Home > Out of Bounds(3)

Out of Bounds(3)
Author: Lauren Blakely

He sweeps an arm out grandly. “By all means. Pronounce.”

I drop my hand and meet his gaze. “You have a big goose egg, Andrew. We need to get some ice on it.”

“That’s your opinion as a lawyer, or a surf angel?”

“Both,” I say, then I rise. “Let’s go freeze your brain.”

He stands up too, and my breath catches. He’s so good-looking, and he towers over me. I’m not short. I’m average height. But he’s athlete height, and it’s intoxicating. There’s just something about a tall, well-built man that makes you want to step out of your panties right then and there, toss them over your shoulder, and say . . .


Settle down, wild imagination.

I meant, there’s something about a tall, well-built man that makes your heart beat faster. That’s all I meant.

He strokes his chin as if in deep thought. “I do like ice. I’ve often felt it’s one of those great inventions of the world. It reduces swelling and when you’re done, you put it in a drink.” He waves a hand in the air, like the idea just occurred to him. “Like, say, a margarita.”

He raises an eyebrow, and the look in his eyes is so damn inviting. If I were insecure, I’d ask myself if this man is actually asking me out for a drink. But I’m not that kind of a girl. I’m the confident kind, and I like confidence in return.

“Why yes, Andrew,” I say, batting my eyes. “You can buy me a margarita while I ice your skull.”

“In some universe, somewhere, that’s code for something very dirty,” he says, shaking his head as he laughs. “In this universe, I’ll take it at face value. And I’ll take you out for a drink.”

When I carried my surfboard from my nearby home to the beach this Sunday afternoon, I never expected a date with a surfing quarterback. But it sounds damn good to me. Even if he’s pretending he’s not a ballplayer right now.

He’s playing at being a regular Joe.

I drop my surfboard at the Hang Ten shop since I know the owner, Daisy, a forty-something gal with a fishtail braid and a sunshine personality that suits her name. I tell her I’ll snag it later.

She pats my board affectionately, anthropomorphizing it as she often does. “We’ll keep your girl safe and sound.”

Then I head to a bar on the beach to play pretend. Only there’s no faking the attraction that already feels real.



Chapter Two


The hot-as-sin blond beauty points across the table to the big red parachute in the sky. A woman hangs below it in a harness, pulled along by a boat in front of her.

“I can’t believe you’ve never gone parasailing,” Dani says, as she returns her focus to me, her big brown eyes wide and sparkling. “Venice Beach has awesome parasailing. You have to try it. Besides, there are no surfboards in the air.”

“That is a great selling point for parasailing. And I had no idea there was parasailing here. I always thought of Venice Beach as more of a surf town, or just a hangout town,” I say, picking up my beer bottle and tipping some back. She’s seated next to me at the table and we’re watching the beach. A guy rides a unicycle, a parrot perched on his shoulder. Behind him, a pack of skateboarders in low-slung shorts tear up the concrete. Someone else plays the drums farther down the path, beating out a hippy tune.

“It’s an everything town. I’ve lived here for a couple years,” she says, and I can see her fitting into this sunshine life. Blond hair, brown eyes, tanned skin. Ridiculously hot body, even though she’s covered it up now with a tank dress she had in her mesh bag. At first I pegged her for an actress or model, and if that makes me shallow, so be it. She’s just fucking hot. But lawyer seems to suit her, since she’s sarcastic and likes to give me a hard time. Both work for me. I’m especially enjoying the fact that she has no clue who I am. Fine, I’m not Tom Brady and I don’t expect people to recognize me all the time, but it happens enough, so it’s nice to just move in and out of crowds without anyone realizing they might see me on TV on any given Sunday.

Which is why I grabbed my ball cap and shades when I dropped my board in the back of my buddy’s truck that I borrowed today, before grabbing this table with Dani.

“I’m a California girl,” she adds.

“You’re Dani California.”

She smiles. “Like the song.”

“Except, Dani died in the song,” I say, referring to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ tune. I shake my head. “Let’s pretend I didn’t say that.”

She laughs. “Yeah, bit of a bummer. I’ll erase that from my memory banks, even though I love the Red Hot Chili Peppers.”

“As much as you like surfing?”

She leans into my shoulder and whispers. “Almost as much as I love margaritas,” she says, lifting her glass. As she takes a sip I can’t seem to look away, because this woman has spectacular lips.

I mean, c’mon. It’s not like I didn’t notice when we first started talking. Even if my head hurt. Even if my vision was a little fuzzy. Now, I’ve got my hand on the back of my head, icing the bump with an ice pack the waiter brought over, and I’m dying to know how her lips taste.

“Do you surf a lot?” she asks me.

“Just started recently. Loving it so far.” Surfing is one of the few athletic activities that’s not forbidden by my contract, which is why I’ve been trying to get on the waves as often as I can these days. “What about you?”

“I’ve been doing it for a while. I try to go whenever I have a day off and it’s beautiful out like this. Let me know if you ever want a lesson,” she says, her tone flirty.

“I will take you up on that, no doubt,” I say, adjusting the ice pack. “You ever been hit by a board?”

“A few times. But not on the back of my head. Did you hear about the guy who runs Wild Sand Surf Shop down the road?”

“No. But wait. Let me guess.” I hold up a hand and scrunch my forehead, like I’m thinking hard. Then, as if I’m on a game show, I call out the answer. “I’ve got it. He was hit by a board?”

“Yes,” she says, narrowing her eyes. “Mr. Sarcasm. But wait till you hear where he was hit.”

“Oh man, this is gonna be good.”

“It is. Because his nickname is . . . wait for it . . . One-Eyed Jack.”

Reflexively, I cup a hand over my eye. “No. Say it isn’t so.”

She nods. “It is so. Tip of the board hit him here,” she says, tapping the corner of her eye. “He has a glass eye.”

I cringe. It takes a lot to make me cringe. But I really enjoy the use of my eyes. A lot. So, the prospect of not seeing is pure wince-worthy. “That’s really making me want to surf again.” I take a beat, then loudly add, “Not.”

“And every year on Halloween he goes all out. He slathers makeup all over his eye to look freaky. Like, fake blood and everything coming out of it.”

“That actually sounds mildly horrifying.”

She smiles wickedly. “It is absolutely mildly horrifying. But it’s a great costume for scaring people.”

I raise my chin. “What about you? What’s your scariest costume?”

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