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What you need, p.22
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       What You Need, p.22

         Part #1 of Need You series by Lorelei James

  “Annika tends to forget sometimes that she’s a girl. Blame it on three brothers and three older boy cousins.”

  I set my hand on his chest.

  He took my other hand and kissed the inside of my wrist.

  “Nice little PDA you’ve got going on, cuz.”

  “Fuck off, Nolan.”

  “Such language.” He laughed. “And who is this lovely lady who is far too beautiful for the likes of you?”

  Nolan Lund was as outrageously good looking as he was charming, which was why we’d nicknamed him “The Prince.”

  I offered my hand. “I’m Lennox Greene, Mr. Lund.” I didn’t remind him we’d met before. Being overlooked as part of the furniture was part of the gig as a temp worker.

  He scrutinized me. “You look familiar.”

  “I work at LI.” Maybe he’d seen me dancing on the bar—not that I’d offer up the prompt.

  “I take it you’re the one who accompanied Brady to Flurry last weekend?”


  “And? How did you like it?”

  Brady and I exchanged a look and my cheeks flushed as I remembered the sexy, sensual way he had moved against me on the dance floor. “It was fun.”

  When I looked up, Nolan had returned to his date—a skeletal redhead with a bored expression and Botoxed lips.

  “Looks like you saved the best for last, bro.” A gorgeous blond man, with the physique and beard of a lumberjack, stepped into my personal space. “I’m Walker. The black sheep of the family.”

  “Black sheep. Yeah, right,” Brady scoffed.

  “I’m Lennox.” My face was starting to hurt from smiling so much. “Brady’s told me a little about you, so it’s nice to finally meet you.”

  “Well, sweetheart, you were a complete surprise to me. I had no idea Brady was dating someone.” Walker’s eyes, a frostier blue than Brady’s, lit up. He sent Brady a You dog look. “That’s where he saw you. Dancing on the bar.”

  “No, I’d met Lennox before that. At work,” he emphasized.

  “Whatever. I’m glad to see you here with him. Can I get you something to drink?”

  “We were making our way to the bar, so I’ll take care of her.”

  Walker grinned. “I’ll just bet you will.”

  Lord have mercy, he has the biggest dimples I’ve ever seen.

  “Stop sighing over my damn brother,” Brady muttered.

  “And I’m not even the hot one,” Walker said, keeping that dimpled grin in place.

  “I know. I’ve already got the hot one.” I squeezed Brady’s hand.

  Brady murmured, “That comment would so get you laid if we were—”

  “Kickoff in three minutes,” Ward announced.

  “Have a seat over there.” Brady pointed to a corner where none of his family sat. “What would you like to drink?”

  “Just a Coke.”

  “Really? Okay.” He paused. “What about food?”

  “I’m good for now.”

  I felt the watchful eyes as I slid onto a super comfy lounge chair.

  I’d never been much of a football fan, but I knew enough about it to keep my mouth shut and listen to those who did know what every play meant.

  And this crowd was serious about football—as if the dozen LUND jerseys weren’t hint enough.

  When Brady didn’t sit next to me, I turned to see him deep in conversation with his dad. By the way they were intently watching the field, I could tell they were discussing the game.

  I took a second to check my phone since I hadn’t bothered up in the North Woods. A missed call from Maxie. A text from Kiley to let me know she’d be back earlier tonight than she’d planned.

  “Bored already?” Brady whispered in my ear.

  “No. I thought maybe you’d ditched me.”

  “I just got the lowdown from my dad on why Ford isn’t playing. That means Jensen will definitely get field time.”

  Brady spoke of these guys as if they were friends. I supposed in a way they were, since they were his brother’s friends.

  “It’s a slim crowd here today.”

  “Is this all of your family?”

  “No, my cousin Jaxson is a hockey player with the Chicago Blackhawks, so it’s a travel day for him. My cousin Ash isn’t here yet because he’s helping his little sister Dallas. She won’t be here since apparently she fell off the pyramid and screwed up her knee yesterday.”

  “Your cousin was in Egypt?”

