Time Out (Harlequin Blaze Series #669)

Time Out (Harlequin Blaze Series #669)

by Jill Shalvis

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Original)

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Class: How to Drive Him Crazy
Instructional program for women unexpectedly facing the totally dishy guy from their past. Everyone welcome!

NHL coach Mark Diego's plan to spend his off-season volunteering in his hometown goes awry when he learns that not only is he coaching teenage girls, but that the program is coordinated by energetic (and five feet two inches of trouble) coordinator Rainey Saunders, his childhood friend—and the woman he could never stand to see dating any other guy….

When their tempers flare, Mark and Rainey discover their fireworks don't just burn angry—they burn very, very hot! But that'll just sweeten the victory. Because Mark always plays to win. And with Rainey, he's planning on playing very dirty, too…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373796731
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 02/28/2012
Series: Harlequin Blaze Series , #669
Edition description: Original
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis is the award winning author of over three dozen romance novels. Visit www.jillshalvis.com for a complete book list and a daily blog chronicling her I-Love-Lucy attempts at having it all; the writing, the kids, a life ...

Read an Excerpt

As always, Rainey's brain was full, too full, but one thought kept rising to the top and wouldn't leave her alone. "Tell me again," she asked Lena. "Why do we like men?"

Her best friend and wingman—even though Lena was no longer technically single—laughed. "Oh, honey. We don't have enough time."

They both worked at the beleaguered North District Rec Center in Santa Rey, a small mid-California beach town. Lena handled the front desk. Rainey was the junior sports coordinator, and today she was running their biweekly car wash to raise funds for their desperate sports program. Sitting on a stool in the driveway of the rec building's parking lot, Rainey directed cars in and accepted customers' money, then sent them through to the teenagers who were doing the washing. She kept her laptop out for the slow times. In between cars she'd been working on the upcoming winter sports schedule while simultaneously discussing all things men. Rainey was nothing if not a most excellent multitasker.

And maybe the slightest bit of a control freak.

"I thought you were going to try that online dating service," Lena said.

"I did. I got lots of offers for hookups."

Lena laughed. "Well, what were you looking for?"

Coffee, a few laughs, a connection… A real connection, which Rainey was missing lately. Her last two boyfriends had been great but…not great enough. Lena thought she was picky. In truth, Rainey was looking for something that she'd only felt once before, a very long time ago, when she'd been sixteen and stupid. "Men suck."

"Mmm," Lena said. "If they're very good, they do. Listen, you've had a dry spell, is all. Get back in the pool, the water's warm."

"I haven't had a dry spell, I've just been busy." Okay, so she'd had a little bit of a dry spell. She'd been spending a lot of time at work, trying to keep the teens in the North District—the forgotten district—out of trouble. That alone was a full-time job. She turned to the next car. Mrs. Foster had the highest beehive in all the land, and had been Rainey's fourth grade teacher. "Thanks for supporting the rec center's car wash," Rainey said.

"You're welcome." Her beehive, bluer now than ever, still quivered. "I was going to go to South District since they're giving away ten minute back massages with each wash, but I'm glad I didn't. I overheard about your dry spell, dear. Let me get you a date with my grandson, Kyle."

Great. A pity date. "No, that's—"

"He's quite the catch, you know," Mrs. Foster said. "I'll have him call your mother for your number."

"Really, it's not necessary—"

But Mrs. Foster was already driving forward, where her car was immediately attended to by a group of Rainey's well-behaved teens.

Okay, not all that well-behaved. Rainey had coerced them here on threat of death and dismemberment, but they desperately needed the money if they wanted a baseball and softball season.

"Score on Mrs. Foster's grandson," Lena said dryly.

"Think Kyle still has buck teeth?"

"My mom won't give him my number." Probably. Okay, she totally would. Rainey had gone to school with Kyle, so her mother would think him safe enough. Plus, she'd turned thirty last week and now her mom was on a mission to get her married before it was "too late." Hot and sweaty, Rainey swiped her forehead. It might be only June, but it was ninety degrees, and she'd been sitting out here for hours. Her Anaheim Ducks ball cap shaded her face for the most part but she could feel that she'd still managed to sunburn her nose, and her sunglasses kept slipping down her damp face.

