Calculated Risk

Calculated Risk by Zoe M. McCarthy

Book: Calculated Risk by Zoe M. McCarthy Read Free Book Online
Authors: Zoe M. McCarthy
Tags: Christian fiction
around Cisney and hugged her sideways. “There’s always next year, partner.”
    Sweet Tony bore the loss well. At least she was saved from doing the victory dance. Ready for a soda, a chair, and the show, she pulled her phone from her pocket. A photo of Nick performing the victory dance might come in handy at work.
    Fran dismounted her bar stool and extended her hand toward Tony, snapping her fingers. He retrieved a CD from the counter over the refrigerator and gave it to her.
    Fannie backed toward the staircase while her sister put the CD in the player. “For the victory dance, Cisney, the runners-up get to pick the dance and the music, and the winners have to be their partners. It’s the reward for us losers, who get to watch their performance.”
    What? She had to perform some crazy dance with Nick? What kind of victory dance was that? “I don’t see how this constitutes a reward for the winners.”
    Tony handed her a soda and popped the top of his. “Just be thankful you don’t have to do the chicken dance Nancy chose last year for Nick and Allison.”
    Cisney chortled. She couldn’t help it. She’d have paid good money to witness Nick flapping his elbows.
    “What’s the dance this year, Tony?” Nancy asked.
    “You and Nick have to roll up your pant legs and dance the polka with us.” Tony turned to Cisney. “That part—rolling up pants—we don’t have to do.”
    “Do you need a lesson, Nick?” Nancy asked, laughing.
    Nick rolled up his pant legs. “No, I think I can handle the polka.”
    Surprise, surprise. Nick LeCrone had well-shaped legs. After today, it would be hard to have a blasé financial discussion with Nick without thinking of this moment.
    Nick straightened, grabbed her hand, and pulled her to the dance floor. This hand-grasping thing was becoming a habit. A dangerous habit, according to the flutters ping-ponging in the fleshy keeper of her emotions.
    Clamping her hand in his and stretching out her right arm, he planted his other hand against her back. She giggled—the nervous kind. Did she remember how to polka?
    Nancy finished rolling up her pants and accepted Tony’s hand.
    When Fran started the music, Nick launched Cisney forward. They stomped around the room to the vigorous Vejvoda’s “Beer Barrel Polka.” She laughed so hard she had to trust Nick to keep them from plowing into Nancy and Tony.
    As Nick whirled her on the last refrain, a blur of faces whipped into her quickly changing field of vision. She wrenched her head past Nick’s shoulder. That scamp, Fannie. The twin had lured the family down to witness the victory dance.
    The music stopped and Nick removed his guiding hand from her back and spun her out so that their outer arms were extended in a theatrical finish. They both gasped for breaths. Applause sounded from the gallery, except from Ellie. Her hands were clasped under her chin, her ear-to-ear smile a speed bump for her tears. A hundred to one, it wasn’t their dancing expertise that had elicited her strong emotions.
    Nick dropped her hand as if she had cooties. She stumbled to catch herself as he bent to roll down his pant legs. He must have spotted Ellie. OK, so he wouldn’t want his mother to get any ideas about their relationship, but with her own heart already shot full of holes, his abruptness spelled rejection. Even Grandpa had blinked in surprise at Nick’s briskness, proving she hadn’t overreacted.
    Lord, please. I need your strength. Lead me not into rejection.

    Nick stood before his bedroom mirror and buttoned on a clean shirt. He could strangle Fannie. They never invited the older generations to witness the victory dance. Mom’s tear-stained face had left no doubt she thought he’d one day add Cisney to the family. But Mom had missed Cisney’s coolness toward him on the trip up the basement stairs. Before he could make amends for dropping her hand as if she had the flu, she’d excused herself to take a call.

Similar Books

Club Prive Book 3

M. S. Parker


Vanessa Finaughty

The Mountain Can Wait

Sarah Leipciger

Back to McGuffey's

Liz Flaherty

Recklessly Royal

Nichole Chase

All About B.A.D.

Melba Heselmeyer

The Malacia Tapestry

Brian W. Aldiss