Someone’s going to have to let down their guard…
Football star Cole Riley is notorious for doing as he pleases—on the field and off. He parties hard and fights harder, but if he doesn’t clean up his act, his career is over—so Cole reluctantly agrees to work with image makeover consultant Savannah Brooks. He’s not used to being told what to do, especially by some (admittedly hot) Southern belle. As for Savannah, she’s not convinced she can transform this cocky (and aggressively sexy) force of nature. But she’s determined to give it her best shot.
When the sparks start to fly, Savannah lays down the ground rules: no personal complications. If she can turn off the tingle she feels every time Cole gives her a hot stare with his gorgeous baby blues, he can turn off his desire as well. But for two people determined to have it all, a hands-off policy can only last so long before one of them yields.
Cole Riley had built his reputation on being tough, especially on the football field. He didn’t yield, and when he had the ball in his hands, there was only one thing on his mind—the end zone. He was hardheaded and single-minded, and he liked to win.
Same thing with women—once he had a target it mind, he went for her until he scored.
So even though tonight’s team party was a target-rich environment, and more than a handful of the sexy women who’d come tonight were giving him the once-over, he hadn’t set his mind on anyone during the few hours he’d been here.
Which was unusual for him. He liked the ladies. The ladies liked him. No ego on his part; he just enjoyed women, and he loved being around them. They were sweet, fun to be with, smelled great, and made him feel good. There was nothing bad about that. In return, he showed them a good time, spent money on them, and never lied to them or tried to be anything other than who he was.
He’d learned a long time ago that women liked honest men. His mother would slap him sideways if he ever lied to a woman. He might be a little wild and reckless, but he wasn’t dishonest. He never promised a woman anything he wasn’t willing to deliver.
Which meant steering clear of women looking to hook a boyfriend, a husband, or any kind of commitment. He gravitated toward the party girls, like the hot redhead and the statuesque brunette who’d been hovering near his radar all night. Those were the women who wanted to have the same kind of no-strings-attached fun he did. It was only a matter of time before he went in for the kill. After all, the hunt was part of the fun. All the circling, eyeing, and flirting was a game. He did love the game—and he played the game to win.
Trying to figure out a woman’s angle was the fun part. They each had an angle, an ulterior motive. Some wanted nothing more than an autograph or a picture they could post on some social media site so they could show their friends they’d partied with football player Cole Riley. Others wanted to hook up for the night, hoping to share his bed so they’d have more permanent memories. If they wanted a good time, he was more than willing to show them one.
The redhead and the brunette were definitely good-time girls. He could tell by the body language and the looks they gave him. They wanted a lot more than an autograph or a picture.
Easy score, right?
So why did his focus keep drifting to the cool blonde sitting by herself at a table in the corner? She wasn’t his type at all. She wasn’t wearing a skintight dress that showed ample amounts of tits and ass. She wore a simple, black short-sleeved dress that fell to her knees. Though she did have killer legs—legs he’d like to see a lot more of. She just wasn’t showing off her assets.
She was beautiful, sure, with a face that would stop traffic. And the way she was put together screamed money or high society. Her hair was twisted up behind her head, she wore a pearl necklace that didn’t look cheap or fake, and he’d been with enough women to know that little designer purse sitting on the table in front of her cost a lot of money.
Maybe she was related to the team owner. But he hadn’t seen anyone come within ten feet of the table in the past two hours. She was no wallflower, but she wasn’t giving off vibes that said, “Come talk to me.”
Wasn’t his problem. He didn’t know her and he intended to have fun tonight. Team parties were always a blast, and even better, this one was media free. He could down a few drinks, chill with the ladies, and have a good time.
There were plenty of women here to have the kind of fun he was looking for, and the blonde wasn’t the right type. He could tell from the rigid set of her shoulders and the stick-up-her-ass way she sat that she wasn’t a partier. She surveyed the room and gave off definite “keep the fuck away from me” signals, which was likely why no one approached her.
Still, his gaze kept gravitating back to her. He hated seeing anyone sitting alone. He went up to the bar and nudged Grant Cassidy, the Traders quarterback.
Grant turned, then nodded. “Hey, Riley. What’s up?”
“Do you have any idea who that blonde is sitting by herself over in the corner?”
Grant followed the motion of Cole’s head, then frowned. “No. Who is she?”
“No idea. I figured you know everyone on the team. Is she related to the owner?”
Grant shook his head. “Ted Miller’s daughter is a brunette. And she isn’t here tonight. I have no idea who the blonde is. She looks mean.”
Cole laughed. “That’s what I thought, too.”
He should ignore her and concentrate on the two other women. But for some reason she kept grabbing his attention and wouldn’t let go.
Maybe it was because she kept staring at him. Not in the way other women looked at him—the take-me-home-with-you-tonight plea. Her gaze was cool and assessing. An occasional brief glance and then she’d look away, like she wasn’t at all interested in him.
Oh, she was interested all right. They all were.
So maybe she was a game player after all, and this was a new kind of game.
He pushed off the bar and headed her way. She could throw off all the stay-away signals she wanted, but he was curious now. Someone that beautiful was alone for a reason.
He stopped at her table and her gaze lifted, slowly assessing him. She didn’t smile, but she didn’t frown, either.
“You here alone?” he asked.
“As you can see, I am.”
Southern accent. It fit her. She was all peaches-and-cream complexion, full lips, and the prettiest eyes—the color of his favorite whiskey.
He slid his hand out. “I’m Cole Riley, wide receiver with the Traders.”
She slipped her hand in his and finally gave him a smile—the kind of smile that made a man glad to be a man.
“Hello, Cole. I’m Savannah Brooks. Won’t you sit down?”
Q: What would you like readers to know about the book before they read it?
A: This is a fun, sexy look into the world of athletes and the women who love them. Cole Riley is a bad boy football player who’s getting his last shot at redemption. Savannah Brooks has been assigned to rehab his image. The two of them clash, but she just might be his salvation, in more ways than just his career.
Q: What do you hope readers will take with them after they’ve read the book?
A: I hope readers fall deeply in love with Cole and Savannah, and are satisfied with the emotional, physical and romantic journey of the characters.
Q: Who is your favorite character in this book?
A: I love Savannah. I love her strength and her refusal to back down under pressure.
Q: Is there a character who gives you fits and makes you want to go ninja?
A: Cole, definitely. He was stubborn and made me crazy. But there’s a vulnerable side to him that made me melt.
Q: You may have noticed we like to include our favorite quote in our reviews of the books we read. What is your favorite quote from this book?
“I’m not baiting you, Cole. We’re having a conversation. Your anger is quick to spark. Once it does, you don’t back down. That’s why you get into trouble so easily. And so often.”
He sucked in a breath, trying to keep control. “So is this an exercise to see how fast you can piss me off?”
“No.” She looked down at her plate, then back up at him. “It’s lunch.”
Q: What’s up next for you?
A: Oh, I have a lot coming up! Up next in November is the digital release of The Ties That Bind, originally part of a Berkley anthology. In December is The Best Thing, the third book in my Kent Brothers series with Carina Press. Riding To Sunset, another Wild Riders book, will release in the Nautier and Wilder anthology in January. Thrown By A Curve, the next Play by Play book, will release in March, 2013.
Enter to win:
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Giveaway is open to all. You have until end of day Sept. 14 to enter, winner will be announced soon after.
Giveaway sponsored by: Jaci Burton
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