They'd fed the teens pizza about an hour ago, and the kids were using the fuel to scrub cars and squirt each other every chance they got. They were down a few bodies since Rainey had kicked four of the guys out, the same four who always gave her trouble. They'd been trying to coerce one of the younger teen girls into the woods with them. even long before the fires had devastated Santa Rey the previous summer, the North District had been steadily deteriorating, and that core group of four were hell-bent on deteriorating right along with the area. Working at the rec center was far more than a job for Rainey. She genuinely cared about this community and the kids, but those boys had no interest in her help. She couldn't allow them back, not after today, and given that they'd called her a raging bitch as they'd vacated the premises, the hard feelings were mutual.

"Rick promised to take me out to dinner tonight," Lena said.

Rick was a lifelong friend of Rainey's as well as her boss, and also Lena's boyfriend. "Huh," she said. "He promised me some summer league coaches." Coaches who wouldn't quit when the going got rough, like the volunteer coaches tended to do. "It's three days before the start of the season."

"He's on it," Lena said, just as the man himself walked by, all dark eyes, dark hair, and a dark smile that never failed to get him what he wanted.

He flashed it at Rainey now. "I promised," Rick said.

"And I'll deliver."

"Great," Rainey said. "But when—"

But nothing. He'd given Lena a quick, soft smile and was already gone, back inside the building to wield his power there.

"I hate it when he does that," Rainey grumbled.

Lena sighed dreamily. "If he hadn't tasked me with a hundred things more than I have time to manage this morning, I'd totally want to have his babies."

"Honey, you're dating him. You've been dating him for a year now. Chances are decent that you will be having his babies."

Lena beamed, ridiculously happy. Rainey wasn't jealous. Yes, Rick was hot, but they were friends, and had been since high school. Because of it, they knew far too much about each other. For instance, Rainey knew Rick had lost his virginity behind the high school football stands with their substitute P.E. teacher. In turn, Rick knew that Rainey had tried to lose her virginity with his brother—the last guy she'd felt that elusive connection with—and been soundly rejected. At the humiliating years-old memory, she slumped in her seat. "What if my dry spell is like the Sahara Desert, neverending?"

"All you have to do is take a man at face value. Don't go into it thinking you can change them. Men aren't fixer-uppers, not like a house or a car. You buy them as is."

"Well I haven't found one yet who's not in need of a little fixing."

Lena laughed. "No kidding, Ms. Control Freak."


"Face it, Rainey, you always have to have a plan with a start, a middle and an end. Definitely an end. You have to know everything before you even get into it. Dating doesn't work that way."

"Well, it should." Rainey gestured the next car through, accepting the money and handing out more change. The teens were moving the cars along at a good pace, and she was proud of them. "Everyone could benefit from a well executed plan."

"A love life doesn't work that way," Lena said. "And trust me, you need a love life."

"You can get a love life in a specialty shop nowadays, complete with a couple of batteries." Rainey took a moment to organize the cash box and quickly checked her work email on the laptop. "Thirty new emails," she groaned. All timely and critical, and she'd have to deal with them before the end of the day. Goody.

"I could help you with some of that," Lena offered.

"I've got it."

"See? Control freak."

Ignoring that painful truth, Rainey deleted a few emails and opened a few others. She loved her job, and was doing what she wanted. She'd gone to business school but she'd come back here to do this, to work with kids in need, and to give back. The work was crazy in the best of times. But these days, in the wake of the tragic California coast fires that had destroyed three out of four of their athletic fields last fall, not to mention both buildings where all their equipment had been housed, were not the best of times. Worse, the lease for the building they were in was up at the end of the year and they couldn't afford renewal.

Problem was, she had a hundred kids, many of them displaced from their own burned-out homes. She wanted to give them something to do after school that didn't involve loitering, shoplifting, drugs or sex. She'd just started to close her laptop when her gaze caught on the Yahoo news page. Hitting the volume key, she stared at a sports clip showing a seedy bar fight between some NHL players from the Anaheim Ducks and Sacramento Mammoths.

The clip had been playing all week, because…well, she hadn't figured out why, other than people seemed to love a sports scandal. The video was little more than a pile of well-known professional athletes wrestling each other to the ground in some L.A. bar, fists flying, dust rising.

