Changing His Game

Changing His Game

by Megan Erickson

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Overview

Marley Lake is no stranger to awkwardness, but getting caught watching a dirty GIF by the company's hot new IT guy exceeds even her standards. That is, until she realizes he's as turned on by it as she is. But with a big promotion on the line, she refuses to let her current dry spell be her downfall. Maybe.

Austin Rivers has no business lusting after the irresistible editor of Gamers Magazine. He's a secret partner in the business-and technically Marley's boss. One look at that GIF, though, and he's ready to install a whole lot more than just software...as long as she never finds out who he really is.

But reality's not as virtual as it seems, and when Austin's identity jeopardizes Marley's promotion, he has to change his game or risk losing the only woman with the cheat code to his heart.

Each book in the Gamers series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Series Order:
Book #1 Changing His Game
Book #2 Playing For Her Heart
Book #3 Tied to Trouble
Book #4 Leveling The Field

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633752511
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 04/28/2015
Series: Gamers , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 210
Sales rank: 205,935
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Megan worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. When she's not tapping away on her laptop, she's probably listening to the characters in her head who won't stop talking.

For more, visit meganerickson.org

Read an Excerpt

Changing His Game

A Gamers Novel


By Megan Erickson, Heather Howland

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2015 Megan Erickson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63375-251-1


CHAPTER 1

Marley Lake hated the spinning rainbow wheel.

Of course, she was all for rainbows. Her favorite show as a kid was Rainbow Brite. She even tried to color her cat's tail with Kool-Aid and draw a star on his forehead with markers to make him look like Starlite.

The cat wasn't amused, and Marley's mom took her markers away for a week. And her Kool-Aid.

But the spinning rainbow wheel on her Mac? She hated it. It should be a spinning wheel of fire because that was how much she wanted to send it to hell.

Marley growled in the back of her throat and slammed the mouse down onto her desk. Behind that stupid rainbow that she wanted to kill with fire was the layout for the article on the success of the movie Aric's Revenge, based off the wildly popular video game. It taunted her. I'm not finished and you didn't save me, you dumbass.

She glanced at the clock. Deadline was in forty-five minutes. She had until eight p.m. to resize the headline, write a subhead to replace the lorem ipsum placeholder, and drop the art in place.

She'd been screwing around on social media, waiting for the graphics department to provide the main art. Then her email had pinged with the file she'd been waiting for and that was when her computer locked up.

Of fucking course.

And that rainbow wheel continued to taunt her.

Why hadn't she delegated this to her staff? Because you need to be in control, the voice in her head said. Marley ignored it.

She loved her position at Gamers, a quarterly magazine with hefty subscription numbers, which was respected in the industry for reviews and news. Marley was head of the copy editing team and took pride in working in the trenches with her employees.

She glanced around at the empty desks. Okay, so she was alone in the trenches today.

Whatever.

Marley hated calling IT. The guy assigned to her department was a sixty-five-year-old guy with a comb-over named Abraham. And he smelled like cheese. She thought about trying to fix it herself but worried she'd dig herself further into the hole.

"Trouble there, Marley?" A voice said over her shoulder and she rolled her eyes before turning around to face her nemesis.

Jack Sorrel.

He wore his ugly herringbone suit jacket and held his bag in one hand and keys in the other. His eyes honed in on her computer, and then he glanced at his ugly white watch. "Deadline's in forty-five minutes."

She narrowed her eyes. "I'm aware of that, Sorrel."

A smirk. "Better get IT on the horn, Lake."

He was surely relishing this. He angled for her job so hard, and his strategy was to shove his head so far up the editor's ass, Marley was surprised he hadn't fully disappeared.

Refusing to let him see her sweat, she swiveled her chair casually and picked up the phone, pressing the button to call her last resort.

"IT, how can we help you?" said the receptionist.

Marley tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "It's Marley Lake from the copy desk, I ..."

Jack walked toward the front doors, chuckling. Marley glared at his back.

"Ms. Lake?" said the voice on the line.

She focused on the phone call. "Oh sorry. Um ... is anyone still there to help me out? My computer froze with unsaved work and I have a deadline in less than an hour."

The clicking of nails on a keyboard sounded over the line, some movement, and then deep murmurs. The receptionist came back online. "Someone will be right over, Ms. Lake."

"Thank you," she mumbled, and hung up the phone.

She picked up a package of pretzels and nibbled on them as she swung back and forth in her chair, staring at that stupid rainbow wheel.

She could be at home on the couch eating ice cream. She could be having drinks with her brother. She could be at the gym, sweating her ass off on the treadmill while watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta reruns. But instead she sat at her desk, munching on stale pretzels and staring at work she should have given to one of her employees.

Her dedication and work ethic were how she'd moved through the ranks of this male-dominated industry. Marley kept rigid control of her own work and that of her staff. And sometimes, that meant doing a bulk of it herself. It was exhausting. But she loved her job, and she was damn proud of herself. So this was the way it was. She'd made her bed, and now she had to lay in it. She was alone, but at least she had 1800 thread count sheets.

