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Thursday, 30 June 2016

Ronin's Bondmate by Mardi Maxwell RELEASE DAY BLITZ






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Ronin's Bondmate
By Mardi Maxwell




Blurb:
Krystali enchantress Belle of the House of Arlyn stands accused of spying and has been banished from her community. The truth would exonerate her but she doesn’t dare tell it. As an enchantress she can provide for herself except when it comes to defense. For that she needs a worthy warrior.

Zarronian warrior Ronin Hughson recognized Belle as his mate the moment he saw her. Eager to bond, he approached her and was immediately turned away by her spoiled behavior. After consulting with the starship’s doctor, he believes Krystali will produce a kinder mate for him. In the meantime, he feels drawn to protect the spoiled enchantress.

Belle makes sure he knows she doesn’t want him anywhere near her while Ronin makes sure she knows no other warrior was willing to protect her. Resigned to traveling together they try to ignore each other but Ronin’s mating fever and Belle’s troubles set them up for a destiny they can’t avoid.



Excerpt:

>Ronin Hughson shoved his way through the crowd of hostile Krystali warriors and their enchantresses. With his pack hooked over his shoulder, and freedom just a meter away, he hesitated then moved another step closer to the exit. The battle beginning behind him was one he had every intention of missing. A rarity for a Zarronian warrior who spent his life fighting and searching for his mate. Behind him, Bellya of the House of Arlyn, stood alone in the center of the room. Angry Krystalis surrounded her, determined to deliver the punishment she’d worked so long and hard to earn. He told himself to keep going. Don’t look back. Don’t look at her. Don’t—damn, too late. His head swiveled as if he had no control over it. She stood alone, surrounded but in no way defenseless. Still Zarronian warriors were taught to protect females and she was quite a sight. Tall and curvaceous with long dark wavy hair and soft brown eyes. Plump lips made for kissing and hips a warrior could hold onto during the most intense moments of passion. Her chin was up and the expression on her face dared the crowd to do their worst. Although he abhorred her arrogance he couldn’t help but admire her bravado. He took another step toward freedom then with a curse he turned back. Honor forced him to stay because whether he liked it or not the blasted female was his mate! The moment he’d seen her he’d known she was the one female in the universe who could save him. The joy, relief and excitement he’d felt had been overwhelming until he’d actually met her. She’d been rude and obnoxious and had treated him like saber cat scat. He’d made allowances for her. Telling himself she was young and inexperienced. That they’d just gotten off to a bad start, and he needed to go slowly with her. Now, after spending more time with her, he knew she was the last female he wanted as a mate He had six moon phases before the Zarronian mating fever blazed out of control and killed him. Bonding with Bellya would save him but he’d rather choose a warriors’ death in battle. Ironically, either choice would have him fighting for his life. Disappointed that he’d finally met his mate and she was so wrong for him, he’d spoken to one of the starship’s doctors. Borg Veeson had advised him to wait a while in case another Krystali female drew him to her. He’d traveled from one encampment to another, meeting hundreds of Krystali females. None had caught his attention, or raised his fever a single degree. Discouraged, he’d returned to Bellya’s village. Now, looking around he wondered if one of the other Zarronian warriors would step forward to protect her. Most of them weren’t even paying attention to the proceedings. The few who were appeared to do so only out of curiosity. Cursing them, he watched as the crowd closed in around her. She, of course, appeared bored and put out with the entire proceedings. An attitude that increased the tension in the room. It also increased the rage of the people around her who were ready for a bit of well-earned revenge. Sighing, he moved to within a few meters of her and prepared himself to save her. His movement drew her attention and for a moment their eyes met. Her eyes hardened as she gave him a disdainful get lostlook then turned her back on him. He growled with anger and clenched his hands to keep from reaching out and pulling her over his knee so he could swat her delectable bottom.







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Author Bio:
I love the quirky and the unique. I believe in ghosts, UFOs, and that we have a space station on the dark side of the moon. I’ve always loved to read (anything I could get my hands on) and I especially like zombie and EMP novels. Yes, I know, but I can’t resist them. I also read a lot of romance (historical, contemporary, and I love those shifters and Doms).  I like books that put me "through the wringer," so expect a lot of drama and laughter in my books as well. And, of course, don’t forget the happy ending.

