Saving Drew(2)

By: Lara Van Hulzen


“None taken.” Baylee winked at him. “I’ll keep an eye on her.”

“Pshhh. Two. Whatever.” Maggie complained but the look in her eyes said she adored her husband’s care for her. They excused themselves and moved to the dance floor.

Baylee missed that. Having someone look after her. And someone to look after. Well, a significant other, anyway. She wasn’t lacking someone to care for. She had her little boy, Casey. But to love and be loved? A part of her still longed for that, sure.

Lost in thought, she didn’t notice Kate’s brother on the other side of the table until he spoke.

“Did you make these?”

His voice was gruff, but not unfriendly. She’d seen him sitting in the corner alone most of the evening. Drew was a professional baseball player; that much Baylee knew. He’d been injured and had to sit out most of the season. Kate said he was going to stay awhile after the wedding, visit with their mom, Rose, but Kate was worried about him.

Baylee hadn’t officially met him yet, but she could see why Kate was concerned. He looked… unhappy. He filled out a tuxedo well though. Goodness. It wasn’t hard to see the man was built like a professional athlete. Standing at a mere five feet, three inches, Baylee had to look up to talk to him. He had to be six foot two.

He took a bite of a cupcake, some frosting sticking to his upper lip. The short, groomed beard he had going was the sexiest thing she’d seen in a long time. Baylee licked her lips.

Whoa. Time to back things up. No daydreaming about Mr. Sexy Mouth. He’d asked a question. Yes. He had.

“Guilty. I own a little bakery in town. Right next to your sister’s store.”

He raised an eyebrow as he chewed then swallowed. He swiped a napkin across his mouth.

“Kate and I are friends. I helped her plan the wedding. I made the cupcake tower…” Okay, now she was babbling. “I’m sorry. I’m Baylee.” She stuck out her hand for him to shake. He did. With a slight nod and grunt. No “Hey, I’m Drew.” Nothing. Just popped the rest of the cupcake in his mouth and chewed. He looked at the dance floor then again at her.

“You wanna dance?”

Baylee blinked. “Um. Well. Sure.”

She smoothed down her skirt and came out from behind the cupcake table. He took her hand and led her to a spot under the twinkle lights and disco ball. Her heart raced in her chest. She hadn’t danced with a man since… well, since her own wedding.

Christ Stapleton crooned about Tennessee whiskey as Drew put his arm around her waist and pulled her close. Oh, dear Lord. The man smelled as great as he looked. Like leather and the outdoors. A heady mixture, for sure.

A hint of vanilla on his breath tickled her senses when he said, “I’m Drew.”

She looked up at him, her left hand on his right shoulder, her right hand clasped in his. Up close, his eyes were more of a grey than blue. “I know.”

He nodded. A simple movement of his head. A smooth dancer, he moved them across the floor. He didn’t speak another word. When the song ended, he nodded again, kissed her hand, then left.

Baylee stood in the middle of the dance floor and watched him go.

*

Drew stepped outside for some fresh air. The joy and merriment inside was beginning to smother him. Not to mention the feelings of happily ever after that radiated off his sister.

He was happy for her. He was. Jack was a good guy, from what Drew could tell. He’d only met the guy a few times since coming to Silver Bay, but from what Kate had said, along with their mother, Jack was the real deal. Nothing like Kate’s ex, a no-good piece of work, now in prison where he belonged. Good riddance.

Drew leaned up against the building, crossed his feet at the ankles, jammed his hands in his tuxedo pants pockets. No. He didn’t begrudge his sister happiness. He just wasn’t ready to face whether he’d ever find any again himself. He’d been sitting in the corner, glad to be left alone, when the blond behind the cupcake table caught his eye. He’d seen her at the rehearsal dinner, but didn’t talk to her. He didn’t talk to anyone, really. Wasn’t up for it.

But something about her drew him in. Short, curvy, and, dare he say, cute, she was like a breath of fresh air in the dismal existence that was his life. As he watched her chat with people from behind her tower of cupcakes, for a brief moment, he hadn’t felt sorry for himself. His mind could only focus on her.