She sees the man behind the mask, and she doesn’t run.
Flawless, an all-new small-town, forbidden, standalone romance full of heart and heat from bestselling author Elsie Silver, is available now!
The rules were simple. Keep my hands off his daughter and stay out of trouble.
But now I’m stuck with her. There’s only one bed. And well, rules are made to be broken.
I’m the face of professional bull riding—the golden boy. Or at least I was, until it all blew up in my face. Now my agent says I have to clean up my image, so I’m stuck with his ball-busting daughter for the rest of the season as my “full-time supervision.”
But I don’t need a goddamn babysitter, especially one with skin-tight jeans, a sexy smirk, and a mouth she can’t stop running.
A mouth I can’t stop thinking about.
Because Summer isn’t just another conquest. She sees the man behind the mask, and she doesn’t run—she pulls me closer, even when she shouldn’t.
She says this means nothing.
I say this means everything.
She says there are boundaries we shouldn’t cross. That my reputation can’t take any more hits—and neither can her damaged heart.
I say I’m going to steal it anyway.
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“I don’t think I can lift my arm to put the cream on my shoulder.”
She freezes, skirt swishing against her knees. On a heavy sigh, she turns back to me with an expression I can’t quite place on her face. Some cross between annoyance and sadness. And then she’s kicking her boots off and padding across the room in socked feet, swiping both creams off the desk, and then crawling up on the bed until she’s kneeling behind me.
“Which shoulder?” Her voice is tight as her breath dances across my bare back.
“The right one.”
“Jesus, Rhett,” she breathes.
“Getting hung up tonight didn’t help.” Nothing worse either because you can see the disaster coming in slow motion. This sense of panic settles into your gut that your hand is really fucking stuck in there.
“Okay, before tonight, where did it hurt?”
“Under the shoulder blade.”
The tips of her fingers land gently right where the plate of my shoulder blade rests over my ribs, and I shiver. “Here?”
“Jesus, why are your hands so cold?”
“Because it’s freezing outside, and I walked to get you all this, dumbass.” Her fingers prod along the line of the blade, and I wince.
“Careful. Your dad told me to keep my hands off you.”
“Yeah, well, he didn’t tell me to keep my hands off you.”
A quiet, strangled noise lodges in my throat as her hands flutter over my skin. Somehow, that one sentence from her lips has all my blood rushing in a singular direction. And suddenly, things feel awkward. Altogether too quiet. Too personal.
“Thank you,” I mutter, it’s so much easier to say without looking her in the eye.
She rests her hand flat against my back for a few beats and quietly replies with, “You’re welcome.”
I can hear her squeeze the cream out into her palm next, the sound of her hands rubbing together as she warms the ointment between them. And then she’s slathering it over my shoulder, hands gliding against my skin with such tenderness that it doesn’t even hurt. She massages gently, and I let my eyes fall shut, my shoulders drooping when I didn’t even realize I had them tensed up.
Her fingers press and slide down every line of muscle, down into my mid-back, toward my spine and over the top of my shoulder.
“These muscles are hard as rocks,” she mutters with a thread of annoyance in her voice.
Yeah, and so is something else.
When her fingertips push up the line from the top of my shoulder into my neck, I groan.
“Is your neck sore too?”
“I told you everything is sore.”
She sighs and reaches for the other tube. I can smell the minty medicated scent the minute she squeezes it out. “Your neck is sore because all the muscles beneath it are so fucked.”
“Is that the medical diagnosis? Fucked muscles?” I ask as she brushes my hair aside.
Her responding laugh is quiet, but then her hands are on my neck, digits digging in at the base of my skull and pulling down, thumbs working hard. And when I groan this time, it’s in pleasure, not pain. I lean into her touch like a dog getting a scratch behind the ear.
I hate seeing the tour doctor on the best of days, but after The Summer Treatment, I will definitely dread his thick, rough hands when I could have her careful, soft ones instead.
My cock throbs between my legs, and I’m momentarily grateful for my loose sweatpants.
