Read Out of Her League Online

Authors: Lori Handeland

Out of Her League (29 page)

BOOK: Out of Her League
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They did so without a backward glance, leaving Evie alone with her doom.

 

 

The
kids
were
gone
, and they were alone. Joe wasn

t sure how he felt about either one.

Joe

s body still throbbed. Thank goodness his pants were of the
loose variety or he’d be embar
rassed. As it was, Adam Vaughn

s glare showed the kid was not so dumb. He knew Joe had the hots for his mom, and he liked it even less than Joe liked the kid kissing his baby.


You think they saw us?

Joe glanced at Evie, who still leaned on the counter as though she would fall if she stepped away. He stifled a grin, knowing she would not be happy to recognize his pride in having kissed her senseless. Heck, he

d been as gone as she was. Why was it that no one made him feel the way she did?


I don

t think they saw.


But they could guess.

He shrugged.

We

re adults.


Yes, we are. So we should be able to resist this... this...

She threw up her hands in frustration.

What
is
this?

Joe picked up his shirt from where he

d draped it over a chair earlier and shrugged his arms into the garment, leaving the front hanging free. The heat in the kitchen was too high for him to button up. He
opened the back door, and an evening breeze swept the room, eliciting a sigh of relief from them both.


I have no idea.
” He pulled plates from the cup
board. When he turned, she stood right next to him. As she put her hands on the plates, their fingertips touched, and his body ignited all over again.

What
was
this between them? Lust? He

d lusted before—a lot. He

d never felt like this—ever. He wanted to kiss her again, right now. Drop the china, pick her up and take her on the kitchen table with the door wide-open. He wasn
’t going to, but know
ing that didn

t make him want to any less.

She tugged on the plates, and he let them go, then turned to the stove while she set the table. The scene was so domestic tha
t he paused in the act of scoop
ing pasta into a serving bowl and just stood there thinking.
This
was what he

d come to Oak Grove to find, but he had never thought to find it with Evie Vaughn.

What had she whispered about magic? He re
called a conversation they

d had about love. Her face had been all dreamy. Joe had an uncomfortable feeling his face had been pretty dreamy when the kids walked in. Had he fallen in love with Evie?

No way. He barely knew her. She annoyed him. She was too compet
itive, too driven, too domineer
ing, ever to be happy sharing the kind of life he dreamed of.

Then Joe thought of all the other women he

d dated. Not one of them had made him feel a bit like Evie made him feel all the time. He

d kissed every
one, and that had been enough. He

d never wanted to do anything more than take them to their house, then run back to his.

He wanted to take Evie to bed, then stay there forever.

To be honest, though they argued, he enjoyed it. She was smart and funny, and she gave as good as she got. He liked her, and though he

d prefer to lock Adam in a closet and throw away the key, Joe had to admit her kids were great. She knew how to be a mom, and Toni adored her.

He turned with the food in his hands, and relished the view of Evie leaning over the table to position silverware at each place. Her shirt had pulled up, revealing an enticing bit of skin at her waist. She looked good enough to eat, and he was very hungry.

She straightened.

All set.

Glancing over her shoulder, she caught him staring, and her welcoming smile became a confused frown.

What?


Nothing.

Joe crossed the room and set the bowls on the table. He had a lot of thinking to do, and he wasn

t going to share his fantasy with her—at least, not yet.

 

 

An
unspoken
truce
went into effect during dinner, for which Evie was thankful. She was light-headed, whether from the heat, the wine, the smell of food after eight hours of abstinence or the kiss, she didn

t know. What she did know was that she didn

t have the energy to spar with Joe any more.

The meal was exquisite.

Do you cook like this every night?

she asked.


Not like this. But I cook.


Every night?


I like to eat every night.

He shrugged, and the movement caused his shirt to open.

He didn

t notice, but Evie did. She drank some water and stared anywhere but at his chest. She

d always been a sucker for
a great chest.


Don

t you ever eat leftovers?

she inquired.