Rainey gestured another car through, then turned back to the screen, riveted by the million-dollar limbs and titillating show of testosterone. On the day the footage had been taken, the two teams had been in the Stanley Cup finals. The game had been decided on a controversial call in favor of the Ducks, killing the Mammoths' dreams.

That night at the bar, the Mammoth players had instigated the fight, holding their own against four Ducks until their head coach strode up out of nowhere. At thirty-four, Mark Diego was the youngest, most popular NHL head coach in the country.

And possibly even more gorgeous than his brother Rick.

On the tape, Mark's eyes narrowed in on the fight as he walked fearlessly into the fray, pulling his players out of the pile as though they weighed nothing. A fist flew near his face and he deflected it, leveling the sender of said fist a long, hard look.

The guy fell backwards trying to get away.

"That's the sexiest thing I've ever seen," Lena murmured, watching the clip over Rainey's shoulder.

Yeah. Yeah, it was. Rainey had seen Mark in action before, of course. He and Rick were close. And once upon a time, she'd been just as close, having grown up near the brothers. Back then, Mark had been tough, smart, and fiercely protective of those he cared about. He'd also had a wild streak a mile wide, and she'd seen him brawl plenty. It'd turned her on then, but it absolutely didn't now. She was grown-up, mature.

Or so she told herself in the light of day.

On the screen, hands on hips, Mark said something, something quiet but that nevertheless had the heaving mass of aggression screeching to a halt.

"Oh, yeah. Come to momma," Lena murmured. "Look at him, Rainey. Tall, dark, gorgeous. Fearless. I wouldn't mind him exerting his authority on me."

Rainey's belly quivered, and not because she'd inhaled three pieces of pizza with the teens an hour ago. Mark was no longer a wild teenager, but a tightly controlled, complicated man. A stranger. How he "exerted his authority" was none of her business. "Lena, you're dating his brother." Just speaking about Mark had twisted open a wound in a small corner of her heart, a corner she didn't visit very often.

"I've never gotten to see the glory that would be the Diego brothers in stereo." Lena hadn't grown up in Santa Rey. "Mark hasn't come home since I've been with Rick. Being the youngest, baddest, sexiest head coach in all the NHL must be time-consuming."

"Trust me, he's not your type."

"Because he's rich and famous? Because he's tough as hell and cool as ice?"

"Because he's missing a vital organ."

Lena gasped in horror. "He doesn't have a d—"

"A heart! He's missing a heart! Jeez, get your mind out of the gutter."

Lena laughed. "How do you know he's missing a heart?" Her eyes widened. "You have a past! Of course you have a past, you grew up here with Rick. Is it sordid? Tell me!"

Rainey sighed. "I was younger, so Mark always thought of me as a…"

"Forbidden fruit?" Lena asked hopefully.

"Pest," Rainey corrected. "Look, I don't want to talk about it."

"I do!"

Knowing Lena wouldn't leave it alone, she caved. "Fine. I had a crush on him, and thought he was crushing back. Wrong. He didn't even know how I felt about him, but before I figured that out, I managed to thoroughly humiliate myself. The end."

"Oh, I'm going to need much more than that."

Luckily Lena's cell phone chose that very moment to ring. God bless AT&T. Lena glanced at the ID and grimaced. "I've got to go." She pointed at Rainey. "This discussion is not over."

"Yeah, yeah. Later." Rainey waved her off. She purposely glanced away from her computer screen, but like a moth to a flame, she couldn't fight the pull, and turned back.

Mark was shoving his players ahead of him, away from the run-down L.A. bar and towards a black SUV, single-handedly taking care of the situation.

That had been three days ago. The fight had been all over the news, and the commission was thinking about suspending the players involved. Supposedly the two head coaches had stepped in and offered a solution that would involve giving back to the fans who'd supported the two teams.

She looked into Mark's implacable, uncompromising face on her laptop and the years fell away. She searched for the boy she'd once loved with all her sixteen-year-old heart, but couldn't find a hint of him.

