Chapter 4

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Josh saw the sign with the BlackJack's logo on it, his name scrawled in black spiky letters. He waved his hand above the crowd, and veered towards his driver.

"Josh!" the driver beamed, his familiar Mexican accent reaching above the crowd.

"Hey Ric! Lookin' good, my man." Josh said, and the two slapped each other on the arm. "Wife doing ok these days?"

"She's due in a month, can you believe it? I'm gonna be a Papa!" the man said, grinning ear to ear.

Josh nodded, and congratulated him. He glanced at Gretchen, her nose in her phone. He didn't want to part ways here, in the busy airport. He wanted more time.

"Ric. I have a request. This is Gretchen. She bought me a coffee today, I would like to drop her off at her hotel before we head over. Is that ok?"

"Yeah, that's fine." Ric said, winking and smiling at Gretchen.

"Oh, Josh, its ok, I can just take a shuttle, really-" Gretchen protested, putting her phone back in her pocket.

Josh shushed her with a finger over her mouth. "No arguing. Just say 'Yes Josh, that would be lovely. Thank you'."

She laughed, stood on tiptoe, and impulsively kissed his cheek. "Alright, alright. You win. Thank you."

Her lips touched his cheek and he reveled in the feeling of her so close. As she turned to follow Ric, he wanted to pull her to him and do naughty things right there in the airport. Even not touching her for a second was driving him nuts. She felt so good curved into his body, and the way her hips moved made it difficult to think straight as she walked ahead of him.

His body was at war with his brain because he didn't do the girl-in-every-city like a lot of players, and had never had a one-night stand. It was always too risky, and his career was more important than a roll in the hay. Always. He didn't want to hurt her, since she seemed really sweet and nice, and not likely to be the kind of girl who would fall into bed on a whim.

Or not, he had not clue since he really didn't know her at all.

But as she pushed through the doors to the pickup area, looking back at him and smiling, he paused. Maybe the idea of a distraction was the best way to look at it. He'd have to be clear on the rules. No strings, right?

He warred with himself as to how to handle this physical attraction with the knowledge it could be just that. Besides, who knew where he was going to end up in the next few weeks. Likely not back in Toronto.

They stepped out into the cool desert night, and he took in a deep breath of dry air. It wasn't that he hated Vegas, he loved it here. He liked the guys on the team. Heck, the trainers were fantastic too, the general manager a constant in his life that had helped him to get where he was. Often, he'd work the lineups with Coach, and critique some of the younger players at practice.

But, it wasn't where he wanted to be in his career.

When he had arrived at the airport to head to Vegas, he had wanted to be anywhere else but there. And now, as he watched Ric heft Gretchen's suitcase into the back of the team van, he didn't want to be anywhere but with her. Preferably naked. He ran a hand over his face.

He was losing it.

He must have made a sound, because Gretchen turned back to him, her brow furrowed. "You ok?"

He waved his hands. "Yeah, yeah. Fine. Tired, maybe."

She stepped up to him and put a hand on his chest, and he looked down into her face as she searched his in concern. He searched back for an indication he could go ahead with his plan, that she was open to one night, to letting go. He leaned in, a hand on her elbow, but then stopped as people were looking and pointing in his direction. More autograph requests were likely headed his way if they didn't get in the van. His frustration bubbled and she caught the people out of the corner of her eye and frowned at them before looking back at him.

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