Authors: Desiree Holt
Sometimes it’s not about winning…
One bad tackle. That’s all it took to put wide receiver Jake Russell in a cast for the rest of the NFL season. From being a high school all-star to getting drafted by the Austin Mustangs, football has been Jake’s life for as long as he can remember. It’s what defines him—because he has a secret he never shares. But now that he’s laid up in bed with a nurse displaying a lot of distracting bedside manners, he’s discovering life on the sidelines might have its perks…
One last paycheck. That’s all Erin Bass has left to her name when the resort she works at shuts down. Desperate, she agrees to be a caregiver to hardass jock Jake Russell, who also happens to be a memorable one-night stand. Before long, caring leads to daring new ways to catch up in bed, especially with Jake still in a cast. But with football on the sidelines, this time the game is serious…
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Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation
A Game on Romance
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Copyright © 2015 by Desiree Holt
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First Electronic Edition: December 2015
First Print Edition: December 2015
Printed in the United States of America
As always, to my late beloved David who thought I could do it all.
First of all, I have to acknowledge Frank and Lynn Barrett who wrote How to Watch a Football Game and made a football junkie out of me. Then there is the staff of the Michigan Daily who many years ago accepted me on the sports staff and started my crazy addictions. Of course to my family, who supports me one hundred percent and helps with all the stuff I don’t have time to do when I’m writing. A little extra to my son Steven who lets me talk football with him endlessly. Thank you, everyone.
People ask me all the time why I write and I tell them it’s because I’m a storyteller. I always have at least ten stories whirling in my brain trying to get out. But I also write for my readers, who make the writing worthwhile. Your emails and Facebook posts make me smile every day and inspire me. My family has asked me for ages why I didn’t write stories about football, since I am such an obsessed nut Every football weekend I am glued to the television and woe to the person who dares to interrupt me. So at their urging I decided it was time to put my passion to work and created a series of stories whose heroes are former or current football players. And because I live in Texas, where football trumps every other religion, where Friday Night Lights is more than a television program, I stated with the heroes of a small Texas town football team, fast forward fifteen years. Writing this book has been such enjoyment for me. I hope I convey my passion to all of you who read my books and have become part of my extended family. This is for you.
Erin Bass came awake slowly, tried to shift her position in the bed, and discovered an arm banding around her waist. A
arm. A very muscular male arm, with soft hair tickling the underside of her breasts, held her against a very masculine body that she was startled to realize was sporting a very firm morning woody. She closed her eyes, counted to ten, and opened them again, hoping it had all been a bad dream. That the party last night, and everything afterward, would just disappear.
“I know you’re awake.” His raspy, rough voice sent shivers rippling through her.
He knew she was awake? But she’d been so very still, not daring to breathe or make a sound.
The deep voice was tinged with humor and all too familiar. Apparently she was in bed with Jake Russell. Football hero. Ladies’ man. The gridiron hero the people fawned over. And her friend Ivy’s brother. It also seemed she’d gone there very willingly and participated in the night’s activities with great enthusiasm, if the pleasant aches in her body were any indication.
Oh, wait. Pleasant was too weak a word for it.
She certainly had no trouble remembering the touch of his hands or the slick feel of his tongue on her clit. The warmth of his lips as they pulled on her nipples, the leanness of his fingers as they stroked her to completion. Or the thick feel of his cock inside her as he pushed her to one orgasm after another.
When had she last had sex like that? Ever? The chemistry between them was off the charts, hotter than anything she’d ever experienced. On the one hand, she wanted to lock the doors and shut out the world until they managed to wear themselves out, if that was even possible. Jake seemed to have a remarkably short recovery time.
On the other, she wanted to pull the covers over her head and pretend the whole thing hadn’t happened. She had broken her own hard and fast rule. If she stepped outside the lines to have a one-night stand, she’d have been better off hooking up with a stranger—with
other than sexy, full-of-himself Jake Russell. At least then it wouldn’t matter so much when the guy gave her the expected good-bye speech.
How in God’s name had she managed this, anyway? She liked to think she was a lot smarter than that. Really had her shit together.
