A whole new playing field of passion
Fiery newscaster Angela Kelly wants nothing more than to take the Windy City by storm. But with her show's dangerously low ratings, she stands to lose everything. The pressure is on to save her career, and a tantalizing exposé on wickedly sexy professional baseball player Demetri Morretti might be her last shot. That is, if she can handle the irresistible desire brewing between them .
Demetri sets out to teach the sensual broadcaster a lesson, and doesn't think twice about trying to seduce her. And then a secret about Angela's past is revealed. Now Demetri is determined to gain her trust and prove to her there's more to him than just his playboy status. Because when it comes to love, he always plays to win.
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Demetri Morretti yanked open the door of the sleek, ultramodern WJN-TV building and stalked inside the bright, bustling lobby. The station was abuzz with activity, the mood was cheerful, and everywhere Demetri turned were young, well-dressed people. Some were drinking coffee in the waiting area, others were yakking into their cell phones, and a few were snapping pictures in front of the life-size bronze statue.
Keeping his head down, and his pace brisk, he strode past the reception desk like a man on a mission. And he was. He'd driven across town to issue a warning to Angela Kelly, the female broadcaster with the lying lips, and wasn't going to let anything stop him. His left shoulder was killing him, throbbing in pain from his neck to his elbow, but he kept his smile in place as he continued through the sun-drenched lobby.
Demetri was about to breeze past the security desk but saw the robust-looking security guard eyeing him and thought better of it.
As he approached the circular desk, he caught sight of the gigantic oak clock. Demetri was surprised to see that it was already eleven-thirty. He was supposed to be meeting his team of his agent, his manager and his no-nonsense publicist for lunch at their favorite uptown pub. But when he remembered last night's episode of Eye on Chicago, Demetri decided nothing was more important than confronting the broadcaster who'd slaughtered his name on national television. This was the second time Angela Kelly had taken a cheap shot at him, and he was sick of being the butt of her jokes. This was a detour he had to makeone his manager couldn't talk him out of no matter how hard he'd tried.
"Hey, man, what's up?" Demetri said, greeting the guard with a flick of his head. "I'm here to see Ms. Angela Kelly."
"Now's not a good time."
"This won't take long. I just need a few minutes."
"Do you have an appointment?"
Demetri shook his head. "No, but"
"But nothing." The guard waved him off with his beefy hand. "Come back at the end of the day. I might be able to squeeze you in then."
"I can't. I'm busy."
"Doing what? Panhandling?"
Taken aback by his comment, Demetri glanced down and inspected his attire. He'd left the house without shaving and wore dark, stubbly hair on his chin, but he didn't look that bad, did he? He'd showered and wore his new signature Gucci cologne, and his black Nike warm-up suit didn't have a wrinkle in sight. I look good, he decided, squaring his shoulders. This dude needs to have his eyes checked.
"You cats from the Ninth Street homeless shelter are driving me nuts," the guard complained. "You're always coming in here begging to see Ms. Kelly just because she volunteers down at the center, but enough is enough. She's too nice to tell you bums to get lost, but I'm not, so get lost!"
Demetri raised his eyebrows for two reasons. One because the security guard thought he was down on his luck, and two because the man spoke about Angela Kelly in glowing terms, as if she were a saint. Demetri found it hard to believe that the mean-spirited newscaster volunteered with the homeless. It had to be a front. Something she did to look good, to boost the ratings of her TV show. Demetri considered leaving, and tracking her down at the shelter up the block, but quickly decided against it. He was going to talk to Angela Kelly today, and the gruff security guard with the unibrow was going to lead him straight to her.
"I'd appreciate if you could help me out," Demetri said, glancing around the lobby for any signs of the enemy. "It's important that I talk to Ms. Kelly before she goes on the air."
"Are you deaf? I said to come back later." Glowering, he bared his crooked, coffee-stained teeth. "Scram before I toss you out myself."
Demetri took off his dark aviator sunglasses and flashed his trademark grin. The one that had landed him a seven-figure deal with Sony, Crest toothpaste and a dozen other multimillion-dollar companies. "Now, is that any way to talk to the Athlete of the Year?"
The guard's eyes flew out of his head. "Holy crap! You're Demetri Morretti!"
Leaning forward, Demetri pressed a finger to his lips and spoke in a conspiratorial whisper. "Keep it down, man. I don't want anyone to know it's me."
The guard raced around his desk, cap in hand, a giddy expression on his wide face. "I've been a fan ever since you signed with the Chicago Royals, and I haven't missed a home game since!"
Demetri nodded. "Thanks, man. I really appreciate the support."
"My friends are going to trip when I tell them I met you! We watch your games every week and even drove a thousand miles to see you play in "
Demetri stood patiently, waiting for the guard to quit rambling about last year's All-Star Game. Unfortunately, this happened several times a day. And although he was out for the rest of the season due to his bum shoulder, there were fans out there who still treated him like a champion. Everyone else had turned on him, and the last thing Demetri needed was more bad press. That was the main reason he'd come to tell Angela Kelly to back off and stop the station from airing the last installment of her Athletes Behaving Badly series.
