“Quit your posturing, Daniel, and hike the ball!”
I couldn’t help but laugh at the serious tone coming from Mason as he growled at his best friend. Looking around at the others on the makeshift field, I turned to Jasmine and rolled my eyes.
“What is it with men and football? Don’t they know it’s just a game?” I brushed a strand of hair away from my eyes as I looked over to see the play. Daniel finally sent the ball to the quarterback, and after that it was just a blur.
Mason quickly faked, running through his team as they opened up a path for him. He twisted out of the grasp of some of the opposing players, but Jonas was no match for him. I winced at the sound of bodies hitting at full force, and for the hundredth time that afternoon, wondered why I was watching.
The sun was hot, beating down on the Pack, as we enjoyed a peaceful Sunday afternoon together. Mason had called everyone in for a game and food—the men getting their macho groove on first, and then once their bloodthirstiness was appeased, they’d let the women play too.
“Don’t let them hear you say that, Darcy. Last time you did, you almost started a war, and that was just with my brother.” Jasmine glanced over at Mason with a soft smile. I reached over to give her a quick hug. By becoming the future mate of the Mystic Wolves Alpha, not only did I gain someone to love forever, but I was also blessed with a best friend, sister, and confidante. Or, depending on what mischief we got up to, a partner in crime and fellow conspirator. Our favorite targets—Mason and Daniel.
“He talked to me like I was stupid. How was I to know there was actual strategy to the game? As far as I knew, it was just a bunch of guys standing around, slapping butts, and taking a million breaks in between passing the ball around,” I scoffed.
“Well, you didn’t help your case by calling them wusses. I’m pretty sure you offended their sense of masculine pride. I swear Daniel practically beat his chest at you.” She covered her mouth to hide her giggle, her gaze darting over to the object of her crush. “I’ll admit he did look adorable doing it.”
“Yeah, me Daniel ... you woman who should be in kitchen cooking.” I thumped myself, doing my best to represent a caveman. “And he’s mild compared to Mr. Alpha-Super-Protective over there.” I pointed toward Mason, feeling a flush of desire at the way his t-shirt clung tightly to his torso.
“So what does that say about us? You’re desperately in love with my brother, and I can’t quite shake the way Daniel makes me giddy when he looks at me.”
“It makes us women who know what we want, even if it means we’re crazy about a bunch of dorks.” The sound of shouting brought our attention to the field, and I groaned loudly, the sight before us a complete mess.
It was a free for all—bodies piled by the sideline, and I couldn’t quite tell who was on the bottom. Whoever it was I felt for them because all that weight … it had to hurt.
Mason rose to his feet, and began digging through the rubble. Grabbing shirts randomly, he soon had everyone pulled off the poor fool at the base of the heap. Jonas was slow to stand, looking a little drunk as he swayed back and forth. With a few hearty back slaps from his team, he shook his head as if to clear something and broke out into a wide smile.
“Neanderthals, I swear one day they’re going to kill themselves.” I snorted loudly, not caring who heard. Of course Mason did, and he winked at me. I poked my tongue at him and his voice echoed in my mind.
I blew him a kiss and looked on in horror as I saw Eric come barreling toward him. The impact of the hit sent Mason soaring through the air, much to the entertainment of the team.
“Darcy, whatever you’re doing, knock it off! We need Mason to focus, and he can’t do that if he’s making goofy eyes at you,” Daniel yelled out, and was joined with the agreement of the others. Shrugging my shoulders slightly, I offered a small apology and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw Mason standing. As if nothing had happened, he got back into formation, waiting for the ball.
A quick snap and pass to Daniel, I saw him leaping over a tackle, before running to the end for a touchdown. Cheers rose in the air, and I whistled loudly as I watched Daniel and Wade chest bump.
“Yay! You got another goal! I’m so proud of you guys!” I cupped my hands around my mouth, and hollered loudly. I was rewarded with a chorus of corrections.
“You do know it’s called a touchdown, right? This isn’t soccer,” Jasmine whispered.
“Of course, but it’s worth having them remind me when I forget. I seriously think Mason risks losing his eyeballs if they rolled any farther back into his head.”
“You’re so bad. I love it!” Jasmine knocked shoulders with me, and I reached over to grab hold of her hand.
