Sometimes it’s not about winning…
One bad tackle. That’s all it took to put wide receiver Jake Russell in a cast for the rest of the NFL season. From being a high school all-star to getting drafted by the Austin Mustangs, football has been Jake’s life for as long as he can remember. It’s what defines him—because he has a secret he never shares. But now that he’s laid up in bed with a nurse displaying a lot of distracting bedside manners, he’s discovering life on the sidelines might have its perks. . .
One last paycheck. That’s all Erin Bass has left to her name when the resort she works at shuts down. Desperate, she agrees to be a caregiver to hardass jock Jake Russell, who also happens to be a memorable one-night stand. Before long, caring leads to daring new ways to catch up in bed, especially with Jake still in a cast. But with football on the sidelines, this time the game is serious. . .
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Line of Scrimmage
A Game on Romance
By Desiree Holt
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2015 Desiree Holt
All rights reserved.
Erin Bass came awake slowly, tried to shift her position in the bed, and discovered an arm banding around her waist. A male arm. A very muscular male arm, with soft hair tickling the underside of her breasts, held her against a very masculine body that she was startled to realize was sporting a very firm morning woody. She closed her eyes, counted to ten, and opened them again, hoping it had all been a bad dream. That the party last night, and everything afterward, would just disappear.
"I know you're awake." His raspy, rough voice sent shivers rippling through her.
He knew she was awake? But she'd been so very still, not daring to breathe or make a sound.
The deep voice was tinged with humor and all too familiar. Apparently she was in bed with Jake Russell. Football hero. Ladies' man. The gridiron hero the people fawned over. And her friend Ivy's brother. It also seemed she'd gone there very willingly and participated in the night's activities with great enthusiasm, if the pleasant aches in her body were any indication.
Oh, wait. Pleasant was too weak a word for it.
She certainly had no trouble remembering the touch of his hands or the slick feel of his tongue on her clit. The warmth of his lips as they pulled on her nipples, the leanness of his fingers as they stroked her to completion. Or the thick feel of his cock inside her as he pushed her to one orgasm after another.
When had she last had sex like that? Ever? The chemistry between them was off the charts, hotter than anything she'd ever experienced. On the one hand, she wanted to lock the doors and shut out the world until they managed to wear themselves out, if that was even possible. Jake seemed to have a remarkably short recovery time.
On the other, she wanted to pull the covers over her head and pretend the whole thing hadn't happened. She had broken her own hard and fast rule. If she stepped outside the lines to have a one-night stand, she'd have been better off hooking up with a stranger — with anyone — other than sexy, full-of-himself Jake Russell. At least then it wouldn't matter so much when the guy gave her the expected good-bye speech.
How in God's name had she managed this, anyway? She liked to think she was a lot smarter than that. Really had her shit together.
Oh, yeah. The damn party. The one she hadn't wanted to go to. The one Ivy had insisted on dragging her to. With her brother Jake.
Her friend's words played over again in her head.
"It's a reunion party with a lot of Jake's teammates from the Granite Falls Coyotes. The big state championship team. It's the first time they've all been together in ages." She'd winked. "And I can finally introduce you to Jake."
Erin remembered protesting. "Ivy, listen. I don't really want to go to a party with football jocks." And she hadn't wanted to. Bad memories cropped up when she heard the words football player. "And I don't want to get involved with Jake. It can only end badly and affect our friendship."
"Oh, come on," Ivy had urged. "You're making too much of it. It's a last night out for those in the NFL. Training camp starts Monday, then preseason, then the regular season. Besides, it will take your mind off your problem for a while."
Her problem. Unemployment. She had a good excuse for one lapse in judgment. Her life was about to implode. If she didn't resolve something soon, she'd have to go home to Dallas with her tail between her legs — something no woman at the age of thirty wanted to do — and she'd wanted to get away from the disaster for just a few hours.
So she'd let Ivy bully her into going to the party, where she'd felt as if she were swimming in a pool overloaded with testosterone.
They weren't there for five minutes before Ivy dragged Jake over to say hello and bam! In that instant a lightning bolt struck, her body went liquid, and her hormones began an unending happy dance. Try as she might she hadn't been able to shut them down. The man had glued himself to her side, and every touch, every glance only stoked the flames between them higher. She'd been tipsy on white wine and an overload of sexual anticipation, blotting out the uncertainty of her future.
She'd forgotten all about the dangers of football jocks. Forgotten all about reminding herself football players were on her forbidden list and that included players from the Mustangs, the darlings of Austin.
