Kicked

Kicked by Celia Aaron

Book: Kicked by Celia Aaron Read Free Book Online
Authors: Celia Aaron
that Trent would show up. Nothing. I took a deep breath and let it out before lining up on the left hash and pretending a ball was sitting on the ground.
    Marking off my steps was easy. Keeping my eyes on the imaginary ball wasn’t. Pain warred with humiliation, but I wouldn’t let either of them win. First-string had been my goal all along, not Trent. I let my arms hang loose at my sides and took my steps, ending with a kick that went nowhere.
    “That would have definitely made it.” Trent’s voice made me whirl. He carried the ball bag, but wore street clothes instead of workout gear.
    “Where have you been?” I wanted to hug him, but kicking him in the shin also seemed a decent option.
    “I’m sorry.” His gaze turned dark, and he rolled up the sleeves of his blue button-down. “My mom came into town for a surprise visit.”
    “Is everything okay?” My earlier resentment faded away into concern.
    Something was off. He was tense, and it was as if he’d shuttered his feelings—none of which seemed good.
    He knelt, his jeans sticking to his muscled ass just right, and set up the ball for me. “Line up again. You looked good, but your follow-through was lacking a bit.”
    I stepped to him as he straightened. “Do you want to talk about it?”
    He sighed and met my gaze. Something fleeting passed across his eyes. Maybe reluctance or pain? “We’ll talk about it.” He put a warm palm to my cheek, and he leaned closer, his woodsy scent swirling around me in the cold air.
    I held my breath, suddenly desperate for the indulgent feel of his lips against mine. My eyes fluttered closed.
    He grazed his mouth against mine, and his voice lowered to a whisper. “But not until after practice.” Placing his hands on my shoulders, he spun me around. “Set up.”
    I glared at him as he gave me a sexy smirk. Asshole. How did I manage to go from broken-hearted, to angry, to happy to see him, to wanting to kill him in the space of ten minutes? It was like emotional whiplash, and Trent was the sole cause.
    We spent the next two hours setting up and kicking from various yardages. I made most of the kicks, only missing a couple from the thirty-yard left hash. Trent stalked around me the entire time, making small tweaks in my approach and coming down hard on my follow-through. By the time we were done, I’d run three laps and kicked countless footballs.
    “That’s enough for the day.” He snagged the kicking holder from the ground as a particularly bitter blast of wind blew by. “I want you rested for tomorrow.”
    “All right.” I watched as he tucked the last ball into his equipment bag.
    I nibbled my lip, wishing I felt relieved that our time was over. Instead, disappointment pulsed through my veins.
    “Come on. You need to eat a good dinner and sleep well tonight. Tryouts start at eight.” He took my elbow and led me away from campus, toward the back of the practice field where his white car waited.
    “I should probably just eat at the caf.” Even as I spoke, I kept walking with him.
    “Nah, I’ve got something better.”
    “What?”
    He smiled and slid his hand across my lower back. Goosebumps broke out along my skin, and I couldn’t pretend it was from the cold.
    “You’ll see.”
    The car chirped as we approached, and he strode ahead of me and opened my door.
    A thump sounded from the trunk as he shoved the ball bag inside. After a few more moments, we were driving toward the center of town.
    “Do you think I’m ready?” I rubbed my right thigh.
    “As ready as you can be.” He reached over and grabbed my hand. “And I’ll be there the whole time.”
    My stomach swirled. Trent had me spinning again. He kept driving away from school, and I began to recognize the route we were taking. The architecture turned older and stuffier as we skirted the business district.
    “Wait.” I turned to him. “Are we going to La Café Blanc?”
    “Yes.” He squeezed my hand.
    Panic rose inside me. My last visit

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