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Time Out 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
WhatsOntheBookshelf More than 1 year ago
Curiosity pays off! I selected this book out of curiosity. First, it was about hockey... who could resist that?? Secondly, Jill Shalvis is the author. Again...hard to resist. You combine both of those, and well there was no way I couldn't at least give the book a try. While this isn't Lucky Harbor, it is still a really good book. Mark is one of those guys you fall in love with from the word go. He's not only smart, he's caring and gives the same respect he expects from his players. That's what takes him home for the off season. When his players get into trouble he plans to make them do some volunteer work. There was an almost instant chemistry between him and Rainey. Their path to admitting their feelings is humorous, heart wrenching, and heart melting all at the same time. Rainey loves what she does. She devotes her time to the kids she spends every day with, even if it means putting herself in the line of fire with their parents. When Mark shows up she's unhappy about it and wants to avoid him. But that's pretty much impossible. Rainey's one of those heroines that you can't help but root for. When she likes Mark, you like Mark. When she's mad at him, you're mad at him. I enjoyed the dynamic between Rainey and the supporting characters. There's plenty of goodness in this book to keep you turning page after page. If you like hockey and hot guys then definitely check out TIME OUT. Even if you don't like hockey you still need to give this book a try. You won't be disappointed!
SmittenWithReading More than 1 year ago
My Review: A hot It's no secret that I love Jill Shalvis, but even I was surprised by how much I loved this book. On the night after losing the Stanley Cup, two of Mark's guys were in a bar brawl with two players from the other team. The video made it as a YouTube viral, so now instead of basking in a really wonderful hockey season for his team, Coach Mark Diego is having to repair the teams image. His plan for that....to put his two rogue players to work at his brother's community rec center coaching baseball. Unfortunately, the rec center coordinator is childhood friend, Rainey. At least they were friends until she threw herself at him one night and he turned her down flat. Since then, things have been a bit tense between the two of them, even though that happened fourteen years ago. The best thing about this book...the dialogue between Mark and Rainey. OMG, Jill is just an amazing writer. Everything about this book seemed effortless and natural. When I was reading it, I would completely forget that I was reading a book. I became completely immersed! Mark & Rainey have pretty much known each other their entire lives. As a result, even though things are really tense sexually between the two, there is an ease to their dialogue that I just loved. They completely knew how to push each other's buttons and I loved reading that. I liked the whole story line set-up. It was fun and you all know that I am a huge sports-book fan! Add in that these two had this long, crazy history between them, and yep...this book was good! I picked it up late one morning and didn't put it down again until it was completely finished. It was that good! I just love Jill Shalvis' writing. It keeps me laughing, but at the same time, there is a depth of emotion that is just gorgeous. Beautiful love story! Jill Shalvis + sports book + Harlequin Blaze = PERFECTION!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a fast read, but, only because it was so good!
girlfromwva64 More than 1 year ago
This is Mark and Rainey's story. Mark Diego is an NHL coach. He will be spending his off season time volunteering for his town back home. He doesn't realize when he volunteered that he will not only be coaching teenage girls, but that he will be working alongside Rainey Saunders. Rainey is the coordinator for the program at the Rec Center dealing with teenage girls. She is five feet two inches of trouble. She is also Mark's childhood friend, and the man who she embarrassed herself with by having a huge crush on. Mark never liked seeing her dating any other guys. But with Rainey being a few years younger than he was, he felt it best to steer clear of her "affections". Mark and Rainey both have tempers that flare because of the unspoken chemistry between them. The fireworks they create burn angry and hot. Mark plays to win, and he plans on playing dirty if he has to. Loved their story. The chemistry is burning hot, and i like how they banter back and forth. i really enjoyed them figuring it all out.
kmartin802 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a story about people who met at the wrong time in both their lives and have a chance for a do-over now. Rainey had a crush on Mark when she was sixteen and he was twenty. When she goes to act on it, she finds him with another girl and runs off. He chases after her and finds her soon enough to keep her from being raped by the guy she chose in a moment of hurt. This embarrassed her completely and she liked avoiding him until he left town. He hadn't even recognized her crush and just saw her as a friend of his brother's. He went off to college and became a hockey coach. He came back occasionally and, as she grew up, he began to appreciate her much more.Now they are spending time together because Mark is back home shepherding two of his superstar players as they do community service to make up for a stupid bar fight. Rainey is now in charge of the athletics at the community center where Mark and his players are volunteering. Sparks fly immediately between them. Rainey realizes that she had been comparing every man to him for years. But he is thinking that he isn't much of a catch because he is so busy coaching a professional hockey team. It takes a while and lots of hot sex before they give each other a chance and find a way to compromise.This was a sweet, funny, hot romance that was a perfect way to spend an evening. A great escape! I loved the sparring between them. Everyone around them could see that they were meant for each other but both of them were too stubborn to see it. Or, maybe, they were just too frightened to take a chance on love.
