on February 28th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon
One kiss can change everything.
Fun and flirty Monica Stevens lives for chocolate, fashion, and boys ÔÇª in that order. And she doesnÔÇÖt take life too seriously, especially when it comes to dating. When a night of innocent banter with SeattleÔÇÖs hottest NFL quarterback turns passionate, she fears that everything she once managed to protect will soon be destroyed.
SeattleÔÇÖs most eligible bachelor, Zachary Ryan, is a workaholic by nature, an undercover entrepreneur, and passionate about the organizations he supports. HeÔÇÖs also addicted to Monica, the curvy brunette with a sassy mouthÔÇöand not just because she tastes like strawberries and chocolate. SheÔÇÖs as challenging as she is decadent, as witty as she is charming, and she's the perfect distraction from the daily grind.
While Monica comes to a crossroads in her life, Zachary becomes an unavoidable obstacle, forcing her to stop hiding under the bleachers and confront the demons of her past. But as their connection grows stronger, she knows it only brings them closer to their end.
ItÔÇÖs time to let go.
To have a future, we must first deal with our pasts. But what if the two are connected?
Under the Bleachers will release on February 28, 2017. Make sure to secure your preorder!
When it comes to beauty, Monica Stevens takes the cake. Pun intended. The girl does love her desserts. In fact, it might be her one and only weakness, if you can even call it that. Otherwise, sheÔÇÖs the most strong-willed, confident, sexy, stubborn, and feisty woman I have ever met.
Somehow, IÔÇÖve managed to convince her that dancing with me for the rest of the night is her best option. Three songs after the song and a half she agreed to, and sheÔÇÖs still in my arms. Stepping perfectly to every beat, giggling and batting those sexy lashes at me like she owns this interaction. As if she has control enough to walk away whenever she wants.
I love it.
I love that sheÔÇÖs acting as if she has the upper hand when sheÔÇÖs already given in. I love the way she reacts when I hint at who really has controlÔÇöas evidenced by the tiny bumps that rise on her skin every single time I speak into her ear.
ÔÇ£Tonight has been a magical night,ÔÇØ booms a femaleÔÇÖs voice through the speakers.
The song thatÔÇÖs been playing fades into the background. Monica and I stop dancing and turn our attention to Sandra Spencer, the CEO of BelleCurve Creative, whoÔÇÖs just taken the stage.
Monica makes a move to dash away, but I take advantage of the hand that still embraces her tiny waist, instinctively pulling her closer and tightening my grip. IÔÇÖm not ready for her to escape just yet.
She freezes, and I can feel her tense beneath my hold before relaxing back into her stance.
ÔÇ£To everyone who made tonight possible, you should feel incredibly proud of what youÔÇÖve been a part of. I know I am.ÔÇØ Her eyes wander around the room, softening when they land on me. I give her a nod in return.
Sandra, or Sandy, as I call her, is a longtime friend of my coachÔÇÖs wife. When she found out IÔÇÖd been drafted to Seattle, she contacted me immediately to congratulate me. And then with a simple phone call to a leading travel company, she helped me land my first endorsement deal. Before I knew it, BelleCurve assigned me a publicist, and theyÔÇÖve been helping me ever since.
It was a wild ride, that first year, being a rookie on a fierce but struggling NFL team. The worst part? Being doubted by so many. During my third year of an accelerated college program, I was on track to graduate early and decided to enter the draft. The naysayers didnÔÇÖt stop me. Not even close. I managed to learn the ropes and set multiple rookie records.
My second year only got better. I was technically considered a veteran at that point, but most of the team was new to the leagueÔÇöall hungry and very much na├»ve to the system. We pissed off a lot of people with our undefeated home wins and unprecedented crowd. It was a Division win that season, and a Conference Championship the nextÔÇöbut once we got a taste for winning, once we figured out a formula that worked for us, once we learned to trust in one another, we went on to win our first Super Bowl. We hope to do it again this year.
