Home > Stealing Sawyer (The Perfect Game #3)(16)

Stealing Sawyer (The Perfect Game #3)(16)
Author: Samantha Christy

“Why are we going there? It’s so expensive.”

“Because we’ll get noticed,” I tell her. “Murphy and Caden are going, too.”

She puts back the blouse in her hands. “Looks like we’ll need something better than this. LBD maybe?”

“LBD?”

“Little black dress,” she says.

She finds a rack of dresses and pulls a few out, holding them up for me to see.

“I don’t know. You pick. I couldn’t care less what you wear.”

She scolds me with her harsh stare. “Listen. I know this whole thing is for show, but it would do you good to learn a thing or two about women. I assume someday you’ll need it. So, a bit of advice, never tell a woman you couldn’t care less about what she wears.”

“First, I won’t need your advice. Ever. And second, I only meant it doesn’t matter what you wear, you’d look good in anything.”

Her lips curve up into a smile. “See – that’s what you should say.”

She studies a shirt that has a large screen-printed butterfly on it.

“You like that?” I ask.

“No. I just … well, it’s silly, but I’ve been dreaming about butterflies lately. Not colorful ones like this one, different ones. I can’t really explain it.”

I touch my ribcage and wonder if my tattoo has anything to do with her dreams.

A few hours later, we walk out of the store carrying one bag and a few dresses. I hold up the bag. “Two hours and this is all you could find? Why are women so damn picky?”

“Lesson number two – never call a woman picky. We’re discerning. We like what we like, Sawyer.”

“Quit trying to groom me.”

She laughs. “Somehow I get the feeling it might be too late to teach this old dog new tricks.”

“Who are you calling an old dog?” I wink at her. “Besides, I don’t need any tricks. I do just fine.”

“Fine if you want nothing but one-nighters the rest of your life.”

“Yup. See – no problem at all.”

She stops walking and puts her hand on my arm. “Are you seriously telling me you don’t want to settle down. As in ever? Not even when you’re older?”

I shake my head. “Not even then.”

“So why bother with this whole charade if you’re just going to go back to your old ways? Won’t they just fire you next year?”

“Trade, not fire,” I correct her. “And I’ll just be more careful.”

She pins me to the side of the building with her stare. “As in you’ll make every one-night-stand sign an NDA?”

I shrug. “I don’t know. Maybe.”

She laughs disingenuously. “That doesn’t sound like much of a life.”

“Good thing you’re not me then.”

“Yeah, good thing.”

We reach her building and I hand her the bag I’m carrying. “Be ready at seven.”

She chews her bottom lip as she stares me down.

“Can you please be ready at seven?” I ask.

A smug little smile creeps up her face as she spins around and walks through the door. “I was wrong!” she yells back at me. “You can teach an old dog new tricks.”

~ ~ ~

Dressed and ready for our night out, I follow someone into Aspen’s building and walk up the two flights of stairs. When she opens her apartment door, I’m speechless. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen someone wear an ‘LBD’ as well as she is right now. I appraise her from head to toe. Her dark hair looks like silk as it cascades down to her chest in soft waves. The dress she’s wearing has thin straps across her shoulders, exposing her toned arms. The hem falls right to mid-thigh, as short as she set her limit. And, Holy God, the hint of cleavage she’s showing has me fantasizing about being in her bed. She’s gorgeous.

For a second, I’m glad she put the no-sex clause into the contract, because – fuck dinner – I’d take her to bed right now.

Her roommate comes up behind her. “Cat got your tongue?” he asks, laughing.

I shake off the fantasy in my head, hoping I can tamp down the rising problem in my pants considering Bass Briggs is staring at me right now.

“You look very nice, Aspen.”

She takes in my dress shirt, tie, and khaki pants. “You clean up pretty well yourself.”

“Shit, you guys will look amazing on the front page of the tabloids tomorrow,” Bass says.

Aspen’s face goes ashen. “Oh, God,” she says.

“You’ll do great, Penny,” he says. “Just don’t look around and you won’t be bothered by the fans, the photographers, or the dozens of horny women who want to be you.”

“You’re not making this any better,” she tells him.