I write contemporary erotic romance and steamy sci-fi romance. When I’m not working you can find me spending time with my family and friends or curled up with a good book. 



Stalking Links:
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Also Available Now:

VALAN'S BONDMATE - BOOK 1 IN THE ZARRONIAN WARRIOR series
A Warrior with a Grudge…
At thirty-one Valan Erikson is a fierce and relentless warrior. He's never lost a battle but he's losing the war with the mating fever raging in his body. He's accepted that his death is imminent until he's told a compatible race of females has been found. When he discovers they're Wrothian he refuses to take one as a mate until the Council threatens to strip him of his warrior status. 

A Female Who Wants to Escape Her Fate…
Lia ad-San's sire has arranged to trade her to, Gorm ad-Jai, a man she despises. Before she can escape she's abducted by a fierce warrior. Unaware that her sire caused the deaths of the Zarronian females, including Valan's mother and twin sister, she reveals her identity and demands to be freed.

A Complication They Didn't Expect… 
Enraged to be bonded to the daughter of his most hated enemy, Valan treats Lia as a prisoner rather than a beloved bondmate. When the Zarronians learn her identity they demand she be punished for her sire's war crimes and Valan realizes too late that he's endangered his mate's life. The fever they share will keep them together but only love can make them want each other if Lia can forgive Valan for his harsh treatment of her. 
Valan's Bondmate   Amazon Universal Buy Link


THORN’S BONDMATE (Zarronian Warriors 2) on Kindle Unlimited
While investigating a lead about missing women reporter Daria Zane stumbles across information that could get her killed. Pursued by the aliens who are abducting the women there's only one person she can trust—Ambassador, Valan Eirikson. He’s on Zarronia and the only way she can reach him is by stowing away on a Zarronian starship.

Thorn Valanson has spent several months stationed on Earth and handling warrior business for his father, Valan. He's also managed to avoid the liberated Earth females who have pursued him. Thorn’s past has given him a distrust of females and a hatred of spies, especially female spies. When he catches Daria on his starship he accuses her of spying and locks her in the quarters next to his. 
Daria knows that a Zarronian warrior is involved in the abductions on Earth so she can’t tell Thorn the truth. Thorn is angry that she’s on his ship but he has more pressing problems once they meet. Daria has triggered his mating fever and now he lusts after a female he can’t trust. 
Thorn's Bondmate   Amazon Universal Buy Link
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SOREN’S BONDMATE (Zarronian Warriors 3) on Kindle Unlimited
Soren Valanson's mating fever has reached its limits and his death is eminent. As a Zarronian warrior he's determined to die in battle. He searches the Universe for a war and finds one on the planet of Krystali. 

Skye is a Krystali enchantress. She can conjure the most deadly substance in the Universe but she can't use it to defend herself. For that she needs a worthy mate. 

When Soren practically falls into her lap Skye breaks the law and claims him without his full consent. Trouble follows when an enemy reports her to the Krystali Kouncil. Now it’s up to Soren to save her.
Soren's Bondmate   Amazon Universal Buy Link


 - STONE -        
A TIME TO LOVE series

STONE – 150 pages of deliciousness for $2.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited
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In 2230 Earth was invaded by an alien species. After years of war, the men are gone and the women are left to fight for the survival of the human race. When one of the aliens’ time travel devices is discovered a task force is formed to bring some of Earth’s most elite soldiers into the future. 

Lieutenant Sunny Blake is ordered to travel back to 2125 and retrieve Lieutenant Jefferson W. Stone. Sunny can lead a squad of fighters and keep them alive, but she’s never had to deal with a man like Stone. A man whose reputation on and off the battlefield has proceeded him into the twenty-third century.