And she'd stupidly let Jake take her home and —
So much for all her firm resolutions.
They'd barely been inside her apartment before they were tearing each other's clothes off. He was so hot and sexy, consuming her with his presence, igniting a wildness in her she hadn't even known she possessed. For one very brief moment, sanity had tried to intrude and she'd considered stopping the action. Then she'd thought, What the hell? Her life was rapidly being flushed down the drain, so didn't she deserve just one little treat?
Now here she was. Still in bed. Her bed. With Jake Russell.
Great. Just great.
"Erin?" His mouth was close to her ear, his breath like a soft breeze against her skin.
Maybe if she didn't answer him he'd go back to sleep and she could sneak out of the apartment and leave. Oh, wait. They were at her place. He had to be the one to head out the door. She had to get him out of here now, right this minute, and pretend it had never, ever happened.
She looked around through barely opened eyes. Sunlight slanted into the room through partially closed blinds, spotlighting clothes dropped to the floor in haste. The comforter might be covering her but it looked as if it had been quickly yanked into position. The air around her was scented with a combination of sex and a spicy male cologne.
She'd been so sure last night could be one and done, that she could have wild monkey sex with Jake Russell and easily walk away from it. But pulling herself away from that hot male body was easier said than done. Just being next to him, skin to skin, ignited a need she hadn't even known she possessed.
She gave herself a mental smack on the forehead.
Well, Erin, you've gone and done it again. You'd better get yourself out of this right this minute.
"I can almost hear your brain going a million miles an hour." He paused a minute. "You okay?"
Okay? Okay? She was naked in bed with Jake Freakin' Russell. No, she wasn't okay. How in the hell had she let this happen? He was off limits. Forbidden. Verboten. And any other language she could think of. He was Ivy's brother, for the love of God. And known by reputation to be so allergic to relationships he broke out in a rash if anyone even said the word out loud.
Been there, done that, had a closet filled with the T-shirts.
"I'm fine." Did she just growl that? "Why wouldn't I be?"
"Fine indeed." He smoothed her hair back from her face. "You were damn fine last night. Better than fine."
She didn't know quite what to say to that so she just ignored it. She lay there, still as a statue cocooned in his arms while she tried to figure out how to ease herself out of bed. Or at least how to respond to that comment, but then Jake took that out of her hands.
"Listen, last night was unexpected, but —"
She tensed. Here it came. Of course. "But what?"
He kissed her bare shoulder. "But it turned out just great, didn't it?"
"Great. Yeah. Okay." No, no, no. Great but dangerous.
"Unexpected," he repeated. "And actually maybe better than great." More shoulder kisses. "So, I'm thinking," he went on, "I mean we should probably talk about it."
Erin's stomach knotted. Talk about it. Right. What was there to say? Was he afraid she'd attach herself to him like a barnacle? Did he think she wanted some kind of commitment from him after one night? She should have known. This whole damn thing was her fault for letting him take her home, kiss her, invite himself inside.
Where they'd done a hell of a lot more than kissing.
Now it was time to pay the piper. He wanted to talk? Fine. But she'd be the one doing the talking. No one gave Erin Bass The Speech. At least not anymore. She'd just take the lead on it here and surprise Mr. Macho.
It was hard to gather her thoughts, however, when one warm hand cupped her breast, his thumb and forefinger tweaking her nipple. His lips trailed soft kisses along her shoulder and his warm breath caressed her ear. Just like that, her body woke up and said, Give me more. Her pulse set up a steady tattoo in all her erogenous zones.
No, no, no.
"I don't do anything without coffee," she told him, trying to ease herself away from him. But before she slipped out from beneath the covers, she remembered she'd have to make the coffee because they were in her place and no way was she getting out of this bed while Jake Russell could get another eyeful of her exposed body.
What do you think he did last night, idiot? Kept his eyes closed?
"On second thought, maybe I'll skip the coffee." She inched herself upward, clutching the sheet as high as she could. "If you could maybe put on some clothes, though, I won't look while you do it."
He chuckled, a sound so unexpectedly sexy she had to squeeze her legs together against the throbbing his voice ignited.
Stop! Stop it now! This is a huge mistake, Erin! Fix it!
"How about if I just get dressed," he offered. "And run out for some coffee with maybe a pastry or two." He started to toss the covers back.
"No. Don't move." She squeezed her eyes shut and slapped her hands over her face.
