About IN OTHER WORDS:
We became close friends in college. When Sinclair returns home to Dallas after two years in New York, I introduce her to my best friend Cole. The good-looking playboy ballplayer is the perfect kind of guy for the woman I’m sure would never be interested in me…even if seeing them together breaks my heart.
He was the nerdy PhD candidate. I was the cheerleader. We made unlikely friends. Moving back home after two years away, he looks hotter than ever. When I start dating his ballplayer best friend, things get complicated. He doesn’t see me as girlfriend material…but I can’t get him, or my feelings for him, out of my head.
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“She’s so fucking pretty,” Cole says, lolling his head back and forth against the headrest of my Tesla.
The phrase irritates the crap out of me. I feel like I want to punch him. Not that I’ve ever punched anyone, but that’s what this feels like—like I want to commit violence against my friend for using such a pedestrian description for a creature as indescribably spectacular as Clair.
“I don’t know though, man. She said she’d go out with me, but I’m not really sure she likes me.” Cole shakes his head. “It makes me kinda nervous. Usually, girls love me.” He turns to me and wriggles his eyebrows. “I mean, they really love me. It’s just…I don’t know. She’s different.”
“She is different. She’s intelligent, kind, inquisitive, funny…She’s definitely not like anyone else I know.” My response is a knee-jerk reaction in defense of the woman that holds so much of my heart. I immediately regret it saying these things, though. Idiot. Why are you selling him on how great she is? He already got something I’ll never have—a date with her.
“What sorta stuff should I talk to her about?” He asks.
“What do you usually talk to your dates about?”
“I usually say. ‘Hi. I’m a famous athlete. Also, I’m rich and have a huge cock. Let’s go to your place.’ Then they say okay, and we go to their place and fuck. If they’re good at it, I keep going back, and then we’re basically dating.” He shrugs.
I pull into the driveway and the gate closes behind us. I drop my head to the steering wheel and let out a long, deep breath.
“Cole, let me be clear,” I say carefully. “Clair is my friend. She’s my best friend.”
“I thought I was your best friend.”
“You’re my best male friend. She’s my best friend.”
“So I’m not your best friend? Ouch, bro.”
“You’re in the top two.”
Only two, really, but that’s not really the point.
“That’s not so bad, I guess. Hey, imagine if me and Sinclair got married someday. When you come to visit us, you’d get to see your two best friends at once!” He grins.
I’m dying. Oxygen is no longer getting into my bloodstream and my organs are shutting down. It’s the only explanation I can think of for the hell in which I find myself trapped.
“Again, Cole, let me be crystal clear. Do not treat Clair like some piece of ass. Don’t just sleep with her if you’re not serious about her.” My words are a caution.
He looks at me and his expression is earnest. “I wouldn’t do that, Dexter. I’m not an asshole.”
“I know you’re not an asshole. I just mean…” I blow out a breath and turn to him. “I know sometimes you date women and it’s just for fun. Clair is…she’s really important to me. Please don’t use her if you don’t see her as more than someone to go out with a couple of times, then move on from.” I hold his gaze, and he seems to get that I’m serious.
“Dude…do you like her? Should I not have asked her out—were you going to make a move?” He asks.
The weight of that question hangs in the air for a moment. My heartbeat is so loud, I’m sure any passerby could hear it. The blood courses through my veins with such fervor, I feel as if my arteries will burst.
Should I have made a move?
I don’t think she’d have been remotely interested in changing the dynamic of our relationship, but I was never brave enough to find out. After tonight, I feel, somehow, like I’ll never get the opportunity to know for sure.
“We’re just friends. We’ve always been just friends,” I reply.
It doesn’t answer his question, but the subtle ambiguity of my response is lost on my friend.
“Okay, I was just making sure. Cause, dude,” he shakes his head. “She’s hot as hell. As long as I’m not stepping on your toes…I’m totally going for it.”
About the Author:
Jennifer Woodhull is an author of romance with lots of wit, plenty of heat, and lots of heart. She is known for writing immersive settings that take readers to a wide variety of locales around the world. Her heroines are funny, strong make bad decisions, and get in their own way sometimes before finding their path to happiness. Her heroes are driven, funny, sweet, and sometimes complicated. Jennifer lives in Tennessee with her real life book boyfriend and their yellow lab who can be more persuasive than any roguish villain when he’s after a snack. A lover of travel, Jennifer has been known to plot novels and write pages of dialogue on her phone from planes, trains, and automobiles (though not while driving, because safety first).
Jennifer’s works include her debut Promise Series, the breakout hit The Dating Alternative, and the funny, sexy summer release, Sour.
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