Copyright © 2010 Erin Nicholas
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
This was exactly why she’d decided not to wear panties tonight.
Sara Bradford’s eyes found Mac Gordon sitting where he’d been throughout the wedding reception—lounging back in a chair at the head table, one ankle crossed over the other, tux jacket off, tie hanging loose, a glass of beer in one hand, his other arm draped across the empty chair next to him.
Lord Almighty, he was gorgeous. Just looking at the tuxedo shirt stretched tight over his chest, his thick fingers wrapped around the glass, the half-amused, half-irritated expression on his face and slight curl to one corner of his mouth made her want to cross the room and climb up onto his lap.
Which was exactly what she intended to do.
Mac wouldn’t know what to do. None of their friends would know what to do. Her brother and sister wouldn’t know what to do. Hell, she wasn’t entirely sure what to do after that. But they were just gonna have to figure it out. Because Sara wanted Mac and she was going to have him.
As if she’d scripted it, the second cousin of the fourth usher arrived back at her side with a glass of champagne in one hand and a glass of beer in the other.
“Here you go, sweetie,” he said, handing her the champagne flute.
She gave him a smile. She hated he was calling her sweetie after only knowing her for a few hours, and not knowing her that well, but she would put up with it for a few more minutes. All she needed from him was an excuse to go to Mac. She had a feeling Doug was about three minutes from being just that excuse.
“Thanks, Doug.” She tipped the glass and drained half of the champagne. It was only her second glass, and as she enjoyed the tingles the sweet bubbles gave her, she realized it would have to be her last. She wasn’t about to approach Mac tipsy. He’d think that was the reason and use it as an excuse to put her off.
“Sara, I’m so glad we got together tonight. After meeting you last night I can hardly think of anything else,” Doug said, leaning close.
“I’m flattered,” she said sincerely, leaning back. Which was true. It was always flattering when men found her attractive, sweet, interesting, cute, beautiful, smart, sexy and any of the other adjectives they used. Flattering, but nothing more.
Mac Gordon, on the other hand, had only to walk into a room and she felt such a crush of emotions she sometimes couldn’t hide it and would have to find an excuse to leave until she got her composure back. She loved Mac. Plain and simple. What had started out as admiration and gratitude had turned into a crush, which matured into friendship and was now full-blown love. Not to mention the lust. Oh, the lust.
All of which posed a huge problem in her life. Mac thought of her as a little sister. She, on the other hand, compared every man she met to him and found them all lacking.
It had all created a very emotionally—and sexually—frustrating situation.
That was all about to change.
Sara didn’t have to check to see if Mac was looking. He’d been watching her all day. It wasn’t unusual. He always seemed to know exactly where she was and who she was with.
Like a man in love.
Or an older brother.
But today had been different and had been what made her decide now was the time. She’d been waiting for the perfect opportunity to convince Mac they belonged together. The way his eyes had barely left her all day meant tonight was that chance. Her brother’s bride, Danika, had chosen gorgeous, sexy dresses for her bridesmaids. The color, a silvery blue, looked good on all of them and the silky material and straight cut was understated but sexy. The backs dipped low, the front came to a V between the breasts and the straight skirt gently caressed the curves of hips, derrieres and thighs before dropping to the floor. It moved with a shimmering elegance and Sara loved it.
She thought perhaps Mac felt the same. The other women’s husbands had verbally and tactilely admired the dresses on their wives. As Ben, her brother-in-law, had slid his hands over the silk and said something in her sister’s ear that made her blush, Sara had snuck a look at Mac. He’d been staring squarely at her. She’d felt her body flush with heat and had forced herself to stay put and not offer to let him feel the material.
He was watching her now too. Time to put her plan in motion.
She leaned in and hugged Doug, careful to keep space between their bodies. Over his shoulder, she mouthed to Mac, “Help me.”
She pulled back and looked at Doug, turning them both so her back was to Mac. “Doug, you’re a nice guy.”
“Thanks.” He moved a little closer, obviously encouraged by her spontaneous hug.
“And I’m sorry.”
He hesitated and frowned. “What for?”
A moment later she felt a big, warm body right behind her. Mac’s heavy hand settled on the nape of her neck. “Dance with me.”
His deep voice made goose bumps trip up and down her arms. As usual. She loved that.
“See you later, Sara,” Doug said, turning away without pause.
She smiled, knowing exactly the glare Mac was giving him. She turned to the big man behind her and intentionally stepped close. “Thanks, Mac.”
That was the way she’d known it would be. He wouldn’t hesitate to come with nothing more than help me from her. He would do anything for her. At least, he always had. There was one big thing she wanted from him that she wasn’t so sure he’d do without question.
“Now I am,” she answered truthfully.
“Do I need to hit anybody?” he asked.
She smiled. She knew he was being sarcastic, yet if she said yes, he’d do it. “No. I’m great.”
He still had his hand cupping her neck and she felt his thumb stroke up and down the side of her throat. She looked up into his eyes. His attention dropped to her mouth before his hand fell away.
“I don’t want to dance,” she said.
“No? Cake?” He glanced in the direction of Sam and Danika’s five-tiered white wedding cake with blue and silver accents.
“No. Something else though. From you.”
“You’re old enough to buy your own drinks, princess.”
Sam’s friends had called her princess for as long as she could remember. Was she spoiled? Yes. Was she overprotected? Definitely. Did she always get her way? Pretty much. Was it her fault? Not really.
