Seven-Year Seduction

By: Heidi Betts

“Yes! Go, go, go!”

Fans went wild as the running back for the Crystal Springs Panthers raced across the field, making a touchdown and scoring extra points just as the buzzer sounded, winning the game for his team. Everyone on the home team’s side of the bleachers jumped to their feet and began to cheer.

Beth Curtis joined them, yelling and bouncing up and down in celebration of her former high school’s football team winning against their greatest rivals. Grinning from ear to ear, she turned and threw herself into the arms of the person on her immediate right—who just happened to be Connor Riordan.

Connor was five years her senior—the same age as her brother, Nicholas—but from the time she’d turned thirteen, she’d used any excuse to be closer to him, to be the focus of his attention and that coffee-brown gaze that made her weak in the knees.

She pressed her face to his cheek and rubbed against its sandpaper roughness. Even though it was practically freezing, and they were both wrapped up in heavy coats, hats, scarves and mittens, she could smell the musky scent of his evergreen cologne.

God, she loved that smell. Sometimes, when she and her girlfriends took a break from studying the law and all its many intricacies at the University of Cincinnati Law School, they’d take a trip to the mall. Beth almost always found herself standing in the men’s fragrance department, sniffing at the colorful bottles until she found one that smelled the most like Connor.

She suspected he wore Aspen, but couldn’t be positive without seeing the actual bottle he likely kept on his bedroom dresser. But she was working hard at finding out for sure.

Along with acing her next exam, one of her objectives was to seduce Connor and make her way not only into his bedroom but into his bed. She’d had this aspiration since somewhere around her senior year of high school, but now she was an adult and there was no reason why she and Connor couldn’t become lovers. She had been saving herself for him, after all.

He set her back on her feet, still grinning with the thrill of victory as he brushed an errant strand of hair away from her face.

As willing as the crowd had been to sit in the stands for more than two hours to cheer on their favorite team, they were just as eager to leave now that they knew who’d won. People began collecting their seat warmers and empty cocoa cups and filing out of the stands.

“Hey, Curtis,” Connor called over her head to her brother, who had his arm around his longtime girlfriend, Karen Morelli. “We going over to Yancy’s for burgers?”

“Nah. Karen and I thought we’d head home. She wants to go shopping in the morning and we need to get an early start.” Nick rolled his eyes, letting his friend know just how much he was looking forward to that.

“I could go for a burger,” Beth put in quickly, seizing the opportunity to be alone with Connor.

It took him a minute, but finally he agreed. “Okay.” He tossed a look at Nicholas. “I’ll drop her off after we get a bite to eat.”

“Sounds good.” Karen and Nick shuffled single file to the end of their row, leaving Beth and Connor to follow.

When they reached the jam-packed parking lot, Nick and Karen headed for his car while Beth stuck with Connor as he ambled toward his truck. The cold night air chilled her fingers, even inside their gloves, and caused her cheeks to tingle.

“Brr. It sure is cold tonight.”

“Yeah.” Connor unlocked the driver’s side, then leaned across the seat to push open the passenger-side door. “Get in and I’ll crank up the heat.”

Beth eagerly climbed in and fastened her seat belt, holding her hands up to the vents as warm air began pouring out. They crawled like ants toward the exit of the school parking lot, vehicles each taking turns as everyone tried to squeeze out at the same time. Connor turned on the radio and tuned it to a Martina McBride song in an attempt to fill the silence in the pickup’s cab and drown out some of the shouts and horn blasts from surrounding cars.

“Yancy’s is going to be crowded,” Beth pointed out, knowing that just about everyone went there after a game, whether it was to cheer another win for the Panthers’ season, or to commiserate over a well-played loss.

Connor slanted her a glance as the car ahead of them eased forward. “I thought you were hungry.”

She shrugged a shoulder, leaning back against the seat now that she was no longer chilled.

“Want to go someplace else?”

Taking a deep breath and swallowing down any remaining nerves bouncing around in her stomach, she said, “How about Makeout Point?”

He responded with a bark of laughter, followed by a dark, wide-eyed stare that clearly told her he thought she’d lost her marbles. “You can’t be serious.”