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Authors: Kelley Vitollo

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Luck of the Draw (7 page)

BOOK: Luck of the Draw
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“Have you learned anything about him?” Sidney asked.

“He’s a professional poker player who loves his freedom, doesn’t want kids or to settle down. Ever.” Her friends’ looks sobered. “See. I have a very good reason for not telling him yet.”

“He could change his mind,” Betsy added. “I’m sure it’s easy to say you don’t want children until you find out you’re having one.”

Rowan sighed. “I know… I just need to be sure. I don’t want to rush into anything. This is my baby we’re talking about here.” She was determined to do right by this child. By their child.

“Let’s just go out there and have a good time, huh?” Sidney grabbed her hand and squeezed. “I need to make sure this guy is good enough for my little niece.”

Rowan laughed. “Convinced it’s a girl, huh?”

“Absolutely. I already started making her baby clothes.” The online shop Sidney had started since moving home was doing awesome. She’d bring a car full to the post office to mail each week. Rowan pictured a little pink bonnet instead of the purses that were Sidney’s most popular items and smiled.

On their way out of the office, Rowan couldn’t help but add, “He
is
pretty gorgeous though, isn’t he?”

Chapter Seven

Breck sat with Jace, Kade, and Melissa, Jace’s date. He watched as she hung on every word Jace said, but not in the way that looked like it held real affection. He couldn’t stop himself from wondering where Rowan’s friends had dragged her and what they were talking about. He kept glancing in the direction he saw them go, but they still hadn’t made an appearance.

“I recognize that look, man,” Kade said.

Breck eyed him, wondering what he meant. He didn’t know Kade well enough to read between his words, so he watched for a tell—some kind of sign that told him what he meant or how he meant it. “What look is that?” He took a swig of his beer.

“Your eyes. They’re skating the room for Rowan. Been there is all.” He took a drink as well.

Kade had it all wrong. Yeah, Rowan was beautiful, but he wasn’t looking for her in that way. She’d just…well he’d begun to think of her as a friend and they did come here together, so he didn’t want to be separated from her the whole night. “It’s not what you’re thinking. I don’t even know the woman very well.”

Which was true, but it didn’t really feel true. He knew she could be sarcastic as hell. That she liked to laugh and had a great one. She enjoyed taking care of people, could cook, didn’t take his shit, and fished to clear her head.

Kade raised his beer and Breck went ahead and clanked his bottle with Kade’s.

“What am I missing over here?” he asked quietly, nodded toward where Jace was trying to ease away from the woman he was with, but she held on tight. Music pumped through the bar as Breck, Kade, Jace and Melissa sat at the two round tables pushed together.

“Nothing, man,” Kade replied.

“Hey, when are we going to put together a game?” Breck said to Jace. “Don’t tell me you’re scared to play me.”

Jace laughed. He was in a suit, like he often was, with his blond hair slicked back. Smooth—that was the best way he could think to describe his old law school buddy. “You wish. You forget you taught me to play. I know your tricks and I can read your tells.”

“You can’t read shit.” Breck huffed.

Just then, Melissa’s cell rang. She held the phone up to her ear and chatted for a minute before disconnecting. “That was my babysitter. She’s not feeling well; I need to go.”

Jace stood. “I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll walk you out.” Then to Breck, “We’ll continue this conversation when I get back.”

The two disappeared right as the women came back to the table.

“Where are they heading?” Rowan asked.

“He’s walking his friend out.” Breck leaned back in his seat now that Rowan was back.

“I love him, but he really needs to learn some control.” She rolled her eyes.

“You love him, huh?”

She smacked his leg and he fought the urge to hold her hand there. Jesus, there was something about this woman that attracted him on a whole different level. One he had no business wanting to act on. Like Jace said, she was a forever woman, and even if he wanted to try a relationship again, he wasn’t sure his traveling lifestyle would fit her.

Whoa. Why the hell was he thinking about that?

“He’s getting better…” Betsy added, pulling him from his thoughts. Every pair of eyes at the table zeroed in on her. “What? He is.” She rubbed her finger around the rim of her water glass.

“All right, enough talk about Jace. I think we should talk about me. I’m much more interesting,” Breck said.

