Woo. (for some reason I always think of the priest in the Princess Bride when I hear the word…you know the guy who talks about “mawwage”?)
verb (used with object)
to seek the favor, affection, or love of, especially with a view to marriage. Synonyms: court, pursue, chase. *
It’s an old fashioned term gone out of favor. Same as courting, or even dating are terms that have gone out of style. But it’s that time when the couple are doing that delicate dance as they try to decide if they suit. Some couples decide a lot quicker than others. In Texas Tangle, Nikki and Brett had begun the dance back in high school. But something happened that drove Brett away, though Nikki has only recently learned what happened. She’s been dating Brett’s best friend, Dillon, but everyone’s realized the attraction is still there…so they’re going on their first “date”…
Almost an hour later, she came out of the bedroom to find Brett waiting outside, wearing a somber black suit and striped tie. He drove her to a Dallas restaurant, complete with waiters in tuxes. The menu the maitre d’ handed her didn’t have prices on it, but she suspected the bill could have paid the month’s mortgage.
“You keep staring at me.” She touched her hand to her hair. “Is there something wrong? Tell me I don’t have something stuck between my teeth.”
wickedly addictive and an emotionally stimulating love story… ~ Book Junkie
His intensity flowed across the table, winding along her arm and around her body. How had she lived with him, sat across from him at breakfast and lunch each day for the past weeks and not noticed the raw sexuality surrounding him? How had she not noticed the tiny scar above his left eyebrow, or how his eyes with the darker blue ring around a sky blue center dominated his rugged features? Had he always looked at her with such longing? No, not longing, it was more than that. His look promised long nights of mind-numbing kisses followed by slow tender sessions where he explored every inch of her body.
“Nik? Are you all right?”
All she could do was nod her head.
On the drive back, silence hung between them like a dark curtain. Every now and then, Brett took his hand off the steering wheel to touch her knee or caress her hand. Before she knew it they were out of the city and heading down the interstate toward Dillon’s. “Thank you for not suggesting we stay at a hotel tonight.”
He glanced over at her. “I have to admit I seriously considered it. But I figured if I made reservations, you’d feel obligated to have sex with me. I don’t want you to feel obligated to me for anything, Nik. Especially not for sex.”
“I don’t feel obligated.” Horny as hell, yes. Needy, achy, those too. Obligated? Not a chance.
“I don’t want to pressure you, Nik. If we’re going to take things to the next level, I want it to happen in its own time and for the right reasons.”
“What if now’s the right time?” she whispered.
He brought her hand to his mouth. The gentle way he pressed his lips to her knuckles scorched her. “I’d love to, but I want you to be sure about this. About us. It could ruin all our friendships—you, me, Dillon. It could change things between us completely.”
“I know.” She rubbed her thumb over his. It would change things. But she’d promised Dillon to give Brett a chance. “Does it bother you that I’ve made love to Dillon?”
Another mile passed before he answered. “Does it bother you that I’ve made love to other women?”
“No. You weren’t going with me, so why would I hold your past against you? But you know what I mean. I don’t want to come between you two. Not again.”
“What happened in the past wasn’t your fault. What happened this time isn’t your fault either. Way back when this all started, you asked me if I was interested in you and I wasn’t honest with you. I’m the one at fault. Not you.” Even in the dim lighting of the dashboard, she could see his fingers tighten around the steering wheel. “I shouldn’t have even suggested this date. I should have just walked away.”
Yet he hadn’t.
“Maybe we need to look at tonight the same as ripping off a bandage.”
“What do you mean?” He glanced sideways at her.
“Maybe we should get the sex out of the way right at the start. Make sure we click together in bed. That we don’t bore each other or do something that turns each other off. Why waste time?”
Holy shit, was she really suggesting this? But at least they wouldn’t waste months dithering. That way if they didn’t click, she’d walk away without a second thought. Not that sex was the most important part in a relationship but for all she knew, Brett could turn out a dud in the sack. As shallow as it made her feel, she wasn’t prepared to put up with another long stretch of boredom in bed. And maybe, ten, twenty years down the road, she’d at least be able to say she hadn’t jumped into the bed of the first man who invited her. That she’d…well, shopped around didn’t exactly sit right with her, but it was the closest comparison she could come up with.
Brett must have felt the same way. “That makes it sound like you’re taking me out for a test drive.”
She forced a smile, although she knew it lacked conviction, and shook her head. “You know what I mean. I want to know how we are together in bed. Dillon won’t be home for a while yet so we won’t have to worry about him listening.”
“It didn’t bother you that I was in the next room listening to you and Dillon the past couple of weeks.” His tone was flat, a muscle in his jaw twitching betraying his struggle at control. He shook his head. “Sorry, that didn’t come out the way I wanted it to. It’s just…listening to Dillon, knowing…”
“Hey, I didn’t know how you felt,” she reminded him gently. “Neither did Dillon. We weren’t trying to show off or make you jealous or anything.”
“I know.” He pulled the car off on the side of the road. After he’d put it in park, he half turned in his seat. “I’m not saying you were trying to rub my face in anything. It just damned near killed me listening to what was going on.” He exhaled noisily. “Dillon’s so fuckin’ loud, it was hard to ignore.”
She couldn’t stop the giggle that bubbled up. “Yeah, he is.” Her smile faded as she imagined how she would have felt if she’d had to listen to Wade fucking one of his girlfriends while she was in the next room. God, that must have been hell for Brett to lie in the next room and have to listen to their lovemaking.
“Look, I know Dillon’s said it’s okay for me to date you, but I don’t want to get in his face about it. I feel like I’m poaching on his territory. And frankly, I’m still worried he’ll get pissed off, not only with me but with you too.”
“Dillon’s the one who suggested that we should go out on a date. He made me promise to give you a chance. I’m not one to break a promise, Brett. I like you. And we both know there’s something between us, some spark we need to work out before I can make a decision.” She lifted his hand to rub his knuckles over her cheeks. The heat in his eyes told her he wasn’t as unaffected as he tried to pretend. “Let’s just go home and see what happens from there. All right?”
Nodding, Brett eased the car back onto the road. Less than ten minutes later, he parked in front of Dillon’s house.
She held her breath when he leaned over and kissed her. Instead of a careful kiss on her cheek, he pressed his lips against hers. She stiffened for a second, then parted her lips slightly, accepting his advance.
He tasted of a lingering essence of the wine they’d shared earlier and a crisp, unique flavor that set her head spiraling into a vortex of need.
He buried his fingers in her hair, pulling her hard against him, taking control of the kiss, thrusting his tongue into her mouth. Warmth flooded her belly, and she moaned.
“God, how many times did I hear you do that through the bedroom wall and wish it was me?” he muttered around the kiss.
The ten years since they’d last kissed compressed as if it had been a day, then floated away. She forgot they were in the front seat of his car, forgot they were parked in front of Dillon’s house. Only the two of them existed in the world.
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