Home > Beautiful Sacrifice (The Maddox Brothers #3)(12)

Beautiful Sacrifice (The Maddox Brothers #3)(12)
Author: Jamie McGuire

Shea cocked her head and looked completely smitten, but then they both turned to me. There was no point in looking away. I had already been caught.

I waved, and they waved back.

Shea popped the cap off of Taylor’s beer, and then she filled a plastic cup with ice and water. She patted his shoulder just before he carried the drinks toward me.

“Shea,” he said.

“I know her.”

“You asked me for the name of the last girl I bagged. It was Shea.”

I made a face.

“It was my first weekend here. She’s a sweetheart … and wild as hell.”

“Bagged her? What does that even mean?” I asked, already wishing I hadn’t.

“Intimate relations. Intercourse. Coitus. Doing the deed. Nookie. Fornicating. Laying pipe. Screwing. Sex. Tapping that ass. Fucking. Need I go on?”

“Please don’t.” I sipped my water.

“I’m a vagrant, as your dad put it.” He lifted his bottle and took a swig. “There is little else for us to do between calls.”

“Only if you have no imagination.”

“What do you suggest?”

“Oh, I don’t know. August is a good time to summit Pikes Peak. The Garden of the Gods. Manitou Springs. The zoo. The Fine Arts Center. Seven Falls. The Air and Space Museum.”

“Okay. Let’s knock those out. How about this weekend? We’ll start with Pikes Peak. That sounds fun.”

“This is our last night together, remember?”

“Not at all,” he said.

I rolled my eyes and then tried to find something interesting on the dance floor. There were several sights to choose from. I saw a father-and-daughter couple … at least that was what I’d thought until he tried to give her vertical mouth-to-mouth. A man was attempting to get rejected by every female standing within three feet of the dance floor. A woman in head-to-toe black fringe was two-stepping backward by herself—and quite possibly starring in a Broadway musical playing in her own head.

Taylor pointed at her with the mouth of his bottle. “We call her Cat Woman. She’s just getting warmed up.”

“Who’s we?” I asked.

“Me … and them,” he said, pointing to the two men walking toward us.

Zeke and Dalton were shaking their heads in disbelief.

“Un-fucking-believable,” Zeke said. “I’m disappointed in you, Falyn.”

Both men reached into their pockets, and each one handed Taylor a twenty-dollar bill.

I looked to Taylor. “I was wrong. You’re worse than a cunt rag.”

Zeke looked to Taylor, genuinely concerned. “What’s worse than that?”

Taylor held up his hands, palms out, in surrender even though he was clearly still amused. “Just because I bet them I could get you here doesn’t mean I didn’t want you to come with me. Besides, I can’t pass up a lock bet.”

I shook my head, confused.

“Oh!” Taylor said, even more animated since his friends had arrived. “Can someone write this down? Ivy League does not understand my vernacular!”

“You mean, your verbiage,” I deadpanned.

Dalton’s mouth curved up into a half smile.

Taylor leaned in toward me. He smelled like cologne and cheap body wash with a hint of mint and sweet tobacco on his breath. “A lock bet is pretty much a sure thing.” His voice was low and smooth.

“Yep,” I said, “that’s my cue.” I stood up and headed for the door.

Dalton and Zeke made a fuss, yelling, “Oh!” at the same time.

Within seconds, Taylor’s fingers gently encompassed mine, slowing my progress to a stop.

“You’re right. That was a very douche-like thing for me to say.”

I spun around, crossing my arms. “I can’t really blame a dick for making a dick move.”

Taylor’s jaw flitted under his skin. “I deserved that. I was just screwing with you, Falyn. You haven’t made any part of this easy.”

I glared at him for a moment and then relaxed. “It’s late. I have to work in the morning anyway.”

Disappointment weighed down his shoulders. “C’mon! It’s not that late! And you promised me drinks—plural.”

“Do waters count?”

“Let’s dance.”

“No!” I said so loud and shrill that I surprised even myself.

Taylor was a bit stunned as well. “Whoa. Calm yourself. It’s just dancing. I won’t even grab your ass.”

I shook my head and took a step back.

“Why not?” he asked.

“I don’t know how to dance … like that,” I said, pointing to the couples twisting and spinning on the dance floor.

He laughed once. “Two-stepping?”


“Can you count?”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “That’s insulting.”

“Just answer the ques—”

“Yes! Yes, I can count,” I said, exasperated.

“Then you can two-step. C’mon, I’ll teach you.” He walked toward the dance floor, tugging me by the hand.

Despite my repeated refusals that turned into fervent begging, he pulled me onto the wooden rectangle in the center of the building.

I stood, frozen.

“Relax. I’ll make you look good.”

“I don’t like country music.”

“No one does. Just roll with it.”

I sighed.

Taylor put his right hand on my hip and gripped my right hand with his left. “Put your other hand on my shoulder.”

I looked around. Some men had their hands on the shoulders of their partners. Some women were too busy spinning in circles to put their hands anywhere.

“Oh God,” I said, closing my eyes. I didn’t like doing things I didn’t already know I was going to excel at.

“Falyn,” Taylor said, his voice calming and smooth.

I opened my eyes and tried not to let the dimple in his cheek distract me.

“I’m going to take two steps backward with my left foot. You’re going to step forward with your right. Two times, okay?”

I nodded.

“Then I’m going to step backward once with my right foot, and you’ll step forward with your left foot. Just once. The count is two quick, one, two quick, one. Ready?”

I shook my head.

He laughed. “It’s really not that bad. Just listen to the music. I’ll take you around the floor.”

Taylor stepped, and I went with him. I counted in my head, trying to mirror his movements. I wasn’t completely ignorant in the realm of dancing. Blaire had insisted on ballet lessons until I was thirteen, and it had become obvious that no amount of instruction could teach me how to be graceful.

Two-stepping, however, seemed to be fairly painless, and Taylor was actually pretty good. After a few laps around the dance floor, he let go with one hand and spun me once. When I returned to the original position, I couldn’t help the smile erupting across my face.

The song ended, and I huffed. “Okay, so it wasn’t awful.”

Another song began, this one a bit faster.

“Then let’s go again,” he said, pulling me with him.

Beads of sweat began to form on his forehead, and my back was feeling damp as well. Halfway through the song, Taylor twirled me around, but instead of bringing me back into his arms, he spun me the other way. By the end of the song, he added a turn where he let go, and my hand slid across his back, and then we ended up two-stepping again.

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