Title: Nice Guys Don’t Win
Series: The Boys #2
Author: Micalea Smeltzer
Genre: New Adult College Romance
Release Date: May 19, 2021
When I agreed to be his roommate, I had no way of knowing that Cole Anderson was one of my father’s star players.
Having transferred to Aldridge University for my junior year, I wasn’t familiar with anyone on campus.
If there’s one rule I’ve always been supposed to follow it’s don’t date a basketball player.
Cole is different, though, and I don’t want to stay away.
But when he finds out I’m the coach’s daughter I might not have any say in the matter.
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I finish my beer and add it to the growing empty pile beside the cooler. Fluffing my hair, I shake out my arms and smile at my roommate. “I’m going to dance. Alone.”
His eyes follow me as I walk over to the actual fire where some people sit on the ground but quite a few are dancing. Sail by AWOLNATION plays, the beat vibrating along with the pulse of my blood flowing through my veins.
I danced from the time I was four through high school. Even though I love math and the sciences, and consider myself on the more studious side, dance has been my creative outlet, a passion. I know I’m good at it, and as I move my body, eyes closed, I know people are watching. When I dance I don’t care why they’re looking at me or what they’re thinking. I do it for me. Because it feels good to move my body, to exist in a moment. Dance is freeing, it’s the language of our bodies.
When I finally open my eyes, they connect immediately with caramel brown ones. He’s moved closer to the bonfire, beer bottle in hand while his jaw works angrily at the piece of gum he’s chewing.
I know I shouldn’t do it.
I’ve sworn off men.
He’s my roommate.
He’s hot as hell.
But I do it anyway.
I crook my finger. It’s a challenge, a silent dare. The ball’s in his court.
He shoves the bottle into the hand of one of his friends, slinking toward me like a panther. When he gets to me he wraps one big hand around my waist, the heat of his palm a brand against my skin. He begins to move to the song as well, and despite our massive height difference it works—we work, but I don’t let my brain linger on that thought too long.
I don’t know if he has any formal dance training, but he moves like someone who has at least some knowledge or basic understanding of rhythm. The fire crackles nearby, and I faintly taste ash on my tongue. His brows are drawn low as he watches me, our movements evenly matched as we anticipate each other’s movements. People still watch, but this time they’re not just watching me. It’s us. Normally I would be scared to put on a show like this, I’m not this bold, but after everything with Todd some spontaneity won’t kill me. In fact, I think it’ll be good for me. It also helps that on this campus no one knows who I am. I like the anonymity of it. I can be anyone.
He knows you, my conscience whispers to me.
But not really, sure he knows who I am, but Cole doesn’t know much of my past, of my hurts, the scars I bear. And tonight, I just want to be, to exist in this moment.
With both hands on my waist, he dips me backwards and my hair falls with me, the ends touching the grass. When he pulls me back up, we’re closer than before. Chest to chest. Heartbeat to heartbeat—well, maybe not quite since he’s such a giant. I crane my neck back as we sway, our hips moving in a sensual rhythm, and our eyes meet.
It’s there. In his gaze. Mine too. We can’t go there, not just because we’re living together, but because I need time. To heal. To stand on my own two feet. To grow.
I pull out of his arms. “No. I can’t. I’m sorry.” I bite my lip, truly remorseful. “I’m sorry,” I repeat, taking a step back.
Until I’m disappearing into the shadows.
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Hi. I’m Micalea. Ma-call-e-uh. Weird name, I know. My mom must’ve known I was going to be odd even in the womb. I’ve written a lot of books. Like a lot. Don’t ask me how many, I don’t remember at this point. I have an unhealthy addiction to Diet Coke but I can’t seem to break the habit. I listen to way too much music and hedgehogs have taken over my life. Crazy is the word that best sums up my life, but it’s the good kind of crazy and I wouldn’t change it for anything.