With Tyson skating on her own close to the railing and Drake by her side, the twosome skated over to me.
“Mommy, skating is SO much fun! You should try it!”
“She’s right,” Drake chimed in.
“I’m afraid I’ll fall.”
“But, Mommy, you have a big butt so it won’t hurt.”
Mortification raced through me. I felt myself turning as red as a beet. Kids say the darndest things, right? Wrong! My sassy almost six-year-old had no filter.
Drake broke out into hysterical laughter.
I clenched my fists. I wanted to punch him. “It’s not funny.”
“Dee, you have a great butt. Now, get your ass on the ice.”
“C’mon, Mommy,” Ty pleaded. “Please, pretty please with a cherry on top.”
Drake’s laughter let up. “Mighty, why don’t you take a spin around the rink? You’re ready to skate all by yourself. Stay close to the railing and hold on to it if you have to.”
“Yay!” On my next breath, she took off. My breath caught in my throat, but she seemed to be managing just fine.
Drake stayed behind. All that separated us was the waist-high railing. He leaned into me. His sparkling blue eyes flickered with a mixture of determination and mischief while his warm breath heated my cheeks. His hands tugged playfully at the ends of my wool plaid scarf.
“Aren’t you going to skate with Tyson?”
He glanced in her direction. She was already halfway around the rink. “She’s doing just fine by herself. She’s a total natural. She reminds me of myself at that age. I took, like her, to the ice like a penguin.”
“But what if she falls?”
He shrugged. “She’ll get up.” He tugged again at my scarf. “C’mon, Dee, get your big beautiful butt on the ice.”
“That does it.”
My eyes stayed on him as he skated with amazing grace and speed to the entrance of the rink, stormed off the ice, and marched my way. In a single swoop, he hauled me over his shoulders.
“What the hell are you doing, Drake?”
“Getting you on the ice,” he responded, marching back to the entrance, one hand gripping me right below my ass.
“Put me down!” I began to kick my feet in protest.
“Behave! And stop kicking. Skate blades are sharp and can be very dangerous. I don’t want you to cut off my dick. I’d like to keep it intact. And the same with my balls.”
Rage filled every bone in my body. The asshole! He’d made me his captive like some kind of caveman. “Stop,” I shrieked at the top of my lungs as he marched us back on the ice and then raced around the rink at breakneck speed. We quickly caught up with Tyson.
“Hi, Mommy!” she yelled out as we flew by. I could hear her giggling as the whooshing sound of Drake’s skates sung in my ears.
Speeding around the ice, draped over Drake’s shoulder, I was getting dizzy. My arms hung loose like a ragdoll’s within groping distance of his perfect buns of steel. Blood rushed to my head. I’d had enough.
“Put me down!” I breathed out.
“Are you ready to stop acting like a brat?”
“I am not a brat!”
Without warning, he swatted my ass with his free hand. The slap stung straight through my thick leggings, but the incendiary sting strangely turned me on. A barrage of tingles blazed through me, clustering between my inner thighs.
“Put me down,” I yelled again.
He didn’t say a thing. Coming to a braking halt that left a skid mark on the ice, he set me on my feet. Standing behind me, he kept his hands anchored on my waist to keep me balanced. I stood as frozen as the ice, hoping he’d never let me go. Partly because I was nervous as shit. And mostly because it felt so good to have his hands touching me. The sparks coursing through my body were definitely not going to help with skating.
“Okay, I’m going to teach you how to skate. Trust me, you’re going to be the next Dorothy Hamill.”
I couldn’t help a nervous laugh. “I. Don’t. Think. So.”
He laughed his sexy laugh. “Think again.”
“Seriously, Drake, I don’t think I can do this.”
“Come on. If your five-year-old daughter can, so can you.”
My eyes darted to Tyson, who was circling around the rink. Her strokes were a little awkward, but she was definitely skating. And doing it well.
“Tyson is fearless,” I countered.