  He laughed. “No. She’s a U of M cheerleader. Their pyramid crashed during the halftime show and she was on the top.”

  “Oh. Now I feel stupid about that too.”

  He grabbed my chin and gently forced me to look at him. “Don’t ever say that.” He kissed me hard. “Now watch the game.”

  I tried to focus. But my body seemed hyperaware of every movement Brady made. Of every deep grumble of disapproval. Of the ease with which football terms flew from his mouth.

  Tight End.

  Hard-line offense.

  First down.

  Roughing the passer.

  Off sides.

  Half the distance to the goal.

  Repeat third down.

  And my personal favorite: got stuffed.

  I moved around during halftime. I knew Brady was itching to discuss the finer points of the first half with his family, so I wandered out of the skybox. Even Bart had bailed. I found an alcove between the two skyboxes where I could look down onto the field. The flexible dome roof made it windy at the top of this side, but I welcomed the air and breathed deeply for the first time in over an hour.

  The third quarter started and I knew I should get back inside, but I needed a few more minutes of solitude. I kept an eye on the field and saw number 88 leap into the air to catch a pass. The Lund family broke out into a collective cheer so loud I bet Jensen had heard it. On the next down, once again Jensen caught the ball and he made it a few yards before he was tackled.

  The next play had Jensen “The Rocket” Lund living up to his name. The quarterback was able to buy them enough time for Jensen to get way downfield at the ten-yard line. The pass the quarterback threw? A perfect spiral. Jensen caught it, hunkered down and didn’t stop until he’d passed the goal line.

  The stadium went nuts.

  I felt that rush of adrenaline from sixty thousand rabid fans roll over me in a wave. Everything was so loud I couldn’t hear how hard the Lunds were celebrating right next to me. I remained where I was, reluctant to interrupt their family celebration. Hearing them talk, I could tell this was the moment they’d been waiting for all season.

  The kick was good and the Vikings were up by fourteen over Detroit.

  Brady didn’t track me down until there were only four minutes left of the third quarter. He was so solid and so warm when he moved in behind me and he was one of the few men I’d ever been with who made me feel petite. And when he put his arms around me I felt protected. I closed my eyes and savored the feeling.

  “Did it get to be a little much in there for you?”

  Sitting so close to you, having you touching me but not really touching me . . . hearing the deep rumble of your voice . . . it all mixed together to create a very potent cocktail I couldn’t sample.

  “I needed some air.”

  He kissed the top of my head. “I hate to admit I didn’t see when you left.”

  “No worries. I was out here when Jensen made his big play. Talk about exciting.”

  “It’s what we’ve been waiting for, for two years since Jensen signed on with the team. He had one game-making play in the regular season his rookie year. But the team hasn’t utilized him like they should. Jensen has wanted to play for the Vikings his entire life. But he knew if he didn’t get time on the field this year he’d become a free-agent.”


  “Yeah, baby?” he murmured behind my ear.

  “Can I tell you something?”


  “It is a huge tur
n-on to hear you talking football. The inflections in your voice, the passion, even those very ripe curses—it’s like an auditory aphrodisiac for me.”

  “Lennox, I just went from freezing my balls off to completely hard in like five seconds.”

  I angled my head to nuzzle him. I let the tip of my tongue tickle the beard scruff beneath his chin. “You were getting to be too much for me, Brady. That’s why I had to leave.”

  “And what do you think we should do about that?” He circled my wrists with his fingers and lifted my arms, placing my palms flat on the concrete walls on either side of me. Then he followed the undersides of my arms down to my chest. He squeezed and teased, his breath coming hot and fast in my ear. “Should I give you a personal play-by-play?”

  “Of the football game?” I answered breathlessly.

  “No, of what I’m going to do to you.” He nipped my earlobe. “You’ve gotten a peek at the pregame plan, but this? This is the real deal. I’m going to keep after you until I get you to the goal line. How’s that sound?”

  “Like a challenge.”

  “I’m up for it.”

  My knees went a little weak when he urged, “Spread your legs.”

  But I managed to step out and give him room.

