Should he chase after her? Not a chance. That would be in violation of Rule #1. Never chase a woman. Chasing after a woman was tantamount to admitting she had you in the palm of her hand. If he chased after Kit it would give her the chance to have the upper hand with him. That wasn't Jayden's style, not by a long shot. His stomach twisted at the thought of allowing a woman to lead him around by the nose. If his teammates caught wind of it, he'd be the laughing stock of the franchise, perhaps even the league. He had his reputation to consider, after all. Jayden London was known for romancing the most beautiful women in the world—not a single one had he chased after. They'd all flocked to him willingly, like moths to the flame. He knew some people would consider him conceited for acknowledging that fact, but it was the truth, pure and simple. He didn't have to run after women!
He glanced around the room, trying to seem casual as he scoped the place for any signs of Kit. Was she still backstage? Was she coming back into the ballroom? When was he going to see her again? She'd said that Celia's introduction would be happening in fifteen minutes, which meant that she was probably backstage counting down the minutes. The thought of Kit having to deal with Celia made him want to ride to her rescue. Celia Laughton was the equivalent of a Category five hurricane slamming into downtown Denver. Although Kit seemed like a tough cookie, he knew from experience that Celia would chew her up and spit her out just for sport.
Hmm. Fifteen minutes. In his mind, fifteen minutes was quite a bit of time to charm a woman. He could probably pull it off if he put his mind to it. The memory of her beauty spurred him on. Although it was against all of Jayden London’s rules to chase after a woman, this time he was going to make an exception. Kit was that amazing, that incredibly special. He couldn't remember ever being this fascinated with a woman, to the point where he couldn't even focus on anything else other than the thought of seeing her again.
With a groan of defeat, Jayden strode towards the exit of the ballroom, intent on finding Kit and convincing her that the two of them had unfinished business.
“Kit.” The sound of her name rolling off his tongue sounded heavenly to her ears. It caused a shiver to snake down her spine and slither low in her belly. She couldn't deny the joy that bubbled up inside her at the sight of him striding towards her on the stage, his movements full of raw power and panther-like grace.
“Jayden. What are you doing back here?” Although she'd tried to hide it, she was unable to dampen the enthusiasm that infused her voice.
Karla pursed her lips disapprovingly and looked at them over the rim of her horn-rimmed glasses that made her look like a hoot owl. “We're on in five minutes, Kit,” she said in a warning tone before she pivoted on her heels and walked towards Celia's dressing room.
“I know you've got work to do, but I had to find you, Kit.”
“Jayden, like I told you, I'm busy-.”
“I know, I know. It's the Superbowl and you're about to kick a field goal with only seconds left on the clock.” The corners of his mouth tilted upwards in an amused smile.
She felt a tugging at the corners of her mouth right before she surrendered to a full-on smile. There was just something about this man that made her want to grin like crazy. He was some kind of wonderful, she thought, and funny too. She remembered his humor from childhood. He’d always made her laugh.
“I wanted to tell you that I'll wait for you to finish up. I know this little diner in where we can get coffee and dessert. Or, if you like, we can hit this spot that makes the best hot dogs in all of Denver.”
“Come again?” Had she heard him right? He was going to wait for her? And he was going to sweeten the pot by feeding her?
“I've got a strong back,” he continued. “I can even help you pack up if you want.”
“I don't understand. I mean, no one has ever—.” He had her so giddy and off balance she was beginning to babble. And her insecurities were pouring out of her like water out of a watering can. She was letting him know way more about herself than she'd intended.
He reached out and caressed her cheek with his thumb. His touch made her smile.
“You're worth the wait, Kit.”
For a moment they stared at each other, their gazes locked in an intimate connection. For a single moment everything stopped. It was as if nothing else existed but the two of them.
Jayden moved a step closer and lowered his head towards her. She knew she should pull away. She really needed to stop him before this went any further. Any moment now she was going to shove him away from her. Oh, brother. It was too late. It was happening. She felt his lips as they brushed lightly over hers. He was kissing her.
Whoa! It had been such a long time since she’d been kissed. Suddenly, the tempo changed and his lips slanted over hers in a powerful, bold kiss, one that spoke volumes about the man himself. His lips tasted like peaches, and although she knew it was neither the time nor the place, she kissed him back.
Oh my Goodness! She heard trumpets blaring. A veritable symphony was playing in her head—violins, drums, flutes, trombones. Genuine bells and whistles. She'd always heard of kisses like this—earth-shattering, blistering, soul-searing kisses that left a person hearing music ringing in their ears. And now, she too was experiencing this blissful, lyrical kiss.
Then she heard the scream. It was a deafening, ear-piercing shriek that threatened to shatter all the windows in the ballroom. She reluctantly pulled away from Jayden as a niggling sensation crept through her bones. Trombones? A symphony?
“Please, God. No!” she whispered as she turned and saw Celia standing on the side of the stage, her mouth opened in an O formation as she screamed bloody murder. Patrick was standing next to her, his face a dark mask of fury as he glared at her. She watched in horror as Celia stamped her Christian Laboutin clad feet and violently shrugged off the comforting arm her grandfather tried to place around her shoulder.
Cameras began to flash and pop like crazy as photographers jostled each other in order to get the best shots of her and Jayden. Feeling a bit disoriented, Kit raised her arm to shield her eyes from the bulbs. She felt Jayden’s arm around her shoulders, and for a moment she sunk into him, grateful for the warmth and comfort he provided.
“Jayden, how long has this been going on?” a member of the press shouted.
“Hey Jayden, what's her name?” another asked.
“Tell us your name, beautiful.”
“You and Jayden look great together!”
Patrick Laughton came storming over to them just as the stage curtains closed around them, sheltering them from the audience's view. Patrick reached out and grasped Kit by the wrist, forcibly shaking her as if she were a rag doll.