Falling For Dad's College Rival - Page 8

“You wanna mingle, Brooke?” I ask her, cocking my brow and then pursing my lips a little, giving a skeptical glance that also tells her I’d be wounded if she did with anyone but me.

“I’ll just grab us a drink, dad. You want something?” she asks Mike even though her body’s still sidled up to mine, but it’s my turn now to have trouble finding some words.


Did she just say, ‘Dad’?

It’s only a moment’s hesitation, but Mike Wheatley sees his chance and he grabs it, literally.

In a split second, he’s got Brooke by the arm, telling her sharply in one ear that they can get their own damn drinks.

My Brooke.


But… Dad?

By the time I recover from the shock, it’s too late to avoid making a scene if I try and play tug of war with the man for his daughter in a crowded room.

I knew he’d had a daughter, heard it years ago.

But there’s no way.

She looks nothing like him.

Snapping to attention, I realize what’s just happened, and daughter of his or not, there’s no way I’m letting Mike Wheatley just take Brooke away like that.

I only just met her.

Moving through the crowd, I watch them as they near the bar, reading his body language and her lips just fine from where I am, as well as if I was standing right beside them both.

He wants to leave already, but Brooke’s not having any of that.

I can see her eyes scanning the crowd, looking for me when our eyes finally lock again.

I shake my head a little and she smiles, stifling a giggle until I use my finger.

Not motioning for her to turn for me so I can see her better. No.

I use it slowly to motion her back to me, mouthing the words come here.

Chapter Five


The only thing worse than my dad’s timing is his attitude.

I can see in an instant that there’s no real friendship between my dad and his old friend Trent anymore.

I wonder what happened to make them hate each other so much.

I’ve only just had Trent Latham himself take my hand to kiss it and although I screw up my own introduction, the charge I’m getting from his touch is like nothing I could have imagined.

I’m still reeling from it. My whole body still tingling by the time my dad finally lets go of me, telling me he wants to go home.

“What’s gotten into you, dad?” I ask him, wondering if he really is unwell.

“I could ask you the same,” he replies hotly, calming himself as best he can once he sees the effect of his words.

“I just don’t want you anywhere near that man, okay,” he says, forcing a smile that looks more like a crazed grimace as his eyes dart around the room, looking for the same person I am.

“Brooke. I’m sorry,” he finally says, leaning in so I can hear him better. “This is just stressing me out, and the last person I expected to see you so close to was that guy. Trent Latham and me—” he starts, but we’re interrupted by something else.

I can pretty much smell the words before I hear them, and there are murmurs from people around us.

“Somebody’s had enough already…”

“Ugh. Some people don’t change a bit…”

A rough, sweaty hand tries to take mine, with another gripping my ass, which sees my own hand lash out to slap the face behind it all out of sheer reflex.

It’s a man I’ve never seen before, and I’m equally shocked that all my dad can do is stand there, his mouth gaping wide.

“How are ya, Mike? I never knew you were… married… A fine woman too,” the thick, booze-filled voice slurs.

The slap to the face only registers a few seconds later, with the guy muttering something about women with spirit before a huge hand appears over my shoulder, lifting the man clean off the floor by his collar.

The masculine, clean scent of Trent’s cologne cuts through the drunk’s hazy vapor, and without a word, he’s lifted him away from me and is carrying him to the door like a sack of garbage.

More than one woman in the room makes a sound, but it’s nothing compared to the one I make. Nothing compared to how it makes me feel when Trent Latham steps in to save the day.

“Are you alright, honey?” My dad stammers, finally getting himself together enough to actually do something. “Sorry about that,” he mumbles. “Butch Wilson… He used to beat me up. Looks like he never got over his drinking problem either,” he adds.

“We can go if you want,” he says, looking drained, washed out.

We’ve been here less than ten minutes and the whole room’s seen more drama than most of them probably have in twenty years by the looks.

An official looking, older man is trotting after Trent, gushing apologies to people as he makes way, as Trent takes out the trash for the night.

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