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Racer (Real #7)(14)
Author: Katy Evans

I tuck my ticket into my bag and cross one arm across my chest in an effort to calm down my overreactive nipples. I don’t have big breasts, but I have nipples that seem to act like twin dicks on guys. Ugh.

“Actually I will,” he growls softly, “because I’m going to win this thing.”

I let out a surprised laugh as we take our tickets and head to the security checkpoint. “Cocky much?”

This guy is like the Muhammad Ali of car racing; he says he’s the shit and from what I’ve seen so far, he’s got enough to back it up. But F1 cars drive differently. I’ve seen too many drivers be unable to handle the car, the way it drives.

He helps me take my laptop out of my bag, then seems to stare at my feet as I put my shoes on the bin. I forgot to wear socks and was wearing my sandals, and my toes are rather small and pink-painted.

He smiles to himself as if he finds them amusing and motions for me to pass through the X-ray scanner first. I watch as he follows, raising his arms while some lucky female officer is probably seeing what he looks like underneath his clothes, and I shake my head at my own lusty thoughts.

Gosh. My brain really needs to stop that.

The boarding gate is full. I head over to stand by the window when he asks a woman if someone is taking the seat beside her, where she has her bag. She grins at him, flustered. He lifts his head and winks. “Come here, Lana.”

I swallow nervously and because I don’t want to argue, I take a seat, keeping my eyes on him as he stands by the window and checks his phone.

“Your boyfriend?” the woman beside me asks with an I’m-swooning look on her face.

“No.” I feel myself flush because for some reason the thought alone makes me heated, and I pretend to be busy with my own phone for a while.

Forty minutes later, we finally board the plane, and I’m short enough that I have trouble raising my carry-on. Racer grabs it from my hand and slides my bag over my shoulder, and slides them both next to his backpack.

Sending him a wary look because I’m not used to anyone doing anything for me, I drop down on my seat, strapping my seatbelt as he lowers his body to the seat beside mine.

He’s so wide-shouldered that our shoulders are about a hair from touching. I feel the panicked sensation that I should move away, but I don’t—it would be too obvious.

It feels a bit overwhelming to sit this close to him—next to him without remembering that his hands sort of touched me only yesterday. That his lips sort of mischievously tasted mine and I liked it so much.

We’re offered refreshments. I decline, he orders an apple juice.

“So when we arrive, I’ll introduce you to the team, get you set up—then we need to get your seat fitted. You’ll need a physical, I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

He just looks at me for a moment.

When he looks into my eyes, I feel like he’s dissecting me, as if he’s reading into me—as if these stupid expressive eyes he claims I have have some sort of silent language for him.

“Also if you would stop doing that, I would appreciate it.”

“What am I doing?”

“You’re staring, Tate. You’re unnerving me.” I swallow, laughing when he smiles in confusion. “My dad …” I shake my head. I’m not here to be his friend, really. “I just want to prove to him I can be reliable to bring in the talent. Don’t make me look bad.” I frown.

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Thank you.”

I exhale as we take off.

His hand is on the armrest as he pulls out his phone, plugs in his earbuds, and listens to music. I wonder what he’s listening to. I wait for the seatbelt button to turn off, then ease out of my seat and feel a little self-conscious about my butt sort of being in his face as I step out and search my bag for my own earbuds. I can’t seem to find them.

I sit back down. He raises his eyebrows. “No earbuds?”

Flustered because of his intent blue gaze, I motion to the flight attendant. “Can I purchase some earbuds?”

“I’ll bring them right away.”

He pulls off one of his earbuds and hands it over. “Here.”

“No, really …”

He reaches out to put one on my ear, and an unfamiliar song is playing. He grins and it’s irresistible, a part of me seems to be sinking, deep, deep, DEEP into his eyes as he smiles and watches me.

“What’s that song called?”

“Believer. Imagine Dragons.”

“I like it. You can learn a lot about a person based on the songs he or she listens to.”

“So what’s on your playlist?” he asks.

I shrug. “Normal stuff. A few oldies but goodies.”

“Let’s have a look.” He peers at my phone screen and sees my song; Elastic Heart by Sia. “Fucking love this song.” He taps my phone screen with a smile of approval.

“Ohmigod, me too!” I say, and he just looks at me, Believer still blasting in my ear.

“Have you ever heard this one?” I search for my favorite song of the moment—Favorite Record by Fall Out Boy—connect the earbuds to my phone rather than his, and play it. We just sit there, listening.

He’s staring at my profile, drinking me in. He reaches out and brushes his thumb along my ear. “Do you do that on purpose?”

“What?”

“Stare at me like that.”

“How am I staring at you?”

I start feeling a little breathless.

He stares at me like a predator—quiet. Waiting.

Every inch of my body seems to buzz with the nearness—the total awareness—of every inch of his body, close enough to touch.

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