On Monday I published an excerpt of Hardball, the contemporary romance that I co-wrote with my husband under our pen name of VK Sykes. Here’s another excerpt, which is of the first meet between the hero and the heroine (Nate and Holly) from the heroine’s point of view. Enjoy!
Holly’s pulse had jumped when she looked up at the imposing man who’d nearly barged into her. In fact, she’d had to stifle a gasp at the sight of him.
She wasn’t used to seeing a man’s chin as high as her eye level. This guy had to be six-five, or maybe even more. And he wasn’t just tall, he was built. Not like the proverbial Mack truck. More like a sleek, expensive sports car. Maybe a Ferrari, she mused, thinking back to her father’s expensive auto collection.
Despite his deep, hooded eyes and dark masculine stubble, she guessed Carter might be a couple of years younger than her. He radiated youthful vitality and off-the-chart testosterone. As soon as he had entered the room, she instantly sensed the power coiled in his long, whipcord body. Instinctively, she had taken a small step backward to preserve her personal space.
It didn’t surprise her that he was an athlete. His hard, agile-looking body fit the part. What had surprised her was how the normally shy Morgan had immediately warmed to him, and how he interacted with her in such an easy, gentle way.
Carter was obviously a natural charmer with kids, and she would have bet a month’s salary that his charm would be just as effective on women.
Still, charming was one thing. Steaming hot was something else entirely. Nate Carter put the two together, and it made for a dazzling combination. When he sat down next to Megan’s bed, Holly had opened her mouth to make her goodbyes. But the words had died in her throat and her feet had remained glued to the floor. She stood silently by for several minutes as the big man and the little girl happily chatted away like best friends.
“Would you like me to sign a picture for you, Morgan?” he asked, pulling an eight by ten from a folder tucked under his arm.
“Yes, please.” Morgan’s eyes shone. Though she was a very sick little girl, she glowed under Carter’s gentle, humorous attention.
He carefully inscribed the photo as Holly looked over his shoulder.
To beautiful Morgan—as brave and strong as she is sweet. Your pal, Nate Carter.
“But I’d like something from you in return, honey,” he said, handing her the glossy print.
“What?” Morgan giggled, plucking shyly at the bed covers.
“Well, I’d really like it if the next time I visit I could bring my camera and get someone to take a picture of us together. Would you like that, too?”
“Yes! Yes!” she cried, more excited than Holly had ever seen her. “Dr. Holly can take our picture!” She looked over at Holly, who nodded her agreement with a smile.
“Good, then, that’s settled. I’ll come back soon. Very soon. Maybe I could even drop by tomorrow morning.”
Holly finally found her voice. “We’ll be here. You can page me when you arrive. If I’m not tied up at the time, I’d be glad to help.”
He smiled, and the teasing warmth in his eyes set off a corresponding rush of heat in her face and neck. God, she must be blushing like a teenager.
“Great! I’ll see you both you lovely ladies tomorrow.” Carter affectionately stroked Morgan’s cheek with his big hand, then winked at Holly as he left the room.
Holly gazed at his back until he was through the door and out of sight, more than a little flustered by the encounter. The man was a powerhouse of sex appeal, yet the empathy and kindness he had shown Morgan seemed totally genuine. It was crazy, but she couldn’t help wondering if he was single. Though she’d seen no ring or tan line on his finger, a guy who looked and acted like that sure wasn’t likely to be sleeping alone.
Turning back to the still-beaming Morgan, Holly gave her head a quick shake. She had exchanged maybe a dozen sentences with Nate Carter, and yet she’d caught herself wondering about his marital status. Not that she could completely blame herself. With those dark eyes and sensual mouth, plus the combination of strength, size, and masculinity, Nate Carter was a package that would mesmerize any red-blooded woman.
She tucked Morgan back into bed, determined to push Carter firmly from her thoughts. No doubt he was the kind of guy who automatically flirted with every woman who crossed his path. Yes, he had seemed interested in her, but her mind was surely playing tricks. The guy obviously had a charm factor pretty close to ten out of ten, so it would be all too easy for a woman to see what she wanted to see.
Still, her internal radar—as rusty as it was—told her that Carter had definitely made something approaching a pass at her. After all, there was the way his eyes had raked over her. She didn’t think she could be wrong about that. Then there was the sexy wink when he left the room.
Oh, for God’s sake, get a grip, Holly. She mentally scolded herself as she strode down the hall to the elevators. He’s a baseball player, for heaven’s sake. Even if Nate Carter were by some remote chance actually interested in me, we’d probably run out of conversation after half an hour.
She sighed as she stabbed her finger at the elevator call button. She knew a half hour would probably be all Carter needed to get her flat on her back and between the sheets.