“I’m late.” It took an effort to turn away from Travis’s scrutiny, but she managed to twist and open the driver’s-side door. Unfortunately, Travis stepped closer to Georgie at that exact moment and the door rammed hard into his shoulder. He hissed a breath. Her heart stopped beating. She spun back around—and found Travis clutching his right shoulder. The shoulder. The one he’d torn the rotator cuff on, followed by multiple surgeries and eventually being cut from the Hurricanes.
“Oh my God.” Had she just inadvertently hurt him all over again? “Oh . . . oh my God. Is it okay?” Her hands were shaking as she reached for his shoulder. “I’m sorry, I—I . . .”
Travis shook his head but didn’t push her hands away. “It’s fine. Just a twinge.” He looked up, seeming to realize how upset she was. “This thing is pinned and screwed down in so many places, a wrecking ball couldn’t break it. Just needs a little ice.”
“You’re supposed to ice an injury right away.” She looked around. “Where’s your truck?”
“Come on.” She took his good elbow and guided him to the passenger side, opening the door. “It was my fault. I’ll drive you.”
“No, it wasn’t . . .” He trailed off when her phone alarm went off again—chime-chime-chime—a crease forming between his brows. “You’ll cancel the date?”
“Obviously.” Impatient to fix the harm she’d done, Georgie poked Travis until he gave in and folded his big body into her passenger seat. “I’ll never make it now.” She whipped out her phone and fired off a quick apology to Pete. “Let’s go.”
Travis stretched his long legs and fastened the seat belt with a click. If Georgie didn’t know better, she’d think the injury had relaxed him. He dispelled that notion with a long-suffering sigh. “If you insist, Georgie.”
Under the guise of watching passing scenery, Travis couldn’t stop himself from stealing glances at the reflection of Georgie’s legs. Jesus Christ. Shit had definitely taken a turn. He’d thought Georgie making his dick hard the other night had been a fluke. Not anymore. This off-limits attraction was insanely real, and weirdly, it had gotten worse during their separation. What the hell kind of sense did that make? Out of sight was supposed to mean out of mind. Yet the other night, he’d been cooking a steak on the stove and caught himself staring into space, remembering the fringe of her jean shorts.
Okay, more like the skin he’d seen it touching.
Travis turned to study Georgie’s profile under the pretense of adjusting the air conditioner. Had her upper lip always been so fucking full?
Think of her as an awkward kid. Think of her as an awkward kid.
Travis took a deep breath in through his nose and closed his eyes, searching through his memory bank for something that would remind him not to think of Stephen’s little sister as a sexual being. Immediately, a moving image came to mind of Georgie at thirteen, waving at him from the bleachers, the light catching her braces, nachos balanced on her lap. All right. Braces and nachos definitely weren’t sexy. But the memory didn’t generate anything but . . . fondness. Comfort. It never occurred to him before now that she’d come to almost every single one of his games. Home and away. His own parents hadn’t even come to the games.
Back then, she’d had a commitment to him, but he’d never returned it. He’d never returned a commitment to anyone. Hell, he didn’t have the first clue how. His example had been two bitter adults who hadn’t bothered to shield him from the ugliness of their divorce. What was he playing at, allowing Georgie to feel guilty enough to drive him home?
“Should I call Stephen and tell him you won’t be back at work?”
Georgie’s question stopped Travis from venturing any further into the past. “No work. It’s an inspection day.”
“Oh, okay.” She paused, her fingers drumming on the steering wheel. “So it looked like you had quite a fan club back there.”
It took him a moment to realize whom she meant. Right. The two women who’d asked him for autographs and refused to take his cues to end the conversation. When he’d given up and started walking away, they’d seemed more than happy to join him, even after he’d rudely answered a phone call from Donny. His agent had called to inform him a name on the short list for the commentator job had been nixed, thanks to an intoxicated rant outside a club that went viral. That left only Travis and two other candidates. And hell, it was kind of nice not being the one to have a public indiscretion for once. “Asked me to sign their balls—they thought that was pretty funny,” he muttered. “Wasn’t really helping my cause having them follow me like that.”
