Grace moved in time to the music while holding a beer in her hand and her wristlet purse in the other. Daire was behind her, moving, but barely. For someone so hot, he sure didn’t know how to dance. He couldn’t even seem to find his rhythm.
It didn’t matter. She was having fun. For the first time since her split with Dave, she was out enjoying herself. It didn’t matter that her date couldn’t dance. She took a step back at the same time he took one forward. Her bottom bumped into his groin. His hand snaked around her, pulling her closer.
Heat flooded through her, and not just because he was warm to the touch. His musk filled her senses, and she breathed it in. She let her head fall back on his chest.
“Are you having a good time?” he asked.
“Yeah. You?” Grace looked over her shoulder so she could see his face.
He scanned the room. “Yeah. It’s busier here than I thought it’d be.”
“Only bar in town, and it’s a Friday night,” she reminded with a laugh. “Do you play pool?”
“Sure. It looks like there’s a table available.” He nodded to the corner where a table had just opened up.
She found his hand with hers and guided him over to the table. “I haven’t played since college,” she said. Even then she’d just played with Dave when they were out on a double date.
“I guess I’ll have to go easy on you,” he said with a smirk.
Grace shook her head. “No. If I win, I want it to be fair and square. No ‘I-took-it-easy-on-you’ baloney.”
“Fine, you go first,” he said, offering her a pool stick. She set her purse down on the edge of the pool table.
She slipped the stick from his hand, shivering when his warm, callused fingers grazed against his. It had been a long time since she’d been with a man, and Daire would be a great guy to take home. But that wasn’t her thing. She was a relationship girl—always had been. He’d been married; maybe he’d prefer something a little more permanent, too. She’d have to feel him out.
Grace turned to the pool table. She leaned forward, eyeing the balls and her position as she prepared to break. She drew the stick through her fingers and shoved it forward, whacking the cue ball with a loud crack. It rolled across the felt and smacked into the triangle of balls. They rolled across the table, but none of them went into any of the holes.
“Darn,” she said with a sigh.
Daire chuckled as he set up his shot. He hit the ball, sending it careening into not one, but two solid balls that both fell in the pocket.
She pouted but didn’t say anything when he lined up his next shot and hit another ball in. “You do this a lot?” she asked after he hit in his fourth ball.
He shrugged. “I’ve spent a lot of time in bars. It’s given me plenty of opportunities to practice.”
“You don’t seem like a heavy drinker.” She watched him through narrowed eyes. He wasn’t drunk; he didn’t smell of alcohol, either. Not once since she’d met him.
“I can’t get drunk.”
“Really? That must be nice. I got drunk once in college. Never again.” She shook her head. Worst night of her life. “So, you can drink whatever you like without repercussion?” That was hard to believe. Everyone had a limit, right?
He nodded as he took his next shot. “It’s a good thing. I’ve become quite fond of moonshine.”
“Never had it.” She watched as he hit the ball. It bounced off the wall and hit one of the solid balls right into the pocket. At this rate, she’d be lucky to get another shot in.
“You’re missing out. It’s strong but good. I wouldn’t drink too much of it your first go. Do you want another beer?” he asked, nodding at her nearly empty bottle.
“No. I’m good. I might go into work to pick up some overtime in the morning.”
“What do you do?” Daire asked.
Grace snorted. “I’m an assistant at Channel Five News.”
“So, you help the reporters out and stuff?” he asked.
“Sort of. I follow up on leads, take their calls, and fact check things before they air stories. It’s okay, but it’s not what I want to be doing.”
“What makes you say that?” he asked as he put down the stick to stare at her.
She shifted under his gaze. “I was going to college for journalism and communications. I was the editor of the school paper, and everything looked promising for me until I got pregnant. Don’t get me wrong; I would do it all over again for my son. Caden is a wonderful boy, and I can’t imagine my life without him. I just wish I hadn’t let Dave talk me into quitting school. I should’ve finished. It would’ve been hard, but other people have done it. Now…” She trailed off and shook her head. “Not only did I drop out of school, but I stayed home up until we filed for divorce. I’m lucky to be working in the field I want to at all. Luckily, I had an acquaintance from school that worked at the news station and helped me get my job. I’m doing good to pay all my bills on time each month. I don’t have the time or money to go back to school to finish. I think the only hope I have to pursue my dream career is to get my big break, but what are the chances of me finding the story of a lifetime?”
Daire mumbled something under his breath that sounded like, ”Be careful what you wish for,” but before she could question him, he asked, “Your ex doesn’t help you out financially?”
Grace sighed. “I get child support, but I racked up a lot of credit cards to pay for my divorce. Once you fall into the pit of credit card debt, it’s near impossible to dig yourself out. But things are looking up; I’ve got my apartment and car.”
“How is your car running, by the way?”
“So far, so good. I don’t think it’s ever run so good. So, thanks.”
He lined up another shot and hit the eight ball into the pocket. “Game.”
“When I told you not to take it easy on me, I didn’t think I was playing a professional,” she teased. “One more round?”