Falling for Dante is Live on Amazon and only 99 Cents for a limited time! Don’t miss out on this second installment in the Clean Slate series.
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Turning around with a giggle, I nearly fell over when I saw Dante’s dark eyes staring back at me. In spite of the melee of girls vying for his attention, he waved me over.
When he mouthed, Come here, I kept my face impassive even though I needed a defibrillator to restart my heart. He looked good in the simple white T-shirt and jeans he’d thrown on after his locker-room shower. Care of endless hours in the weight room, Dante had transformed his body into a work of art.
I dodged several drunk couples gyrating off-beat to the music as I made my way across the room. Dante followed my progress with his obsidian eyes, and I had to give myself a silent pep talk to keep my legs moving across the sticky floors.
I may have been Damian’s kid sister, but I wasn’t a child anymore. I had plans that involved Dante. Plans I had been obsessing over for the last four years.
The girls on the couch glanced at me with disgust and nestled further into Dante, laying claim to something that wasn’t theirs. The two girls dancing spun around and nearly stumbled into me, before leaning back to glare. Even in my flats, I had several inches on them.
“Who the hell are you?” asked the closest one, her fake eyelashes flapping. Under all the heavy makeup, she was gorgeous. Huge boobs spilled from her black bra; her discarded shirt lay on Dante’s lap.
“This is Damian’s little sister, Erica,” Dante replied. “And possibly the new face of Hot Shot Cosmetics.”
He took a slow sip of beer and watched with interest as all four girls gave me a scathing once-over.
Erica Wood is a fatty, fatty two-by-four.
Heat rose in my cheeks as the taunts from my youth echoed in my head. It didn’t matter what I looked like now. It didn’t matter that I had been “discovered” by a modeling scout. Some part of me would always be that chubby, little girl who got picked last for dodgeball.
Chesty placed her hands on her hips. “Why don’t you leave entertaining to the real ladies? I’m sure there’s a nice wall for you to hold up somewhere.” The other three snickered.
I had no intention of competing for Dante’s attention and spun on my heels to leave.
“Come here, Erica.” The sound of Dante’s whiskey-smooth voice stopped me in my tracks. I turned back around, but Chesty still blocked me. He placed his hand on her hip and gently pushed her aside.
“What the hell?” Her high-pitched voice grated on my nerves, but Dante seemed to take it all in stride.
“All of you, go,” he said, his delivery so mild-mannered he managed not to come off like a jerk. All, but Chesty, skulked away without a word.
“You want this skinny-ass bitch when you could have all this?” She ran her hands over her hips, an ugly sneer marring her face.
Besides a slight nose flare, Dante remained unaffected by her little tantrum, but his next words came out frosty. “Thanks for the dance, Keandra. Now, get away, or I’ll have you thrown out.”
“You’re a jerk, Dante.”
He arched one eyebrow, but remained silent, sipping his beer and watching her over the rim of his cup. She seemed to sense his slipping control and grabbed her shirt off his lap, giving me one last nasty look before huffing off.
I watched her sidle up to her next drunk victim across the room. “You sure know how to pick them.”
“I didn’t pick her. I picked you.”
His words were like a tuning fork and my body was humming. With his bottom lip tugged between his teeth, he patted the spot next to him. I considered bolting, because I was completely out of my element. I had to remind myself that I came to California for a reason. And attending the Stanford homecoming game had only been the excuse.
I slumped down beside him and caught a whiff of Ivory soap and the heady scent I’d associated with masculinity ever since Dante had breezed into my life four years ago. His hand dropped to my shoulder and I tried to shift away, but he pulled me closer with a gentle squeeze.
“Did you enjoy the game?”
“Yeah. You played really well. But you don’t need me to tell you that.” Watching Dante dominate the football field, front row in a stadium filled with captivated fans had been nothing short of a spiritual experience.
His full, sensual lips lifted into a broad smile. “Maybe you’re the only one I want to impress.”
“Please. You have screaming fans and scouts to impress. I can’t imagine I register high up on your list.”
“If I had a list, you’d be the only one on it.”
Was he drunk? I perused his face for the truth. In all the years we’d known each other, Dante had never flirted so openly. Putting my plan into action might be easier than I had anticipated. I grabbed the red cup out of his hand and downed the lukewarm beer before he could stop me.
“Babe, slow down. I don’t want you to get sick.”
“You’re as bad as my brother. I’m not a child anymore.”
“No. You. Are. Not,” Dante said, his eyes caressing every inch of my body. My face warmed under his inspection.
“Are you flirting with me?”
A low rumble vibrated up his chest, and he threw his head back to laugh. I wanted to trail my tongue up his neck and across the stubble peppering his chin. Would it tickle or scrape my tongue raw?
“And if I am?”
“Then you must have a death wish,” I said, only half-joking.
He reached over and rubbed a strand of my hair between two fingers. My breath caught in my throat. He wasn’t even touching me, but liquid, hot lust boiled between my legs. “I’m not scared of your big bad brother.”
“Well, you seem to be the only one. Every guy here is avoiding me like I have the plague and not one person is willing to give me a drink.”
“Come on, let’s get you a beer,” Dante said as he pulled me to my feet.
Something told me I was going to need all the liquid courage I could get, and I trailed after him, his firm hand wrapped around mine.