Thursday, 30 June 2016

Blog Tour, Excerpt & Review ~ Sweet Alibi by Adriane Leigh

Book Description:

From USA Today Bestselling author Adriane Leigh comes a passionate contemporary romance about giving in to desire so sharp and sweet it threatens to consume...

Georgia Montgomery is desperate for an escape from the life she’s been leading. The perfect job, the perfect apartment, the perfect boyfriend—all are on the cusp of driving her over the edge. On a whim, she buys a beach house on the North Carolina coast, eager to spend a summer with her college friends. She thinks she’s found the perfect balance, until one pleasure-seeking playboy turns her world on its axis. Georgia tries to ignore the tornado of emotion that sweeps through her system whenever Tristan Howell is near, but just like an addiction, one look, one taste, one touch is never enough.

The chemistry is scorching and it isn't long before the slow burn ignites into a full-blown wildfire that threatens to consume anything in its path. But Georgia and Tristan can't shelter their love from the outside world, and the moments of exquisite passion they share aren't enough to sustain the relationship. When scars from the past resurface--will their hearts meld together as one? Or will outside forces tear them apart, leaving an empty shell where love and passion once thrived?

*Note: The characters in Sweet Alibi are real and flawed--they make bad decisions and learn hard lessons. It contains a love triangle, a sweet alpha-male with a broken heart, and a leading lady that doesn't always know what she wants. If you love a character-driven romance with a hard-fought happily-ever-after, Sweet Alibi is for you. (Formerly published as The Morning After and Light in Morning duet, now with more than 10,000 words of never-before-published BONUS content!

Buy Links:

Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 3.5 stars
***ARC received for an honest review***

“I wondered if this would be our battle. He would always fear that I would leave, and I was afraid his past would forever haunt us.”

So, if you have read The Morning After and The Light in Morning duet then please be aware that Sweet Alibi is both books as one but edited and with 10,000 more words of bonus content. I read both those books nearly three years ago and it wasn’t until I was a fair way through Sweet Alibi did something jog my memory and made me look back and realise. So either my brain has turned to mush or the changes made were good enough to make it read as something new.

Sweet Alibi was one book that was jam packed with drama and angst, at about 40% I could have easily thrown in the towel but I didn’t, I was intrigued. I will say that I found our heroine, Georgia, extremely irritating at times, she had no backbone, was a doormat, was fickle, flaky, wishy washy and whiney and just so damn annoying, but there was something about her that made me want to know what had made her that way. Why did her friends treat her like a piece of fragile glass? Why was she so dependent on the boy next door who is now her long-time partner? What were her ties? Just what made her that way? I soon found out. She does grow a pair though, so don’t despair.

“Kyle had given me breath to resuscitate me when I needed it all those years ago, but Tristan was the rehabilitation necessary to make my life worth living again.”

Tristan was adorable with a capital A, he oozed charm, charisma and testosterone and he was most definitely a lady’s man. Having sworn off women he was a manwhore, one or two girls often frequented his revolving door of a bedroom but he was getting older and wiser and was unwittingly awaiting “the one.” The one came when he least expected it and it didn’t help that the one was also in a long term relationship, the one was Georgia.

“…I can’t stay. I want to stay for you, but I can’t. I can’t stay for me. This is crushing me. You’re not mine to want.”

Yes, this does contain cheating and the flip flop of emotions and the toing and froing was enough to give anyone whiplash. Tristan was always sure footed but Georgia was a whole different ball game.  Any other guy would have walked away from the drama, the constant limbo and the mixed signals but this was when I came to believe in Tristan’s intentions. He stayed, he should have run, ran far away as possible.

These two have a lot of hurdles to overcome, a lot of emotions and secrets but this will be testament to their staying power…have they got it? The chemistry was seriously off the charts and it is this that really keeps the reader invested in Tristan and Georgia’s story. Their connection in all ways was palpable and could combust many a pantie. The side characters all had their part to play and made way for some great dialogue which had me laughing in quite a few places too.

“…this beats for you. I can’t live without my heart, and you have it.”

