Home > A Heart So Wild (Atlanta Siege Hockey Romance #1)(9)

A Heart So Wild (Atlanta Siege Hockey Romance #1)(9)
Author: Raine Thomas

He stared at her for another long beat. She didn’t look away, though part of her wanted to.

“All right,” he eventually said. “If that’s how you want to play it, my mystery woman, that’s fine with me. We’re here for our friends, and judging by what I’m seeing on the dance floor, we’ve done our jobs well.”

She sensed the undercurrent of tension in his words. She supposed he was frustrated that she read him so easily when he knew very little about her. He was right, though. She did prefer to keep an element of mystery about her, especially with strangers. Not only was it the smart thing to do in today’s world full of weirdos and predators, she felt it made life more interesting.

It could also be a double-edged sword. Most times, the less she shared about herself, the more interest she tended to gain.

“Hey, Roxy!” Allison said breathlessly as she and Christian returned to the booth a few minutes later. “We’re gonna bounce.”

Roxy smiled. “Yeah?”

Her friend wiggled her eyebrows. “Oh, yeah.”

“That’s great. Do you need me to get you an Uber?”

“Nah,” she said. “Christian’s got some wheels.”

“You don’t mind, right?” Christian said to Callan.

“Not at all. Enjoy.”

“Thanks, man.”

Roxy appreciated that they didn’t do a macho high five or fist tap that would have made it seem like Allison was some kind of conquest. Instead, Christian stood patiently next to the booth and waited for Allison to collect her purse. She threw her arms around Roxy before leaving.

“Consider your debt paid for all of time,” she said.

Roxy laughed. “Have fun, okay?” She looked at Christian over Allison’s shoulder and told him, “She’s got a big presentation in the morning.”

He smiled and nodded. “Got it. Nice to meet you, Roxy.”

“You, too.”

When they headed to the exit, she turned back to Callan. “Looks like it’s just you and me, Birthday Boy.”

The corners of his eyes wrinkled in amusement. “Something tells me we won’t be doing what they’re about to be doing, though.”

It was tempting. Seriously tempting. But she made a personal vow when she started on her real estate journey that she would focus entirely on herself and her career until she found her footing, and even one night of sex with someone as dangerously attractive as Callan was a distraction she feared would derail her.

And she suspected that one night just wouldn’t be enough.

“Just look at how intuitive you are,” she said with a friendly nudge to his side. “And you called me a Gypsy.”

He snorted in humor. “All right. Then can I at least have the pleasure of a dance before we go our separate ways?”

She looked at the thriving dance floor filled with sweaty bodies grinding on each other, then back at him. He slid out of the booth and held a hand out to her.

“Come on,” he coaxed. “Something tells me you like to live on the wild side.”

She took his hand.

When she got to her feet beside the booth, he changed his hold on her hand and slid his other hand around her waist, pulling her against him. She let out a gasp of surprise over the unexpected move. He started dancing with her at a much slower pace than the driving beat pumping through the club. Somehow, the pacing worked with the music.

He dipped his head to say near her ear, “I didn’t say on the dance floor.”

The spontaneity of the impromptu tableside dance was nearly as seductive as his nearness. Her heart raced as his lips lingered so close to her skin she practically felt them. She longed to bare her neck so he could feast on her. The heat from his hand against her back felt sinfully erotic. It had her strongly questioning her no-sex pact, but she had slid down that rabbit hole too many times before.

Real estate, she reminded herself. An actual career. Money in the bank.

Her silent pep talk got her hormones back on track. She relaxed and allowed herself to simply enjoy the moment. They danced in a three-foot-by-three-foot space beside the booth, moving so smoothly it felt like they had danced together a thousand times.

A thousand lifetimes.

She had never felt anything like it. And even as she remained committed to leaving Callan on his own that night, she knew in her heart that they would see each other again.



Chapter Five


“Where are you, G-Man?” Callan called out as he entered his grandfather’s sizeable penthouse apartment.

Not getting a response, he set the mail he had collected from his grandfather’s mailbox on the long, rectangular table in the entry gallery and headed down the winding hallway towards the central living area. The hallway led to an open concept kitchen, dining room, and living room surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows that revealed a spectacular view of the city beyond. Through those windows, he saw his grandfather sitting on one of the rattan patio chairs set up on his covered balcony. Callan smiled and headed for the glass door leading to the balcony.

His steps faltered as his grandfather turned his head to his right, revealing more of his profile. He looked tired, Callan thought. The orbits around his eyes were darker and more sunken than the last time he’d seen him. More than that, his typically rigid posture was slumped, making him appear smaller and more vulnerable.

Guilt slid a tiny blade into Callan’s heart. He should have made more of an effort to spend time with his grandfather while it was still the off-season, especially since his grandfather wouldn’t even be living in Atlanta if it wasn’t for him.

Nothing you can do about it now, he thought.

Forcing the smile back on his face, he reached for the balcony door handle and pulled it open, stepping outside into the warm, humid air.

“There you are, G-Man,” he said. “Didn’t expect to find you out here.”

His grandfather had insisted on a unique moniker from the moment Callan, his only grandchild, arrived in the world. Callan grew up calling him G-Man rather than the more traditional Grandpa or Grandfather, not finding out until he was older that it was an old-fashioned term usually applied to members of the FBI.

Edward Preston Donnelly the Third had never worked a government job in his life. He had inherited his fortune from his father, who had inherited it from his father, who had wisely invested all of his money into iron at just the right time around the turn of the twentieth century. But while Callan’s grandfather had been raised in a life of comfort where the most he had to do was talk weekly with his financial advisors, he had often dreamed of becoming a federal agent.

So G-Man, it was.

He looked up at Callan now with a huge smile. “Hey, you finally made it,” he said, starting to push himself to his feet.

“No, stay there,” Callan told him, leaning down to give him a hug of greeting. “I’ll take a seat with you out here. With the breeze, it’s almost tolerable.”

His grandfather made a wheezing sound reflecting dry humor as he accepted the hug and then finished pushing himself to his feet. “The hell it is. It’s hotter than the devil’s testicles. Let’s move inside and get something to drink.”

Although the words were laced with the Boston accent shared by everyone in Callan’s family, they sounded like something a true southerner would say. Callan didn’t voice that thought, figuring his grandfather wouldn’t appreciate it. G-Man wasn’t fond of the south and was planning a trip home to Boston the following week, intending to return to Atlanta when the team’s preseason started in September. That was why Callan had made a point of visiting with him today.

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