Stone has two interests. High-risk missions and lust-filled nights of pleasure with the many ladies who pursue him. Finding himself thrust into the future, where the women know how to fight but don’t know what to do with a lusty man, is the last place he’d ever want to be. 
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STONE   Universal link: Amazon Universal Buy Link



THE DOMS OF CLUB MYSTIQUE – 
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TO LOVE AND OBEY (The Doms of Club Mystique 1) Cade Ramsey is a man women love to hate…until they fall in love with him. He refuses to admit he feels more than lust for Addison Matthews until he almost loses her forever. She’s put up with a lot from him but every woman has her limits. (on sale at Amazon for 0.99 cents)
To Love and Obey   Amazon Universal Buy Link
*
JACKSON'S SUB (The Doms of Club Mystique 2) Jackson Ramsey sent Jenna Parnelle away after she gave him one night of passionate submission. Now he has to win her back but she’s determined to protect her heart from further heartbreak.
Jackson's Sub   Amazon Universal Buy Link
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THEIR TEMPORARY SUB (The Doms of Club Mystique 3) Twin brothers, Luc and Logan Ramsey, know they want one woman to share as their wife and sub. When they meet Cassie Edwards, Logan knows she’s the one. Now he has to convince her to stay while he talks Luc into taking a chance on love.
Their Temp Sub   Amazon Universal Buy Link
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ZANE'S CHOICE (The Doms of Club Mystique 4) Zane Ramsey fell into lust the moment Ravyn Templeton walked into his office. The only problem - he’s an up and coming prosecuting attorney and she’s on the shady side of the law.
Zane's Choice    Amazon Universal Buy Link
*
NATE’S NAUGHTY NYMPH (The Doms of Club Mystique 5) Nate MacLeod had given up on relationships until Nymph Lachlan walked back into his life. Together the two of them hunt the man who tried to kill him and harm his sons. When their mission leads them to Rendezvous Texas Nate is forced to reveal his identity to the five Ramsey brothers. 
Nate's Naughty Nymph   Amazon Universal Buy Link
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THE RAMSEY DOMS (The Doms of Club Mystique 6) a novella - Cade Ramsey refuses to believe his best friend and business partner Thor Larkin is dead. He leaves his pregnant wife, Addison, in the care of his brothers while he travels to Colombia to search for him. Jackson, Luc, Logan and Zane keep Addison out of trouble while they make plans for their own futures with their ladies.
The Ramsey Doms    Amazon Universal Buy Link

The Drifter by Kathy Coopmans EXCERPT REVEAL



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Excerpt

I’m a lonely man. I choose to be this way. I had true love with her. It didn’t matter how old we were, or how young; once you have it, you never let it go. You spend a lifetime together. And I pissed it away. Underlining painful memories have inflicted punishment on my tattered soul for years. Besides Rori and Muriel, those two things are the only constant impressions that have kept me going. If I didn’t feel the need to live with a constant dagger shoved through my heart, I would have let myself whittle away years ago. It’s distressing, to say the least, that the pain I’ve caused is the only thing I’ve let rule my life. I’m living in hell every day, repeatedly burning from the inside out since day one. I will never forget the first time I was rejected in New York, how badly I wanted to call her and beg her to forgive me. I couldn’t do it, and I knew it. I jumped in the shower instead, rinsed off the dirt and grime, then pressed my forehead to the yellow tiles. Hot water beat down my back. I vowed not to cry, even though my heart ached and my lungs felt like they were working overtime to help me breathe. I caved and fell to the shower floor, my fist pounding and beating the wall in front of me until I became numb to the shooting pain filtering from my hands all the way to my shoulders, twining up around my neck until I choked from the lump lodged in my throat. Nausea bubbled up, and I vomited the contents from earlier in the day. The rancid smell left me dry heaving and an oversized human slumped over in the small confinement that the pain from missing her had left me in. When the water ran cold, I lay there shivering, wishing for nothing but her. Once I composed myself, I crawled back up and cleaned and towel-dried off, only to climb into an empty, cold bed, tired and defeated, scared to close my eyes, because when I did, all I saw was her. Several nights I repeated the same thing until the real life nightmares struck me hard, leaving me in this worst shape of my life. For years, I’ve been honest with myself over and over again, saying I deserve every chip and break my heart feels when her birthday or Christmas come around. It’s like this infinite cloud that hangs dormant over my head: dark and gloomy, cold and wet. It will never go away. Now that I’ve seen her, and even though I’m walking back down The Strip with no idea where I’m going, the memories that were once happy become so unpleasant I could easily bleed my life dry. Desperation pools around me. Panic sets in. What if she’s gone and I never see her again?


