He brought her hand to his mouth and smiled over their entwined fingers.

She melted.

He fed her whatever she wanted, which was hotdogs and beer, and they both yelled and cheered the game on to their heart’s content.

They sat next to a couple of serious Giants fans who were wearing only shorts—although the girl also wore a bikini top—and their every inch of exposed skin painted Giants orange.

The guy proposed between innings two and three, and it was nothing like the proposal on her ship. When these two hugged and kissed, there was love in every touch—although their carefully painted Giants logo smeared. The orange and white paint mixed into a pale color that actually resembled pink, making them look like a walking advertisement for Pepto-Bismol.

At the bottom of the fourth, the KISS cam panned the crowd and everyone went wild. It stopped on an older couple, who sweetly pecked. Next it stopped on two men who flashed their wedding rings with wide grins before giving the audience a kiss.

Everyone was still cheering when the KISS cam stopped on Pru and Finn. Pru turned to him, laughing, and he hauled her in and laid one on her that made her brain turn to mush and an entire inning went by before her brain reset itself and began processing again.

It was possibly the most fun date she’d been on since . . .

Ever.

After the game, Finn walked Pru to her door. She was a little tipsy so he held her hand, smiling as he listened to her singing to some song in her head that only she could hear.

She had a smudge of orange paint down her entire right side from the woman at the game. It’d drizzled for a few minutes in the eighth inning and her hair had rioted into a frizzy mass of waves.

He wanted to sink his fingers into it, press her back against her door and kiss her senseless. Then he wanted to pick her up so that she’d wrap her long legs around him.

He wanted her. Hard and fast. Slow and sweet. On the couch. In the shower. Her bed.

Anywhere he could get her.

And it wasn’t just physical either. He’d told her he didn’t think love was for him, but he’d been wrong. At least going off the way his heart rolled over and exposed its tender underbelly every time she so much as looked at him. He wanted to claim her, wanted to leave his mark on her. On the inside. On her heart and in her soul.

But she wasn’t ready. She was way behind him in this and he knew that. What they had between them scared her, and more than a little. She needed time, and he could give her that. Would give her that.

Even if it meant walking away from her tonight when she was smiling up at him, her eyes shining, her cheeks flushed, happy. Warm.

Willing.

“’Night,” he said softly. “Lock up tight.”

“Wait.” She blinked once, slow as an owl. A tipsy owl. “You’re . . . leaving?”

“Yes.”

“But . . .” She stepped into him, running her hands up his chest. “Aren’t we going to . . .”

He went brows up, forcing her to be specific.

“I thought you’d come in and we’d . . . you know,” she whispered, her fingers dancing over his jaw.

Catching her hand, he brought it to his mouth and brushed a kiss over her palm. “No,” he said gently. “Not tonight.”

“But . . . when?”

“When you’re ready to fill in ‘you know’ with the words,” he said.

She stood there, mouth open a little, a furrow between her brows, looking bewildered, aroused, and more than a little off center.

Maybe she wasn’t so far behind him after all.

“’Night,” he said, cupping her face for a soft kiss. Walking away was one of the hardest things he’d ever done.

When Pru’s door closed, another opened and Mrs. Winslow poked her head out. “You sure you know what you’re doing?” she asked him.

Hell no, he didn’t know what he was doing.

She shook her head at him. “You sure don’t know much about women, do you. You can’t leave them alone to think about whether they need you, and do you know why?”

He shook his head.

“Because it’s only in the moment that a woman will act impulsively. It’s all the testosterone and pheromones that pour off you males, you see. Without you right in front of her, that magic stuff wears off and she’ll easily remember that she doesn’t need you in her life.”

“I’m going to hope that’s not true,” he said.

“You can hope all you want, but you’ll be hoping alone in an empty bed.”

Chapter 27

#SmarterThanTheAverageBear

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