Her phone beeped a text. She leaned over and glanced at the display.

Chad.

It was like he knew.

Come to Bubba's, the text said.

She typed back. I told you I won't ingest anything from a place named Bubba's.

Snob.

Degenerate.

Princess.

Peasant.

She smiled as she waited for the next text. Nothing like sibling banter to bring her mood up.

You still at work?

You know it.

You need a hobby.

You need a job.

She cringed because that last text of hers had been a little low.

I'm working on it, the next text said.

I love you, she typed.

I love you too.

Marley placed her phone beside her keyboard as a shadow fell over the desk. She sucked in a breath, prepared to hold it or breathe through her mouth for the next half hour or so to endure Cheese Stink Abraham.

But with that deep breath she inhaled a clean, delicious scent, with just a hint of something spicy, and definitely masculine.

A khaki-clad hip leaned on her desk, and she looked up.

There was no cheap patterned tie or comb-over or anything libido-killing like that.

Nope. It was him. The man she'd nicknamed DB for Dark and Brooding. Her fatigued brain whirred to life. What was he doing here? Next to her? She didn't think he worked for the IT department. She'd always assumed he worked for one of the other businesses in the industrial complex where Gamers' offices were located.

In fact, maybe he should have been GDB for Gorgeous, Dark, and Brooding. He had to be out of a video game because surely a man who looked like that could only be imaginary.

She muffled a snort at her own lame line. He stood with his arms crossed over his broad chest, the sleeves of his button-down chambray shirt rolled up to his elbows, revealing veined forearms. He wore no tie, and the top couple buttons were undone, so she caught a hint of a V-neck white undershirt and a tantalizing peek at the valley between his pectorals.

She didn't let her gaze drop any further, because his pelvis was in front of her face as she sat at her desk. No way would she be caught staring at his khaki-covered package.

Okay, one peek.

Her mouth watered.

She jerked her eyes back up to his face and thought she might have to go to Bubba's anyway, get really drunk, and then maybe laid, because this was ridiculous.

She cleared her throat. "Um, are you ... here for me?"

His face showed nothing. No twitch of those full lips, just an impassive mask. She resisted squirming under his gaze.

"Um, to help me with my computer?" Or to help me with my orgasm? she thought.

A nod to her spoken question. Unfortunately.

He had short dark hair and a prominent brow that threw his eyes into shadow from the overhead light. He tilted his head, and she got the first glimpse of his eyes. They were an incredible blue-green color.

She stared at him a minute and then shook herself, turning away from his gaze. And fuck, that was hard to do, like she was swimming against the current.

She waved a hand at her monitor. "So my computer froze and I'm not sure why. And I need to get back to my layout because ..." She blushed. "I didn't save it before my computer froze."

She stared at her screen, eyeing his hip in her peripheral vision. He didn't move.

"So yeah," she continued. "All I have is this stupid spinning rainbow—"

"Beach ball."

She jerked her head up to look at him, and it was a relief to float along in his gaze rather than fight to swim away. This was the first time she'd ever heard him speak, and his voice was low and soft.

"Excuse me?"

Those beautiful eyes flicked to her screen and then back to her face. "It's often called a beach ball."

Those eyes. She frowned as she tried to recall what they were talking about. "What's called a beach ball?"

One twitch of his lips. In the right corner. She totally saw it. "The ... spinning rainbow ... is often referred to as a beach ball."

He said spinning rainbow with imaginary air quotes. And he smelled really good. Did he realize how good he smelled? Did he realize how ridiculously good-looking he was? This wasn't Zoolander. This was real life.

Good God, she needed this whole thing over with so she could ... Oh, who was she kidding? She wouldn't go to Bubba's. She'd go home to her vibrator, B.O.B.

She exhaled and looked back at her screen. "Okay, so I got this beach ball, and if you can pop a pin in it and deflate the fucker, I'd be really grateful." She was too tired for tact.

He didn't move. She stared at her lap and brushed some stray pretzel crumbs off of her skirt. Could she get any sexier? Using words like fucker while covered in salt?

Finally he leaned down, and her eyes fluttered closed ... she felt her lashes on her check and that was really weird. She wasn't an eyelash-fluttering, butterfly-belly damsel in distress.

Okay, so she was in distress but she only needed to be saved from a beach ball.

See? Totally sexy.

She nibbled her lip and opened her eyes, and his gaze, that beautiful stormy, gold-flecked gaze, was honed in on her mouth. She released her lip, and she swore he made some sort of sound in the back of his throat.

"So, where's Abraham?" she asked.

His eyes returned to hers. "He doesn't work here anymore."

She frowned. "Are you his replacement?"

He hummed, a low rumble. "Something like that."

So he was going to be here more often? She didn't know if she could handle that. "I'm Marley Lake." She licked her lips, and his eyes dipped again. "Nice to meet you."

"Pleasure, Ms. Lake. I'm Austin."

He'd called her Ms. Lake. That did something weird below her belly. She looked at his left hand, checking it for a ring, because that's what you did when you were twenty-seven and unmarried and your mom had an "I love my Grandcat" bumper sticker slapped on her car just to shame her daughter.

