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He’s so close to me his hot breath hits my cheek. “So, uh, I’ll just take Max in and feed him. I’ll be back, unless you want to come in?”

I look between him and Max and then back again. “Uh, yeah, I’d like that.”

The more time I spend with him, the more I realize he may not be what I thought. Of course, I’m a sucker for anyone that loves dogs.

I follow him into the house and barely contain the gasp. The inside is even more upscale and classy than I imagined a home could be.

I ask him where the bathroom is and he points me down the hall. I follow his directions and explore a little on my way.

Max must have finished his food already, because he runs for me when I come out of the bathroom. The playful dog is friendly and too cute not to be petted and played with. Jasper is right behind him.

“So I guess you travel a lot. What do you do with Max when you’re away?”

He leans down and pets Max. “Half the games are home games so I’m actually home a lot. But when I travel, I have a dog sitter.”

“You don’t board him?” I ask skeptically.

He shakes his head. “No, I have someone come in. I try to keep it normal for him. I wouldn’t want him to stay in a strange place all the time.”

The more I talk to him the more I learn new things about him. He’s surprising me, but in a good way.

He takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. “I can take you home now, if you want. Or we can watch a movie.”

I squint my eyes at him and cross my arms across my chest. “I’m not playing any games with you, Jasper. I’m really not like my sister.”

He holds his hands up. “I don’t want you to be. Promise. I just want to spend time with you. That’s all.”

Finally, after giving it some thought, I nod at him. “Sure, then.”

He holds his hand out and I put mine in his and he laces our fingers together before leading me from the hallway to the living room.

We sit on the couch next to each other and when we settle on a comedy, he sits down beside me, our thighs touching, and watch the movie. I’m taking slow, careful breaths, not wanting to move too much. I can feel his arm on the back of the couch and eventually it finds its way to my shoulder. I freeze for just a second before I lean into him.

I keep expecting something else, something more, but we watch the whole movie like this. He asks me if I want anything to eat or drink and then we talk. We talk through the whole movie. He tells me about his teammates and I notice he doesn’t even mention Carter again. I tell him about work and a few of my girlfriends. Time seems to fly and then I realize the movie’s over.

I reluctantly pull from his arms. “It’s almost one in the morning. I don’t want you to drive all the way across town and back. I can call a cab.”

He stands up next to me. “No, I can take you. Or you can stay here. I have guest rooms and then I can help you get your car fixed in the morning before I have practice.”

I weigh my options. My first instinct is to tell him no, but honestly, he’s been such a gentleman, there’s no reason I shouldn’t trust him at this point. Before I can answer him, he holds his hands out to me, palms up. “You can lock the door. I promise you can trust me.”

I look over at Max, who’s fast asleep on his doggie bed, and then back to Jasper. “Okay, sure, if you don’t mind.”

He leads me up the stairs and I follow behind him, thinking the whole way that I hope I’m making the right decision. He stops midway. “Hold on for a second.”

He walks into a bedroom and is only gone a few seconds before he comes back to me, holding out a T-shirt. He hands it to me. “Here you go. You can sleep in this.”

I take the shirt and thank him before he shows me the room across from his, pointing out the private bathroom and towels.

“Holler if you need anything,” he tells me, and then bolts out the door.

His sudden departure has me reeling. It seems like he’s hot one minute and then cold the next. Not that I can complain. I’ve pretty much told him three times tonight I’m not like my sister, so basically telling him I’m not having sex with him.

I unfold the shirt in my hands and look at it. It has the number seven on the back and his last name, Reilly, in white letters. I hold it to my nose and breathe it in. It’s laundered, but I swear it still smells like him.

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