirt will have on his eyes. How it will darken the circle of emerald around the exterior of the iris, leaving the center almost a translucent light green. He waves to the crowd as he walks, his megawatt smile in place.
Haddie makes a soft noise in the back of her throat. “Damn. That face is a definite work of art. You need to make sure you frame it between your legs every chance you get.”
I choke on my drink as I look over at her and catch the wink she gives me. I burst out laughing. “Where in the hell do you come up with this stuff?”
“I have my sources.” She shrugs with a naughty smirk on her lips.
I just laugh at her and shake my head as I turn my focus back to the interview. As Colton rounds the desk, one of Jimmy’s papers flies off of it, and Colton bends over to pick it up. The slew of women in the audience go ballistic at the sight of Colton’s ass in tight jeans, and Haddie laughs out loud. Colton turns around, shaking his head at the audience and their reaction.
“Well that’s a way to make an entrance!” Jimmy exclaims.
“Was that planned?” Colton asks as he plays to the audience.
“No. There was such a large whoosh of air from the exhales of your female fans in here that they blew that paper off the desk.”
The audience laughs and a woman screams, “Marry me, Colton!” I want someone to tell her to stick a sock in it.
“Thank you.” Colton chuckles. “But none of that will be happening for a while.”
“And the audience keels over in sorrow.” Jimmy laughs. “So, how’s it going man? Good to see you again. What’s it been? A year?”
“Something like that,” Colton says, leaning back in his chair and crossing his ankle over his opposing knee. The camera pans in for a close up of his face, and I breathe deeply. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to how striking he is.
“How do you not just stare at him all day when you’re with him?” Haddie asks. I smile but don’t respond. I’m too busy watching. “My God he’s fine.” She groans in appreciation.
“And how’s your family?”
“They’re doing good. My dad just got back a couple of days ago from being on location in Indonesia so I got to catch up with him, which as you know is always a good time.”
“Yes, he’s quite the character.” Colton laughs at the comment and Jimmy continues. “For those of you who don’t know, Colton’s dad is Hollywood legend, Andy Westin.”
“Let’s not give him a big head by using the word
,” Colton says as Jimmy holds up a picture of his dad with his arm around him at some event. “There he is,” he smiles with sincerity.
“So what have you been up to lately?”
“Just getting ready for the upcoming season to start. First race is at the end of March in St. Petersburg, so we’re getting ramped up for that right now.”
“How’s the car running?”
“It’s looking good so far. The guys are working hard to get it dialed in.”
“That’s great. Now tell me about your new sponsors this year.”
Colton rattles off names of several of his advertisers. “And we picked up a new one this year in Merit Rum.”
“Smooth rum,” Jimmy says.
“Yeah, I can’t complain about getting paid to drink good alcohol,” Colton smiles, rubbing his thumb and forefingers over his shadowed jaw.
“I think we have a snippet of your new commercial for them.”
I whip my head up to look at Haddie. “Have you seen it yet?”
“No.” She looks as surprised as I do. “I’ve been so busy on this new client I haven’t even caught up to speed with our other accounts.”
“We just shot this the other day,” Colton says.
The screen fills with Colton zipping his Indy car across a track, the Merit Rum logo splashed across his car’s nose. His sexy rasp of a voice overlaying the scene. “When I race, I drive to win.” The scene switches to him playing football on the beach with a bunch of other guys. Bikini clad women are on the sidelines cheering them on with drinks in their hands. He’s shirtless with a pair of low-slung board shorts on. His chiseled torso is misted in sweat, sand sticking in some patches here and there, and an arrogant grin is on his face. He stretches out, dives for a pass, and catches it as he crashes into the sand. His voice says, “When I play, I always play hard.” The commercial switches to a scene in a nightclub. Lights blaze and the crowd dances. Shots flash across the television. Colton laughing. Colton holding a drink and taking a sip while relaxing in a booth surrounded by gorgeous women. A shot of whom you assume is Colton dancing among a couple of women because all the screen shows is hands on hips, fingers gripping in hair, and mouths meeting in a kiss. The camera switches to a picture of Colton, his arm wrapped around the waist of a beautiful woman, the camera filming at their backs as they leave the club. He turns and looks over his shoulder, a smirk on his face saying “you know what happens next.” The camera cuts to an empty Merit Rum bottle on the table at the club. “And when I party?” Colton’s voice says, “I only drink the best. Merit Rum.
Like no other