At least she’ll never know.
She spreads the muscle balm over my shoulders, covering areas she’s already soothed. And for a moment, I let myself imagine that she really likes this. Doting on me. Caring for me. Putting her hands on me. That it’s not just a job. That she isn’t just trying to prove herself in what I’m assuming is a brutally cutthroat industry.
When she pulls away, I bite my tongue to stop myself from asking her to keep going.
She swallows audibly before she crawls off the bed and straightens herself beside me. “Just make sure you cover that cream up with a shirt, so it gets nice and hot.”
“Okay. Yeah.” My eyes shift over to my luggage, wondering if I’ll be able to lift my arms comfortably enough to pull a shirt on.
Summer must catch the look on my face because she sighs deeply and moves over to my open bag while shaking her head. “Is this t-shirt okay?” She turns, holding up a well-worn gray shirt.
“Yeah.” I scrub at my beard, feeling a little embarrassed by her involvement here, but also relieved. Because I’m tired. Tired of hurting. Tired of knowing my body isn’t keeping up but pretending it’s fine. It’s nice not having to pretend in front of someone.
She saunters back toward me, gathering the body of the shirt up and holding the right side arm hole out to me first as she comes to stand between my knees. I silently put my arm through, lifting it as little as possible, and inhale her scent. She even smells like cherries. Once both arms are through, she steps even closer, legs brushing against my inner thigh as she lifts the neck hole over my head and pulls it down.
All I can hear is the brush of fabric over my ears and the sound of us breathing the same air.
The t-shirt falls over my body, and she gives me a forced closed-lip smile. She brushes my shoulder, as though there’s something there, and then quickly turns away. Almost like she can’t get away from me fast enough.
And who could blame her? I’m sure dressing a grown-ass man wasn’t what she imagined for herself when she went through law school.
“Thank you, Summer.” My voice comes out gravelly in my dry throat.
“Of course. Just doing my job,” she replies, pulling her boots up over toned calves. “You were incredible tonight. You should be very proud of yourself.”
She says it as she walks out, not looking me in the eye. Which is fine, because she’d see how much it bothers me that she’s just doing her job.
Because it does bother me, and I can’t put my finger on why.
The worst part is, it doesn’t bother me enough to stop me from limping over to the bathroom and fucking my hand while thinking about her cherry lips the minute she shuts the door.
Elsie Silver is a Canadian author of sassy, sexy, small town romance who loves a good book boyfriend and the strong heroines who bring them to their knees. She lives just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband, son, and three dogs and has been voraciously reading romance books since before she was probably supposed to.
She loves cooking and trying new foods, traveling, and spending time with her boys–especially outdoors. Elsie has also become a big fan of her quiet five am mornings, which is when most of her writing happens. It’s during this time that she can sip a cup of hot coffee and dream up a fictional world full of romantic stories to share with her readers.
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Take Off, an all-new single dad sports romance full of heat and heart from bestselling author Evelyn Sola, is available now!
"Sola keeps getting better. From laugh out loud moments to break your heart revelations, Takeoff is a showstopper. Vicki and Colt are a work in progress that makes the ultimate impression on the heart. Theirs is a journey of new beginnings, past heartaches and an ever evolving love that encapsulates the entire canvas." (Isha C., Blogger, Reader, Reviewer - Hopeless Romantic)
I am done with men.
I like my life the way it is. Calm, quiet and very private. I may be a brash New Yorker, but I keep a tight circle, and I prefer it that way.
Enter Colt Chastain, rising NBA star and magnetic single dad. He’s set his sights on me and he's determined to change my mind. No way that’s going to happen. Nope. Never. Did I mention he’s tenacious? And hot? Very, very hot.
I told him he’s the absolute last man I would ever be with. So, why does he think getting me into bed is a slam dunk?
I tried to resist. I really did. My efforts didn’t work, and now I’ve found myself falling head over heels for him. Did I say quiet and private? I’ll even accept the crazy public lifestyle.
