Blog Tour: The Player and the Pixie by L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid
The Player and the Pixie by L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid Publication Date: April 12, 2016 Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Humor
I didn’t know what I was doing.
Requests, things I wanted, words I would never speak or allow myself to think were now uncontainable.
It’s the sex, I reiterated. Again. I’d used this explanation, now on repeat, as a simple justification for the complex cacophony of my mind.
“Be with you?” Her long, dark lashes fluttered, beating like distressed butterfly wings against warming pink cheeks.
I licked my lips, tasting her there. “Yes.”
She stared at me, confused. I was also confused. And oddly frightened.
Because it wasn’t the sex.
Several seconds ticked on as we studied each other in breathless silence. She found her voice before I did. “What does that—”
“Lucy?” Annie’s voice was paired with a soft knock on the bathroom door. “Are you okay?”
I opened my mouth to whisper a clarification to the question Lucy hadn’t quite posed, because I was compelled to tell her it wasn’t the sex. We didn’t have to have sex. We could just . . . talk. Or play cards. Or touch. Or look at each other from across the room.
We could merely be together.
But she covered my mouth with her hand. Her features arrested with unmistakable panic.
“Yes. I’m fine! I just . . . started my period is all. Made a mess in my jeans, like a crime scene.” Lucy hollered in response then grimaced. She immediately mouthed I’m sorry to me. Her cheeks flushed red.
I lifted an eyebrow. She rolled her eyes, ducking her head with obvious embarrassment. I pressed my lips together so I wouldn’t laugh.
Issuing me a quelling look, Lucy released me and skittered out of the stall, whispering, “Stay here and count to three hundred.”
“Oh! Do you need anything?” Annie’s voice was less muffled and I surmised she’d opened the bathroom door.
“Ah, no. Have it all sorted now. Thank God Tom has these nice absorbent napkins instead of those troublesome hand driers. Although I feel like I’m wearing a nappy. They’re bad for the environment, so I should talk to him about replacing the napkins. Maybe make a few available for emergencies . . .”
Lucy’s anxiety-riddled chatter faded as the bathroom door clicked shut.
I released an audible exhale. My heart was beating as though it might leap from my chest. I needed to catch my breath. Neither had anything to do with being caught.
What the fuck were you doing?
It was the sex. She’s phenomenal in bed. You’ve never had that before. It was just sex.
I nodded, reiterating the logic of my justification for the uncharacteristic behavior. If I repeated it enough, perhaps I would believe it.
I didn’t count to three hundred as instructed. I counted to one hundred and twenty-three, then realized what I was doing.
“You’re mad, Sean,” I muttered, shaking myself and promptly leaving the ladies’ room. I checked the cufflinks on my dress shirt—a nervous habit—and strolled back to the table, eyeing the assortment of eejits gathered.
Later that evening, I got ready for the party. My dress was cream lace, sort of floaty, and I wore my hair down with a single daisy clip at the side. I was sitting in a VIP room at the back of the venue with my brother, his fiancée Annie, and a couple of Ronan’s teammates. We were enjoying a few bottles of champagne and discussing the success the Irish squad had enjoyed during the year. Mam was elsewhere, socializing with the other team mothers, and I was glad. I just wanted to enjoy my night without her saying something about how unattractive or embarrassing I was.
We were all having a great time until the door swung open and Mr. Tall, Blond and Up Himself walked in. That would be Sean Cassidy to those not in the know, Sleazy Sean, as nicknamed by the rugby club. I tried to always see the good in people, but he and my brother didn’t have the best relationship. Not only had Sean slept with Brona, Ronan’s ex-girlfriend, but he was also universally acknowledged to be an arsehole.
It went against everything I believed in to say, because I liked to think everyone was redeemable in some way, but Sean just wasn’t a nice person. He actually seemed to be proud about the fact, like he wanted people to dislike him.
The conversation died down, everybody casting surreptitious glances at Sean who swaggered his way up to the private bar and loudly ordered a bottle of bubbly. That’s actually what he called it, but speaking of bubbly . . .
Almost of their own accord, my eyes wandered over his broad shoulders, muscular back, and down to what must have been the most perfect bubble butt I’d ever seen. You know how sometimes male athletes develop those really defined, rounded but masculine derrieres? Well, Sean Cassidy was most definitely rocking one of those, and I couldn’t resist the urge to ogle it. It was pure muscle and simply bite-worthy.
I snickered to myself when I realized I’d almost commented on it out loud. Okay, I’d officially had too many glasses of “bubbly” as Sean so douchebaggedly called it. He must have heard my snicker because his attention landed on me. He stared at me for a second, arched a condescending brow, then dismissed me all in an instant, returning his attention to the bar.
After about thirty seconds everyone went back to their conversations, trying their best to ignore Sean. Ronan had told me once that Sean was the kind of person who thrived on attention, so ignoring his presence was probably the best course of action to take.
It was my own fault I couldn’t stop staring. We’d never spoken before. In fact, I’d only ever seen him from afar at parties like this one, or on television when there was a match on. But right now he was close, close enough for me to realize just how devastatingly and legitimately handsome he was: light blue eyes, a strong jaw, nice lips, attractive nose.
Why were the beautiful ones always such pricks, huh?
He leaned back against the bar, having uncorked the champagne bottle and poured some into a glass. He wore a shit-eating grin as he stared right at Ronan, holding the glass to his lips, his pinky popped. I knew he was getting to Ronan when my brother muttered to Annie under his breath, “Is he fucking shitting me?”