Losing My Balance (Fenbrook Academy #1.5) (7 page)

BOOK: Losing My Balance (Fenbrook Academy #1.5)
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Then huge, warm hands closed around my upper arms from behind and I jumped about a foot in the air and turned. I would have screamed but, somehow, I knew it was him. Don’t ask me how—his scent, maybe. The way his fingers squeezed the muscles of my arms in just the right way.

He pulled me close—very close. So close my breasts were brushing his chest and my groin was snuggled up against his.

“Aren’t you going to say, ‘
What the hell are you doing here?’”
I asked, a little breathlessly.

He eyed me steadily.
God, he’s always so maddeningly calm!
“Nope. Figure you’re here lookin’ for me. Question is: what are you gonna do now you’ve found me?”

A wave of heat ran down through my body, baking my brain, heating the air in my lungs. God, the feeling I got when I was with him was immediate. It was like being an animal, affected by pheromones. I only had to be near him and I descended into this helpless, panting state where anything was possible.

Focus.

I put my hands on his shoulders and pushed myself away. “I came to talk,” I told him. “I have questions.”

He gave me a long look. “I don’t like questions.”

“Really?
You come across as so open and easy to read.”

A flicker went across his face—anger, but with a hint of a smirk. Like I’d surprised him.

“We’ll play pool,” he told me. He pulled a cue from a rack on the wall and threw it to me. “If you make your shot, you get to ask a question. If you miss, you gotta answer one.”

“And we have to tell the truth?” I asked. I was trying to sound nonchalant, but the idea of spending time in the clubhouse, with the other bikers watching and listening as we discussed our relationship, was making my head spin.

“You gotta problem with the truth?” He must have seen the hesitation on my face. “There’s another option. Go home and wait for me to call.”

One of the other bikers snickered and I felt the anger rise inside me.

“Fine,” I said. “Let’s play.”

The table was a piece of crap. Every inch of the baize had been soaked with beer multiple times—some bits were still damp from the night before. There was a large stain in one corner that looked suspiciously like blood. None of the legs were the same length, so the whole thing was on a tilt and wobbled every time you touched it. Even the balls were chipped—probably from being hurled across the room—so they didn’t roll right. Making shots was going to be difficult. Much, much more difficult for me, who hadn’t played on this table a thousand times, as he presumably had.

And, of course, he knew that. But what was his plan? What was he wanting to get out of this?

I really wished I knew what he was thinking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5

 

Neil

 

Big Earl keeps the windows barred, even though they’re too small to climb through. Maybe he’s worried about a rival gang sending trained monkeys to invade us. The net effect is that the clubhouse is kind of a dark cave even in the daytime. That’s fine. A dark cave suits a lot of us.

It meant that when she stumbled in from outside, she was temporarily blind. She went straight past me and stood there waiting for her eyes to adjust. Watching her, I felt something pull at my heart. Damn, she was beautiful, and it was a beauty that went way beyond things as simple as face and body. It was her grace—the way she seemed to walk without touching the ground. I could see why Darrell was fascinated by Natasha. I could almost feel myself getting inspired.

Except that was different. He was Darrell, with several million bucks, a plan and a future, and I was….

I was something different.

And I needed to set some limits—keep her away from me. But pushing her away wasn’t easy when I felt so drawn to her. She was addictive, this girl. My plan had been to stay away, at least for this week—use Darrell’s week away to go cold turkey. Now she’d thrown me right back in the habit.

I should have been pissed—

“Aren’t you going to say
‘What the hell are you doing here?’
” she asked.

But how could I be pissed when she kept confounding me like that? I’d known girls like her before—beautiful and delicate. I’d even known a few who were wide-eyed and submissive, as well. But never one who was sharp-tongued and snarky, who could give me a run for my money in an argument and then, in the next beat, be almost pulling me down on top of her. She took my breath away.

I tried to sound calm.

“Nope. Figure you’re here lookin’ for me. Question is: what are you gonna do now you’ve found me?”

Keep it sexual. If it’s going to be anything, keep it about sex. Sex is safe.

I saw her redden. I
loved
making her blush. As she began to breathe harder, I had to fight to keep from doing the same. I was trying to play it cool, as if I was under control. But just the feel of her skin under my fingers, the scent of her in the air, was driving me crazy.

Focus.

She pushed herself away a little. “I have questions.”

Oh great.
Questions were exactly what I didn’t need. “I don’t like questions.”

“Really?
You come across as so open and easy to read.”

I kind of blinked at that. A hot little rush of anger, but it dragged behind it a shining silver thread. She was the only woman—the only
person—
who could make me want to yell at her and kiss her at the same time. I smiled.

Okay, fine. If she wanted answers, I’d appear to give her a shot…while making sure she didn’t get the chance to ask even one damn question. Then we could go back to simple, casual, ultra-hot sex…because I knew that was all I could offer her.

“We’ll play pool,” I told her, and threw her a cue. “Alternate shots. If you make your shot, you get to ask a question. If you miss, you gotta answer one.”

“And you have to tell the truth?” she asked. She sounded like she was trying to be casual, but I could see her discomfort. She was looking at the other guys as they lounged around, listening in. I almost felt bad, but the sooner she realized she was out of her depth and went back to someone safe, the better.

