Cocky Senator (Cocker Brothers of Atlanta Book 5)

By: Faleena Hopkins

Jaimie





Everything I own is on its way to Atlanta, including me. “Jameson whiskey,” I grumble to the bartender. “Rocks.”

Never dreamed I would ever leave my beloved Boston. Especially not after the Big Dig has finally completed construction and the city looks so fantastic and open with the new park, the food trucks and the laughing kids playing in fountains meant for them.

I’ll miss my beloved Pizza Regina.

I’ll miss scarfing down Hood ice cream.

I’ll miss the calm of walking alongside the Charles River. I’ll miss the giant swan pedal boats.

I’ll miss the accent I never acquired but am obsessed with.

I’ll miss the business I steadily built as an event coordinator.

I’ll miss my friends.

Although, other than Kate, it’s not like I see many of them anymore anyway. Most couldn’t even meet me for a drink to say goodbye. They’re all so busy having babies and pairing off as if our species was nearly extinct and it was their mission to populate the planet and save us all.

I hate baby showers more than root canals. I would more likely fly back here for my favorite dentist to drill away and ask me to spit over and over than to sew paper-plate-bouquets of bows from gifts together while squealing in delight, drinking pink lemonade, with no men allowed.

No, thank you.

Only my best friend Kate agrees with me on this. And only Kate stayed with me past two in the morning the night before last. “Jaimie, don’t leave! You’re my only single friend.”

Are we bitter much?

Maybe.

Oh, Boston…

This is goodbye for who knows how long?

But my father needs me.

Staring at huge, framed black and white photographs of planes from eras long gone, while in the near distance passengers are called to board by group numbers, my shoulders sink a little more.

Dad, you had better appreciate this move. But I doubt you will, you selfish prick.

From the barstool directly to my right, a deep voice interrupts my inner griping. Not only does he cut in, his question is judgmental. “Little early for a lady to drink whiskey, isn’t it?”

Without looking over I mutter a dry reproach, “People drink early in airports, both men and women. I could be celebrating the start of my first vacation in five years. I could be afraid of flying. I could be a superhero and alcohol has no effect on me but, regardless, I enjoy the taste. Or I could just need a drink.”

“You need something else.”

“With all due respect, buddy, you don’t know what I need.”

Turning my head, my eyes lock with the palest of green irises on a face so symmetrically handsome it can’t possibly real.

But it’s very real.

In fact, I know him.

Well…kinda.

I certainly know of him from scraps of political news in which I’ve read about the great work he’s doing in Atlanta as a very aggressive City Councilman. And not only that but for nine months, in what seems like a lifetime ago, I sat next to him in Mrs. Cooper’s English class for one whole school year. He never looked at me then. Not once.

Certainly not how he’s looking at me right now.

Justin Cocker…

I didn’t expect to see you before noon on a Tuesday in Boston Logan International airport. But here you are. Staring at me like I’m brunch.

Neither of us is talking. We’re holding each other’s gaze for so long my body reacts, tingles drifting everywhere. I am certainly not the shy girl I used to be, but the lower half of my body just caught fire.

He’s still sexier than anyone has a right to be. And from the cocky glint in his eyes, he still knows it, too.

Because I’m in a terrible mood, I give him a slow once-over, head to toe, inwardly tapping my fingertips on an invisible clock. Will he recognize me as these moments tick by?

Justin has to be somewhere around six-foot-four now. His athletic frame is posed in a casually sexual way. One shiny, expensive, black shoe rests on the silver rung of his barstool, the other on the rung below the counter, so his long legs are spread. That gun-metal-grey suit is spectacular, slender tie perfectly knotted, jacket unbuttoned with its hem bent over his crotch. He glances down, following my gaze.

“See something you want?” he smirks.

I lie, “No.”

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