No ring. Not even a shadow or a tan.

He turned his eyes to her monitor and placed his hand on her mouse. She wondered if he could feel the heat from her hand on the plastic, the grooves of her fingers. She wondered if he liked it.

She kept her gaze on the screen as the spinning rain—beach ball moved across her desktop.

He moved fast, faster than her eyes could keep up with, pulling up windows and typing things and generally acting like the silent, irritated IT guy that Jimmy Fallon used to play on Saturday Night Live. It was kind of cute.

Until she remembered something.

Something really important.

She opened her mouth to protest ... to do something because she'd forgotten she'd been perusing her Tumblr account. She rarely looked at it at work, because it was her outlet. The place to view her fantasies. She'd looked today, though, just this one time because she'd been bored and frustrated.

But she didn't react fast enough because he clicked on her Internet tab and pulled up Tumblr.

Her whole body flushed hot.

There, on the screen, taking up the whole damn thing was a porn GIF. She'd seen it dozens of times and reblogged it dozens of times. Because it was hot. So hot.

Black and white. A woman in a black lace bra and black thong with a garter belt and thigh-highs stood in front of a mirror. Her head was thrown back, resting on the shoulder of the man behind her. He was shirtless and in a pair of suit pants. She couldn't see the front of his pants but she liked to imagine they were unbuttoned, his arousal pressed against the woman's crease.

His one hand was wrapped around her throat and the other dipped into the front of her thong. Over and over again, on a loop, his hand slipped beneath the lace, a teasing stroke, as the woman's mouth opened in a silent "o."

She loved the control the man exerted on the woman, and how she relished it. That was what Marley wanted. At the end of the day, in bed, she wanted a man to strip her of the exhausting control she needed to keep at work. She wanted someone else to make the decisions, to be responsible for her pleasure.

Marley squeezed her legs together as sensations raced through her body. She felt an invisible hand at her throat and imagined a long finger dipping into her wetness.

She exhaled harshly. This was fifty shades of inappropriate. Would Austin report her? What had she been thinking looking at this at work?

She shifted her gaze to the side to gauge his reaction. His face was close to the screen, the movement of the GIF passing light and shadow over his face.

She was embarrassed. She was turned on. She was everything all at once. Her stomach flipped over, and she discretely rubbed her damp palms on her skirt.

She must not have been discreet because Austin's head turned toward her, and she braced herself for the look in his eyes.

If it were possible, she would have sizzled like a well done steak under Austin's intense stare.

She swore his nostrils flared but she quickly chastised herself because clearly she'd read too many shifter romances lately. He couldn't ... smell her arousal, could he?

She needed B.O.B.

When Austin spoke, his voice was so soft, she barely heard it. "Do you like that?"

She forgot she was at work. She forgot Austin was sort of like a coworker. Because he was staring at her like he wanted to devour her, and that GIF was moving in the corner of her vision, and her whole body was on fire.

Caught under his current, she nodded.

His lips parted and a hot, minty breath escaped them, coasting over her face.

Her heart pounded in her ears, and it sounded like a waterfall. She was teetering on the edge in a raft and barely clinging to shore.

And then the doors of the office banged open. Austin snapped his head up as her irritating coworker, Jack, strode back in. He nodded in their direction. "Forgot my wallet."

Marley watched him as he whistled on his way to his desk, grabbed his wallet out of his top drawer, and then gave her a wave as he left again.

When she looked back at her computer, Tumblr was gone and so was the beach ball. Her design program was back up, her project apparently intact, and Austin clicked save.

He straightened and stepped off to the side of her desk. Away from her.

She barely pulled herself onto the shore. And part of her mourned not taking the plunge.

He didn't say a word, only stared at her, his face back to that impassive mask, like they hadn't just watched some man with his hand down a woman's panties. As if he hadn't asked her in that low, husky voice if she liked that.

God, was this her life?

"Thanks," she said, fingers tangled in her hair behind her ear.

A barely perceptible shift in his eyes before he said, "Anytime."

When he turned and walked toward the front doors, she told herself to get back to work, to quit ogling the guy, but the way his shirt shifted across his broad upper back, the way his butt filled out those pants ... Oh Lord.

She didn't look back at her monitor until the doors closed behind him.

CHAPTER 2

Austin Rivers didn't go back to the office. Doug could handle the rest of the shift. It was end of business hours anyway.

He reached his car, a black Jaguar, which he always parked behind the building, and rested his hand on the top of the door. His head slumped forward between his shoulders.

He should have let Doug handle it. It was his shift. His job. Austin shouldn't have even been there, but sometimes he helped out at IT, under the pretense he was just another employee. And he'd happened to be there today, of all days.

He'd heard the receptionist say Ms. Lake and maybe he shouldn't have skipped lunch, because he was just light-headed enough to act like a fool and volunteer to help her.

Marley.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Changing His Game by Megan Erickson, Heather Howland. Copyright © 2015 Megan Erickson. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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