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Authors: Delaine Roberts

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Fiction

Chasing Air (9 page)

BOOK: Chasing Air
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Makenzie felt the dismissal. “I need to get some sleep. I have a long day tomorrow with a lecture to put together before I start my shift. Today was so much fun, thank you for including Rachel.” She grabbed her things and headed for the door, Ryler on her heels.

“Next game is in two weeks, but I want to see you again, before then. A real date, just us. Have dinner with me Makenzie?”

He wanted her to commit to him. He needed her to give him a sign that she really wanted to be with him. But he couldn’t deny how she made him feel, how his heart fluttered just at the thought of her. How the sight or touch of her made him go hard in an instant. He thought about her every waking minute and couldn’t get her out his mind. It was driving him crazy. 

“I can’t. I should go.” She left and she didn’t look back. She couldn’t, the feelings she had were too strong and she tried to convince herself that he was the wrong man for her.

She cried all the way back home, angry at herself for letting her guard down and getting wrapped up in something that hurt someone else.

Ryler Buchanan was gorgeous, manly, caring, and so darn sexy that any woman breathing would turn her head to him. What was the problem?
What was HER problem
, she questioned. She wanted to reach out to him, wanted to call him and say she was sorry, but she couldn’t. It was better that he stay angry with her, a better chance that he would stay out of her life. The risk of him digging into her background would be deadly for both of them. The other risk would be that he would never forgive her for being dishonest, for being another man’s wife.

But what she didn’t know was that he already had.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER NINE

 

 

Jonathan: Meet us at the Commons Ballpark at 5:30 can’t wait

 

Makenzie: So excited, love watching kids play ball

 

Makenzie gathered her hair into a ponytail and fed it through her ball cap. She grabbed her sunglasses and put the address into her GPS. After she started her drive, she realized that she might need a fold-up chair, so she made a pit stop to pick one up. Back on the road, it dawned on her that not only was she meeting Trippe, she could imagine meeting Liza as well. She hadn’t had a relationship with a divorced man, but she had dealt with ex-girlfriends. Could it possibly be any worse? Was Veronica right about ex-wives and all that baggage?

“Hey, you made it.” She heard Jonathan’s voice behind her.

She turned to find him approaching her car with a bag on his shoulder and a couple of folding chairs in his hands.

“You didn’t need to bring a chair, I have one for you.” He was grinning from ear to ear, his bright white smile shining. She couldn’t see his eyes for his sunglasses, but she could feel them on her, like he was undressing her and enjoying a private moment in

 

public. Her skin bristled.

“Thought I should be prepared.”

“Hey Dad, can you help me with my gear?” Trippe was dragging his bag across the parking lot.

“Trippe, I’d like you to meet Dr. Makenzie, she’s a friend of mine. Can you say hello?”

“Hi Dr. Makenzie, are you going to watch me play?”

Makenzie knelt down and removed her sunglasses so that she could meet the handsome young man. “I am. I’m going to watch you win. Please call me Mak.”

“Okay,” he said before running off, leaving his gear for his dad to carry.

Makenzie laughed, “Here, let me grab that, your hands are full.” She grasped the gear bag and followed Jonathan to their team’s sitting area.

“I’m glad you came, Makenzie. This is a new experience for me, I’ve never introduced anyone else to Trippe. This will be a new experience for him, too.”

“He’s a handsome young man, I know you’re proud. Hey, aren’t you supposed to be coaching?” She didn’t want him dissing his responsibilities to be with her.

“We rotate, it’s not my night. Well, not for coaching anyway, but I’m hoping that we don’t have any car wrecks on the way home tonight.” He laughed out loud.

She grinned back at him. “Let’s hope not.”

Their chairs were close together, but his comment made the hair prickle on the back of Makenzie’s neck. He fully intended to keep the evening going after the game, but surely he wasn’t planning that kind of seduction with Trippe around.

It wasn’t long before a beautiful blonde woman showed up with an older-looking man, none other than Liza, the ex-wife, and her companion.

“Jonathan?” The blond woman asked while taking inventory of Makenzie from head to toe.

“Liza, this is Dr. Makenzie Holder. Makenzie, this is Trippe’s mom, Liza, and her husband, Dave Henderson.”

“Hello, pleasure to meet you both.” Makenzie tried to shake hands, but the woman would have none of it. They took their seats to the other side of the family area, but sat at an angle so that they could keep Makenzie and Jonathan in their view.

“Is she always that way to your friends?”

“I wouldn’t know, you’re the first I’ve ever introduced her to. I suppose she is a little taken aback by this. She wasn’t expecting it. She likes to be in total control of everything. If you don’t believe me, just ask her.” He smirked.

