You know what some of the best parts of a romance novel are?
The parts where they almost kiss, but don’t. Think about it. All that tension, flirting, those not-quite-accidental touches, the teasing, and you’re just about to explode because why haven’t they kissed yet? Epic build up makes the ultimate kiss that much better when it happens, don’t you agree?
THE HANDLER (Book #2 Noir et Bleu Motorcycle Club series)
At one o’clock in the morning, her eyelids drooped heavily, and she yawned every two seconds. I walked over to her. “Hey, you can barely keep your eyes open. Let’s go.”
She leaned her head on my shoulder and mumbled, “I can’t go until Hal says.”
Hal was lounged on a couch with a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and a chesty blonde on his knee. “Screw Hal. He didn’t just perform for two hours. I say it’s time for you to go to sleep.”
Her hand slid into mine, and she let me lead her toward the door. Tim opened the door for us and spoke into the headset to let Stan and Aaron know we were on the move. Hal obviously noticed because he shouted, “Cain!” I didn’t stop. I rushed Lincoln along the concrete corridor toward the ramp that lead to the airlock. Footsteps followed us. We ran and were already near the bus when Hal shouted again, “Hey, Cain.”
With my hands rested on her hips, I guided Lincoln up the steps and then closed the door behind us, which made Lincoln laugh. “You’re going to give him an aneurism making him chase us.”
“Whatever. It’s good for him to get some exercise.”
A few seconds later, he opened the door, climbed the steps, and poked his head in. He panted. “Hey. You can’t, uh.” He sucked in a heavy breath. “There are more sponsors on their way.” He coughed. “They want to meet Lincoln.”
I blocked him from fully entering the bus. “She’s been up for almost thirty hours. She’s done. If they wanted to meet her, they should have shown up before one in the morning.”
He produced a lame attempt at a puppy dog face. “Linny, you can do another half an hour, right?”
She bit her bottom lip. I waited for her to speak up, but she just stood there.
I finally answered for her, “You hired me to take care of her. She’s tired. Do you want me to do my job or not?”
Hal’s face turned the same purple color as the day of the video shoot. Sweat rolled down his temple in unnatural amounts. “She has responsibilities.”
“Yeah, to perform. She just did that, and she did an unbelievable job. She did enough ass kissing with greasy old dudes in suits while you sat around with a bimbo riding your leg. She’s done for tonight.”
He pointed at my chest, and his spit sprayed out when he yelled, “Listen, you little punk, I make the decisions around here. Don’t piss me off.”
“Don’t piss me off or I’ll walk.” I swiped his hand away. “At this point, she’ll probably walk with me.”
He glared at me, then glanced at Lincoln. She was struggling to keep her watery eyes open.
“Look at her,” I said. “She’s exhausted. My suggestion is that you tell her what a great job she did and say ‘good-night’.” I kept my tone non-confrontational. It was only the first day of the tour; I didn’t need to start a pissing match with this guy.
After a tense pause, he asked her, “Do you want to go to sleep?”
She nodded wearily.
“Okay.” He leaned forward and kissed her on the forehead. “You were amazing tonight. Have a good sleep.” He eyeballed
me in a cautionary way before he left.
I checked her expression but couldn’t tell how she was feeling. “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” she said tentatively then, as if she was nervous to hear my answer, she looked down and asked, “Do you really think I did an unbelievable job?”
I lifted her chin so she would see my expression and know without a doubt how I felt. My pulse raced as I stared at her mouth. Her eyes widened, and her lips parted slightly as she waited for my response. Under any other circumstance it would have been the perfect moment to kiss her, but that couldn’t happen. Instead, I leaned in and brushed my cheek against hers as I said, “You blew me away.”
She wrapped her arms around my neck. “Thank you,” she whispered in my ear. “For everything.” I pulled her in tightly to hug her back, and she relaxed. We stood that way for a while with her heart beating against my chest. Eventually, she stepped back and smiled. “Night.”
I nodded, not wanting the moment to end. It had to, though, so I said, “Night.” I watched her disappear into her bedroom. Then I exhaled in an attempt to remind my body that I worked for her.
One day handled. Forty-two to go.
It wasn’t going to be easy.
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