Until We're More(3)

By: Cindi Madsen


First things first, I needed to summon some of that boldness I claimed to have gained over the past several months and see where Liam and I were even starting from.

My gaze returned to my guy—er, my guy friend—and blood rushed through my head in that way that made it hard to think straight, and I just… Well, I was right there with every girl who’d ever swooned in Liam’s presence, which was a lot. I used to watch in amusement as they would turn into babbling idiots around him, and I’d even teased him about his groupies, but right now, it didn’t strike me as very funny. I had all the empathy for any girl who went and fell for Liam Roth. Especially since he was so damn hard to get over.

The five-minute buzzer sounded, Liam’s unwavering focus on his training broke, and slowly—like that serious slow-motion-type shit you see in romance movies—his eyes scanned the area and landed right on me. My heart stopped for one second. Two seconds…

A grin curved his lips, and then my feet were propelling me forward, and he was rushing down from the caged-in training area, and a floaty, fuzzy sensation took over my body.

Just when the hugging I desperately wanted to commence was finally within my reach, Liam stopped short, his arms dropping to his sides.

Oh no. My worst fears have come true. We don’t even know how to act around each other anymore.

He frowned as he glanced down at himself—since he was looking at his muscles, I figured that made it okay for me to follow suit. You know, in case he had any questions. Why, yes, your abs do look crazy-amazing and I have imagined licking them.

So much for my thoughts behaving themselves. Self-control was…a process.

“I’m all sweaty from training.” Liam glanced over his shoulder, in the direction of the locker room. “I’ll hit the showers real quick and then—”

I flung myself at him, not caring. Needing my arms around him and his arms around me, because conflicted feelings or not, I’d missed him with a nearly consuming longing that begged to be appeased. “You look… I mean, training is obviously… And I’m so happy to be…”

Great. Now I was the babbling idiot in his presence, something I hadn’t been since I was twelve. Guess that was karma, paying me back. In addition to being a bit flustered by his hotness, it went deeper than that. This was my Liam, my rock, my friend who’d always been there for me. The guy I could have fun doing absolutely nothing with.

He tightened his grip, hugging me so vigorously my toes left the ground. “Damn, I missed you.” His deep voice rumbled through me, unfurling heat in my gut, and just like that, my goals turned hazy all over again.

He’s my best friend; he’s my best friend; he’s my best friend…





Chapter Two


Liam

As much as I tried to deny it when my brother and sister claimed I’d been grouchy ever since Chelsea moved away, the calming sensation I’d missed for months washed over me now that I had my arms around her. We’d made do with texts and the occasional phone call—I’d never been great at small talk, and over the phone, my skills went from barely passable to nonexistent. Mostly she talked and I listened, which was one of the greatest things about Chelsea. Whenever I was with her, I didn’t have to do any of the talking. I could just sit back and listen, and she’d make me smile as my stress and worries melted away.

I reluctantly set her down, not too keen on the idea of letting go, since after the last time I’d hugged her this tightly she’d driven away and it’d been six extremely long months. I didn’t even mind her ponytail in my face. I’d missed her silky red strands and how I constantly found them on my T-shirt or couch or in my car, and now I had the oddest urge to run my fingers through them. Maybe even lift a curl and get a better whiff of the peach shampoo she used. When it came to Chelsea, “missed” was an understatement.

The door opened, and I shifted Chelsea to the side to make way for the group of women coming through. She looked from them to me, her forehead all scrunched up.

“We started offering classes,” I said. “To help keep a steady source of income for the gym, no matter where we are with fighters and fights.” Not my idea, and something I’d originally balked at along with my dad, but I’d do whatever it took to keep his legacy intact and the gym and my family financially afloat. Before offering the new services, I’d spent way too many sleepless nights wondering how to take care of everyone, including the fighters who’d also become family.

She arched an eyebrow. “You’re teaching classes?”