I still recall that day in the pool last summer when I’d taken the crying baby from her and entertained him all afternoon. I couldn’t even be sure why I’d done it. I suppose, looking back, she just looked like she could use a hand. I’ve never liked seeing a woman struggle. Although a damsel in distress, she is not. I get the sense she’s not the type to back down from a challenge and has enough strength and determination to succeed at just about anything she tried. A sexy quality, to be sure.
As we stand there, me sipping my bourbon, and Kylie grinning politely at the crowd, the silence between us grows. I feel like we have nothing in common, and I’m at a loss, trying to think of something to say, anything that will keep this beauty in my presence. There are so many things I want to know about her, but none of them are any of my goddamn business. How she tastes, what noises she makes when she comes. I also want to know how she ended up a single mother, and if Max’s dad is still in the picture. I tried asking Colton about it once, but he remained incredibly vague. The asshat. If there was a worst wingman award, it would go to my brother.
“Have dinner with me this week,” I say. It wasn’t what I’d been planning to say, but once the words leave my mouth, they feel right.
“Pace, that’s sweet of you to ask, but I can’t…” She pauses, like she wants to say more, but doesn’t. Her body language is all wrong too. Where women are normally vying to get closer, placing their hand on my bicep, or even brushing their breasts against my arm, Kylie stands straight and tall, like she wants to avoid physical contact at all costs.
“Are you here with someone?” I ask. It’s also absolutely none of my business, but I’d happily shell out ten grand just to find out if she’s fucking someone.
“No,” she confirms.
“No boyfriend?” I press further. I need to know what I’m up against.
“There’s been no one since Max’s father,” she says quietly.
My inner alpha male beats on his chest in triumph. “That’s quite a dry spell.”
“Indeed,” she murmurs.
“It’s just dinner, Kylie. It’s not like I’m offering to step in and play daddy.” I treat her to a playful, crooked smile, my dimple out in full force. I’ve heard it’s quite irresistible and that’s what I’m banking on.
“That’s exactly why I can’t. I’m sorry.”
Fuck. Why am I such a f**king idiot?
“Oh,” I stammer, at a loss for words for the first damn time in my life. Christ. Grow a pair, Pace.
“Besides, something tells me if you’re interested in a woman like that,” Kylie tips her chin toward the bar where Sheena, or Trina, is making a spectacle of herself, “you can’t possibly be interested in a woman like me.”
Hold the f**k on. Now that’s where she’s wrong. “Why’s that?” I ask, meeting her fiery green gaze. If she’s about to criticize herself, I will not hold back in proving to her how very wrong she is.
“Pace,” she admonishes. “Look at her. They look…inflatable.”
When I realize she’s not tearing herself down, but instead chastising my taste in women, I almost want to laugh. “A woman like that is good for only one thing and we both know it,” I say.
She raises her eyebrows, waiting for me to explain.