They enjoyed the game and afterwards, snow cones with their little winners. Trippe had his first homerun and both parents were ecstatic. Of course, with Jonathan capturing it on video, she was sure it would be played a hundred times over.

“I had fun, thank you for inviting me. Trippe is a trip for sure.” She laughed at her comment before opening the door of her car.

“You getting rid of me already? The night’s not over, I still had some cards up my sleeve to play. If you want, you can follow me to my place. Up to you.” His hands were on his hips, just above where his shorts were hanging. She marveled at his gorgeous physique. He was waiting on her answer and hoping for the right one.

“Sure, I’d love to. I’ll follow you.”

“Right answer. I’ll lead the way.” He brushed his hand up and down her arm before returning to his car.

Makenzie waited as he loaded the gear and chairs into the Range Rover and pulled out of the parking lot. She followed him to his house behind a gated entry. Geez, it was not a house, it was a mansion. He pulled into the circular drive and she parked behind him.

“It’s beautiful. You live here all alone?” She was overwhelmed at the size of the home.

“My parents built this place. They decided a couple of years ago that it was too big for them, so I bought it and they built a smaller, more manageable home for themselves. I do have a couple that help me with the upkeep, but they have the night off. I hope you don’t mind my cooking. I can get around in the kitchen pretty well.”

“Okay, I’m starved, so show me your talents.”

After giving her a tour, he showed her to the guest house out by the pool. “I thought you might want to freshen up before dinner. You’ll find everything you need in there. I’ll be back in the kitchen when you’re done.” He touched her chin with his hand and rubbed her lips, teasing her with his dark brown eyes. She felt her breath catch before he turned and walked back into the main house.

With her eyes closed, she imagined Jonathan’s lips on hers. She stood there for a moment and gathered her thoughts. She needed to move forward with someone other than Ryler. But how?

The guest house was beautiful and bigger than her loft. She got a sense for who his mother was by the beautiful decor and furnishings. He had placed gift boxes on the bed. When she unwrapped them, she found an elegant gold silk skirt and matching side wrap top. There were gold beaded sandals that fit her perfectly. The next box contained beautiful cream lace underwear. He had luxurious taste or a great personal shopper. She hoped that he had been the one to pick them out, she fretted at the idea of another woman picking out her clothes. He also bought her a swim suit, a very elegant black and gold bikini.

She showered and dried her hair, leaving her skin fresh and clean. The luxury of having olive skin with a tan, makeup wasn’t required.

The house was absolutely breathtaking with a Mediterranean-traditional blend of style with rich colors, columns, and archways. She watched him through the archway into the kitchen. He had also showered and was wearing ripped jeans and a black t-shirt. He was barefoot.
Silk for me, rough and sexy for him?
she thought to herself.

“You’re spoiling me, but you have wonderful taste and everything fits me perfectly.” The sound of her voice surprised him, since he had his back to her.

“Everything?”

“Yep, down to the shoes. But how did you know?”

“I’ve studied you, even when you didn’t think I was paying attention.”

“Thank you for the gifts, but you shouldn’t have. You have a personal shopper, right?” She tried to laugh, but his serious look told her otherwise, without him even saying so.

“No, I’d never send someone on that kind of errand, Makenzie.” His pause connected his eyes to her. “It wouldn’t be my gift if I did that.”

His gaze on her could’ve started a bonfire. She needed to change the subject. “Wow, it smells wonderful in here. What are you making?”
He’s sexy, wealthy, and he cooks too, what’s not to like
? she thought.

“Lasagna. I cheated and got a head start before ball practice and put it in the oven. I didn’t want you to see how messy I could be in the kitchen, it could be mighty scary!” He gave her a grin that sent her heart racing and tingles down her body. His lips were cherry red and he had beautiful white teeth, framed by dimples on both sides.

“Yeah, right. Someone cooked that for you, so spill, where’s the real chef or the take out boxes?” She ribbed him.

“Seriously, it’s me. I could use some help with the salad though if you want, the stuff’s in the fridge.”

Makenzie made the salad while he poured the wine. Liquid courage.

They chatted and enjoyed a wonderful meal. Makenzie was seriously counting the calories that she had been consuming lately with her two suitors. It was time to put a halt to the heavy eating. She liked to work out and ran every day, but that wasn’t keeping up with things like lasagna and pie.

Pie. The mere thought led her to more reflections regarding Ryler. She hadn’t heard from him and no one at work mentioned him anymore. She could only assume that he had reached out to David and Veronica, but they were keeping his confidences and hadn’t said anything.

“Dance with me?”

“What?”

“May I have th
is dance with you?” He extended his hand to her.

