Scrolling down, I scan several articles about Brooke Dumas. Ones claim she’s a sports rehab specialist who interned at a Seattle academy. Prior ones mention her being a track athlete. A sprinter. Odd things happen in my chest. I reread that part, and, yeah. A sprinter.
Now I understand why she’s so lean, athletic, and fast. But she has some curves, the kind of curves I’ve never seen on a sprinter before. I curl my fingers into my palm as I replay how her small, perky breasts rose and fell as she looked up at me. My mouth waters as I remember the way she smelled. Fuck me. On YouTube, I find a video of her during some sort of tryouts. My heart starts whacking hard again when I pull off my headphones and click play. She wears little shorts. Her hair in a ponytail. And I see her long, lean, muscled legs. My cock swells, and I shift uncomfortably and bend to get a closer inspection as she gets into position. The group shoots off. She starts fast—
Then one of her legs buckles. And she falls. She lays there, on the ground, and starts sobbing as she struggles to stand.
My chest does something weird.
Shit, she’s crying so much her body shakes with it.
Forming fists, I watch her try to hop out of the track on her own, while the asshole spectator who recorded the video just keeps repeating, “Man, her life is over,” again and again.
Camera zooms in on her tear-filled face, and I quickly pause the screen and stare at her. Brooke Dumas. She looks just like she did today, but a little younger, and a whole lot more vulnerable. There’s a little dimple in her chin from her expression, and those gold eyes are so drowned in tears, I can barely see their pretty whiskey color. I start to read the comments beneath the clip, of which there are quite a few.
Iwlormw: Rumors have it she’d been doing cross fit against the advice of her coach and had already tweaked that knee!
Trrwoods: That’s what happens when you don’t prepare properly!
Runningexpert: She was good, but not that great. Lamaske would’ve still kicked the shit out of her in the Olympics.
My stomach boils.
I watch the video again, and my stomach boils even more.
With an angry growl, I toss my sports drink across the room and hear it slam against the wall. I want to destroy every one making fun of her.
She’d stood there tonight in my arena, trying to raise her walls up to me, and she’d looked proud as a warrioress, like she hadn’t already endured the world watching her fall once already. My chest twists so hard, I can’t breathe right again, and I growl and slam my laptop shut.
Pete raps his knuckles on my door and pushes it open a little. “Rem, you sure you don’t want to partake?”
He widens the gap and gestures at the trio of women behind him, their expectant eyes peering into my bedroom. They collectively sigh and one murmurs, “Please, Riptide . . .”
“Just once?” says the other.
“I said get rid of them, Pete.” I crack my knuckles, then my neck. The door closes and a sudden quiet settles in the suite, until Pete comes back and pries the door open again.
“All right, dude. But I really think you should’ve gone for them. . . . Anyhow, Diane wants to know if you want dinner in here.”
Shaking my head, I carry my iPad to the dining room and settle down to wolf down the contents of my plate on autopilot while Pete makes some phone calls confirming our hotel reservations in Atlanta next week.
While I’m eating, all I see are gold eyes, and parted lips, and the way Brooke Dumas looked at me, like a doe who’s just realized there’s one predator after her that won’t give up until she’s caught.
I want to make her mine.