Never liked them much.


So you throw out the extra?

Evie couldn

t keep incredulity from her voice.


What do you do with them?


Leftovers are one thing I don

t have to worry about. Three boys at the table resemble a three-hosed vacuum cleaner on full throttle. Everything

s sucked up by the end of the meal.


You must have very ... ah ... pleasant meals.


Not exactly.

She glanced at Joe in time to see him grin. She wanted to smile, too, but this companionable meal made her nervous. She was too comfortable with him. Though he could be a great, big, chauvinistic jerk when the mood struck him, he could also be funny and interesting and kind of endearingly sweet when he spoke of Toni. She liked looking at him. She liked doing more than looking.

Time to change the subject—both out loud and in her mind.

Joe beat her to it.

You

re a good coach, Evie.

She gaped. She hadn

t expected him to go there.
“I
am?


Yeah. I

m glad Toni

s on your team. She adores
you
.


I think she

s pretty neat, too. Though girls baffle me, for the most part.


Join the club.

They smiled at each other again. This was just too darn cozy for comfort. Evie stood and started clearing the table. Her abrupt movement left Joe blinking, but he recovered well enough to help her clean up.


I appreciate your support,

she said.

Most of the men in this town seem to think I need help coaching the boys. As if I haven

t been doing it since Adam was the twins

age. I suppose it

s our bet. Though I

d think all the macho men would be on your side.


Macho men, huh?

He found he wasn
’t of
fended, probably because her assessment was right.

I

ve had my share of back-slapping supporters. But no one wants to give me any advice, even though I could use some.


Really? And I thought you knew everything.


And I thought we were playing nice tonight.


Sorry.

Evie opened the dishwasher and started loading.

I find it frustrating that everyone thinks you know baseball just because you

re a guy. But because I look good
in a dress, I need coaching ad
vice from the peanut gallery.


You do, you realize.

She narrowed her eyes.

Need advice?


No, look good in a dress. You should wear one more often.


Can you see me showing the kids how to slide into home plate while I

m wearing a froufrou skirt?

Joe laughed.

I

d like to be around if you do.

There was a sudden silence between them. Evie turned on the dishwasher; the hum of the machine filled the air. He was f
lirting with her. She was flirt
ing back. She liked it.

The clock in the hallway chimed ten—pumpkin time for Mommy. She needed to get home, hose off the twins and put them to bed. No rest for the weary.


I

d better take you back,

Joe said, echoing her thoughts.

She glanced up to find him staring at the kitchen table with a funny expression, almost as if... No, he couldn

t be thinking what she

d been thinking.


Yeah, you

d better,

Evie blurted, before she herself could ponder the fantasy any more.

The trip to her house took only five minutes. Heck, driving from one side of Oak Grove to the other took seven, so you could say they lived pretty far apart. Unfortunately, they were not sitting far enough apart in Joe

s little red sports car for Evie

s comfort.

She could feel his heat. His scent surrounded her, excited her. When his fingers brushed her knee as he shifted the car—who bought stick shifts anymore, anyway?—she jumped, but her knee tingled from
the graze of his fingers long after he

d withdrawn his hand.

The car roared into her driveway, and he shut off the engine. A drizzling rain fell, causing mist to rise from the pavement. The windows clouded over as they sat and stared at her house, all lit up, looking like home. Shadows moved beyond the windows, calming her. The kids were safe inside.


Ten-fifteen and all

s well,

Joe intoned.


We made it through another day.


That

s what we pray for.


Yeah.

She took a deep breath.

Well, thanks for dinner and the ride.


And?

She shifted her gaze so she could see his face, which was lit by the dashboard lights. He smiled at her. There was no way she was going to thank him for that kiss—though it
had
been better than dinner.


And ... good night.


No kiss?


You had one.


But don

t I deserve another?


I think you and I had better stop kissing. It

s like spontaneous combustion.

BOOK: Out of Her League
4.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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