Music she didn’t recognize was playing in the background. “The music is lovely. Who is it? I don’t recognize it.”

“It’s Jessie J, and the song is called ‘Who You Are’.”

“Beautiful.” At that moment, it felt strange to be held in Jonathan’s arms. His grip around her waist was tight. His scent tickled her nose, but she couldn’t get Ryler out of her mind, even as hard as she tried.

“I want to know who you are, Makenzie.” He stopped them from dancing and held her close. He whispered in her ear, “I want to know what makes you happy and what you’re afraid of. What takes your breath away?”

Taking her face into his hands, he kissed her passionately. She didn’t resist him, she wanted to know those things about him, too, but was it because she was trying so hard to forget Ryler? Trying to make something happen that wasn’t natural? She felt like she was cheating and that thought left her with a big knot in her stomach.

“Would you like to go for a swim or sit in the spa?”

She was grateful in the change of conversation, “Yes, sounds lovely, I’ll go change.”

The bikini fit her perfectly and was not too skimpy. She was amazed at his ability to judge her size. She thought back to the day at the pool when she first met him. He must have studied her there when she was napping.

Her defenses began to come up. How well did she know him? She didn’t at all. His dad was on the board at the hospital but he hadn’t shared that with her. Did he have information into her past or her dealings with the FBI? Agent Bernard assured her that everything was completely sealed. Makenzie suddenly became suspicious. She needed to be more careful and she didn’t like where her thoughts and insecurities took her.

Jonathan was waiting for her out by the pool with their wine. The only light was from several torches that he had lit and a few candles scattered about.

He stood and extended his hand to her. “How’s the suit?”

“You tell me,” she asked, while modeling it for him.

“Perfect. You’re stunning. Come swim with me?”

He led them down the steps into the water, but held her hand as they got deeper in, before pulling her close to him.

She shivered, but not because she was cold, but because being near him in a wet swimsuit excited her.

“Cold?” He asked as he tried to pull her close to him.

“Maybe a little, it takes a minute to adjust.” She went under water and swam away from him. He followed her. When she came up for air, she couldn’t see him, then she quickly felt him at her feet before he came up right in front of her. Their eyes met and tangled a bit. His look was intense and spoke volumes. He wanted her. She smiled to break the gaze, but it didn’t work.

His lips on hers, she tasted his wine. When her hands slid down his arms, she felt the definition of his muscular body as he held her tight, his power over her. He moved his lips down her neck and brushed his thumb across her stiffened nipple. Her breath caught and he recognized her response, but he was just getting started. She wrapped her hands around his neck, he wrapped her legs around his waist and carried her to more shallow water before sitting her on the edge of the pool. Now she was at just the perfect height for him.

Their kisses were deep with want. His tongue mapped out the hollow of her mouth. He bit her lips in small bites. He heard her take deep breaths and he felt her heartbeat racing.

There was no masking his erection in his swim trunks. She felt the fullness between her legs and she also sensed the moisture of her own desires. He was leaving small bites down her neck and into the contours of her collarbone when he put his hands on the ties of her bikini top. Her body immediately tensed.

“No” was on Makenzie’s lips when he pulled her into the water with him, making a big splash. She was grateful for the change. He must’ve sensed her body become rigid, making a smooth recovery from his seduction.

They began to play and chat about the kids in the neighborhood coming to swim. Makenzie was glad he lightened the mood.

“The spa is warm, want to sit for a while and enjoy the rest of the wine?”

“I should be going. I have a long day at the office before my shift. I’m working on a lecture that I have to give at a conference in a couple of weeks. Besides, if I drink anymore, I won’t be able to drive myself home.”

“Makenzie?” He didn’t finish his question, but she knew what he was asking.

“I need things to go slowly, Jonathan. You understand, right?”

“Right. Sorry, I just can’t fight what I feel for you. It’s something I’ve waited for, a long time coming.”

The air was thick between them as they stood poolside toweling off. “When can I see you again?” His eyes were sad and lonely.

“How about lunch at my place on Saturday? Consider it a cook-off?”

“I have Trippe this weekend, but I’ll see if Liza will take him.”

It wasn’t the answer she was looking for. The thought of him giving up time with his son to score sickened her.

“Please don’t do that. Don’t put me first, it’s your time with him. I’ll check my work schedule and give you a call. We’ll find another time to get together.” She turned to head to the guest house, but he jerked her arm really hard and forced a brutal kiss on her as he pulled her tightly to his chest. His force lifted her from the ground. He was way too aggressive and his actions were certain to leave a mark on her arm. His kiss was bruising to her face. She moaned in pain.

“Say yes and stay with me. You know you want to,” he whispered against her lips.

BOOK: Chasing Air
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