Brandon’s life might look perfect, but he’s got a massive hang-up about his intelligence, a hang-up which is aggravated by all the verbal sparring with Josh’s new roommate. Even worse, it appears Science Barbie is falling for his deeply closeted brother. Why does he care so much about preventing the impending disaster? But the more time he spends with Megan, the more he realizes the sparks between them have the potential to ignite into something amazing.
“Come on.” I get to my feet and reach down, offering her my hand.
She looks suspiciously at it, like it’s a viper about to make a quick dinner of her flesh. “Where do you want to go?” she asks.
“Come dance with me.”
“I suck at dancing.”
“So what? I’m good enough for both of us.”
She rolls her eyes.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful to see an eye roll in my life. “And you don’t know anyone here. Who cares if you look stupid?” I continue.
“I kind of care,” she says quietly. But she takes my hand, and I pull her to her feet. Her hand is soft in mine. She withdraws it quickly, but obediently follows me across the lawn and up the porch steps.
Inside, I find us an empty space on the edge of the dance floor. The band is playing a decent version of Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl, so I find my groove quickly.
Megan finds her groove too, but it’s not a smoothly worn one—more a rough stutter. She was right. She’s a terrible dancer. She shuffles her feet from side to side in what is a spot-on imitation of awkward middle-school boys.
“You need to loosen up,” I say.
Megan starts flopping her arms and legs around like they have no bones. “Is this loose enough?”
“I never know what to do with my arms,” she confesses as she pulls them rigidly by her side.
“When in doubt, go for a set move.”
She eyes me skeptically. “Like what?”
“Like the swimmer.” I start doing breaststroke actions.
Megan’s face folds into a smile.
Spurred on, I continue, “If you need to vary it up a bit you can always go for the snorkel move.”
I put my hand on my nose and shimmy down in a perfect snorkel.
“So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong all these years. I haven’t been getting my dance tips from The Little Mermaid,” she says, straight-faced.
“It’s a serious mistake. The Little Mermaid musical numbers rock,” I deadpan back.
Which leads us to a whole new game of trying to come up with under-the-sea dance moves.
Megan invents the Octopus, which involves wildly flailing limbs. I almost double over, I’m laughing so hard.
I reply with the shark, holding my palms pressed together on top of my head, humming the theme song to Jaws. Dum-dum. Dum-dum.
Megan shakes her head at me. “How do you still manage to look coordinated when you’re doing something so stupid? You just can’t do uncoordinated, can you?”
“It’s a curse I have to bear,” I say.
A slow song comes on. Ed Sheeran’s singing about loving someone until they’re seventy. Megan stops dancing and looks suspiciously at me.
“Come here.” I grab her hand and pull her toward me.
“What’s this move called?” She takes a reluctant step, putting one hand tentatively on my shoulder and the other on my waist.
“This is called the limpet,” I say as I tug her closer.
I feel her laugh vibrating against my chest.
We shuffle around the dance floor as Ed croons about how people fall in love in mysterious ways. And I discover having Megan’s feet so close to mine is actually hazardous.
“Sorry,” she mutters when she treads on my toes.
“That’s okay, I didn’t need that foot. I have a spare one.”
She pulls back to look at me, her lips quirking in a smile. “Um, you’re a professional athlete. I’m pretty sure you need both your feet.”
“Let’s not start arguing about the merits of professional sport right now, okay?”
I’m expecting her to argue, but instead she just shrugs. “Okay.”
She rests her head back against my chest, and I catch a whiff of her perfume. I’m right, it’s vanilla, but there is something else floral in there as well, along with a sharply sweet smell of hairspray. Suddenly I’m concerned about what she’s hearing in my chest, because I’m fairly sure my heart is thudding like I’ve got a killer whale bearing down on me.
Shit. As long as the action doesn’t spread to my groin we’re all good.
But I’m quickly aware there are no guarantees. Because there’s something about holding Megan this close that is stirring stuff throughout my body. My fingers are lightly touching her at the curve of her waist, and I can feel the heat of her skin through her dress.
Having her in my arms like this, something clicks perfectly into place. The closest I’ve ever felt to this has come on the football field, when I’ve thrown the perfect pass, the type that cuts through the air like a blade and lands with a satisfying thud in the hands of the receiver.
I look down at her. My gaze snags on the little patch of bare skin behind her ear. I have a sudden urge to press my lips to it.
My breath catches in my throat.
She pulls back and raises her eyes to mine, a half smile on her face. Whatever she sees on my face causes her smile to fade.
She stares at me, her blue eyes impossibly wide, her lips partially open. Her bottom lip is pink and full and inviting.
It would be so easy to lower my mouth to hers, to kiss her.
I take a deep breath. She’s vulnerable. She’s just had whatever hopes she had about my little brother dashed tonight. I can’t kiss her now. It would potentially be taking advantage of her emotional state and I never, ever want to be that guy.
But damn, there’s no denying I want to kiss her.
I release her and step back, running my hands through my hair. I immediately feel the absence of her body pressed up against me. It’s like stepping from a warm room into a cold freezer.
“Uh, I should call it a night.”
Megan stands there blinking like she’s woken up from a dream.
“Um…yeah. You do need your beauty sleep,” she says finally.
For a moment we stare at each other. Her brow is furrowed, like she’s trying to make sense of what just happened.
“Goodnight.” I do a pivot my coach would be proud of, stalking away through the table and chairs. I need to get as far away as possible, so I’m not tempted to go back.
About the author:
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Jacqueline Lee is an award-winning romance author who writes stories with heart and humor. She loves writing characters who have fun with each other while building a deeper connection. Formerly a high school biology teacher, Jackie is living her own version of happily-ever-after with her husband and three children in New Zealand.
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