Author's Note: Apparently, Selene Antilles and I share a brain. I mean, I already knew that, but when I saw her 'Nate's holding Tara to him' fic RIGHT as I got on here to post this one... it just kinda confirmed it. Dedicated to Tenae, my partner in crime.
It was part of a con... that's what he kept telling himself. It didn't mean anything. It was just to fool the man, get the attention on himself and get Tara out. There were few ways he could do that.
He could have done it a different way though, instead of coming up behind the slim, attractive blonde - Sophie's friend - and wrapping an arm around her waist. He didn't have to pull the bottom of her ear between his teeth and let out a soft breath. He didn't have to pull her against his chest and feel the pleasurable shiver that ran down her spine.
He asked himself if it had been Sophie running the wire, working all her British charm on the Irish loan shark. He wondered if he would have pulled her close and done the same thing. (all for the sake of the con, of course.) Well, honestly.... he wouldn't have. He would likely have come up and 'collected a gambling debt' from her.
He could do things like that to Tara, though, because he wasn't interested in her. He could n't wrap Sophie in his arms, hold her close, because he knew that if he did that, if the shiver had run down Sophie's spine, he wouldn't have been able to stop, and the con would have been blown. Yes, he could cuddle with Tara, he could enjoy the warm, soft body of a beautiful (and he had to face it, Tara was gorgeous) woman against his own, but only because when the con was over, he wasn't controlling himself to pull her close, not for a mark's sake, but for his own.
He didn't love Tara, and that's why he could hold her.
She knew that it meant nothing when she felt a strong arm around her waist, his lips at, and then on her ear. It was because they needed to draw the attention of the mark to Nate, and because she couldn't stick around for the rest of The Wire.
She knew, perfectly well, that Nate tolerated her at best, but she was a human, and when a strong, muscled arm wrapped around her waist, a hand twining through hers, and a soft breath exhaled over her ear, logic vanished, and shivers shot through her. His chest was warm and hard against her back, his voice soft and alluring. It took all her self control to scoff and pull away from him.
Sure, he was a damn drunk and got a high off of taking risks. Sure, he was a complete, stubborn asshole. And yes, something about that combination, the slim frame, the muscular chest and shoulders, (She had a thing for a man with nice shoulders) and that unshakable calm made him unbearably sexy.
Sorry Soph. She sent a silent apology to her good friend. She owed Sophie enough to work with the team, enough to fall under Nate's psychotic control.
She didn't owe Sophie enough to stay away from a man like Nate Ford, and she wasn't going to do it.