Authors: Jaci Burton
She hadn’t known his parents divorced. So much she didn’t know. She was making copious notes.
“Are you and Zane close?”
Trevor grinned. “Yeah. He’s great. So smart. He’s premed, so he’s going to be a doctor. He graduates next spring and then he’ll start medical school. My mom and stepdad are so proud of him. Hell, we all are.”
“I’m sure she is. Just like she’s very proud of you.”
“Oh, yeah, sure she is. But you know, sports isn’t medicine. I’m not gonna save someone’s life catching a football or hitting a home run.”
“I don’t think it’s very fair to compare yourself to your brother’s career choice, though. You’re doing what you love, following where your talents lie. So is your brother.”
He shrugged. “True enough. Next question.”
And he glossed over the fact that it obviously bothered him that his brother had chosen an important career path and he for some reason felt his wasn’t.
“How often do you see your brother?”
“As often as we can get together.”
“Where does he go to school?”
“He’s getting his premed degree at Washington University here in St. Louis, where he’d also like to go to med school. I think, given his grades, it’s a given he’ll stay there.”
Haven smiled. “How wonderful for him.”
“Yeah. Like I said, he’s really smart.”
“I’d like to meet him and interview him.”
“I’ll see what his schedule looks like and maybe arrange that.”
She looked over her notes. “Tell me about your dad. What happened after the divorce?”
“I don’t want to talk about my dad.”
“You and your father aren’t close?”
“I love my mom. My stepdad is an awesome guy and stepped in when my father wasn’t around, which was most of my childhood. He’s the real dad in my life. Let’s just leave my father out of this whole process.”
She put the laptop to the side. “Okay. Off the record, tell me about your dad.”
He stood. “Not now. Let’s take a break. How about a swim before it gets too hot and before I have to leave for the ballpark?”
She looked up at him. “Trevor, we’ve just started and there’s a lot of material to go over.”
He came over to her and grabbed her hand and tugged her up. “And plenty of time to get there. Come on, a quick swim and we’ll get back to work. Life is meant to be lived, Haven. Let’s have some fun.”
She hesitated, then finally nodded, figuring if she kept him happy, he’d be more amenable to answering her questions—even the tough ones. “Okay, but only a short break.”
AN HOUR LATER, TREVOR TREADED WATER IN THE DEEP
end while he watched Haven sitting on the pool steps in the shallows. Her elbows rested on the edge of the pool and her face was tilted up toward the sun. She looked . . . relaxed, which was exactly how he wanted her.
This morning was going well. She’d dived into the questions, seemingly into her work, which had been the goal. Unfortunately, it had been him who’d put a stop to everything when she’d brought up his dad.
He couldn’t go there. Not right now, and never on the record. This break was just what he’d needed to get Haven’s mind on a different track. Plus, she seemed to be having a good time. Or at least, she didn’t seem down.
“How can you ever go to work when you have a backyard like this?” she asked, tilting her face up to meet the sun. “If I lived here, I think I’d live in the pool. Plus, it’s heated, so you can swim in here until at least the end of October, depending on the weather.”
“Yeah, it’s really nice. That’s why I bought the place. It’ll see me through to the championship, provided we make it that far.”
“And what do you think of the Rivers’ chances this year?” she asked.
“Pretty damn good. After all, they have me.”
She laughed. He swam toward her and pulled up a spot on the ledge next to her. “So you think you could get used to a decadent lifestyle, huh?”
She slid her sunglasses on top of her head. “What can I say? I’m easily swayed.”
“I don’t believe that. You were always so driven in college. You of the dual degrees and all.”
The look of surprise on her face made him smile.
“How did you know that? You barely paid attention to me.”
“Maybe I do know more about you than you know about me.”
“Seriously. How did you know that?”
“Your dad and I had some conversations. He was very proud of you. He said you could have done anything with your life that you wanted—you got your degree in special education and in journalism.”
“And I chose journalism.” She looked out over the water. “I don’t know if that’s very noble.”