Oh, yeah. The damn party. The one she hadn’t wanted to go to. The one Ivy had insisted on dragging her to. With her brother Jake.
Her friend’s words played over again in her head.
“It’s a reunion party with a lot of Jake’s teammates from the Granite Falls Coyotes. The big state championship team. It’s the first time they’ve all been together in ages.” She’d winked. “And I can finally introduce you to Jake.”
Erin remembered protesting. “Ivy, listen. I don’t really want to go to a party with football jocks.” And she hadn’t wanted to. Bad memories cropped up when she heard the words football player. “And I don’t want to get involved with Jake. It can only end badly and affect our friendship.”
“Oh, come on,” Ivy had urged. “You’re making too much of it. It’s a last night out for those in the NFL. Training camp starts Monday, then preseason, then the regular season. Besides, it will take your mind off your problem for a while.”
. Unemployment. She had a good excuse for one lapse in judgment. Her life was about to implode. If she didn’t resolve something soon, she’d have to go home to Dallas with her tail between her legs—something no woman at the age of thirty wanted to do—and she’d wanted to get away from the disaster for just a few hours.
So she’d let Ivy bully her into going to the party, where she’d felt as if she were swimming in a pool overloaded with testosterone.
They weren’t there for five minutes before Ivy dragged Jake over to say hello and
! In that instant a lightning bolt struck, her body went liquid, and her hormones began an unending happy dance. Try as she might she hadn’t been able to shut them down. The man had glued himself to her side, and every touch, every glance only stoked the flames between them higher. She’d been tipsy on white wine and an overload of sexual anticipation, blotting out the uncertainty of her future.
She’d forgotten all about the dangers of football jocks. Forgotten all about reminding herself football players were on her forbidden list and that included players from the Mustangs, the darlings of Austin.
And she’d stupidly let Jake take her home and
So much for all her firm resolutions.
They’d barely been inside her apartment before they were tearing each other’s clothes off. He was so hot and sexy, consuming her with his presence, igniting a wildness in her she hadn’t even known she possessed. For one very brief moment, sanity had tried to intrude and she’d considered stopping the action. Then she’d thought,
What the hell?
Her life was rapidly being flushed down the drain, so didn’t she deserve just one little treat?
Now here she was. Still in bed.
bed. With Jake Russell.
Great. Just great.
“Erin?” His mouth was close to her ear, his breath like a soft breeze against her skin.
Maybe if she didn’t answer him he’d go back to sleep and she could sneak out of the apartment and leave. Oh, wait. They were at her place.
had to be the one to head out the door. She had to get him out of here now, right this minute, and pretend it had never, ever happened.
She looked around through barely opened eyes. Sunlight slanted into the room through partially closed blinds, spotlighting clothes dropped to the floor in haste. The comforter might be covering her but it looked as if it had been quickly yanked into position. The air around her was scented with a combination of sex and a spicy male cologne.
She’d been so sure last night could be one and done, that she could have wild monkey sex with Jake Russell and easily walk away from it. But pulling herself away from that hot male body was easier said than done. Just being next to him, skin to skin, ignited a need she hadn’t even known she possessed.
She gave herself a mental smack on the forehead.
Well, Erin, you’ve gone and done it again. You’d better get yourself out of this right this minute.
“I can almost hear your brain going a million miles an hour.” He paused a minute. “You okay?”
Okay? Okay? She was naked in bed with Jake Freakin’ Russell. No, she wasn’t okay. How in the hell had she let this happen? He was off limits. Forbidden. Verboten. And any other language she could think of. He was Ivy’s brother, for the love of God. And known by reputation to be so allergic to relationships he broke out in a rash if anyone even said the word out loud.
Been there, done that, had a closet filled with the T-shirts.
“I’m fine.” Did she just growl that? “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Fine indeed.” He smoothed her hair back from her face. “You were damn fine last night. Better than fine.”
She didn’t know quite what to say to that so she just ignored it. She lay there, still as a statue cocooned in his arms while she tried to figure out how to ease herself out of bed. Or at least how to respond to that comment, but then Jake took that out of her hands.
“Listen, last night was unexpected, but—”