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The Drifter by Kathy Coopmans is a heartfelt romance you are going to want to one-click!  

Releasing July 11th.
Add to your TBR at: http://bit.ly/1RWK7BH

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Blurb

To the outside world, Kray Brooks had it all growing up.
Wealth. The devoting parents.
The beautiful girlfriend.
Good grades.

All of it a lie, except her. The woman he left behind thirteen years ago to try and achieve his real dream... to become a musician.

Life doesn't always go according to the plan you set out for yourself.
Sometimes, you drift. Become lost, lose hope and crash.

For thirteen years he's been drifting wherever his guitar takes him, avoiding his past. Never thinking of his future.
Not once did he think it would all catch up to him. Until it did.

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About the Author:
Kathy Coopmans
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USA Today Best-Selling Author Kathy Coopmans, lives in Michigan with her husband Tony where they have two grown sons.
After raising her children she decided to publish her first book and retiring from being a hairstylist.
She now writes full time.
She's a huge sports fan with her favorite being Football and Tennis.
She's a giver and will do anything she can to help another person succeed!

Use whichever one of these you would like babe.

Stalk Her: Facebook | Twitter | Website |  Goodreads | Newsletter signup




THANK YOU!
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Yesterday''s Tomorrows by ME Montgomery RELEASE BLITZ

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We are thrilled to share the release of Yesterday's Tomorrows by ME Montgomery! This second chance romance is beautiful and heartwrenching!


NEW FINAL-YesterdaysTomorrows


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BUY IT NOW: Release day price of 99c! FREE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/28Wcxx7

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/298VZ7E

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GOODREADS

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About the Author: M.E. Montgomery has been an avid reader her entire life, and after falling in love with so many characters created by other authors, a new one began to form in her head. With the support of her family, she decided to to write it. She is the homework queen to her four school aged children who think she is a genius in math, science, history and spelling. Fortunately, her biology and elementary school teaching background help her to keep up the expert façade, at least for now. Although born and raised in the Washington DC metro area, she has considered many places to be called home since she left to attend college in North Carolina. She is a proud Navy wife, setting up a home wherever the Navy sends her husband. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves to go camping with her family, drink wine on the deck, and be swept off to romantic getaways.

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Connect with the Author:

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Jaded (WTF? Series Book 1) by Andrea Smith FREE!!

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FREE FREE FREE

LIMITED TIME!

Jaded (WTF? Series Book 1)

By Bestselling Author Andrea Smith

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USA Today and Amazon Best-Selling author, Andrea Smith, presents Book #1 in her WTF? Series. Get ready to take this short but lively ride!
Jade Roberts gave up her modeling career for Hayden Barringer II, a wealthy East Coast businessman. Eventually, she comes to realize that she has given up much more than just a career. You see, Jade is Hayden's mistress, and while her life is comfortable and secure, she feels a void. Jade puts everything at risk when a chat room liaison turns into something much more that could threaten her security forever. ADULT CONTENT 18+

BOOK LINK

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ABOUT ANDREA SMITH


andrea smithUSA Today and Amazon Bestselling author Andrea Smith has a wicked sense of humor. No matter the genre, she is able to infuse laughter throughout. She is an open book to her friends and family. She celebrates her successes and reflects on her failures with those she holds dear. Andrea is an Ohio native, currently residing in southern Ohio. She is the mother of two grown sons, and through the years has always held on to her dream of publishing fiction. Having previously been employed as an executive for a global corporation, she decided to leave the corporate world in June of 2012 to pursue her life-long dream of writing romantic fiction. Andrea Smith is the author of the Baby Series, The G-Man Series, The "Men Series" (MFM) the Limbo Series (Romantic Suspense) the September Series (New Adult Romance) and has co-written three M/M Romance novels with Author Eva LeNoir.


