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Fueled (Page 50)

I stand in the hallway. My heart melting as I listen to a man who is so damaged he’s sworn off ever having children but is so unbelievable with them. Especially the broken ones. The ones that need him the most. The ones he understands better than anyone. I feel a phantom pang in my abdomen, and I push away the thoughts of what can never be. For me. And with him.

Then the best sound pulls me from my self-pity. It’s meek but it’s a laugh that warms my insides. I wish I could see what Colton’s doing to make him laugh. What barrier he’s breaking down to get that sound from Zander. “You know what? I’ll let you in on another secret…even now—even though I’m an adult—when I have a bad dream or am really scared, I still say that. I promise I do…” Colton laughs and I take a step forward toward the open doorway. And what I see steals my breath. Colton is sitting on the bed and Zander is sitting sideways on his lap, looking reverently up at him. A soft smile on his lips. Colton glances up for a split second when he notices me, the gentle smile on his face widening, and then turns back to focus on Zander. “And it still helps. Now, are you ready to drive a go-kart and beat me?”

Zander looks over to me and smiles widely. “Okay, then go get in the van!” I tell him. He looks back toward Colton and nods his head once before hopping off and running toward the front door.

Colton stays seated for a moment, and we just stare at each other. A silent exchange that tells him I heard everything and that he’s glad I did. That exchange—watching him with Zander—has the protective wall around my heart fracturing into a million pieces and love seeping from the cracks. I shake my head to clear it of all of the things I want to say to him in this moment and hold my hand out to him instead.

He rises slowly and gives a half smile. “C’mon.” He takes my hand and tugs it. “Do you think you can beat me in a race?”

“I know I can beat the pants off of you,” I reply suggestively.

He chuckles at my comment. “As much as I like your line of thinking, Ry, we’re gonna be surrounded by a crowd of people.”

I release his hand and wrap my arm around his torso, wanting the feel of his body against mine. It’s me who needs to feel close to him now. He laughs at my sudden assault of him. “I thought being dirty in a crowd turned you on,” I whisper against his ear.

“Sweet Jesus, woman.” He groans. “You know what to say to get me hard.”

I place an open mouth kiss at the spot just beneath his jaw. “I know. Too bad we’re going to be surrounded by seven little boys who hang on your every word or I’d let you scratch this itch I seem to have.”

“God, you’re such a cock tease,” he laughs as we walk out of the front door of the house. He releases me so I can lock the front door, a look of desire clouding his eyes as he watches me.

“You think so?” I murmur coyly, batting my eyelashes at him as he nods. “Maybe I’ll have to show you just how good of a cock tease I am,” I quip as I sashay down the walkway in front of him, swinging my hips back and forth. I know that sex is off of the agenda for the evening because he has to leave right after karting with the kids, and Saturday night will be the next time I get to see him.

I turn back to face him, taking a step backwards as I watch him. “Too bad you shaved,” I say, fighting the smirk I want to give him. “I kinda liked the roughness of it between my thighs.” I raise my eyebrows as he sucks in a breath.

This could be fun. A buildup of anticipation. I can spend the week taunting him and ramp up the expectation so that by Saturday night we can’t keep our hands off of each other. As if we need help with that anyway.

“C’mon, Rylee! You have to beat him. You’re our last hope!” Shane yells across the railing at me as I stand beside my kart waiting for my rematch.

The past two hours have been a blast. From the racing to the boys’ laughter to the constant banter between Colton and me, I couldn’t have thought of a better way for the boys to let off steam and reconnect after the chaos of Zander’s nightmare last night.

After an hour of free-for-all racing, the boys begged to race one on one against Colton. He willingly obliged and in turn set up my current situation. Colton beat all of the boys, everyone that went up against him, except for me. I accused him of letting me win, which had him instantly calling for a rematch. The second race went in his favor. Now we’re in the tiebreaker.

“Best out of three, Thomas. Whoever wins next gets bragging rights,” he calls over to me, amusement in his eyes and challenge in his smile. God, I love him. Especially when he has this look about him: confident, carefree, and downright sexy.

“You’re all talk, Donavan. Your win was a total fluke.” The arrogant smile he flashes goads me further. “Big, bad professional racer like you has to maintain your dignity, you know. Can’t have rookies like me showing you up! Especially a woman.”

“Oh baby, you know me, I’ll let a woman do whatever she wants to me.” He smirks and raises an eyebrow suggestively.

I laugh out loud as I walk the ten feet between us. I look back over my shoulder at the boys who are egging me on and wink at them to show I’m on their side. As I approach, Colton turns to face me, his hand holding his helmet against his hip as if it’s the most natural stance in the world for him, and the fingers of his other hand rubbing together as if he is itching to reach out and touch me.

Good, it’s working. My subtle brushes against him. My little suggestive comments whispered to him here and there. My slow perusal of his body so he notices. Despite having to do them all under the detecting eyes of our audience, I’m glad to know that none of them have gone unnoticed. I can see it in his eyes and the pulsing muscle in his jaw as I approach him.

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