“What are you afraid of?” he breathed into my ear. The warmth of his breath sent a chill down my spine.
“Of falling.” Of falling for you.
“You won’t. I’ve got you. Now push off with one foot and then the other.”
Trembling, I did what he asked. My legs wobbled, but I moved three feet forward. A small victory on the slippery ice.
“Nice. Now do it again. But this time push from your hips, not your knees.”
“Okay,” I stammered. I did as he asked and noticed how much steadier and more powerful my strokes were. Still holding me firmly, he asked me to repeat the movements and I did so several more times. I’d probably skated a total of twenty feet.
“You’re doing great!” He let go of me with one hand.
Gah! Don’t let go of me.
And then he tugged at my ponytail before repositioning himself so that we were side by side. He laced his fingers with mine. My heart pounding, I squeezed his hand.
“What are you doing?” I asked, my voice as contorted as my face.
“What does it look like? I’m holding your hand. We’re going to skate around the rink.”
“No, I’m not ready for this!” I protested. “I want to get off the ice.”
“Fine. You can get off by yourself. I’m going for a spin. See ya.”
To my utter horror, he let go of my hand and skirted off—skating backward, no less, the damn showoff, facing me with a Cheshire grin plastered on his face.
“Please, Drake,” I begged.
My begging only made his grin grow bigger. “Please what?”
“Please don’t leave me.” I’m not sure if he heard me because my voice was so shaky and small.
His grin morphed into a wicked smile, and in a few frantic heartbeats, he was again by my side. His fingers entwined with mine once more. How warm his hand felt next to my cold and clammy one. He gave my hand a little squeeze.
“I’m never going to leave you, D-baby.”
My heart jumped. He called me baby. He probably called every girl that, but the way he said it so tenderly made me think I was the first. Following his lead, I began to skate with more confidence. Loving every minute of our togetherness.
For about the next five or so minutes, we circled the rink, Drake holding my hand, me improving with each stroke. Once or twice I turned to look at him, and somehow at those moments, his gaze met mine. No words were spoken. Just silent smiles.
Midway around the rink, my baby called out to me. “Look, Mommy. No hands!”
Half elated, half fearful, I craned my head in her direction, losing focus on my strokes. Suddenly, one of my blades caught with Drake’s and my heart lurched in my chest at that horrible sensation that I—we?—were taking a tumble. “Shit,” I heard Drake mumble as the inevitable happened. On my next rapid heartbeat, I was flat on my back on the ice and he was splayed on top of me. We were a breath apart, his heart beating against mine. The warmth of his body caging mine was a sharp contrast to the cold ice beneath me.
“Are you okay?” he asked, the heat of his breath warming my cheeks.
I gazed at his face. His lips were parted, his eyes smoldering. The heat of his body was melting the ice beneath me. Melting the distance that separated us.
The weight of Drake’s body kept me from moving. “Can you help me up?”
“Not yet. I like being on top of you.”
I like you on top too. “It can’t be that hard—”
“Yeah, it is that hard. Very hard.” He rocked his hips against me.
Gah! It was hard. Very, very hard.
His eyes blazing into mine, he traced my lips with his fingertip and then leaned in closer until I could practically taste his minty breath. I could feel my heart pounding, hear my breathing grow labored. My lips parted, partly because I needed to get oxygen into my lungs and partly because I wanted him to devour them. I wanted him to kiss me so badly I could scream. As his lips were about to touchdown, a little voice caused us both to jolt. Tyson.
Giggling, she skated up to us. “You guys look so funny!”
Yes, we were a tangled pile of arms and legs. But it was more than just the physical. Our emotions were all tangled up too.
“I’m hungry,” said my little girl.
Drake’s eyes burned into mine. “Me too.”
“Me three.” I’d never hungered for a man as much as I did for my new boss, Drake Hanson.
I should have felt relieved that Tyson didn’t catch us kissing, but instead I felt bereft.