“What else is there to do but torment the ones we love, huh? Oh, it’s your turn too by the way.” Looking around, I could see her thinking.
“Hmmm, what haven’t we used yet today?” She took in a deep breath, and then let out an almighty cry. “Come on, slackers. You call this a game? Shoot and score already!”
Mason raised his hand to his mouth, releasing a shrill whistle and signaled for a time out.
“You’re in for it now. Wonder how long it’ll take for him to start lecturing us?” I whispered quietly, watching the teams separate into their own huddles. Mason shared a few short commands before he started jogging over to where we were sitting.
“Hey babe, looking good out there. Is it almost time for us to join in? Jasmine and I have been practicing since the last time.” I flashed an innocent look, trying to hide the wicked grin I could feel under the surface. He gave me a look that melted my insides before pointing his finger at the both of us.
“What have I told you two about haggling from the sidelines?” he questioned sternly.
“Not to do it because it’s distracting,” I began.
“Because we sound silly yelling out nonsense,” Jasmine finished.
We answered him as though he was a teacher, repeating back his instructions in singsong voices. There was a brief pause before we broke into laughter, and it only became worse as he scowled.
“Come on, it’s funny. Admit it, you love every moment of it, and it’s the highlight of the game.” I reached to touch him, but the feel of his sweaty shirt made me pull back my hand. He caught the action, and a mischievous twinkle lit up his eyes.
“You know me so well, Darcy.” He closed the distance between us, and I realized what he was up to.
“Oh no you don’t, Mason O’Connor. You take that sweaty body of yours back over to your team mates and do some … I don’t know … male bonding or something.” With my arms outstretched to ward of his attempts to hold me, I wasn’t strong enough to keep him away.
Iron bands enclosed me, dragging me from my seat and into his embrace. I struggled slightly, trying to appear as though I was escaping, but I was exactly where I wanted to be—in the arms of the man I loved.
He leaned in. I couldn’t stop myself from reaching out and pulling his face to mine. His heady mixture of man, wolf, and sunshine was intoxicating—alluring. I forgot the world around me as I brushed my mouth against his.
He hadn’t shaved, soft stubble grazing against my skin, and it caused goose bumps to rise as it created friction. Parting my lips, I felt his tongue slip in and begin to tangle against mine. I went into sensory overload. Everything about this man aroused me, and I melted willingly into his tight embrace. I couldn’t get close enough.
The game was forgotten—all that existed was him and me. His hand reached into my hair, holding my head in place, and I groaned into his mouth as he deepened our kiss. If this was the kind of punishment I would receive for taunting him, I was determined to up the ante. I whimpered with disappointment when he slowly broke away, my flesh tingling everywhere he’d touched. He rendered me senseless, and I couldn’t help the goofy grin that covered my face.
Lifting my fingers to trace my lips once more, hunger burning deep, I stumbled backward and was brought out of my daze by Jasmine’s giggle.
“Was that really necessary, Brother?” she questioned, slapping him hard against his shoulder. “How are we supposed to come in and wow you all with our football skills, if you’ve addled her brain? Look at her, she can barely focus.”
“I think she looks sexy as hell.”
My heart began racing faster, Mason stepping forward to take me back into his arms. Like a magnet that can’t fight against its attraction, I moved toward him, only to meet with Jasmine’s arm.
“Leave her be. Go back and prepare to get your butts handed to you. I need to undo the damage.” She shooed him away with a flick of her wrist, and tugged on my arm.
“Has anyone told you how adorable you are when you attempt to trash talk?”
I began to chuckle at the stern look on Jasmine’s face.
“Well, at least she’s snapping out of it. Come on, Darcy. We’ve got work to do.”
Shrugging my shoulders in a sign of helpless submission, I allowed myself to be pulled toward the house. “Did you really need to interrupt?” I complained, the taste of the kiss still in my mouth. “You couldn’t have let me enjoy him just a little longer? He is my mate.”
She rolled her eyes, and snorted. “Future mate—and you both have plenty of time for all the lovey-dovey stuff. Right now, we have a game to win, so pull yourself together and help me.”
Opening the door to her bedroom, my thoughts finally settled back on the task at hand. “Okay, what do you have planned?”
Digging around in the small bag on her dresser, Jasmine held up an eyeliner pencil, a wide grin spread across her face. “Just a little fun.”
And she got down to business.
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