Overall, I loved it, I kept reading but I just felt Georgia in the beginning was a bit overdone and could put many a reader off, however, the woman she turns out to be by the end is a clear reflection on her growth and the emotional journey that she has been on. Tristan was a fantastic influence on her and really gave her the confidence to find her feet and more importantly find herself. Even the coldest of hearts will be rooting for them by the end.

“…I was born to love you.”


“You’re getting wet.” Tristan lifted a finger and tucked a stray strand of hair behind my ear. I licked my lips nervously, my eyes locked with his. His touch set my skin on fire. I held my bottom lip between my teeth painfully, willing myself to feel anything other than my stomach rolling and the arousal throbbing between my thighs. His eyes darted down to watch my mouth as his lips parted lightly with his breath.
“Georgia,” he whispered as he leaned into me. His lips grazed mine and my eyelids fluttered closed.
Why wasn't I pulling away?
God, I needed to be pulling away, like two minutes ago.
I should have moved my chair away from his when I sat down. Being in Tristan's space did things to me, delicious things like the hair rising on the back of my neck and goosebumps dancing across my skin. My stomach flipped, my breathing hitched, and a slow ache settled between my legs.
“Tristan,” I breathed as he brought his hand to my jaw in a light caress, just like he’d been doing a minute ago to the weathered wood of the deck chair. I parted my lips and the air escaped my lungs in a rush.
“I don't know what this is between us, Georgia, but I want to find out,” he said on a breathy exhale.
“Me too,” I whispered and pressed my lips to his. His soft, slightly salty lips tasted heavenly as I ran my tongue along them. He opened his mouth and our tongues brushed together as his hand cupped the back of my neck, fingers threaded in my hair, thumbs brushing my cheeks. He pulled me closer to him and before I knew it I was adrift in the heady sensation of Tristan.
I lost myself for those few blissful moments attached to his lips. I knew there was a reason I shouldn't be doing this, but for the life of me, I couldn't remember what it was. I ran my palm up his arm and over his shoulder to tangle in his hair.
But the hair was too long. It didn't feel right. It was foreign, and yet the pull I felt to continue to kiss and caress was undeniable.
“Kyle.” I pulled away quickly, mumbling the name. I licked my lips where Tristan’s salty-sweet taste lingered. The feelings that were swirling inside my body and filtering through my head were terrifying and new and right all in the same breath. Tristan watched as my thoughts aligned.
“I’m sorry. I don't know what just happened or why I said what I did, but it can't happen again.” I rushed back into the safety of the house, leaving Tristan alone in the rain.

About the Author:

Adriane Leigh was born and raised in a snowbank in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and now lives among the sand dunes of the Lake Michigan lakeshore.

She graduated with a Literature degree but never particularly enjoyed reading Shakespeare or Chaucer.

She is married to a tall, dark, and handsome guy, and plays mama to two sweet baby girls. She is a voracious reader and wishes she had more time to knit scarves to keep her warm during the arctic Michigan winters.

Author Links

Release Day Blitz ~ Keeping London (Flawed Heart #2) by Ellie Wade

Title: Keeping London
Series: The Flawed Heart Series #2
Author: Ellie Wade
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release: June 30, 2016

Book Description:


He's gone away, 


My biggest fear realized. 

Well, my second biggest fear. 

He's overseas, but he's alive. 

When Loïc left, my heart went with him. 

In shattered pieces of good-bye. 

Until we are together again… 


Leaving her was the hardest thing I've ever done. 

Until I got here. 

The danger, the fear, the pain— 

It's real. 

I promised I'd get back to her. 

A promise I'm determined to keep. 

A vow that might be harder than I thought. 

A battle of my heart. 

A war with my mind. 

A fight to return to London… 

***Book 2 in The Flawed Heart Series, must be read after Finding London. 
***Intended for readers 18+ due to mature content.