AUTHOR NOTE

As a reader of my books, I hope you'll stop by my web site and sign up for the monthly newsletter that will keep you updated on upcoming releases, teasers, event schedule and even some giveaways. I will also have a mechanism for ordering paperbacks.
You can also find me on my FB author page, and readers and bloggers are welcome to come by and chat anytime. If you're a blogger, please make sure to friend me on FB if you haven't already. I'm always happy to support blogs by donating to special events they host, or give-aways. Just ask!

CONNECT WITH ANDREA

http://www.andreasmithauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AndreaSmithA...

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE - Don't forget to "Follow" for latest releases!

http://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Smith/e/B00A1MLQGY/

HAPPY READING!!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Stealing Home by Nicole Williams EXCERPT REVEAL


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Coming July 10th

Pre-order exclusively on iBooks HERE

Add to your Goodreads shelf now.

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Being the only woman working for a professional baseball team isn’t easy. As the San Diego Shock’s newest athletic trainer, Allie knows all about long hours, endless travel, and warding off players’ advances. Given she’s already the subject of a handful of rumors about how “lucky” she was to have earned such a coveted position, she can’t so much as flutter an eyelash a player’s way if she wants to be taken seriously.

But number eleven is doing more than fluttering eyelashes Allie’s way. Far more. Luke Archer is at the top of his game and doesn’t let the fear of striking out keep him from swinging. This is a motto he applies both on and off the field, but Allie appears immune, seeming to view Luke as nothing more than caution tape on legs.

He’s a player, and in Allie’s experience, they’re all the same. She won’t risk her job or her heart to another one, no matter how different this one claims to be. But as Allie gets to know him, she discovers the number eleven the public thinks they know is very different from the real Luke Archer. He seems too good to be true.

And maybe he is.

Allie will have to confront the stories attached to a player of Luke Archer’s stature and decide who she’ll put her faith in—The man she’s falling for? Or the rumors?