rhonda1111 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Review: Time Out by Jill Shalvis 4 STARSI liked the story line a lot. It is a Harlequin Blaze so their were the love scenes that I skipped over.Rainey works at a summer rec league in a poor part of town that was made worse by summer fires. Fires destroyed a few of the ball fields and lots of homes too.Rainey is having a fund raser car wash and most of left when she gets a bucket of water meant for a teen, when a big fancy truck pulls in. Mark Diego NHL head coach and two of his players.Mark realizes that its Rainey under the had,glasses and he flirts. Rainey had a crush on him when she was 16 and sneeked into his apartment at collage but he was with a girl.After the Stanley cup final two of Mark's players got into a fight with the other team players in a bar fight. The two coaches got together and for their punshment they would volunteer and coach youth summer leagues and than have them play each others teams earning more money for the programs of the coaches home towns.Mark's brother Rick was in charge of the rec program and is Rainey's best friend growing up and now her boss.Casey Reynolds & James Vasquez are the youngest players on Mark's team and agreed to do anything to stay on the team. So they were doing construction durning the day and coaching rec teams. Mark and his players where in a motel out in the sticks with no extras at all.Mark was off thinking about Rainey at a planning meeting instead of listening and he volunteered to coach girls softball team. Casey and James got the boys teams.Mark & Rainey have a lot of heat and Mark chases off the guys she is trying to date. Mark used to always having his way and wants to take things day by day. Rainey wants it to be just when she wants to get physcal doesn't want to expect things from Mark. Mark likes relationships to be day by day.I was given this ebook to read in exchange for honest reviews from Netgalley.02/19/2012 Harlequin Blaze
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great characters, heart warming story ! I love Jill Shalvis’ books - funny, wonderful stories and good lessons !
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molMT More than 1 year ago
If you like romance you will enjoy these books. Jill Shalvis is an incredible romance writer. She doesn't get nitty gritty like Fifty Shades but still just as engaging!
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sweettfp More than 1 year ago
This book is sooo much better than the overview leads on. Jill Shalvis really hooks you in first thing and keep you until the final page with all her books and this one is no exception. Wonderful story, definitely a must read!
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RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Posted on Romancing the Book's blog Reviewed by~marissa Review copy Provided by~the Publisher I have loved Jill Shalvis’ writing ever since I picked up my first book of hers, Out of This World. It was quirky, the hero was a nerd (for part of the book, anyway), and I loved every page of it. Since then I have caught up on most of her books and have enjoyed every one of them, including Time Out. I loved the fact that a big hockey star comes home to help his teammates and his family. Mark Diego doesn’t let his roots define him and he doesn’t try to break away from them. In some ways, he is still the small town boy but now with big city smarts. Rainey Saunders is the small town girl who stayed in the small town, defining herself by helping others. Her job is working with kids at a struggling recreation center. On the side she also volunteers in many other areas of the community, including helping out with misplaced families after a large wildfire destroys much of the community. Both hero and heroine are strong-willed and obstinate. Rainey does not want to love Mark. She’s already been humiliated by him once. Mark does not want to love anyone. His life is too hectic and he is constantly away from home. This is the setting for a good Harlequin Blaze novel. Angst, obstinacy, attraction, and defiance. They all work together to form a cohesive bond of love between two people who don’t want to love each other. I was surprised that this was a single book and not part of a series since there is another couple (Mark’s brother and Rainey’s best friend) featured as secondary-characters. I am hoping that there will be a sequel starring one of the hockey players, either Casey or James. Doesn’t matter which one – they’re both sexy and charming.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Romantic_Always_17 More than 1 year ago
This was cute story about a NHL head coach Mark Diego that falls for a girl from his home town but is to stubborn to realize it until it almost to late. Defiantly recommend reading if you like a good love story..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow when i started reading i was hooked. Great author! Steamy sex scenes, awesome plot, extremely well written. This is an author to look out for. Very talented.