Read an Excerpt
“Do you miss Washington? Leaving anyone special behind?” Darby’s blue eyes sparkled.
“I used to be okay with living in three different cities while I played because of the offseason coaching or the overseas leagues, but ever since I retired, I’ve really taken to living in one place. Washington was great, but it’s nice to be back on the west coast.”
“You must miss your friends? Boyfriend? Girlfriend? Both?”
Both? Yeah, I’m a hussy like that. “I do miss my friends. I had a great coaching staff working with me. Kristine, James, and Rebecca were close friends by the time I left. They were pretty angry that I made this move, but since Kristine is now the head coach, they’ll get over it.”
She laughed softly, the sound rolling over the table in featherlike waves. “You managed not to answer the question I wanted you most to answer.” She smiled broadly at my furrowed brow. “Boyfriend or, please let it be, girlfriend?” My mouth nudged ajar. Something about her question didn’t seem like idle curiosity. And certainly not the way she asked if I had a girlfriend.
“C’mon. You’re among friends. I’ve always had a vibe about you.”
“You know, a gay vibe.” The statement came out with certainty. I didn’t have time to be startled. “You can tell me, Graysen. I’m sure you know I’m a lesbian, and you have to know I’m interested in you.”
“You’re my fantasy woman, have been for decades since I first met you. So, spill, tell me you’re going to make my fantasy come true.”
…Hell. I was someone’s fantasy? Hers? This beautiful woman whom everyone liked and so many lusted after? Did the world turn upside down as soon as I crossed into the Pacific Time Zone? “Fantasy?” I managed with a dry mouth. “I’m coming on too strong, aren’t I?” A touch of worry marred her expression. “My sisters always tell me that I need to tone it down, but I can’t help it with you. After all these years, I finally have you in the same city and permanently. So, I’m putting it all out there tonight. I didn’t want there to be any confusion about what I want.”
“What you want?” GAH! Could I please stop repeating everything she said?
One word, sounds like sue, only less litigious. She wants me. Damn, that even sounds weird just thinking it. Why would she want me? I’m not a person who brings out wanting in people, or I never have been, or I’ve been oblivious to it my whole adult life.
Jeez, I mean, this was only my eighth date, if this was a date. And I know, eight dates, right? But, like I said, when you’re really good at something, other things fall by the way side. My love life foremost among them. Since I’m pretty convinced I was born without a sex drive, I hadn’t ever felt like I’d missed much. Why date when I felt nothing? Okay, this time, maybe I didn’t feel nothing, maybe this time was a little different, and it wasn’t because she was a woman when the others had been men. This time was different because it was Darby. Was she my fantasy woman, too? Honestly, no, but only because I didn’t have fantasies of that nature. I must be broken. Everyone else had fantasies, right? Why didn’t I? Maybe I just needed to think about it. I could try to fantasize about her. Hmm, that might work. “Gray?”
Try later. “Huh?”
“Shocked?” She smiled understandingly, and my, was it a beautiful smile. “I wanted to be upfront about this. I want more than just friendship from you, have for a long time.”
“This is…I mean, that’s very flattering.”
“Oh, God.” A panicked look came over her face. “You’re not going to say that you’re flattered but it’s not me it’s you, are you? Just lie to me and say you’ve got a boyfriend. I can handle unavailable but don’t crush my ego by telling me you’re the biggest lesbian on the planet, but I do nothing for you.”
My head shook, trying to snap all the whirling thoughts to attention. “I don’t know what to say.”
“That’s better than turning the tables over and racing from the restaurant, I guess.” She reached across and grasped my hand. The touch felt comforting. “Just tell me I have a chance?”
“I haven’t thought about dating in a while.” If she knew how long of a while it might put a stop to this before it had a chance to get started. “You’ve thrown me for a loop. I’m still trying to catch up.”
The smile that surfaced on her face brought out sparkles in her blue eyes and added definition to her sleek cheekbones. “I’m still in the running, then. Good. Enough pressure for tonight, we’ll save that for our second date.” Second date? In way over my head here, but it felt pretty good.