  “That’s a girl. Now listen up.” He lowered one hand to my hip and used the other to continue to torment my breast. “We’re starting fresh. It’s first and ten. Tell me what that means.”

  “Ten moves until you score?”

  “I hope not. You’re primed, baby. I don’t want to rush for the goal. It’s too easy to fumble.” He lifted the bottom of my jersey and slipped his hand beneath the silky fabric. He swept his thumb along the top of my jeans, making my belly quiver with every pass. “Do you know what it means when someone’s buttoned up?”

  How was I supposed to think when everything about him—sight, sound, scent, strength—surrounded me? “It means conservative?”

  “Very good, Miss Greene. You were buttoned up from the moment I first met you. But it’s a decoy play, isn’t it?” He delicately licked behind my ear and my entire body shuddered. “Let’s dispense with it.” He gripped the denim between his thumb and forefinger and pulled until the steel button slipped through the hole. “Next let’s move on to the zipper line offense. Which just means the most direct path with the least amount of resistance.”

  Zip. My jeans were undone.

  He mumbled about an easy cover play when my panties were no barrier for him.

  “He uses the side to side sweep, looking for that elusive opening.”

  My flesh went hot and tight. My heart thundered. I clenched my thighs.

  “He’s blocked.”


  “Next pass, he spreads out.”

  Then my intimate skin was opened up with his tender fingers and I held my breath.

  He said, “Lund goes deep,” in that whiskey-rough voice.

  I groaned when he plunged a finger inside me.

  Once. Twice. Three times.

  Brady scraped the scruff of his beard down the left side of my neck.

  “He’s searching, then he reaches out and finds that sweet spot.” He stroked me with renewed determination. “He drives toward the finish. Pumping harder. Faster. Deeper.”

  “There. Right there.”

  “Tell me you trust me to get you over the goal line.”

  “Yes. Please. Just . . . don’t stop.” I was panting as if I’d actually run down the football field.

  When that moment of release came, Brady’s voice stayed in my ear. Telling me I was beautiful, telling me I blew his mind.

  I slumped against him, letting my arms drop, deciding in that moment that if ceding control to him resulted in this? I never wanted it back.



  “Look at me.”

  When I glanced down, I expected to see my clothing askew, but he’d righted it. How hadn’t I noticed?

  Oh, right. He’d blanked my mind to everything except orgasmic bliss.

  I turned toward him.

  Brady framed my face in his hands and kissed me. It was urgent, desperate, reckless. I wanted to climb him like a goalpost and wrap myself around him so tightly every millimeter of our skin would touch.

  He tore his mouth free but kept his hands in place. “I want more of you.”

  “You have all of me.” I’d never said that to another man in my life and the fact I’d said it without conscious thought scared me a little.

  “It’s a big day for Jensen. He’ll come looking for us when he’s done with all the media stuff. I understand if you don’t want to stick around, but please understand I don’t have a choice.”

  “You want to be here anyway. As you should be.”

  “How pissed off would you be if I loaded your stuff into a car service and had it drop you off?”

  “I wouldn’t be pissed at all.” I’d be relieved.

  “Do you want to stay for the fourth quarter?”

  “No. I’m sure traffic is ridiculous after the game, so I could get a jump on it if I left now.”

  “You’re sure?”

  “As long as you can come up with something plausible to tell your family on why I left without saying good-bye.”

  “I’ll tell them you weren’t feeling well but you didn’t want me to miss out on the celebration.”

  I smiled. “I’m so damn thoughtful that way.”

  He laughed. “That you are.” He pressed another lingering kiss to my forehead. “I can call the valet stand. Eddie will coordinate with the car service. And you don’t have to pay or tip your driver. I want you to text me when you’re home, okay?”

  “Of course.” I stood on my tiptoes and pecked him on the mouth. “Until tomorrow. Have fun.”

  Chapter Sixteen



  I couldn’t sleep.

  At five a.m., I gave up, threw on workout clothes and headed downstairs to my home gym.

  Normally I crank the stereo while I’m on the treadmill, but I
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