Buy Links:

Free on KU

In The Series:

Finding London (The Flawed Heart Series #1)


Amazon CA:

About the Author:

Ellie Wade resides in southwest Michigan with her husband, three young children, and two dogs. She has a Master’s degree in education from Eastern Michigan University and is a huge University of Michigan sports fan. She loves the beauty of her home state, especially the lakes and the gorgeous autumn weather. When she is not writing, you will find her reading, snuggled up with her kids, or spending time with family and friends. She loves traveling and exploring new places with her family.

Social Media Links:

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Cover Reveal & Excerpt ~ Hard Luck by Liv Morris

From USA Today Bestselling author Liv Morris comes a sexy standalone romcom where cocky chases sassy around the bases.

Hard Luck releases on July 10th! 

Add to your TBR at:

Book Description:

Meet Brady Luck... 

Slugger. Hot shot. MVP.

I’ve been called it all.

I was the real deal, baby. 

The diamond was my battlefield.

Women were the victory celebration.

My "Lucky" streak was a given.

On and off the field. 

Then I slept with the wrong woman,

And she cursed me.


Turned my game upside-down,

In the ballpark...and bedroom.

Now my team is paying the price.

My last hope is Cali Jones, 

A smart and sexy physician assistant.

Her Midas touch may fix my swing, 

Repair my equipment.

But will it be enough to cure my hard luck?


“Would it scare you if I said I was kidnapping you?” I grip the door of the cab and glanced up at the driver. He has an amused smile on his face. I'm sure he knows who shares the backseat with me. Brady is the golden boy of this city. He owns the title with every home run he hits, both on and off the baseball field. Plus, his good looks are hard to forget. God knows I’ve tried.
Two weeks ago, if I had this same conversation with Brady, I would've been demanding him to take me back to his lair for a lap or two around the bases, but I met him while wearing scrubs and examining his fine body with latex-gloved hands. I can’t remove my professional hat no matter how bad he makes me want to remove my clothes.
“You owe me an explanation,” I say, choosing to ignore the kidnap comment altogether. It plays straight into a dirty fantasy of being at his mercy and the last thing I need is more fantasies.
“I’m taking you to my coach’s apartment a few blocks from here,” he replies, his tone nonchalant, like kidnapping a woman is normal.
“Does he need medical help too?” I ask, my confusion clear in my tone. Why would he take me to his coach’s place? 
“Are you kidding?” Brady appears stunned by my question. I answer him with a shake of my head. “He wants to talk to you about me.”
“Your coach knows me? What’s really going on here? You’ve shown up everywhere I’ve been like you’re stalking me.” Brady shifts his eyes away from me and lowers his head. “Wait! You have been, haven’t you?” I demand.
“Maybe. But I have a very good reason.” He looks up with his crystal blue eyes. They twinkle at me even through the dim streetlights, as I lose myself within them.
I have stupid girl thoughts that he’s fallen madly in love with me during our brief encounters, especially the one in the exam room. I glance down at his crotch in memory and swallow at the thought of all those inches, even if he would be next to impossible to fit into my mouth.
“I’m waiting for a good answer.” I lock my eyes on his perfect face with lips I want to kiss. Why does he have to be so hot?
“It’s complicated,” he says while running his long fingers through his glorious, thick hair.
How many times have I dreamt of having his head between my legs since he joined the team? I’ve lost count. I close my eyes. I am in deep shit here.
“It’s complicated on my end, too,” I reply back to his non-answer response, which frustrates the hell out of me. Sane people don’t kidnap people without an explanation. Then again sane people don’t kidnap people at all. Maybe the pressure of bringing home a trophy to Chicago’s rabid fans made him snap. “You’re my patient and I can’t cross the personal line with you.” No matter how hard I want to.
“I’ve severed all ties with your office. I’m no longer a patient at your practice.”
“Right? You’re cured now.” I peek down at the general area where his former issue was and then back up at his eyes.
“Let’s say I know who can cure my problem.”
“Who?” My voice is as quiet as a whisper, but from the intense look in his eyes, I know he heard me. I brace myself for his answer.
“Well, shit!”

About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author, Liv Morris, was raised in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. She now resides on the rock known as St. Croix, USVI with her first and hopefully last husband. After relocating twelve times during his corporate career, she qualifies as a professional mover. Learning to bloom where she's planted, Liv brings her moving and life experience to her writing.