"Can I have your autograph?" the guard asked, snatching a piece of paper off the desk and shoving it under his nose. "No, no, forget that. Can I take a picture with you?"
"I don't know. That depends on whether or not you're going to take me to Ms. Kelly."
"Anything for you, Mr. Morretti. Right this way."
Grinning from ear to ear, he hustled Demetri through the lobby, past the reception desk and down a long, narrow corridor. The scent of freshly brewed coffee filled the air. Offices and conference rooms were on either side of the hallway, and Demetri could hear conversation, laughter and the distant sound of the radio.
The guard stopped in front of a door with the letter A marked on it. "This is where Ms. Kelly tapes Eye on Chicago'" He wore an apologetic smile. "Sorry, Mr. Morretti, but I'm going to have to ask you to switch off your cell phone before we head inside. I know it's a pain, but those are the rules."
"I figured as much, so I left my cell in the car." Demetri slid his hands into his sweatpants. That wasn't the only reason. His phone had been ringing off the hook ever since he signed his contract extension last week, and he was sick of the incessant calls from his relatives. Everyone needed money for somethingto pay his or her mortgage, for tuition, to get a second boob job. If not for his mother's heartfelt pleas, he would have cut his mooching family members off a long time ago.
A siren blared behind him, and his burly escort cursed under his breath.
"I can't believe that stupid alarm is going off again," he grumbled, whipping his walkie-talkie out of his pocket and rattling off a series of security codes. "I'll be right back, Mr. Morretti. Hang tight."
"Take as long as you need, man. I'm not going anywhere."
The security guard took off down the hall, mumbling to himself in Portuguese. Demetri waited until his escort disappeared around the corner, then calmly opened the door of Studio A. People in headsets, clutching wooden clipboards, rushed around the room. He slipped inside the darkened studio with the stealth of a burglar.
The studio was spacious, and the air was thick and hot. He heard a woman speaking and instantly recognized the low, sultry voice. It was the same voice he'd heard in his dreams. The one that had teased and tormented him last night.
After watching Eye on Chicago the previous night, and seeing his past transgressions in high definition, he'd stormed into his home gym, fuming mad. But it didn't matter how many push-ups he did or how much weight he lifted because he still couldn't get Angela Kelly's voice out of his head. Or her blistering jabs. Demetri Morretti is an overrated, overpaid athlete with no class His off-field behavior has not only disgraced the Chicago Royals organization, but his teammates and fans If I was the league commissioner, I'd give Morretti the boot, once and for all.
Demetri clenched his hands into fists. He wanted to punch something, wanted to unleash the anger shooting through his veins. Another workout was definitely in order. He was tense, more fired up than a boxer on fight day, and those deep breathing exercises his conditioning coach had taught him weren't working. They never worked. These days, he was more stressed than ever, and getting injured during the preseason had only made matters worse.
Now stepping out from behind the curtain shielding him, Demetri slid up against the back wall. Standing perfectly still, he zeroed in on the raised stage. Seated behind the V-shaped glass desk was the studio's most popular broadcasterAngela Kelly. The stunning twentysomething Chicago native with the girl-next-door appeal. Her beauty was jaw-dropping, as breathtaking as a Mediterranean sunset, and at the sight of her dazzling smile his mouth went bone-dry. Everything about her was chic and sophisticated. Her fuchsia blazer and shorts, her silky black hair, the way she spoke and moved. Angela Kelly looked well put together, as if she'd just stepped out of hair and makeup, and she spoke with such exuberance that the entire studio was filled with her positive energy. And Demetri Morretti hated her on sight.
"Thanks for watching this week's edition of Eye on Chicago," Angela Kelly said, staring straight into the camera and wearing her brightest smile. "Make sure you tune in next week for the conclusion of my Athletes Behaving Badly story. Until next time, stay safe."
"That's a wrap, people!" the cameraman yelled. "Great job, Angela. You really outdid yourself this week. Faking tears as you read the intro was a nice touch."
"I wasn't faking," Angela said, unclipping her microphone and resting it on the desk. "Watching those clips of teenagers rifling through the garbage was heartbreaking."
"Sure it was." The cameraman winked and then patted her on the back. "I'll see you on Friday. We're filming two segments back-to-back, so make sure you bring your A game."
"I'll bring mine if you bring yours!"
The cameraman chuckled and then strode off the soundstage.
Angela slid off her chair, adjusted her blazer and ran a hand through her perfectly flat-ironed hair. Spotting her boss, Salem Velasquez, at the back of the room, she swiped her clipboard off the raised glass desk and stepped off the set. This was her chance to talk to Salemaloneabout the proposal she'd submitted last week for her new three-part series. Angela was determined to win her boss over. If she wanted to be taken seriously in the journalism community, she had to continue pursuing meatier news stories. Stories that would impact the world and change lives. Stories that she could be proud of. After eight years of covering celebrity gossip, Angela was ready for a change. She was ready for the big leagues. And if she wanted to be the station's lead broadcaster by the time she turned thirty at the end of the year, she had to start pushing the envelope.