Jake laughed again. "Make up your mind." Then she felt the bed shift as he stood up. "It's okay," he told her a minute later. "All the important parts are covered, although last night you couldn't seem to get enough of seeing them." He paused. "Or touching them."
She opened one eye partway and discovered he had told the truth. Not that this was much better. He'd pulled on his boxer briefs, but they did little to disguise the outline of his thick and obviously swollen cock. His streaky blond mane was sexily rumpled, and the darker hair on his chest called attention to broad shoulders and hard muscle, reminding her of nothing less than a proud lion. His arms and legs looked just as powerful, just as hard, just as defined. Of course they should be. Wasn't he the Mustangs' number one running back?
Some said he was getting close to the end of his career, but looking at him now, Erin would have to argue with them. He was still in excellent shape, with flat abs, sculpted muscles, and long powerful legs. It took a lot of restraint to keep from drooling.
"Think you've looked long enough?' There was a hint of laughter in his voice and mischief danced in the chocolate brown of his eyes.
Unfortunately, none of it distracted her from the sight of his morning woody. She felt her face flame when she saw him studying her carefully, a big shit-eating grin on his face.
"I didn't — I'm sorry, I — Oh, hell. Turn around so I can put something on," she ordered. "Be a gentleman for once."
"For once?" His eyebrows lifted. "I think I'm insulted. I always try to behave like a gentleman."
"Fine. Then close your eyes, or turn around, or both."
When he turned his back on her, she scrambled off the bed and reached for the nearest piece of clothing, which just happened to be the shirt Jake wore the night before. Well, too bad. No way was she having this conversation while she was in her current state of undress. It was hard to be indignant when you were stark naked.
Even though the shirt covered her almost to her knees, she still hopped back in bed to pull the bedclothes up to her waist. No skin, she told herself. Running her fingers through the tangled mass of her hair that always refused to behave, she pushed it back and tucked it behind her ears. She dearly wanted to wash her face, brush her teeth, and make herself presentable, but she didn't want to take the time. It was important to get out in front of this and have it over with quickly. She was determined that she'd have the upper hand here, so she folded her hands on her lap and wet her lips.
"Can I look yet?" His voice still had its morning huskiness.
"Yes. I'm ready," she told him in a prim voice, smoothing out the covers.
He grinned when he saw her. "You look like you're about to give a lecture to a misbehaving class."
"Not at all. You said we had to talk and I agree. Absolutely. Talking is important." She frowned. "But could you, um, put the rest of your clothes on?"
"Since you're wearing my shirt, that's impossible at the moment, but I'll do the best I can." He yanked on his pants and zipped them up, shoved his feet in his shoes, and stuck his socks in his pockets. "This work for you?"
"Fine, fine, fine. Sit down. Please." She waved a hand in the air. "No, not there," she snapped when he moved to sit on the bed, and pointed to the small chair next to her dresser. "Over there."
She nearly laughed watching him try to fit his large frame into the small slipper chair, but she was determined to be serious. He finally squeezed his very fine butt in, rested his elbows on his knees, and turned his chocolate velvet eyes on her.
"So, Erin —" he began.
"Wait." No, no, no. She was taking the lead in this. She cleared her throat and let out a slow breath.
"You said we needed to talk," she pointed out, "and I completely agree." Yes, she'd definitely get the upper hand here.
He cocked an eyebrow, as if surprised she agreed with him. "You do?"
"Yes. I know exactly what's on your mind, and I am in complete agreement. This whole thing — last night — was a big mistake. For both of us."
Jake's eyebrows rose so high they almost hit his hairline. "What?"
"We both got a little carried away," she went on. "The party was fun, but I — we — probably had a little too much to drink." And wasn't that an understatement. "We had a good time, but honestly, Jake, we can't do this again."
He sat there with his mouth hanging open, a stunned look on his face.
"Well, really, that was what you planned to say, right? When we had our 'talk'?" She formed air quotes around the word talk. "And you'd be absolutely right. We needed to get it out there. 'Last night was great but we need to put it out of our minds.' Did I get that right?"
He studied her for a long moment. "What if that wasn't what I was going to say at all?"
Erin pinched her eyebrows together. "What? You weren't?" A funny little wiggle shimmied through her system. Then she forced a smile. "Come on. We both know this wouldn't work. I just wanted to save you the pain of giving me the 'It was nice but this can't go anywhere' speech."
He shook his head. "As a matter of fact, no. That wasn't what I planned at all."