With that, everyone at the table laughed, which was exactly what he’d hoped for.

“I heard that.” Jace loosened his tie as he sat back down. He looked tired—more so than Breck remembered ever seeing before. He knew Jace’s grandfather’s sickness had to be taking a toll on him.

Breck noticed a couple pool tables in the back of the room. One of them was open. He nudged Rowan. “Play pool with me, Houdini.”

“What? No. I’m not very good at it.”

“Play me anyway.”

“Ask Betsy. She’s a pool shark!”

“Hey!” Betsy blanched.

“What? You are!”

Jace pushed his way into the conversation. “We’ll play doubles. Come on, Betsy.” He stood and held his hand out to the other woman, who looked as though he might bite her.

“You should play. He needs you. He’s about the sorriest pool player I’ve ever met.” Breck stood, holding his hand out to Rowan the same way Jace did Betsy.

“Ouch!” She lurched forward and it looked as though Sidney had nudged her in the back. Rowan tried to recover by grabbing his hand and letting him help her up. Betsy did the same, though she let go of Jace’s the second they stood. It was stupid of him, but he didn’t let Rowan free herself.

The foursome made their way to the table and Breck put money in the machine to free the balls. “We’ll rack and let you guys break. I don’t want you saying I cheated when we kick your asses.”

Jace flipped him off.

“You guys are
both
like big kids!” Rowan crossed her arms.

“You should have seen us in law school. There was this one time— Oh, wait. Never mind.” Jace laughed and Breck found himself crossing his arms. Damn the man for trying to get him into trouble.

Breck finished racking the balls. The four of them found pool sticks and then Jace nodded toward the table. “Ladies first,” he told Betsy.

Breck watched as the woman lined the cue ball with the others. Her stroke was smooth as she hit the ball, breaking the triangle all apart and hitting in two solids and a stripe.

Wow.

Jace cleared his throat, looked at Breck and grinned. “Care to make it more interesting?”

They were going to lose. And Breck hated losing.

Rowan hadn’t been lying when she said she wasn’t very good at pool. In his defense, it wasn’t Jace’s fault. Really, Betsy was the one beating them. Breck was good at reading people and when she missed, she did it on purpose. For Jace? he wondered. Trying to help him save face? Not that Jace was the kind of guy who couldn’t handle getting a win from a woman’s help. He was just happy to win because he could gloat.

Breck watched as Rowan leaned over the table…shot and missed.
Damn it.

“Ugh! I’m sorry,” Rowan crossed her arms. “But this is your fault.”

Breck couldn’t believe it. She was actually pouting. Her bottom lip snuck out. He wanted to lick it. Instead he chuckled. “How do you figure that?”

“Because I told you I’m not good.”

“Maybe it’s not that you’re not good, but that Betsy’s just incredible,” Jace interrupted them.

Breck watched as Betsy looked at him in awe. He wondered if Jace realized it but figured Jace didn’t when he continued. “Well, that and Breck’s head’s so big he has to concentrate so much on holding it up, that he can’t take the time he needs to make a good shot.”

Betsy laughed loudly. Breck didn’t even have it in him to be offended by it because it was nice seeing her open up. At that, Jace grinned and pulled her to his side. “My secret weapon.”

“You’re letting your head get a little big over there, when she’s the one winning,” Breck pointed at Betsy and then turned to Rowan. “And you stop blaming me and put that bottom lip in before I bite it.” Breck pretended to move his head toward Rowan’s. Her eyes stretched so wide he thought they’d pop out of her head.

He obviously wasn’t the only one to notice because both Jace and Betsy started laughing.

Rowan punched his arm. “You’re not funny, you big jerk.” Then she started to laugh too.

When they calmed down, it was Betsy’s turn. She cleared the damn table and they won.

“Thank God that game is over.” Rowan tried to put her stick away like the rest of them.

Breck ignored Jace’s huge smile and spoke directly to Rowan. “Play with me again. I’ll give you a lesson.” Really he just wanted to spend more time with her. Hope she pushed that sexy bottom lip out again and that maybe he’d have an excuse to put his hands on her.

“You don’t have to teach me to play pool.”

“I know.”

Jace playfully put an arm around Betsy again. She smiled shyly when he said, “You guys need a lot of practice if you ever want to beat us.”

