Body Check(6)

By: Elle Kennedy

“So…did you catch the game last night?” he said with a casual slant of the head.

She gave him a blank stare. “What game?”

“Game one of the play-offs, Warriors and Vipers. Seriously good hockey, in my opinion.”

Her brows drew together in a frown. “Oh. I’m not really a fan, to be honest.”

“You don’t like the Warriors?”

“I don’t like hockey.” She made a self-deprecating face. “Actually, I can’t say I enjoy any sport, really. Maybe the gymnastics in the summer Olympics?”

He couldn’t help but grin. “Are you asking or telling?”

She smiled back. “Telling. And I guess it’s very telling that I only watch a sports event once every four years, huh?”

He found himself liking the dry note to her throaty voice when she admitted her disinterest in sports. Her honesty was rare. Most—fine, all—of the women he encountered claimed to love his sport of choice, and if they didn’t truly love it, they pretended to, as if sharing that common interest made them soul mates.

“But I love this game,” Hayden added, raising her cue. “It counts as a sport, right?”

“It does in my book.”

She nodded, then focused on the balls littering the table. She leaned forward to take her shot.

He got a nice eyeful of her cleavage, a tantalizing swell of creamy-white skin spilling over the neckline of her snug yellow top. When he lowered his eyes, he couldn’t help but admire her full breasts, hugged firmly by a thin bra he could only see the outline of.

She took the shot, and he raised his brows, impressed, as the ball cleanly disappeared into the pocket. She was good.

All right, more than good, he had to relent as she proceeded to circle the table and sink ball after ball.

“Where’d you learn to play like that?” he asked, finally finding his voice.

She met his eyes briefly before sinking the last solid on the table. “My dad.” She smiled again. Those pouty lips just screamed for his mouth to do wicked things to them. “He bought me my own table when I was nine, set it up right next to his. We used to play side by side in the basement every night before I went to bed.”

“Does he still play?”

Her eyes clouded. “No. He’s too busy with work to relax around a pool table anymore.” She straightened her back and glanced at the table. “Eight ball, corner pocket.”

At this point, Brody didn’t even care about the game Hayden was certain to win. The sweet scent of her perfume, a fruity sensual aroma, floated in the air and made him mindless with need. Man, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d been so drawn to a woman.

After sinking the eight ball, she moved toward him, each step she took heightening his desire. She ran her fingers through her dark hair, and a new aroma filled his nostrils. Strawberries. Coconut.

He was suddenly very, very hungry.

“Good game,” she said, shooting him another smile. Impish, this time.

His mouth twisted wryly. “I didn’t even get to play.”

“I’m sorry.” She paused. “Do you like to play?”

Was she referring to pool? Or a different game? Maybe the kind you played in bed. Naked.

“Pool, I mean,” she added quickly.

“Sure, I like pool. Among other things.” Let’s see how she handles that.

A cute rosy flush spread over her cheeks. “Me, too. I mean, I like other things.”

His curiosity sparked as he stared at the enigma in front of him. He got the distinct impression that she was flirting with him. Or trying to, at least. Yet her unmistakable blush and the slight trembling of her hands betrayed the confident air she tried to convey.

Did she do this often? Flirt with strange men in bars? Looking at her again, now that he was able to see through the fog of initial attraction, it didn’t seem like the case. She was dressed rather conservatively. Sure, the top was low-cut, but it covered her midriff, and her jeans didn’t ride low on her hips like those of most of the other women in this place. And sexy as she was, she didn’t seem to be aware of her own appeal.

“That’s good. Other things can be a lot of fun,” he answered, unable to stop the husky pitch of his voice.

Their gazes connected. Brody could swear the air crackled and hissed with sexual tension. Or maybe he just imagined it. He couldn’t deny the hum of awareness thudding in his groin like the bass line of a sultry jazz tune, but maybe he was alone in the feeling. It was difficult to get a read on Hayden.

“So…Brody.” His name rolled off her lips in a way that had his body growing stiff. That didn’t say much, considering that every part of him was already hard and prickling with anticipation.