“It’s what you wanted to do, isn’t it?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I suppose at the time. It seemed more exciting to me. I had the opportunity to travel and I so wanted to get out of Oklahoma. Plus, I love sports. That’s why I chose journalism over teaching.”
“Sports is exciting to me. I couldn’t dream of ever doing anything else. You think what I do is noble?”
She opened her mouth, then closed it.
“Okay, then. So neither of us is noble. Get over yourself, Haven.”
She shook her head. “You don’t understand. At first I wanted to teach. I loved tutoring, loved the classes, but the lure of journalism was there, too. Hence the dual degrees. I couldn’t decide what I wanted more. And that’s why it took me longer to graduate, too.”
“So you’re beating yourself up because you’re doing what makes you happy?”
“Who says I’m beating myself up?”
And he wondered if she was really happy. “I do. Journalism is an exciting career.”
“Teaching can be, too.”
“Teaching is a grueling, thankless career and you know it. I’m sure it was a tough career choice to make.”
“But I loved it. I loved the classes, loved my students when I was tutoring, and student teaching. Why didn’t I choose that instead?”
“Because you didn’t love it enough?”
She sighed. “Maybe. I don’t know. It’s not that I don’t like this—” She looked at him. “This used to fuel me. And the opportunity I had to do sportscasting for a network. God, a year ago I would have killed for a spot like that.”
“But then, you know, the stuff with my dad happened.”
“And it threw you off. It banked the fire some.”
“I guess so. Lately I’ve been in some kind of funk and I can’t seem to drag myself out of it.”
“Because you miss your dad, and that’s okay.”
“It’s been long enough. I shouldn’t still feel this way.”
“I don’t think you can put a timeline on grief. You feel it and it consumes you until it doesn’t anymore.”
She looked over at him. “You speak like you know about it.”
“I’ve lost some people I care about, so yeah. I do know how it
feels. And I cared about your dad, too. Losing him was hard on me. I still feel like there’s a hole, like something’s missing in my life.”
She laid her hand on his arm. “I know you cared deeply for my dad. He loved you, too. He loved all you guys like you were his kids.”
“Not as much as he loved you. He talked about you all the time. He was so damn proud of you, Haven. And no matter what choices you make, he’d still be proud of you.”
She nodded, and he saw the tears fill her eyes.
She stood and started up the steps. “I think that’s enough playtime. How about we get back to work?”
He’d started this with his conversation about her dad. She’d been relaxed and having fun, and now she was hurting again. Time to change the mood.
“I don’t know. You look like you might need to get dunked.”
Before she could object, he stood, swooped her up into his arms, and dunked them both underwater.
She came up sputtering, parting her hair that had fallen in front of her face.
“Goddammit, Trevor. Talk about a blindside.”
He laughed and shook his head back and forth to clear the water from his eyes and his hair from his face.
Haven pushed away, shoving her palm over the surface of the water to splash at him. She swam to the stairs and climbed out.
“Oh, come on, Haven.”
“Whatever. You need to find my sunglasses, which are no doubt at the bottom of the pool somewhere, thanks to you dunking me.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He dove down and searched, finding her glasses resting on the bottom of the pool. When he came up, he only had a second to blink before Haven cannonballed into the pool next to him. Water catapulted over his head like a tsunami. Now it was his turn to sputter.
He swiped his face and turned to see her grinning at him. She took her sunglasses from him and slid them on. “Just a little payback,” she said, before swimming away.
“Oh, I don’t think so.” He took off after her.
She laughed, then shrieked when he grasped her ankle and pulled her back. He tugged her against him, cradling her in his arms so she couldn’t escape, though she tried.
“Hey, you started it,” she said.
“And you volleyed back. That means we’re at war.”
Her body felt good against his. He liked holding her, liked seeing her breasts up close. And okay, so he was a little voyeuristic. Who could blame him, since Haven was beautiful, had a great body, and he liked to hear her laugh.
“War, huh? I do like a challenge.”
“Not much you can do about it in your current position.”