Blog Tour & Review ~ Destination Connelly (Colloway Brothers #4) by KL Kreig

Title: Destination Connelly
Series: The Colloway Brothers #4
Author: K.L. Kreig
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: June 27, 2016

Book Description:

Treachery. Destiny. Forgiveness. 

She’s the one woman he could never shake or forget. Nora Cantres was buried so fucking far inside Connelly he didn’t have breath left for anyone else. She’d managed to avoid him for more than a decade, but now the running stops. He’s made damn sure of it. Yet just when he’s got her in his bed, in his life, the secret she’s been hiding is unexpectedly revealed, blowing his entire world sky high. 

Connelly Colloway was every man’s man. Confident. A little cocky. A whole lot of sexy. Once upon a time Nora thought he was hers, but then he betrayed her in the worst possible way, setting them on paths that didn’t include the other. Now he’s wormed his way back into her life and while she’s never loved anyone but him, she can’t let him back inside. She has too much to hide, too much to lose. 

But when Karma finally catches up to them the only question is: can he forgive her monumental deceit or will she lose everything she holds dear, including Connelly? 

Book 4 in a 4 book series. Each book features a different brother and each can be read as a STANDALONE. To get the full Colloway Brother experience, however, it's most enjoyable to read in order. 

***Mature readers only, 18+. Features alpha men with foul language and penchant for hot sex.

Buy Links:

Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4.5 stars
***ARC received for an honest review***

“I think more important than being first, though, is being last.”

So finally we get Connelly’s book and what a finale KL Kreig has delivered. I have loved these Colloway brothers from the very beginning and it was a sad day today as I read that last word. No more Colloway’s…is KL Krieg sure there are no illegitimate children out there somewhere???

Once again we have a second chance romance, it seems these Colloway brothers have a predilection to lose their women only to go back to the one that got away, but nonetheless, this is a great trait to have because it means we get some fabulous stories that will have you page turning for hours. I love second chance romances because not only do they have their physical history but also the emotional one too, secrets, lies, omissions, a boat load of issues and it is great to have that to and fro while also some page burning chemistry and a touch of love hate in the first instance.

“I feel like destiny pushed us together but worked like a tireless bitch to pull us back apart.”

Connelly is the Colloway manwhore, he has always been an intriguing character and it was obvious he had been pained and burned in the past but he always played his cards close to his chest. You could tell that he was a sensitive soul despite his outwards personality and I was itching to get to the man underneath the façade. Connelly had in fact lost his “one,” eleven years ago. She had ruined him for all other women, becoming a commitment phobe and keeping his heart firmly guarded, but at the end of the day it was not because he was hesitant to give his heart away…his heart was already gone, Nora took it with her and he hasn’t found it again since. Connelly’s heart was obliterated through a long distance phone call and now, eleven years later it was Connelly’s turn to do the obliterating.

“…because along with the deep-seated love that I’ve never been able to squash, I also have a whole fucking boatload of anger and resentment being thrown around in that noxious sea. I’m just not sure which emotion will bubble to the surface once I see her again.”

Nora made the toughest decision of her life eleven years ago, she had her reasons and even though she has forever been laden with guilt, at the time she made the right decision for herself. Now eleven years later her Uncle’s company is being bought out, to none other than the man that she loved all those years ago. A man that she has thought about incessantly for eleven years, a man who destroyed her heart and a man that she cannot possibly work for, so now it seems she is going to be jobless too.

“Unfortunately, I have no genie in a bottle and real life doesn’t grant wishes for seconds or do-overs. You get one shot to not fuck things up beyond all repair. Too bad I’ve already blown mine.”

It was no coincidence that Connelly was buying this company in particular, it had taken him eleven years to find her and now she was finally within his reach. Nora was as stubborn as ever and it seems that Connelly’s scheme has flaws, but Connelly is a man that always gets what he wants and who he wants is Nora and she is not getting away again.

