Taming His Tutor(2)

By: Natalie Anderson

Abbi blinked. Horn?

Do not look down. Do not look down and check him out again. Not his neck or his chest or his…horn.

Her damn peripheral vision kept updating her anyway. Blue jeans. Faded red tee. Tan on that lickable neck. Thick dark hair, a little on the long side. Stubble. That smile—the sort that made a woman’s toes curl with sexual awareness. And she couldn’t help but wonder if that horn would be as ultra as the rest of him?

But as Abbi oh-so-determinedly focused on his green eyes, recognition hit.

She knew him.

Oh. My. Where had her brain been hiding?

In the same instant, he frowned. His head tilted as he looked even more intently at her. “Don’t I know you…?”

Where was the rock to go crawl behind when you needed it? Abbi’s heart sank. Most of her classmates would never recognize her—not because of some dumb new dress, but because they’d never bothered to look at her at school long enough to remember her now. Dispiritedly she couldn’t help starting a mental count…

One, tw—

“Abigail Hayes.” He pointed at her.

She couldn’t believe he’d figured it so quick.

“Abigail ‘Math Champ’ Hayes,” he clarified, blinking a couple of times.

Then his smile reappeared, bigger, more irresistible—the smile that had always made her toes curl back in high school.

“Hello Joe ‘Basketball Champ’ Fuller,” she replied, amazed she sounded as collected as she did. Because this was Joe “So Freaking Sexy” Fuller, and he was even more freaking sexy now that he was a decade older and had fully filled out the potential of that height and those shoulders.

Then again, rumor had it he’d been fulfilling fantasies every which way back in high school, too. The crude stories the cool girls like Elle Manning had shared when they thought no one was around to hear? Given Abbi had been “no one,” she’d overheard Elle tell how huge he was and how she’d nearly choked going down on him.

Elle Manning had been one of many girls who’d hit their knees for Joe Fuller, and she’d let her friends know just how much stamina he had. One by one they’d lined up, eager to find it all out for themselves.

Abbi’s only surge of popularity at school had been three months prior, when she’d had to tutor new-to-school Joe in the math he’d missed out on because his revolving-door foster home placements had meant too many schools in too short of a time.

It had taken only six sessions for him to catch up. Joe Fuller wasn’t stupid.

Elle and her gang had ditched Abbi the second they realized she had no insider info to offer. It wasn’t like she and Joe ever talked anything other than math. He’d been utterly focused on coming to grips with equations, definitely not with getting a grip on her. Not that she blamed him. Back then she’d worn a sloppy scarf-and-sweater combo, had braces on her teeth, and had hidden behind her overlong bangs. With the math brilliance bit, she’d hit all the nerd-alert buttons.

She’d been invisible.

And within weeks he’d had the likes of Elle to amuse himself with.

So yeah, Abbi was stunned he’d recognized her at all today. But he seemed equally stunned.

“What’ve you been doing this last decade?” He faced her square-on in the middle of the sidewalk, apparently not giving a damn that someone might want to pass. He just asked the question, real casual, in that that low-slung, sexy way. “You look really great.”

Oh. She remembered. She’d followed the dress tips of her own app and had her clothing made-to-measure. Her workmate Nadia had sent her to her favorite seamstress a month ago. Today was the first day Abbi had braved wearing one of the dresses she’d had made. She’d wanted to get over how self-conscious she felt wearing it and had figured that a Saturday was the perfect day to try as she was less likely to see someone she knew. She’d figured wrong. And while the dress covered—up to her collarbones, down to just below her knee, with three-quarter-length sleeves—it clung to her curves.

They were the real reason she needed personalized tailoring.

“Thanks,” she answered, quickly clearing her throat to be able to add, “You too.”

That was no mere courtesy response. He did look great. Fucking great. He always had. And she’d always been lost for words around him. Words other than math instruction that is. Uh-huh, she was that pathetic.

“It’s been a helluva long time,” he said, still not moving from his place bang in the middle of the path.

“Yeah.” Nine years since they’d spoken, though less since she’d seen him. But he didn’t need to know about the couple of times she’d been in the crowd to watch him play basketball. NBA stars had enough groupies, right? Given Joe had been young, hot, and successful girls-wise before he hit the big time, he’d surely had more than his fair share. He’d gone to college on a sports scholarship, only to leave at the end of the first year to go into the draft. He’d been a first-round pick and catapulted into the millionaire bracket just like that.

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