Page 9 of Protective Player

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She smiles. “Thank you, Dawson. For… well… for everything.”

“I want to see you again.”

She opens her mouth but hesitates. Her cheeks flare with color again, and she looks away shyly, biting her bottom lip. She takes a minute then looks up.

“I’d like to see you again too.”

“Good. You have my number. Let me know when you’re done with classes for the day, and we’ll get together.”

She raises her eyes and holds my gaze. “You know how crazy this is, don’t you? I mean—”

“Life is crazy. But sometimes, you just have to say fuck it and take a chance.”

“Fuck it then,” she says and toasts me with her coffee mug.

“That’s the spirit.”

“I mean it. Thank you for everything, Dawson.”

“You’re very welcome. But you don’t need to thank me for anything. Believe me when I say it’s my pleasure.”

Her smile is magnetic and somehow makes her look even more youthful than she is. Adding to the insanity is the fact that I’m almost twice her age. I’m technically old enough to be her father. I would have been a young father, but still. Devon is all-woman though, and as I let my gaze travel the curves of her body once more, I’m reminded of that fact.

My heart slams against my ribcage because I’m battered by waves of feelings that are utterly alien to me. Feelings I’m not entirely sure how to categorize or what to do with. All I know is that I want her. All I know is that I’m going to claim this girl and make her mine. Devon doesn’t know it yet, but she belongs to me.

She’s incredibly young, but there’s something about her that resonates with me in ways I never expected… ways I never expected to resonate with anybody to be honest.

And like I just told her… sometimes you just have to say fuck it.



“Are you okay, Dev?” Samantha asks. “You seem kind of out of it.”

My friend Sammy and I walk through the quad on our way to our next class. It’s a gray, overcast day with a bit of a chill in the air. It’s going to be scarf and beanie season soon enough. I turn and offer her a smile.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I tell her. “Just kind of a long night.”

Dawson had been kind enough to give me his bedroom last night, and even though it was possibly the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in, sleep hadn’t come easy. For part of the night, I watched the door, worried that he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing and would come barging in and force himself on me. When I realized that wasn’t going to happen, part of me was a little… disappointed. Strange to say, I know. But I couldn’t stop thinking about him. And if I’m being honest, there’s a big part of me that can’t stop thinking about having him inside of me.

I don’t know what’s going on with me. I’m not that kind of a girl. I’m not the type to meet a guy at a bar then take him home and bang him two hours later. That’s just not me. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to bang Dawson last night—and still do this morning. I keep thinking about that kiss we shared and yearn for his touch. Yearn for more than that. I keep thinking about having that gruff, grizzled face between my thighs and that satiny soft tongue on my most sensitive parts. It's a thought that makes me shudder and fills me with heat. Especially down there.

“So, what happened to you last night anyway?” Sammy asks. “You just disappeared.”

“I sent you a text.”

“Yeah, but you were being all mysterious and cagey,” she says with a laugh. “Did you end up going home with that water polo guy who was chatting you up?”

“Oh god, no. That guy was as intellectually stimulating as a sponge cake.”

“Yeah, but the body on him…”

“You know me better than that,” I say. “I need something more than a smokin' hot body. I need actual substance."

“And this is why you are a virgin, my dear Devon.” Sammy sighs. “We’re in college. No guy has substance here. They won’t have it until they’re like, in their thirties and have some life experience under their belts. In college, you take the hottest guy and get your own life experience.”

She laughs but I don’t, my thoughts turning elsewhere. Dawson has substance. The fact that he's able to hold an intelligent conversation without slipping in the obvious innuendo with the hope I'll think it's clever enough to make me drop my panties then and there proves that to me. Then there's the collection of books on his nightstand. That he reads for pleasure at all, unlike most of the cretins on campus, is a big point in his column.

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