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CHAPTER ONE
Working for a professional baseball team was going to be the end of my love life. The past two years confirmed that theory, as had the last text I’d received from my latest ex-boyfriend.
           Half of the year on the road added to another half of the year working grueling hours that rivaled a doctor’s first year of residency equaled a whole lot of no free time to fill with a social agenda. Since being hired on by the San Diego Shock this season and the San Francisco Kings the year before that, the longest relationship I’d maintained spanned eight weeks.
           This last one had barely cleared the four-week mark.
My lifestyle was costly, but it was worth it. Baseball was in my blood, and sports medicine was in my heart.
           I’d grown up in a small Midwest town where people still got together for potlucks and everyone from the town hermit to the mayor attended a funeral. Where the only place you were expected to be after church on a Sunday was stretched out on the bleachers around the baseball field. It didn’t matter if it was a T-ball game or the high school championships—the bleachers were always packed.
Baseball was a religion where I grew up—it was stitched into the fibers of my life—so it was no surprise when I ended up with a baseball player. No, the surprise came after I’d followed him to college and found him in bed with someone else.
           It had taken the wind right out of me, along with my tendency to trust first and doubt after. Ben had been sleeping around for a while by the time I found out—friends had known and said nothing—and that was the day I made a promise to myself to never let another guy hurt me as he had, to never be made a fool of like that.
After changing schools mid-year, I started studying sports medicine and never looked back. Or at least not often. I only looked back when I found myself feeling something similar to what I’d felt for Ben. The relationship never lasted long after that.
           As evidenced by my newest failed relationship.
           “Whose ass do I need to kick, Doc?”
           Dropping my phone into my lap, I looked across the aisle to see who was sliding into the row across from me.
Luke Archer.
Known to fans as the best hitter on the Shock, if not in all of pro baseball. Known to women for his good looks and up-to-no-good smile. Known to Cosmo magazine as being voted the Finest Ass in professional baseball. And known by the athletic training staff as a well-rounded pain in our asses.
           Not because he thought he knew better or was yet another prima donna—which the sport had no shortage of—but because he held to the old-school code of taking care of an injury by “walking it off.” If that didn’t work, then we could usually convince him to pop one or two pain relievers after the game, and sometimes, if he was feeling especially accommodating, he’d accept a bag of ice.
           Luke Archer was the real man of steel, and no one to date had managed to convince him he was also made of those injury-prone materials known as flesh and blood.
           “Doc?” Archer’s voice broke through my haze of thoughts. “Just give me his name and I’ll take care of it.”
The rest of the team and staff were shuffling down the aisle between us to find their seats on the team jet, but his stare aimed my way felt unyielding.
           “What makes you think anyone’s ass deserves a kicking?” I asked.
I returned a high-five as Reynolds passed by. He’d twisted his ankle in the game earlier today, and I’d been the first on the field to get him taken care of. I’d been the last one out of the locker room to finish getting him taken care of too. As a noob, I had to work twice as hard. As a woman, I had to work ten times as hard.
           “I have three younger sisters. I have more experience than most with guys deserving ass kickings.”
           The last of the guys wandered by us. Without the break of their bodies coming between us, Archer’s stare became too intense. His eyes seemed capable of pinning me to the back of the seat.
           The head athletic trainer, Dax Shepherd, attended to the “money” players—the ones like Archer, who brought fans to the stadium and were a large part of the Shock’s impressive win-to-loss ratio. Up until this very moment, I didn’t know Luke Archer was aware of my existence on this team or the planet.
           “You really have three younger sisters?” I asked.
Unlike most of the female populace, I didn’t know every last fact about Luke Archer. The news about his parents had made headlines a few years back, and that was all I knew about his personal life.
           “I really do. And I talk to or text all of them every day.”
           “Plus you kick asses for them.”
           Archer’s hazel eyes lightened. “Plus that.” He twisted in his seat so he was almost facing me, his eyes dropping to the phone in my lap. “So? No one messes with my sisters. And no one messes with my team.”
           My forehead creased. “I’m not one of your teammates.”
           “You’re a part of my team. Just because you don’t play the field or swing a bat doesn’t mean you’re not. You keep us healthy and strong out there.” When I cocked an eyebrow, he added, “And when we get injured, you make sure we get fixed up quickly so we can get back to doing what we love. You’re every bit as vital to this team as . . .” He glanced up and down the aisle like he was looking for someone to fill in the blank with.
           “As Luke Archer?” I completed for him.
           His answer to that was a lifting of his eyes. “I’m one man who can swing one bat.”
           “One bat really, really hard. And very, very exactly,” I interjected.
           He continued, “You make sure twenty-five men can keep swinging their own bats.”
           “Well, there’s me, the two other athletic trainers, the physical therapist, the personal trainers, and the actual doctor who help out with that too. I can’t take all of the credit.”
           “Come on. You work twice as hard as any of them, so you should at least take most of the credit.” When his phone started chiming in his slacks’ pocket, he pulled it out, turned it off, and hid it back in his pocket.
           “And since the closest Shepherd and Coach Beckett have let me get to you is handing out a water bottle, how would you know that?”