"Oh, come on." She picked at the fabric of the sheet. "You have plenty of other fish to fry. You'll never notice the loss, right? Besides, your sister is my friend and how would that work, exactly?"
"It might work just fine," he disagreed. The dumbfounded look on his face was replaced now by one of growing irritation. "I don't get in Ivy's business, and she doesn't get in mine."
"Besides," she went on as if he hadn't said a word, "football season starts in a week, you have a packed schedule and I'm sure a cheerleader at every stadium. I wouldn't want you to feel obligated or anything. I mean, just because I'm friends with Ivy."
"So which is it?" he demanded. "We can't see each other because you're my sister's friend or you think I'd string you along because you're her friend? Make up your mind."
"I have made it up." She used her best lady-like tone.
He pushed himself out of the small chair. "As a matter of fact, I was going to suggest we take this slow but see where it goes. Hooking up turned out great for both of us, so maybe there's something there to explore. And yes, I have a busy fall. It's all football from August to February. Yes, I have other obligations, but I can work around those, that is if you were reasonable about them —"
"Reasonable?" she broke in. "Did you just say reasonable?"
He raked his fingers through his hair. "Okay, bad choice of words. But damn, Erin, last night was great. I thought we could —"
Could what? she wanted to ask. Roll in the hay for a few weeks when he could find time and then he'd leave her holding the bag? Not gonna happen. Maybe under different circumstances, but her life was falling apart. She couldn't risk heartbreak along with everything else.
Excerpted from Line of Scrimmage by Desiree Holt. Copyright © 2015 Desiree Holt. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jake Russell and Erin Bass meet through his sister Ivy, who is also Erin's best friend and have an instant chemistry. But Erin breaks her hard and fast rule. That is, if she stepped outside the lines to have a one night stand, she is better off hooking up with a stranger. Erin has been burned before, she has the broken heart to prove it, and she especially doesn't do football players. So when Erin wakes up with Jake still in her bed she kicks him to the curb, before he does it to her, after their most memorable one night stand. Jake is more than furious, he is confused since he felt a real connection with Erin. Jake is smart, sexy and dangerously complicated, he defines his life by his football career. When he is sidelined with a potential career ending injury his whole life is thrown into turmoil, especially when he will be dependent on someone else for his care and will need live in help to get him through the day. So when Ivy tricks Erin to agree to help a unknown celebrity friend out since she needs the money and then she tricks Jake as well, both of them will have to find a way around their history together to get what they both need out of this relationship. Will Erin see for herself who Jake really is and trust him with her secret? Will Jake let Erin in and let her know his secret he has been keeping? With Erin's help will Jake make it back to the NFL? Will they get their HEA? Loved this charming, witty, entertaining and sexy, hot romance and so will you. Received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is book # 2, in the Game On series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. It is certainly more enjoyable to read it in order with the series and will give the reader better understanding of the material given. Jake & Erin have an amazing night. Then, she tells him what she really thinks about football players and they part ways. Later, he is injured and his sister, (her best friend) tries to trick them into being together. Erin is just disgusted with the way most famous football players act. She has been hurt by one in the past and takes all of her frustration with him out on Jake. Then she is thrown together with him as his assistant. They still do not get along. Jake is severely injured and feeling like his life is a failure. He is not sure he can ever play football again, and that depresses him as it is pretty much his life. The only he looks forward to is Erin. She still won't give him the time of day. I was truly frustrated myself by the childish actions these two got up to. Seemed very real, and that somehow annoyed me to read. Anyway, beyond that there is good heat and excellent banter in this book. Hence the rating of 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP! ***This ARC is given from Netgalley.com and its publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Line of Scrimmage by Desiree Holt is a fabulous read! Ms Holt has once again impressed me with her story telling abilities. Erin and Jake's story is fun to read. I love the humor in this book. Jake's frustration and fear and Erin's way of dealing with it makes a wonderful tale. Ms Holt has delivered a well written book with lovable characters, drama and lots of heat. Line of Scrimmage is a fairly short read, I read it easily from cover to cover in one sitting. This is a perfect read for those with limited time for reading. I enjoyed this book and can't wait to read more from Desiree Holt in the future. Line of Scrimmage is book two of the Game On Series, but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes.