“You got a problem with the truth?” I asked. She looked so worried, I was hopeful that I might be able to scare her off right then. “There’s another option. Go home and wait for me to call.”

Across the room, Mickey snickered.

“Fine,” she said. “Let’s play.”

The clubhouse pool table is a work of art. It has real character and charm, not like the soulless, plastic-and-fake-wood monstrosities you get in some places. It’s only a pity someone’s old lady had to spill her damn nail polish on it. It also has enough peculiarities that I knew I’d be able to win.
This is going to be easy.
In fact, I’d have to be careful not to make it too obvious, at least at first.

I broke, and then stepped back to let her take the first shot, and it began.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 6

 

Clarissa

 

Leaning over the table, I was very aware of how tight the denim was stretched over my ass.
Good thing I didn’t wear a skirt.
I pulled back the cue and shot.

And missed.

“My question,” Neil announced, as if he’d been expecting it. “Is it true that ballet dancers can put their ankles behind their ears?”

The single most predictable thing any man can ask a dancer, the question he’d been waiting to ask since I’d first cut him off in Darrell’s kitchen. With anyone else I would have given them a withering glare, but with Neil I had a sneaking suspicion that he
was asking it to get a rise out of me.

I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction. Also, he was about the one man in the world who could ask it in a way that actually turned me on. Damn him.

“Some of them,” I said. The room went very quiet.

“Including you?”

“That’s another question,” I told him sweetly. “Your shot.”

He stepped up to the table and gave it a long look, although I swore he was doing it for show. He lined up on a ball and sunk it.

“Including you?” he asked again as he straightened up. His eyes pinned me and I heard the biker who’d snickered before do it again.

My face was burning, but a deeper heat was beginning between my thighs. God, even in this horrible place, he was doing it to me.

“Including me,” I told him. And then, for effect. “I just need to be warmed up first.”

At that, he gave such a look of raw hunger that I almost took a step back. Instead, I bent to take my next shot. And missed again. The baize was dry in some places, wet in others, and had more bumps and dips than a backwoods road.

“My question,” Neil said. “Have you and Natasha ever f—”


No,”
I grated, “
we haven’t ever ‘fooled around.’”
I could feel my face going red, and the other bikers were drifting closer to listen.

“I was going to say ‘fallen for the same guy.” He was smirking, eyes twinkling. I couldn’t tell if I’d just embarrassed myself for no reason, or if that
was
what he’d been going to ask. Either way, he had me on the back foot,
again.
How was it that my tongue could lash a Harvard lawyer into submission, but this guy had me utterly lost?

I took a deep breath. “No. Never. She goes for…creatives, I guess.”

“And what do you go for?”

“You need to pot another ball to ask me that.”

He turned to the table and this time he didn’t even make a show of choosing a shot. He fired a ball into the corner pocket so fast it was just a blur. “And what do you go for?” he repeated.

I looked at him steadily. “Guys who know what they want in life. Guys with a career and a plan.”

“So you’re attracted to money.”

I took a step towards him. “I’m attracted to success. In fact, I’m attracted to
drive.
If you have drive, success will come.”

He took a step towards me. “You sound like a damn self-help book.”

“Annoyed that I didn’t say ‘
big muscley bikers?’”

“Interested that you’re shoppin’ so far from home. Get bored?”

Again with the twinkling eyes. What
was
I doing, chasing a biker? “Don’t be presumptuous,” I told him. “Maybe there’s less going on than you think.”

He closed the gap between us. We were almost touching. “Maybe there’s more.”

“Hey,” said the biker who’d snickered before. “Is one of you gonna pot a ball or what?”

Neil turned to glare at him but then waved me towards the table with an elaborate flourish. Knowing that I’d miss every shot. Knowing that he’d get to ask me as many questions as he liked and that I’d never get to ask one.

Well, he didn’t know every damn thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 7

 

Neil

 

She bent low over the table with her long legs straight and her ass in the air, and lined up on a ball.

And sunk it.

Lucky shot,
I told myself.
No need to panic.

“Why do they call you ‘Doc’?” she asked. “Did you really go to MIT?”

“That’s two questions,” I said, playing for time.

“It’s one question,” she said. “Title:
Why do they call you Doc?
Question:
Did you really go to MIT?
I presume the two are related.”

I gazed at her. “I didn’t
go
to MIT. I’m
at
MIT.”

She shook her head, blonde hair tossing in a way that made me want to run my hands through its satiny strands. “At Darrell’s place, you said you graduated.”

“I did graduate. I’m doin’ my post-doc, a few days a week.”

Her jaw dropped. I could see it going through her head.
The biker dude has a brain?!

“You’ll be a doctor of something?!” she asked, astonished.

“Doctor of Aeronautical Engineering,” I told her. I almost winced as I said it, because I knew the questions it would bring in the future. The pressure.

“Your shot,” she told me.

I leaned in to take the shot and suddenly she was standing very close to me. Close enough that I could feel the heat of her body through that oh-so-tight denim she wore. Close enough that I could smell her perfume, delicate and sophisticated. If I could have seen scents, this one would have looked like a fine filigree of sterling silver.

BOOK: Losing My Balance (Fenbrook Academy #1.5)
9.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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