“Yeah, I am. Twenty-five as a matter of fact.”
“I remember.” He’d been at every birthday party she’d had since she turned thirteen.
“Ride home I can do too. I’m ready to go.”
“We can’t leave before Sam and Dani,” she protested.
He sighed, very put-upon. Sara thought about the ride-home offer. The thing about it was Mac had given her more rides home than her own brother had. No one would think anything of it, least of all Mac himself.
At least up until right now.
“I need you to kiss me.”
Several heartbeats passed before he said, “Excuse me?”
“Doug, the guy I was talking to a minute ago, thinks he’s taking me home. I need you to help me convince him I’m involved with someone.”
Mac frowned down at her. “Tell him no.”
“He’s in town until Tuesday and comes back on business all the time. He’ll keep bugging me.”
Mac’s frown turned to a scowl. “Keep telling him no.”
“This is easier,” she insisted, moving closer as Mack leaned back slightly. “If he thinks I’m involved, especially with a big, mean-looking guy like you, he’ll drop it.”
“When you frown like that.” She moved even closer. “Come on. Just a little favor. One kiss.”
He’d kissed her cheek, her forehead, the top of her head and her hand before. And once on the lips. New Year’s Eve. Two years ago. Which was when the lust had started. She’d never felt like that with even the most passionate kisses from other men and this had been only a New Year’s Eve kiss. It hadn’t been a peck, but neither had it been carnal by any stretch—it had been full, lips slightly open, up against the full length of his body, lingering for a good minute.
All she’d been able to think after was wow and if he ever really turned it on, I’m a goner.
“Tell him you’re with me,” he said with a growl turning back to his chair at the head table. He grabbed her hand just as she thought he was walking away and pulled her along with him. “Stay with me and you won’t have to tell him anything at all.”
Sara let herself enjoy Mac’s hand, big, warm and strong, for a moment before making herself keep up the argument—even though he was right. She wanted that kiss.
“Someone already told him I’m single. He’ll think we’re just friends sitting together. Even if he doesn’t approach me again tonight, he’ll probably call tomorrow.”
Mac settled down into his chair and pushed the chair next to him out for her. “Want me to stay over and answer the phone until Tuesday?”
She swiveled on her chair seat to look at him, gauging the motivation behind the offer. She knew he didn’t mean it like that. He’d slept on her couch before.
“Yes,” she said simply.
“I will,” he told her lifting his glass. “But you have to buy Twinkies.”
Mac’s favorite food. Normally, she would roll her eyes and joke about his propensity for junk food. But she was in a mood tonight. She leaned over and put her hand on his hard, flat stomach.
“How do you keep these so tight with all those Twinkies?” She rubbed her hand back and forth over the warm, white linen of his shirt.
Mac seemed to freeze. And stop breathing. His eyes were locked on hers and she felt a current zing between them. She’d never touched him like that. They’d held hands, even hugged before, and she’d touched his arms, back, shoulder, even face once, but never his chest, or stomach, or lower.
“Sara?” His voice was definitely hoarse.
“Move your hand.”
She slid it downward and Mac shot back, tipping his chair onto its back legs and throwing him off-balance enough that he stumbled to his feet, knocking the chair over.
“Damn, Sara!” he swore. Straightening to his full height and glaring down at her he demanded, “What the hell was that?”
She blinked at him, trying for innocence. “You said…”
“I didn’t mean that!” he snapped.
“Well, why not? I certainly wouldn’t mind doing it.”
He gaped at her and she almost laughed. She’d never seen Mac flabbergasted like this.
“You wouldn’t mind doing what exactly?”
Maybe he thought—or hoped—she was talking about something else. She had to make this clear.
“Putting my hand on your…”
“Okay,” he interrupted, throwing up his hands. “Enough. You’re obviously drunk.”
Instead of looking up and arguing his statement, Sara’s eyes found the object of conversation almost right in front of her. And it looked interested in what she was proposing.
Mac had an erection. Right there. Front and center. Unmistakable.
“You sure you’re not interested?” She looked directly at the tent in his pants.
He quickly righted the chair, sat and dropped his napkin in his lap. “Knock it off.”
“What? You’re telling me you’ve never thought of it? Ever?”
“Of having your hand down my pants at your brother’s wedding? No, I can honestly say I haven’t.” He wouldn’t look at her.
“So when have you thought about having my hand down your pants?”
He opened his mouth, shut it, shifted in his chair, frowned. “Stop it.”
She scooted her chair closer. “Mac, honestly. Have you ever thought of us together?”
“Sure. We’re together all the time at Sam’s, at the center and the hospital.” He still wasn’t making eye contact.
Sara touched his knee and he nearly jumped out of his chair again. She smiled. She was no dummy. She had a master’s degree in psychology and was a licensed social worker in Nebraska. She studied people. She’d watched the two people she knew best—her sister, Jessica, and her brother, Sam—fall in love with their spouses. She’d seen the effect that intense attraction had on people and how they acted until they admitted the attraction and did something about it.
“I’m talking about naked, you and me.”
“Of course not,” he answered quickly. Too quickly. He was scowling again. “You’re a kid, like a sister to me.”
He was lying. He had to be lying. Before she could think it out any further and potentially chicken out, Sara slid from her chair to Mac’s lap, cupped the back of his head in both hands and kissed him with all she had.