“I’m not
that
good.” It was one of the first times Breck heard her really speak to Jace.

“Leave us alone. I’m playing with Houdini.”

Jace shook his head at him, but the two of them walked back to the table with Sidney and Kade. Breck put more quarters in and racked the balls again.

“We really don’t have to do this.” Rowan leaned against the table. Her clothes clung to her curves in the way a guy couldn’t help but appreciate. He had to hold himself back from pulling her to him. “You can play Jace if you want,” Rowan added.

Breck hooked his finger in her belt loop, doing exactly what he just told himself he wouldn’t and easing her toward him. He was surprised when she came without a fight. “Play me,” he whispered against her ear. He was torturing himself. Teasing himself with the forbidden fruit he could never have again, but he couldn’t stop. She was so soft against him, just the way he liked a woman. His breath blew against one of her curls. Even that made his body start to respond. Christ. The last thing he needed was to get a hard-on in the middle of a pool lesson. Still, he added, “Please?”

She put her hand on his stomach and he sucked in a breath. That simple touch almost did him in. Did she feel it too—the attraction between them that started the night in Vegas and had grown rapidly the few days he’d been here? The fact was, half the time he was just playing with her. He enjoyed flirting and liked doing it with Rowan, but it felt like more than that too. He couldn’t remember ever being as attracted to a woman as he was with her. Her fist tightened in his shirt. They were close…so very close. He could smell her vanilla and feel her heat. He inhaled, wanting more. “Rowan…”

“Breck…” Was it him or did her voice sound raspy with lust?

“Yeah.”

“You. Are. Such. A. Flirt.” And just like that, she pulled away, still standing close, but not close enough for Breck. She left him practically panting. This woman was good, knew how to play her hand and had a hell of a poker face.

He found he enjoyed this—being friends with her, playing this fun little push and pull they both knew wasn’t anything more than that.

Rowan tried to walk away, but Breck grabbed her hand and held it against him. “You know I’m getting you back for that, don’t you?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Oh, yes she did, and they both knew it. Breck dropped her hand. “Now let’s get to this game. I have a thing or two to show you.”


She was an idiot. What had she been thinking, flirting with him like that? Clearly she
hadn’t
been thinking. He’d been so close and smelled so good. He’d given her the grin she liked, which was another thing she had no business thinking about when it came to Breck Wilder, but in that moment, all she could think was she wanted to give him a dose of his own medicine. Show him that he didn’t always have the upper hand like he thought—and maybe she’d wanted to feel his abs again too. The hard ripples of muscle that she wondered how he kept up.

Dumb, dumb, dumb dumb!

They’d finished the rest of their pool game and she waited for it—for him to flirt, grab her, whisper something in her ear, anything, but Breck hadn’t done any of it. Only given her pool pointers, which should have her floating on cloud nine, but instead it left her feeling a little needy and also on edge, wondering when he would strike.

Rowan looked over at him as they drove back to the house. He hadn’t looked at her at all and she found herself wondering what he was thinking—wondering about the things that made Breck Wilder tick. There had to be a reason he treated everything like a game—a reason he wanted no strings in his life besides poker and Ace.

It was her job to find out those things. That’s what they were doing here, after all. It wasn’t because she wanted to know, but because she
needed
to know.

“Can I ask you something?”

He glanced at her and said, “Am I allowed to bluff?”

Of course. Another game. “No. I’d rather you not answer at all than lie.”

Breck’s eyes were already back on the road. “I was joking. Shoot.”

It took her a couple seconds to try and word what she wanted to say. It was tricky waters to ask about his love life without either making him question why she asked or looking like she wanted him.

“The first night you were here, when we got on the conversation of marriage and babies, you were so determined you wanted nothing to do with either. I’m just curious as to why.”

“Are you propositioning me?” There was laughter in his voice.

“I’m being serious, Breck. I’m trying to get to know you. You’re staying with me. You’re friends with Jace.”

“And you.”

“And me what?”

He looked at her again, but she couldn’t read his expression in the dark. “I’m friends with you too, right? I mean, you took me fishing. That has to mean I’m getting under your skin a little bit.”

BOOK: Luck of the Draw
3.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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