Now, I can't picture my life without him and his adorable five-year-old son.
I live my life in the spotlight. Millions of fans, social media and press follow me everywhere. That’s not my preference. That comes with the job.
On the inside, I'm a regular southern gentleman who can't fight my attraction to the tempting New Yorker who's caught my eye.
Victoria Taylor is everything I ever wanted. She’s beautiful, sexy, confident and not afraid to put me in my place. She says she doesn’t want me, but her eyes tell a different story. I'll stop at nothing to prove to her that we're really not that different after all.
Grab your copy today!
FREE in Kindle Unlimited
Amazon Worldwide: https://mybook.to/takeoff
Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3MnpHqc
She ignores that statement. “What you just did, I don’t find that cute or endearing. That’s the first thing.” She tilts her head up and points a finger in my face. I try hard to hold my laugh but fail. I recover quickly though and wipe the smile off my face, but the idea of this woman who barely reaches my chest trying to chastise me is the funniest thing that’s happened to me in a long time.
“Fascinatin’.” I do my best to pretend to be awed. “What’s the second thang?”
“The second thing is, you’re boring. Controlling wanna-be alpha males bore me. Goodbye.” She turns and walks away. I admire the curve of her ass and the swing of her hips before I catch up with her in two long strides. I walk past her, turn around, and block her path. She stops before she can collide with my chest.
“We didn’t finish our conversation.”
“I did.” She does a fake pout and purses her lips together. Then something changes in her eyes. She inches closer to me and bites that plump bottom lip. “On second thought, I want to ask you something.” She whispers the words and I feel a stirring in my pants. She gestures for me to lower down, and I do, putting my ear close to her lips. “Tell me something.” Her words come out husky.
“I’ll tell you anything you want to know, darlin’.”
Her small hands glide across my pecs, slowly massaging me over my shirt. I flex underneath her hand. She whimpers.
“Have you ever—” She stops herself and looks around, almost as if she’s too shy to ask.
“Have I ever what? You can ask me whatever you want.”
“Have you ever had a five-inch stiletto lodged in one of your testicles?” All shyness gone from her voice, she shoves me away, and I practically fall on my butt.
I run ahead of her and block her path, make a face and wince. “Can’t say that I have. I hope you’re not into that kind of thing. I mean, I don’t mind a little bit of pain, but—"
“Keep blocking me, and you’ll find out.”
I throw my head back and laugh while I try to imagine that. I’m positive I can lift her with one hand without exerting much energy. I’ll have my hand wrapped around her wrist before she can take her shoe off.
“The last woman who threatened me was my mama,” I tell her.
That statement doesn’t impress her either. She makes a face and turns away to walk in the other direction, but I grab one of her wrists. She twists and turns to get it away from me, but I put my free hand in my pocket and wait. I even whistle a tune while she tries and fails to pull away.
“Don’t tire yourself out.”
“Let me go,” she commands, and I drop her wrist.
“Come on, don’t go. This is the most fun I’ve had in years.” She gives me a look of disbelief, and I give her my best smile. She thinks I’m toying with her, but it’s true.
I surprise her when I throw an arm across her shoulders. “Let me get you another drink.” I flag the waiter down and ask him to bring her the same thing she just had. “Keep me company.” I spin her around and take her in my arms. “See that? Perfect fit. Do you know what I think we should do?”
“I’m sure you’ll tell me, Cole.” To my surprise, she doesn’t try to move away. Her lithe little body fits perfectly into mine, and despite the extreme height difference, it’s not awkward.
“You should tell me all the things you find distasteful about me now, and I’ll do the same with you. Let’s just get it out of the way.” Someone stands outside our section and snaps pictures of us. Vickie quickly hides her face in my chest, and as much as I like the feel of her against me, I don’t like the reason she’s doing it. I shake my head at the man taking pictures, but he doesn’t move until security pulls him away.
“I don’t think we have enough time. In the short time that I’ve known you, I found a lot of distasteful things about you. In fact, I can’t think of a single good quality about you.” She smiles into my face when she says that.