           He pointed at his eyes. “I’ve got two of these and use them for observation on occasion.”
           “When they’re not searching for your next conquest?” I gave an internal groan the moment after I’d voiced something that should have stayed unsaid.
           My relationships with the players had always been professional and rarely, if ever, delved into the realm of personal information. If it didn’t have to do with preventing or tending to injuries, I didn’t bring it up.
           Until now. When I’d just suggested that Luke Archer had a reputation in every city the Shock had visited, every hotel they’d stayed in. Perfect way for my first real conversation with the star player of the team, and the whole of professional baseball, to go.
           Archer stayed quiet, studying me with that tipped smile he was famous for.
           “You know my opinion on rumors?” he said a minute later.
           I was capable of nothing more than shaking my head.
           “That they’re started by haters. Spread by fools. And accepted by idiots.”
           My head tipped. “Are you calling me an idiot?”
           His eyes flashed. “Are you calling me a manwhore?”
           I studied him lounging in his seat with his legs kicked out in front of him, his wide chest stretching beneath his suit jacket, his long arms resting on the armrests.. His body was enough to weaken the resolve of someone as jaded to player players as I was, but his face didn’t play second-string.
           Brown hair lightened by the sun, smooth skin darkened by it, a strong jaw, and hazel eyes that trended more toward the green end of the spectrum; Luke Archer was quite possibly the most attractive man I’d ever laid eyes on. According to Sports Anonymous’s random poll of five thousand women, he was the best-looking guy in professional sports today. The other few billion women on the planet would have agreed with that title, I assumed.
           “Do you always take so long to answer a question?” Archer motioned at me, waiting.
           “No,” I said, recalling the last question he’d asked me. Snap out of it. “I don’t think that you’re a  . . . manwhore,” I whispered the last part.
I’d had enough experience with the rumor mill to be a sympathetic party to the target of so many. Being one of the first and only female athletic trainers in professional sports had opened me up to a hundred rumors when I’d been hired. All versions of them had to do with me fucking my way into the position.
           “Good.” Archer nodded, seeming satisfied. “Because you certainly don’t seem like an idiot.”
           “Thanks?”
           He nodded again. “Welcome.”
           That was when the pilot’s voice echoed through the team jet, running through his usual spiel. We were leaving Tampa and heading up to Chicago. Now that the season was in full swing, I lost track of the cities we were leaving and the ones we were heading toward. All of my attention was focused on the players and getting them through the season as injury-free as possible.
           “I’m still waiting for that name, Doc.” Archer clicked his seat belt into place when one of the attendants stopped beside him, looking ready to strap it into place for him.
           When she saw mine unfastened, all I got was a lifted brow and a pointed finger before she moved on to the next aisle.
           “Oh, it’s okay. He’s not worth it.” I lifted my phone toward him before dropping it in the duffel bag I kept on hand at all times. Bandages, tape, painkillers, and a small cooler of ice packs were always at the ready whenever I was with the team. “Any guy who breaks up with someone via text message isn’t worth much.”
           “Really? Over text?” Archer’s eyes narrowed. “That’s the reason the ass-kicking was invented. For those types of guys.”
           I shrugged as the plane started to taxi down the runway, the interior lights dimming. “We haven’t even been together a month. Truthfully, it lasted longer than I thought it would. This kind of lifestyle”—I twirled my finger around the airplane—“makes it difficult to sustain a long-term relationship.”
           “That’s why I’m not a fan of them.”
           “Long-term relationships?”
           Any kind of relationship,” he said.
           I nodded my understanding. The players had it worse than the team staff. At least in terms of having to question if a person was into them for who they were or because of their job, and the fame and money that came with it.
           “I’m either practicing for a game, playing a game, recovering from a game, or fueling up and resting for a game. There’s not time for much else,” he said.
           Leaning into my armrest, I realized how strange it was to be having such an easy conversation with Luke Archer. It felt natural, not forced. Most of the players would take a moment to chat with me about something game-related, but I was still the new kid on the block. I felt like I had to pass some test before they’d accept me as a member of the team.
           Archer didn’t seem to be of the same mind though.
           “Yeah, I know. It’s like you need to find someone who can just travel with you wherever you go, right?” I said, thinking how much easier it would to be in a relationship with someone I got to see on a daily basis without two computer screens.
           “Exactly. Someone who understands the lifestyle. Appreciates the sacrifices you have to make.”
My head fell back into the headrest from the inertia of takeoff, but I could still feel Archer’s eyes on me. “Someone who understands that the job comes first. Someone who doesn’t get insecure or jealous or bent out of shape that they get the few precious minutes in between the job.”
           When my head turned toward him again, I found Luke Archer staring at me with a kind of intensity I hadn’t seen aimed my way in a long time. My breath caught, and even though the strength of his stare threatened to overwhelm me, I held his gaze.
           “Someone who understands the game. The commitment. The time. The sacrifice. Someone who’s as committed to it as you are.” One corner of his mouth twitched, carving a dimple into his cheek. “It’s not like you could ever expect to find a person like that sitting in the row across the aisle from you, right?”


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Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.





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