“I know once I have her between the four walls of my business, getting her between the thousand-count Egyptian cotton sheets on my bed will be a breeze”

These two have a boatload of issues to sort through, divulge and discuss and while I had an idea of most of them there were a few reveals that blindsided. These issues and secrets are eked out over the pages and KL Kreig really delivered with that anticipation and angst. While one of the plot devices is one that seems to crop up in stories a lot these days the way this one was revealed was clever and while I knew what was to be revealed I didn’t see it coming at that particular moment.

“But I’m trapped. Chained to my lies with no hope of escape. Gasping for air that won’t come because it’s all been sucked out by my dishonesty and treachery. My carefully constructed world made up of noble intentions and reinforced with layers of evasion and excuses is rapidly crumbling around me, the structure sinking under the weight of my own selfish duplicity.”

I loved the emotion in this book, we really got to see Connelly’s softer side and it was great to see a man in touch with his emotions rather than one that kept them firmly on lockdown. Despite his bravado and masculinity Connelly wore his heart on his sleeve and in his eyes and his family were a lot more in tune with him than he ever thought. While his manwhoring ways were a masquerade to cover up his broken heart, it was easy to see the reasons why, no emotional attachment, no repeats.

“Did she scream your name and pull your hair as you went down on her or was her mouth too full with your cock to talk, because I gotta tell you…if it were me, I’d do anything to shut her the fuck up.”

Nora was a lovable character, she had sass, was feisty and was extremely independent, but emotionally she was living in the past. She too had never been able to move on and forever rued the day that her and Connelly parted. Coming face to face with the man that had always owned her heart was tough, but as soon as they met, she knew she didn’t stand a chance, Connelly was a face of determination and she didn’t have the strength to fight anymore.

“I may not be able to imagine living without the woman I love, but I sure as fuck don’t know how I can live with her either.”

I loved everything about this book, even though it had that plot device that for me has been done to death. I loved the to and fro, the build-up, the angst and the off the charts chemistry…it all wrapped this up as a delicious story that will whet many an appetite. So many poignant and emotive quotes that had me highlighting like crazy and now wishing I could include them all. KL Kreig is powerful with her words and makes you live and breathe her character’s pain and happiness throughout.

“Stuck in memories. Floundering in the past.”

All the other brothers and their wives make appearances and it was great to catch up with the family as a whole. Brothers who look out for each other…always and mums that impart their words of wisdom. It is a sad day, but I am hoping that one-day KL Kreig will revisit. In the meantime, if you haven’t met the Colloway’s you seriously need too, many a book boyfriend to be had.

Other Books in Series:

Forsaking Gray ~ Book 1

Amazon UK:
Amazon US:

Undeniably Asher ~ Book 2

Amazon UK:
Amazon US:

Luke's Absolution ~ Book 3

Amazon UK:
Amazon US:

About the Author:

I’m just a regular ol’ Midwest girl who likes Game of Thrones and am obsessed with Modern Family and The Goldbergs. I run, I eat, I run, I eat. It’s a vicous cycle. I love carbs, but there’s love-hate relationship with my ass and thighs. Mostly hate. I like a good cocktail (oh hell…who am I kidding? I love any cocktail). I’m a huge creature of habit, but I’ll tell you I’m flexible. I read every single day and if I don’t get a chance…watch the hell out, I’m a raving bitch. My iPad and me: BFFs. I’m direct and I make no apologies for it. I swear too much. I love alternative music and in my next life I want to be a bad-ass female rocker. I hate, hate, hate spiders, telemarketers, liver, acne, winter and loose hairs that fall down my shirt (don’t ask, it’s a thing).


Kreig’s Babes Facebook Group:

Review ~ Wild Abandon by Jeannine Colette

Book Description:

When you fall in-love it’s forever
But sometimes forever comes with a price.

I never meant to meet Nathaniel Teller. It was by accident, on a Tuesday, that I walked into his bar. He was solemn, intense and hiding a secret behind those stoic green eyes.

I never intended to fall in-love with him. We were supposed to be just friends. But I fell for him hard, deep. There’s no turning back.

