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Blindsided (Fake Boyfriend #4)
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NINE YEARS AGO
“Drink up, rook.” I hold a red Solo cup out to Shane Miller, the brick shithouse who’s gonna protect my ass on the field this year.
He stares me down with his big brown eyes before taking the drink. “You’re the type of guy my mom warned me to stay away from. Peer pressure’s a real thing, you know.”
“Momma’s boy, huh?”
Miller snorts and chugs the entire beer. “Nope. If Mom knew the truth, she’d be warning me to stay away from myself. That was like my sixth drink tonight.”
I laugh and clap him on his shoulder. “You and I are gonna get along just fine.” I’ve had about that, if not more. I lost count after three.
One could argue it’s because football players can’t even count past that, but it’s actually because I don’t give a shit how many drinks go down my throat.
I was there when Coach was reviewing tapes of this guy, and it’s no wonder he’s on the starting offensive line when he’s only a freshman. Miller’s as wide as he is tall, and he’s only eighteen years old.
“What you in the mood for?” I gesture to the sea of people crammed in my house. “Brunette?” I point to a scantily clad junior who walks by giving us both a wide smile. “Redhead?” I nod toward the sardine-canned living room that’s the makeshift dance floor.
Six of us from the team are renting this off-campus house for this reason—parties and drinking without anyone from the school breathing down our necks.
“Blonde,” Miller says, his eyes lighting up at the girl approaching us.
“Sorry, man, that one’s taken tonight.”
She’s technically my date, but everyone knows that term is used loosely with me. It’s not really a date if I didn’t go pick her up and we didn’t arrive together, seeing as I live here.
Nikki sidles up to me, and I wrap my arm around her shoulder. “Nikki, this is Miller. Miller, Nikki.”
I don’t miss the way Nikki eyes Miller, her gaze dragging over him from his short dark hair to his large chest and then narrow waist. Most guys would hate that—their date checking out someone else—but me? I find it hot for reasons I can’t explain.
I’ve never found a reason to be jealous. There’s no point. I’ve never been the jealous type, not just with dates but even girlfriends.
Nikki leans in and whispers in my ear. “Ready to go up to your room?”
Impatient much? I turn and kiss her cheek. “Soon. I’m just gonna talk to my boy Miller for a bit longer.”
Miller’s eyebrows shoot up as if surprised I’m choosing him over a hookup. We’re teammates—that bond can’t be broken. He’ll learn that. I’ve decided I’m taking Miller under my wing.
“I’m gonna go dance then,” Nikki says, and her arched, perfectly shaped eyebrow is as good as a threat. If she gets a better offer out there, she’s gonna take it.
“Have fun,” I say.
Again, not jealous. If she finds someone she wants to hook up with, then she should. This is fucking college. No time for drama, bullshit, or serious relationships.
When she saunters away, Miller nudges me.
“Dude, when a girl who looks like that asks you upstairs, you go upstairs.”
I huff a laugh. “You’ll soon learn there are plenty more books in the library.”
He narrows his eyes. “Isn’t the saying there’s plenty more fish in the sea?”
“I don’t like that analogy. Like, if you go fishing and you catch a fish, you don’t say ‘I think this will taste gross’ and throw it back. Doesn’t that phrase actually mean that you take the fish home, cook it, eat it, think it’s gross, and then throw it out? So, really, that’s like saying if it doesn’t work out with someone you should kill them. Homicide is not sexy. Books, on the other hand … you borrow from a library until you find the book you love, and then you keep it. The library won’t let you borrow more books until you return it, but you never return it because you’ll never need any other book.”
Miller looks confused. “You’re fucked up.”
I grin. “Thanks.”
“It actually means if a fish gets away there’s plenty more to catch.”
I love that Miller doesn’t take the shit spewing out of my mouth as gospel like other guys do. It’s the athlete effect, and sometimes I push boundaries to see just how much I can get away with. “Well, do women really like being compared to fish? I mean … you know …”
Miller doesn’t take the bait—pun totally intended. “I’m getting another drink. You want?”
I watch him as he walks away, and it’s not only girls who turn their heads to stare after him but the guys as well. His presence is demanding. Being a six-five giant probably has a lot to do with that.
When he returns with two beers, he smiles as he hands me mine. “So, what’s your plan? NFL, I’m guessing.”