Sandra leaves the stage after announcing theyÔÇÖll play one more song before ending the night. When I turn to Monica, I can already see the rejection forming on her lips. With the amount of flirting weÔÇÖve done over the past month, I would have never thought IÔÇÖd have to work so hard to keep her attention.
But the truth is, IÔÇÖve never┬áwanted┬áto work so hard to keep a girlÔÇÖs attention. It usually comes so easy. A simple look, a mutual smileÔÇöthatÔÇÖs all the confidence I need to ask someone out. But for some reason, MonicaÔÇÖs resistance only adds to the list of what intrigues me about her.
ÔÇ£What time do you have to run off and save the world?ÔÇØ
She looks confused for a second and then surprises me by laughing. She knows IÔÇÖm referring to her Superwoman getup, complete with suspenders, a tight blue shirt with an S proudly displayed in the center, and a skirt that shows off the natural curves of her hips. ÔÇ£I should be heading home.ÔÇØ
One look in her caramel eyes, and I know sheÔÇÖs bluffing. I see the war between her desires and her conscience. IÔÇÖm trained to read my opponents, and right now I have no qualms about using that skill to my advantage.
ÔÇ£Did you bring your car?ÔÇØ
She nods, her eyes exploring mine as if sheÔÇÖs considering something. I donÔÇÖt give her any more time to find an excuse to leave.
ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm hungry. And you never did get a chance to eat your dessert. If the way you were taking down that strawberry is any indication of your appetite, I think you should come with me. I know a place.ÔÇØ
The way her cheeks darken a shade as I hold her eyes with mine fills me with need.
ÔÇ£Is this your clever way of asking me out?ÔÇØ
I cock my head, studying her.┬áDoes she want me to ask her out?┬áTaking a gamble, I shake my head with mock arrogance. ÔÇ£Definitely not.ÔÇØ
Her slowly spreading smile is all I need to know IÔÇÖve won this battle. ÔÇ£Okay, then,ÔÇØ she concedes. ÔÇ£Dessert first. And then dinner.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£No way!ÔÇØ I argue. ÔÇ£ThatÔÇÖs breaking the rules, and my momma taught me better than that.ÔÇØ I deepen my drawl on purpose, knowing what it does to most women.
She giggles, and I think I might want to bury my face in her throat just so I can hear that sound again. Then maybe I can get a whiff of that wild strawberry and mint body spray I saw on her desk at work.
ÔÇ£WhatÔÇÖs the difference?ÔÇØ she asks. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm having dessert either way.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Is that a promise?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£I donÔÇÖt lie about food.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£In that case, dinner is definitely first. IÔÇÖll need the sustenance to handle watching you and your foodgasms.ÔÇØ
Without a beat lost between us, I gesture for her to walk in front of me, guiding her toward the valet with my palm on her back. My black Jeep sits at the curb. When the teen at the valet booth sees me, he scrambles into the driver seat, starts it, and then hands me the keys.
I give him a tip, thank him, and help Monica into the passenger seat. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖll drive you to your car later.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Are you sure?ÔÇØ she frowns. ÔÇ£I could meet you wherever weÔÇÖre going.ÔÇØ Pretty silly of her to say this now that sheÔÇÖs already strapped into the passenger seat.
I lean forward, my hands clutching the frame of my Jeep with my fingertips. I donÔÇÖt miss the subtle way her eyes drift over my body. ÔÇ£Your car is safe here. But if youÔÇÖd rather drive, you can follow me.ÔÇØ I make no move to let her leave, hoping sheÔÇÖll take the hint. The last thing I want is to give Monica an easy escape. IÔÇÖm going to need all the time I can get with this one.
She hesitates for a few seconds and then leans back in her seat. ÔÇ£Parking around here is insane. One car is fine.ÔÇØ
With a pleased smile, I pull back and shut the passenger door. Tonight, I finally make my move. Certainly the saying is wrong, because I fully intend on having my cake and eating it too.
One of Five ARC’s for Under the Bleachers