“It won’t be that bad,” I say. “Nobody knows where we’re going. We won’t make a big deal out of it. And when the photographers get wind of us being there and try to take our picture on the way out, we’ll dazzle them with our gorgeousness.”

“Our gorgeousness?” Aspen says, raising a brow.

“Yeah. You’re gorgeous. I’m gorgeous. Our gorgeousness. Like Bass said, we’re going to make one hot couple.”

She shakes her head. “Good thing you’re so humble about it.”

“Are you saying I’m not gorgeous?”

“I guess you don’t lack anything in the looks department. But we might have to work on your self-confidence,” she jokes.

“Aw, come on, my confidence is part of the draw, don’t you think?”

“I think you’re mistaking arrogance for confidence.”

“You don’t think it’s sexy?” I ask.

“It might get you into a woman’s bed, but it won’t get you into her heart.”

I laugh. “Good. I’m doing things right then.”

Bass laughs. “You really are an asshole, aren’t you?”

I study him. He’s not afraid of me or my fame. He’s obviously very protective of Aspen. And they dated before. It makes me wonder if he’s still carrying a torch for her.

I shrug. “Never claimed I wasn’t.”

He hands her a black shawl. “You kids have fun. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

“Or you mean what the contract doesn’t dictate,” Aspen says.

I hold the door open so she can walk out.

“Don’t forget the ‘dreamy eyes,’ Penny,” he shouts after us. “You gotta earn your keep.”

Aspen looks irritated. “Sorry. Even though he knows I need to do this, he’s not exactly jumping up and down about it.”

I grab her elbow and help her navigate the stairs in her high heels. “I’d be worried if he was.”

“He’s a good man,” she says.

“I can see that.”

We leave her building and I hail a cab.

“What, no car? Don’t you have one?” she asks.

“I do, but I only use it when I leave the city.”

“Do you leave the city much? I mean, other than for games.”

I shrug. “A couple times a month, I guess.”

“Where do you go?”

“Connecticut mostly.”

“Do you have family there?”

“Come on,” I say, ignoring her question when a cab pulls up to the curb. “Our ride is here.”

We make some small talk on the way to the restaurant. I can tell she’s nervous. She has no reason to be. So her picture will be in the tabloids and maybe on TMZ. But quite frankly, it should be. She’s got the face and the body of a model. She’s exactly the kind of girl people would expect me to date. Actually, she’s better. She’s smart and cultured. I couldn’t have picked a better woman to help fix my reputation.

I smile thinking how Rick will have a conniption knowing he won’t be able to trade me.

We pull up to the restaurant and a valet opens the door. I get out and offer Aspen my hand. She looks up at me, takes in a deep breath, and then grabs it.

Just like I told her, nobody is expecting us. There are no fans on the sidewalk. No paparazzi taking pictures or asking questions.

Not yet anyway. Not until we leave. Because it happens every time. A waiter or restaurant patron will notice me and before long, it’s all over social media. There are even websites dedicated to posting where famous people have been spotted. I predict by the time we’re done with dinner two hours from now, we’ll have to be escorted by restaurant security to our cab.

I walk her into the restaurant, my hand on the small of her back. Her dress has an opening that reveals her lower back, so I’m touching her skin. It’s soft. I rub my thumb in circles and I feel a shiver run through her.

This is going to be fun. The contract says no sex. But damned if I’m not about breaking the rules. If we break them together, it’ll offset the penalties, right? Nobody would have to know.

“Table for Murphy Brown,” I say to the hostess.

She smiles at me knowingly before she escorts us to the back corner of the restaurant. It’s private, but not so much that people can’t photograph us. Which is good. I want to be photographed tonight.

“Murphy Brown?” Aspen asks. “Is that really her last name? Isn’t there an old TV show with that title?”

“It’s not her last name. It’s Caden’s nickname for her. And we use it to make reservations when we go out together.”

“Do you have a name you use for reservations?”

“Yeah. Sawyer Mills.”

She laughs. “Of course you do. But then why pull your hat down low when you’re out in public, like the day we met or earlier today when we were shopping?”

A woman squeals at a table we pass. “Oh, my God!” She stands up to the embarrassment of her teenage daughter. “Can I get a picture with you?”

   
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