The kick of anticipation in his bones wasn’t lost on Travis. He’d been keeping the news about the on-air position to himself for days. But there was no denying he wanted to tell Georgie. Get her take on it. He hadn’t wanted that from anyone else. Combined with his definite noticing of her physical attributes and he was entering dangerous territory. “My agent has a line on a commentating job with the Bombers. For me.”
The car swerved and Travis didn’t think, he just threw an arm in front of Georgie to protect her. She squeaked. With the screech of tires, they swerved onto the shoulder, and there he was. With a handful of little-sister tit.
“Christ, Georgie.” He let her go like she’d caught fire, but not before registering the fullness of her breast, the way it tucked into his palm like a sweet little peach, her nipple tightening on contact. “What are you doing?”
“I got excited.” With a bright pink face, she stared straight out the windshield. “It’s okay. I know it was an accident.”
His cock didn’t care about categorizing the touch. It only wanted to react to the shape and size of what Georgie kept inside her bra, blood rushing to fill the organ until it stiffened in his jeans. From one tiny grope? Who was he anymore? “You’re goddamn right it was an accident.”
Her throat worked with a swallow. “It’s way too soon after I told you about Dale.”
Travis dropped his head into his hands. “Jesus, don’t bring that up now.”
“I figured it might be better. You know. To address the five-hundred-pound vibrator in the room.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “It wasn’t. It wasn’t better.”
“Just drive, Georgie.”
The car’s engine revved gently, and they pulled back onto the thankfully empty road. He couldn’t help but notice she continued to fidget in her seat, though. Why couldn’t she just sit still? That skirt was fighting a losing battle to cover her thighs. Travis had to grip the seat to keep himself from reaching over and tugging the hem back down to her knees. At this rate, he wouldn’t be able to climb out of the car in an upright position.
“Travis, this is huge.”
No shit, Georgie.
“The Bombers. I mean, Garland is having the season of his life right now. Nunez has already thrown two no-hitters. Everyone is watching the games. Are you seriously telling me you’d get to do the play-by-play?”
“It’s a possibility.” Travis couldn’t hide his amused smile. “I didn’t realize you paid such close attention to the stats.”
“I got into the habit of memorizing the numbers when you played for the Hurricanes,” she said in an offhanded way, before snapping her mouth shut. “I mean, you couldn’t go anywhere in town without seeing the games. They were on every screen.”
“Yeah?” Thinking about how he’d taken that support for granted caused an uncomfortable tug in his chest, but he coughed his way through it. Honestly, he could have gone hours talking baseball with Georgie, enjoying the way she came to his defense and pulled no punches about the other players. It felt normal. She made him feel normal. But he didn’t know how much time they had together, especially if he got the job. But that was still a big “if.” “We both know I was on those television screens for a lot of different reasons. That’s what might prevent me from getting the job.”
He could feel Georgie’s knowing look from the other side of the car. “But you’re not interested in being that way anymore, right? Being . . . Two Bats. Unless you feel differently now—”
“I don’t.” They held each other’s gazes for a heavy beat. “Anyway, they don’t want their network associated with the guy who used to ask out reporters during press conferences.” He shook his head at the cringe-worthy memory. “Family network, family image.”
“I see.” Georgie pulled up along the curb in front of his house. “How are you going to manage that?”
He blew out a breath. “Hell if I know. Maybe I’ll get a cat.”
“A cat would definitely help with your rat problem.”
“I don’t—” Travis cut himself off and pushed open the passenger door. “Never mind. See for yourself.”
What was he doing? He didn’t need to invite her upstairs. He was perfectly capable of getting home by himself—the shoulder barely hurt anymore. But when he should have thanked her for the ride and urged her to leave, Travis guided Georgie into the building instead. All right. He’d simply prove he’d kept the apartment immaculate and send her away. They’d hang out for twenty, maybe thirty minutes tops. Just long enough so that she couldn’t make her date with Pete.