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Worth the Wait (MF)

The Blake Boys

Etopia Press

Heat Rating: SWEET
Word Count: 55,137
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The best things in life are worth the wait.

The minute handsome college student Wyatt Connelly laid eyes on Avery Reed at a Blake family gathering, it was love at first sight. She's smart, gorgeous, driven, and they're attending the same college in Texas. But the path to romance gets off to a rocky start when the Blake men warn him to stay away from their sweet and inexperienced niece. And to make matters worse, Tomcats quarterback Riley Sloane has been flirting shamelessly with her. Wyatt's trying his best to look out for her without crossing the line as he struggles with finding his own future career path. But watching Riley make a play for her is killing him. If Wyatt isn't careful, he might just lose the thing he wants most—the very person he's been waiting for...

Avery Reed can't figure out Wyatt Connelly. They'd grown close since attending school together, but Wyatt's sudden cold shoulder has her rethinking their relationship. The change leaves her confused and disappointed, so when quarterback Riley Sloane shows interest in her, she quickly develops a friendship with him. The sports star is fun, handsome, and successful, but she can't get her mind off a certain gorgeous, brooding college student who loves to tease her. As Avery gets ready to graduate college, she has to navigate passionate feelings and a complicated friendship headed into uncharted territory. Wyatt's certainly taking his time, but will she believe their love is worth the wait?

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Wyatt Connelly resisted the urge to yank on the necktie that was damn near choking him. But he knew his mom would fly up to the altar and chastise him for ruining a picture-perfect moment. Normally he didn’t go in for the whole-suit-and-tie thing, but today was a special day. Big brother Bo was getting married to Summer, the love of his life.

He casually scanned the room and found the most beautiful woman in the place: Avery Reed. She looked gorgeous today in a pale pink chiffon strapless dress with her hair done up in curls. She was so fixated on the ceremony that she didn’t notice him watching her. Which was good, because she probably would have given him the middle finger. No, on second thought, Avery wouldn’t do that. Even in her most furious state, she still resonated grace and poise. It was one of the things he loved about her. She was beautiful, smart, opinionated, and unflappable about her convictions, whether it be rescuing animals or helping senior citizens at the retirement home where she volunteered. Avery was always doing the right thing.

It seemed like only yesterday they’d met at a party thrown by the Blakes. He had been smitten the minute he saw the confident young woman with that beautiful shy smile and soothing voice of hers. She’d smiled and shook his hand, and he’d become flustered like a junior high school boy talking to a girl he liked for the first time. Usually he was an incurable flirt and had a flattering pick-up line for every occasion. But he knew the usual flirting wouldn’t work on someone like her. He’d had to come up with fresh material to impress her while avoiding the steely gaze of every man in the Blake family. They made no bones about warning him not to pull that charming crap on their niece or there would be dire consequences.

Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Bo Sr. waving his hand, trying to get his attention. He tore his gaze away from Avery to see the older man pointing at the altar. He turned just in time to see Bo and Summer slipping their wedding bands onto each other’s fingers. When the reverend pronounced them man and wife, the guests clapped as Bo took his bride into his arms for a pretty hot kiss for two reserved nerds. Once they headed down the aisle, he turned to see Avery sniffing and dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief. It was a happy occasion, but he doubted she’d be in such a good mood from the festivities that it would get him out of the doghouse with her. What did he expect? After their night at the student fair, he’d been avoiding her like she had the plague.

Each year they’d looked forward to going to the annual event to fundraise for the school’s athletic department. She loved the rides, playing games, and eating junk food. He’d spend all his money trying to win her some ridiculous prize. She’d lecture him about eating too much but loved to share cotton candy and giant pretzels with him. It had been a great day until the unthinkable happened. They’d just gotten off the roller coaster when she’d said she was cold. He’d wrapped his jacket around her, and she’d smiled at him. It wasn’t anything they hadn’t done a thousand times before, but this time it felt different. He’d pulled her into his arms and kissed her. It was soft, sensual, and full of unspoken possibilities that had never been said before. They’d walked back to her apartment in silence. Once inside, neither knew what to say. When she finally started to speak, he stole a kiss and walked out.

Now Wyatt followed the rest of the wedding party down the aisle. As he passed the row where she sat, Avery looked up. Their gazes connected for a moment. He waved at her, but she turned away and helped the kids out of their chairs. Just like he’d thought. No obscene gestures, but that cold shoulder sure sent a chill down his back. Now all he wanted to do was go over there and kiss her again.

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