Erin is biased against football players, she dated one and it blew up in her face. As a result, she has refuses to date football players including her best friend' brother Jake. Erin loses her job, and in an bid to forget her woes, she gets drunk and sleeps with Jake. She freaks out and leaves abruptly. Jake isn't happy, but life moves on untill he breaks his leg in a football game. He undergoes surgery, and begins a long recovery as a reluctant patient. Erin is unable to find a new job, and so she is happy when Jake's sister cons her into becoming his assistant. They have a rocky beginning, but eventually Erin begins to become friends with Jake. Their chemistry doesn't go away, and they Jake convinces Erin to be creative. Will their relationhip survive when Jake learns his leg will his end his career? I am a sucker for injured athletes who fall in love their caregiver. This was another fun addition to this troupe. I enjoyed this book because the diaglouge was well written, the chemistry hot, and the plot was realistic. I was given a free copy for an honest review by negalley.com.
Sometimes seeing someone at their worst, brings out their best. That is just what happens when Erin Bass is forced to help recovering NFL star, Jake Russell. After a debacle of a one-night stand, Erin and Jake can’t stand to be in the same room with each other. But Jake's sister, aka Erin's best friend, has other plans. Jake is injured and needs full time assistance. His sister, trying to play match maker tricks Erin back into Jake’s life as that care giver. Erin has had a run of bad luck and is in much need of job. The tricking into working with Jake is easy. Having her stay will be the hard part. The chemistry had always been there, that was oblivious from their one-night stand. It was the emotion baggage that plays havoc with the couple’s relationship. Working through their baggage, facing the here and now and learning to trust becomes the focal point of the plot. Engaging, entertaining and a very enjoyable contemporary romance, Line of Scrimmage gets 4 stars. I received this ARC copy of Line of Scrimmage from Kensington Books - Lyrical Shine in exchange for a honest review.
Jake Russell lives for football, it has always been the one thing in his life that has kept him grounded, given him a sense of purpose.and what he feels defines him as a man. So, when a bad tackle leads to a serious season ending injury, he is left completely devastated and unsure of what the future holds for him. He has poured so much of himself into his career, and to have it all taken away in a blink of an eye, is almost more than he can bare, it has made him become a very bitter man not ready to let go. Ivy, his sister, knows her brother well, she sees him slipping into the darkness, and knows that this injury could potentially ruin him, and she is desperate to pull him out of his misery. She knows he needs more help than she can provide, so she sets out to find someone who can not only be there to help him physically, but also someone who can keep him from completely shutting down mentally. She has a perfect person in mind for the job, but she is not sure Jake would approve... but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Erin Bass despises football players, especially when it comes to them and romantic entanglements. She has been there and done that and has the broken heart to prove it. But for some unexplainable reason, or just the effects of way too much alcohol, she finds herself in bed with her best friends brother, and star football player, Jake Russell. When morning rolls around, and she realizes her lapse in judgement, she's bound and determined to get him out of her bed as quick as possible. But Jake seems to think they may have stumbled onto something good, but Erin is still hurt from her last round with a football player, and has no interest in making a return visit, so she sends Jake packing. So, when she finds out her best friend has tricked her into looking after her brother after he gets hurt on the field, she is ready run...but when she realizes all football players aren't the same it's got her reconsidering her options. This was my first experience with Ms. Holt's work, and all I can say is WOW, I absolutely LOVED every minute of this story! After reading the brief description I knew it was going to be good, but it exceeded my expectations and left me dying to read more of her books!! Jake and Erin's story captured my attention right from the start and didn't let go until long after the last page was turned. Some of my all time favorite romance stories involve football players, and I have to say Jake has definitely earned himself a spot at the top of that list!! I HIGHLY recommend you get your hands on this hot little read, and meet Jake, he's sure to put a permanent smile on your face, and score a special place in your heart!! ARC requested through NetGalley, and kindly provided by Kensington Books in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.
I really enjoyed Desiree Holt's next book in her Game On series, Line of Scrimmage. Jake and Erin had a one night stand and it ended abruptly thanks to her distrust of football players. Unfortunately this included Jake who's hoping to have a good football season but a disastrous tackle quickly changed all of that and put Erin within his reach again. I couldn't help but chuckle as Ivy pulled a trick in trying to get them together and the aftermath. These two had chemistry and the attraction was quite mutual, erotic dreams or not but Jake and Erin are still letting painful events from the past rule their lives and from moving on. I enjoyed Erin's gun-ho attitude and snarkiness, which had me laughing at certain scenes, while helping Jake recover from his injuries. She did not let him get away with any self-pity even though I could not blame him with all he's been through. I also liked that Jake would not give up on breaking down barriers that she put up and finally win her heart. The author has once again written a sexy story that I could not put down and I cannot wait for the next book in this series.