I never thought his past would be so dark. And if I thought I had any chance of being in his future, I was wrong. Because his past is his future.

And I need to walk away.

Buy Links:

Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 5 stars

“Napa is for lovers, not loners.”

I adored everything about this book, from the visceral scene setting, to the intense emotion, to the ebb and flow of angst, to some fantastic characters including the secondary’s, to the amount of research into Napa and wine that must have gone into making this such a believable story and for me personally, a journey through the Napa Valley experiencing everything along the way.

“What screws us up the most in life is the picture in our head of what it’s supposed to be.”

The story of Crystal and Nate was one addictive read and one that I couldn’t put down, a story where I thought I knew where things were going (and I did to an extent) only to be blindsided the next. But this was an incredibly beautiful and moving story, one that will touch even the toughest of hearts but none the less, a story that tugged on every single emotion and had my eyes leaking a few times too…not only from sadness but also from some great comedic moments too. Nate and Crystal’s relationship was that of a fine wine, it takes its time to mature, to develop, but it is complex, it tantalises and it leaves a lingering, lasting memory.

“Sometimes, planning for the future only leads to disappointment. It’s what we do with the present that matters. And, right now, I’m really enjoying today.”

Crystal Reid was a woman that had had her heart broken once and now she is woman that has her lists and the man she meets needs to tick every box, she has become a serial dater and is addicted to dating apps. Her dating experiences are much the same as the state of her life…crap, and so she decides to have a fresh start from everything…from memories, from life, from dating the same old pool. So on a wing and a prayer she ups sticks and relocates to Napa to stay with her best friend. This would be one journey she would never forget.

“Olive juice.”

Nate Teller was the barman/manager at the local establishment, Henley’s. Nate was very closed off, broody, intense and attached. Nate meets Crystal while she is waiting for her friend and despite his frostiness in the first instance they seemed to hit it off, but in a friends only capacity. Nate is already in a relationship and as much as he doesn’t want to even be friends with Crystal she has that effect on everyone around her and her personality is infectious, even the most closed off are spread wide open.

“I would never rewrite my past. But if I could change my future, it would be to have you in it.”

Crystal was a free spirit, she was a talented cello player and had a heart of gold and as part of her new start she gets a job at a rundown vineyard that gave up the ghost years ago. Ed, the owner, was old, had family problems and since he had lost his wife and his daughter had gone off to university he had lost his vitality and his enthusiasm with anything pertaining to the vineyard, however, he didn’t bank on the mini tornado called Crystal.

“You and me – we’re white grapes. Protecting ourselves from the outside world. But you, Crystal, when you’re done growing, you will thrive and make a spectacular wine so rare that you’ll break a collector’s heart one day.”

As I said above, this was such a beautiful and touching story, I loved Ed as well as Crystal and Nate and all secondary characters had a huge part to play in bringing this story to fruition. I loved the dialogue, the banter between friends and had many chuckles as well as tears. This was a great all-rounder and one that will pull on every single emotion, from love to laughter, from frustration to OMG, to tears and joy, it had everything. There was nothing I would have changed, the flow was perfect, the build was perfect, the dialogue was perfect, the plot was perfect, the epilogue was perfect…see we have a pattern, for me it was perfect.

“I can’t be with someone, knowing I’m their second choice.”
“And I can’t be with you because I’m afraid you’d be my first.”

Yes, they have secrets, yes it takes time to build up that trust, some secrets I saw coming, some I didn’t, but nothing was superfluous, everything made sense, everything was answered and I have to mention this one scene…their first time...OMG, perfection…I had tears. So there you have it, perfect, perfect, perfect and more perfect, means for me this book was awesome. So it was well deserving of my five shiny stars. Jeannine Collette is a new to me author, but she will not be a stranger, I now need to go and check out what else she has written.

“I’d rather live a half-life with Nate than not live with him at all.”

Excerpt Reveal ~ Stealing Home by Nicole Williams


Stealing Home releases July 10th!!

Book Description:

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?

Add it to Goodreads

Exclusive Pre-Order on iBooks


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.”
        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?”

About the Author:

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.