Home > The Baller's Secret Baby (Barnes Family #1)(6)

The Baller's Secret Baby (Barnes Family #1)(6)
Author: Normandie Alleman


When Saturday night finally rolled around, Dynassy brought a car to pick me up. She knocked on my door, and I was pleased to see that she was only fifteen minutes late. Normally Dynassy had little awareness of punctuality, but it was something her friends were used to. She wore a smart, white designer bodysuit, which looked amazing against her tanned skin and black hair. Her ears and wrists dripped in gold jewelry and her red lipstick was the perfect touch. I wondered how many stylists it had taken to pull together this look. In any case, she rocked it. “Hey! I’m so glad you’re saving my life going with me to this.”

She hugged me, and I hugged her back. She smelled sweet and exotic at the same time, probably one of the perfumes she’d had made for her brand. “No problem. But why is your brother having a party tonight that you had to come to all the way from Los Angeles to go to?”

Dynasty walked past me into the apartment and helped herself to a beer from the refrigerator. “I have no idea, but he insisted I come this weekend. He’s lucky my shoot in Dubai got canceled because I was planning to be out of the country. But that’s been rescheduled for Thursday.”

I couldn’t imagine living Dynassy’s jet set lifestyle, never having a chance to get used to one time zone before flying into another one, but she pulled it off like the professional that she was. I guessed that Nick had a similar situation, constantly being on the road playing against other teams. Lucinda had trained them from a young age to work hard and be on the go. Mary Lou might not approve, but it was hard not to admire the work ethic of the Barnes family, not to mention all their accomplishments.

“Let me go put on my earrings, and I’ll be ready to go.” I ran back to my bathroom, picked out a simple pair of gold hoops that looked good with my black top, and put on some lipstick.

We left a few minutes later and had a cocktail in the limo on the way to Nick’s. I wasn’t sure what kind of place I expected him to have, but for some reason I hadn’t expected it to be so grown up. I’m not sure if I expected it to look like a seventeen-year-old’s apartment, but I was impressed by the luxurious home that didn’t show a single sign of a video game arcade.

Dynassy and I got out of the car and walked up the drive. When she knocked, Nick opened the door and from the first moment I saw him my stomach erupted with butterflies.

Eden,” he said, “I’m so glad you could come.” Then he scooped me up into a brotherly hug, and as I hugged him back a part of me never wanted him to let me go. Reveling in the warmth of his huge body, I pressed my cheek against his chest, a combination of woodsy pine and fresh, clean soap drifted up to my nostrils.

After a minute I realized we were blocking the door and that there were people behind us waiting to come inside. Nick didn’t seem to mind, but it started to feel awkward so I reluctantly slid out of his arms and walked into the foyer. Nick greeted some more people and introduced me to some of his friends and teammates, but the whole thing was something of a blur. Being this close to him was so much more intense than I had anticipated. My skin felt like I developed a fever of a hundred and four. I wanted to fan myself or ask if anyone else realized how hot it was, but I didn’t dare. It had to be just me. Nick led me into the living room where he introduced me to some more people whose names I wouldn’t remember. He offered me a drink, but I was so discombobulated that I opted for a bottle of water. It seemed the safest choice.

“You’re so good,” Dynassy commented. “So that’s how you stay in such good shape. You’re a good example for us all, Eden.”

I laughed. “Don’t give me too much credit. I had a drink on the way over. I’m certainly not a model for clean living.”

“You look pretty good to me on that field last weekend.” Nick winked at me.

So that’s how he found me. “You were at the Scorpions game?”

"I was. Imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw you dancing on that field."

My cheeks warmed, and I could feel redness creeping into them. I didn't know what to say, I just wanted to stand next to him and be in his presence. All the warm feelings I had had for him as a child came rushing back, and yet they were magnified by what felt like a magnetism between us that made me want to touch him again. As if my arm belonged to someone else I reached out and touched him on the arm. "I'm glad you did." The minute the words left my mouth I wish I could take them back. I was terrible at flirting, my skills with men were only one step above abysmal, but Nick didn't seem to notice.

The one thing I knew about social situations was that people like to talk about themselves, so whenever I felt uncomfortable in a social situation I resorted to asking the other person questions about himself. In this case it was a win – win proposition. I didn't have to talk about myself, and I got to hear a lot more about Nick.

"So, before you came to Austin you were in LA?" I acted like I had no idea, though I knew when he was drafted by the team out there.

“Yeah.”

“I’ll bet your mom loved that.”

He made a face, and I laughed.

“You went to Villanova?”

He nodded. “But enough about me. What about you? Where did you go to school?”

“Oh. UT-Austin for undergrad and UT Dallas for med school.”

“Didn’t Dynassy tell me you graduated early?”

I blushed, and nodded. “I started early.”

“Brains and beauty—a lethal combination.” He shook his head. “Where the hell have you been these past eleven years, Eden Evans?”

Right under your nose, I thought, but I rolled my eyes, making sure he knew I wouldn’t be won over so easily with a little sweet talkin.’ Inside, however, I swooned.

Dynassy walked over to us. “You didn’t tell me Legion was such a case,” she said to Nick.

Legion was the Athletics’ flamboyant point guard. Anyone who had ever seen him play knew he was a grade-A ham, but he was one of the league’s best players and the other half of their dynamic duo that included Nick and had the Athletics on a 27-0 home game winning streak.

“He’s hilarious,” Nick agreed.

Legion put on some music, and started doing a brilliant imitation of a local DJ they were apparently all friends with. One of Nick’s teammates tried to get me to do one of the Scorpion’s cheerleading routines. I vehemently declined, and Nick came to my rescue by changing the subject and telling a story that involved Legion and some hair removal cream on their last road trip. Everybody laughed, and I realized I was actually enjoying myself.

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