“You wouldn’t think so, would you?” Until she tugged at a few of his chest hairs, causing him to yelp and let go of her. Then she dove under the water and did the unthinkable. She jerked his board shorts down, then swam away in a hurry. By the time he’d tugged them back up, she was already out of the pool, offering up a smug smile as she reached for her towel.
“Oh, now it’s on,” he said, climbing out of the pool and coming out after her with deliberate intent.
She backed away. “Hey. It was a means to an end, Trevor. I was trying to get free.”
He came closer, and she ran.
But he was a lot faster, and caught up to her, pulling her against him and flinging them both into the deep end. He heard her shriek of laughter as they both went under, and this time, he untied the top of her bikini, keeping hold of her as they came up. Treading water, he caught the back of her strapless top and pulled it away, holding it above the water like a trophy.
“Trevor,” she said, her eyes widening as she looked at her top in his hands. “I’ll take that back.”
“Hey, I told you it was on. And I always win.” He couldn’t see anything because she was under the water, but at least she wasn’t mad.
In fact, she shrugged. “Have it your way.” She swam to the shallow end and calmly walked up the steps, her lush, ample bare breasts visible. She went to the chaise and grabbed her towel. “Enjoy your trophy. I’m going to take a shower, then it’s back to work for both of us.”
He couldn’t help but admire the sleek line of her back as she walked away.
She had amazing breasts, too. Her dark nipples had puckered from the chill in the air, making him want to put his mouth on them and warm them. She made him hard watching the way her hips swayed as she walked away.
Haven was a revelation, a really nice surprise he hadn’t been expecting.
She wasn’t here so he could seduce her, though. Too bad, because he’d like to put his hands on her again, this time to do more than play in the pool.
But he’d made a promise, and he intended to stick to it.
And as he climbed out of the pool, he looked down at her bikini top clutched in his hand and smiled.
Nothing said there couldn’t be some fun in it for both of them, though, right?
AFTER HER SHOWER, HAVEN GOT DRESSED AND WENT
back downstairs. Trevor wasn’t there. She looked out on the pool deck for him, but he wasn’t there, either. He was probably still upstairs, so she went into the kitchen and fixed herself a glass of water, needing something to cool her down after their interlude.
She found her bikini top lying over the kitchen faucet. She shook her head, and ran her top upstairs, tossing it into the bathroom sink before returning downstairs. The last thing she needed was for Hammond to find various parts of her clothing in the kitchen. She was supposed to be here for professional reasons, not fun and games.
Damn Trevor for finding new ways to turn her on. Then again, he’d been right—she had started it. She just hadn’t known how hard a player he was, how much of a competitive nature he had. Now she knew, and she’d keep her distance.
She heard him coming down the stairs, so she turned around
and leaned against the counter, wishing she could put something—anything—between them. She felt like she needed a shield to ward off all the testosterone that seemed to roll off him.
Or maybe that was just her imagination.
“There you are,” he said, grinning as he walked by and looking at the sink, where her bikini top used to be. “Swimming was fun. We should do that again.”
“No, we definitely should not. I’d like to not bare my breasts to anyone who happens to be watching.”
He laughed and leaned against the counter next to her. “I don’t have any neighbors within viewing distance of my backyard. That’s why I bought this property. It’s plenty private.”
“His errands will take him away from the house for the rest of the day. So no one saw your boobs but me.”
“Yeah, they were.”
She rolled her eyes at him and pushed off the counter, heading toward the living room. “Ready to continue?”
“No. I have to head to the stadium and prep for the game. But you can come along.”
She stopped and turned. “All right.” Now she could watch him in action. She was eager to see him work, and getting to see it at field level excited her.
She gathered up her things and stuffed them into her bag. By then, he’d grabbed his team bag and car keys.
“Ready?” he asked.
He led her to the car. It only took about a half hour to get to the stadium, but she enjoyed the view nonetheless.
Trevor was right. It had been a long time since she’d been to St.
Louis, and she’d had a child’s-eye view back then. Now everything looked different.