"Angela-wouldn't-know-the -truth-if-it-slapped-her-in-the -face-Kelly," a male voice said from behind her. A tall, hooded figure, decked out in all black, slid in front of her.
Angela stepped back with a yelp. "What the hell?" she snapped, touching a hand to her chest. Narrowing her eyes, she studied the lean, muscled stranger. His baseball cap was pulled low, past his eyebrows, a thick Nike hoodie covering his head, and his hands were tucked in the pockets of his sweatpants. His head was down, and his shoulders were bent. The man looked sinister, like the villain in a comic book, but he smelled heavenly.
"I need to have a word with you."
"I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you to leave. This is a closed set, and no one." Angela's voice faded when the stranger took off his hoodie. Her clipboard slipped out of her hands, falling to the floor with a clatter.
"I'd say it was a pleasure to meet you, but I'd be lying, and I'd hate to make a second trip to confession this week."
Angela felt her eyes widen and her knees buckle. Not because she was surprised by the dig, but because Demetri Morrettithe reigning bad boy of Major League Baseballwas standing in front of her, live and in the flesh.
Her thoughts were running wild, but her gaze was glued to his handsome, chiseled face before her. Dark eyebrows framed his brown eyes, a thin mustache lined his thick lips, and his wide shoulders made him seem imposing, larger-than-life. The half Italian, half African-American star athlete was a force to be reckoned with on the baseball field. And even though he was casually dressed in workout clothes and had a very present five-o'clock shadow, he was still smokin' hot.
His skin was a warm caramel shade of brown and so smooth and flawless-looking, Angela suspected he had weekly facials. Demetri Morretti was a pretty boy if she'd ever seen one, but she didn't think for a second that he was soft. Angela had read enough about the thirty-two-year-old superstar to know that he was a spoiled, ridiculously rich athlete who pushed around anyone who got in his way.
Recovering from the shock of seeing Demetri Morretti in her studio, Angela hit him with an icy glare. "Tapings aren't open to the public," she said tightly. "And since you're not an employee of the station, I'm going to have to ask you to leave, Mr. Morretti."
"I will, as soon as you go on the air and issue an apology to me and my family."
Angela almost laughed in his face but caught herself before a snicker escaped her mouth. No use antagonizing him. According to published reports, Demetri was impulsive, a hothead of the worst kind, and there was no telling what he'd do in the heat of the moment.
"My mother is very upset about the lies you told about me on your show, but I assured her you'd apologize once you realized the errors of your ways."
"Apologize for what? Speaking the truth?" Angela rolled her eyes to the ceiling. She didn't tell Demetri about the countless hours she'd spent reading articles and sports blogs about his background and twelve-year baseball career. The headlines about the gifted shortstop were damning and more salacious than a CIA prostitution scandal. There were reports of bar brawls, drunken Las Vegas parties and explosive run-ins with rival baseball fans. She'd found so much "dirt" on Demetri Morretti, and the other players featured in her story, she'd had enough material for a three-part series. And the viewers were eating it up. Her show had slayed the competition in the ratings last week, and everywhere she went people were talking about her Athletes Behaving Badly story. It was a hot topic, one that viewers couldn't seem to get enough of.
"Don't mess with me, Ms. Kelly, because when it's all said and done, I will get my way."
Angela's toes curled in her five-inch black pumps. She couldn't believe his nerve. Demetri was rotten to the core, a man of such extraordinary arrogance, Angela didn't know why she was even talking to him. "You might be able to throw your weight around the clubhouse," she began, meeting his hostile gaze, "but it's not going to work here. I double-checked the facts and have taped interviews with eyewitnesses to back up my report."
"Your report was full of lies. It was nothing more than a smear campaign done by a bitter, angry woman who got dissed and dismissed by her ex-boyfriend."
Angela's breath caught in her throat. Her face must have registered surprise, because a grin that could scare a mobster broke out across Demetri's lips.
"Your ex plays for the L.A. Jaguars," he continued. "And he was nice enough to share all of the dirty details of your relationship with him."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I had skip a lot of pages because the story was boring at timee. Out of 180 some pages I may have read 90. A big letdown. I wish I had saved my money.
When I first started reading I could not put it down. Lord have mercy the hot and passion between Angela Kelly and Demetri Morretti had me fanning myself. Pamela wrote another great book. I counted down until the next one and now I'm counting down til the third one.
Really enjoyed the first book in this new series. The storyline was good, keep your attention and you felt the chemistry between the main characters from page one. Looking forward to reading the other books in the series. Would love a story on angel's brother, even a story for Nichola.
I've read her frist two books of the Morretti series. Very good reads.