“I’ll go first.”
She jerks her head back as if she’s surprised.
“What? You can’t possibly be shocked that I would find something wrong with you.”
“I am, as a matter of fact. How dare you, Cole?”
“You’re withholdin’.” She lets out a bark of laughter and her face lights up. She appears even more beautiful in her unguarded state. I want to pat myself on the back for finally making her laugh.
“You’re annoying,” she retorts. “You can’t take a hint.”
“We’re supposed to be taking turns. That’s another thing I find distasteful about you. You can’t seem to follow the rules, and as the primo athlete that I am, I can’t abide by that.” She’s uncomfortable with my job, but it’s what I do, and there’s no point in pretending otherwise.
“Whose rules?” she asks. “Yours?”
“Mine?” I reluctantly pull my hands away from her and point to myself. I pull her back into me before she can run away. “Oh, you mean mine as in the patriarchy? Never. I don’t make the rules, but I do play by them. So, that’s another thing I find distasteful about you. You cheat at games.”
She rolls her eyes and does a loud, fake yawn. “You don’t know me well enough to make any of those statements.”
“But I’m right.”
“You’re full of yourself,” she tells me.
“You’re a liar,” I say back.
“There’s no possible reason for me to lie to you. Ever.”
“And you’re a terrible actor.”
“You like the sound of your own voice too much,” she tells me.
“You live in a cloud of denial by pretending you don’t want me.”
“Oh, Cole,” she says, looking into my eyes. “Delusional much?”
“And I could never be with you,” I tease, pulling her closer and we sway. We look totally ridiculous slow dancing to the fast song that’s playing.
“Well, we finally agree on something. That’s the one and only thing we have in common.”
“I have about a million reasons why I could never be with you, but I can’t imagine a single reason why you wouldn’t want to be with me.”
“Because women fall at your feet?”
“Every time I leave the house.” Just as the words leave my mouth, a woman walks by and snaps a picture of me.
She sighs and the smile leaves her face. The playfulness is gone now. “Here are the facts, okay? I’m only going to say them once, so listen up.” She looks up and gestures for me to lean down. When I do, she puts her lips so close to my earlobe that they almost touch. “One,” she whispers, “I don’t date athletes. Two, I don’t date men with kids, especially the type of man who’s at the club instead of at home with their child on a Friday night.”
I put a hand to my heart and pretend to swoon. “Be still my heart.” I exaggerate my southern accent as much as possible and channel Mama on a Sunday morning after she sees us dressed for church. “A woman who is protective of my son. I’m going to overlook how you’re judging me without all the facts. Maybe now there are only half a million reasons why I can’t be with you, darlin’. Keep going. You’re knockin’ down all my walls.”
She stares and opens her mouth, but no words come out. She tilts her head to the side as if she’s gathering her thoughts. I pat myself on the back for winning this round and striking her speechless, but my own smile is wiped from my face when she slides her hands up my chest and grabs my shirt with both hands. She pulls me down. She’s about as strong as a fly, but I lean down if only to be closer to that mouth of hers.
“You think you’re so charming, don’t you?” My wide smile is the only answer I give her. “Those words stick to your tongue like honey.”
“You’re the only honey I want on my tongue right now.”
She ignores my last statement and tightens her fists around my shirt. She pulls me down further. “Number three. Pay attention.”
“I’m only human, Queen Victoria. How do you expect me to pay attention when you have your hands on me like that? And that perfect body of yours is so close to mine.”
“Three. You’re not equipped to ride this ride.” And with that, she shoves my chest and lets me go. She walks away without another glance.
A Boston native, wife, mother, and wine enthusiast. If she's not writing, thinking about writing, you will find Evelyn with a book in her hands. While a new publisher, she's been writing for years, and she will continue to write for many years to come.
Evelyn is obsessed with assertive and confident men who will stop at nothing to get their woman. Her stories are filled with love, passion and humor.
She currently lives in Chicago with her husband and two daughters.
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