#SampleSunday: Hardball

For #Sample Sunday, here’s another excerpt from Hardball, the sexy contemporary romance I wrote with my husband under the pen name of VK Sykes.  Our hero Nate, a superstar baseball player, is taking Holly, a serious and rather shy pediatric surgeon, to an upscale charity dinner for their first date.  Wanting Holly all to himself, he hustles her out to his sportscar, eager for their first kiss…and more!

Nate had enjoyed watching Holly charm the rest of the table with her intelligence and her sweet, slightly retiring manner.  He gave himself a pat on the back for having the brains to ask her out tonight, and silently thanked Martha for putting the idea in his head.

But right now he couldn’t wait for the damn speeches and trophy presentations to end.  Even at the best of times he found it hard to sit still for so long, but tonight he felt ready to crawl out of his skin.  His body hummed with energy, and an overwhelming desire to get Holly Bell alone.

Alone anywhere—as long as he had her all to himself.

Earlier in the evening, she’d spent most of her time talking to Dr. Fredericks.  Although Nate had expected that, he didn’t have to like it.  But since coming back from the rest room she’d focused almost completely on him, laughing at all his jokes and asking questions about baseball.  She looked and acted more confident, too.  It made him wonder what had gone on in that long trip to the bathroom with the scheming duo of Maddie Leclair Miller and Martha Winston.

Finally, Holly glanced at him, signaling her readiness to leave.  As they got up, she wobbled just enough to let him know she could use an arm to steady her.  When he slid his arm around her waist as they said their goodbyes, she leaned into him slightly and Nate’s hormones kicked into overdrive.

He kept his arm firmly around her as they strolled down a flagstone path to the parking lot.  “Have a good time tonight?” he said softly.

“I sure did,” she murmured.  “Your friends are great.  I especially liked Maddie and Martha.”

Nate was not interested in talking about his well-meaning but sometimes annoying friends.  He wanted Holly’s attention fully on him.  “I usually find these banquets boring, but not tonight.  It’s obviously because I spent the evening with the most beautiful and interesting woman in the place.”

She hesitated a second longer than he liked.  “You’re sweet to say that, but I think that must be the wine talking.  And, speaking of wine, I could kick myself for drinking as much as I did.  I had a grand plan you know,” she said with a sleepy, sexy smile.

Oh, he had some grand plans too, and he was about to set them in motion.  “Hold that thought.”

He opened the passenger door of the DB9 and handed an almost boneless Holly into the seat.  After he went around and slid into his own seat, he turned to face her.

“Okay, the grand plan.  I’m almost afraid to ask,” he said, deadpan.

The smile shaping her full, sensual mouth drove him crazy with lust.

With a lazy gesture, Holly made a half-hearted attempt to smooth her dress down, leaving most of her silky thighs exposed.  Nate clenched his jaw hard against the rush of blood to his groin.  He totally forgot what they were talking about.

Oh, right.  Her grand plan.

“I was going to ask if I could drive this sweetheart home,” she said.  “But that was before you plied me with all that wine.”  Her eyelids fluttered shut.  “Not to mention bourbon.  One would almost think you had an ulterior motive.”

Holding back a grin, Nate decided to yank her chain a bit.  “Hell, I wouldn’t care if you were stone cold sober,” he said in a growly voice.  “Nobody drives my baby.  And sure as hell not on a first date.”

Her eyes opened wider.  “So this was a date, after all?”

“What did you think it was?”

She stared at him, looking almost embarrassed, before she lifted one slender hand to rest just below her neck.  “Oh, I don’t know.  I guess I wondered if you were just being nice to a newcomer.”

The doctor was full of surprises.  Didn’t she get how attracted he’d been to her from the first moment?  He’d always been direct with women, and hadn’t disguised his interest.  How could she not see it?

“What do I look like, lady?  The welcome wagon?” he joked, wanting to ease her shyness.

Holly laughed as she aimed a little punch at his shoulder.  “Okay, I get it.  Anyway, I’d still like to drive this car.  Someday, if you’ll let me.”

Nate gave her a wink.  “Like Scarlett said, tomorrow is another day.”

“I’m taking that as a promise, Nate Carter,” she said in a schoolmarm tone of voice.  But then she relaxed back into the seat and, as she stretched her long legs, her dress rose even higher, revealing a couple more inches of creamy thigh.

That’s all it took for Nate’s erection to push aggressively against the fabric of his pants.  He clenched his hand into a fist to stop from reaching over the center console to stroke her silk-clad flesh.

As if reading his thoughts, Holly laid her hand on top of his.  Nate gazed at her, searching her eyes for confirmation of what he thought she was saying.

“It’s okay,” she breathed.  Her eyes were sensual and heavy, the lids almost closing.

Nate pulled her to him, unable to keep his hands off her gorgeous body a second longer.  Holly sighed as his lips found hers, and eased open her soft mouth to his probing tongue.  He knew he should be tender and gentle, but he wanted her as much as he’d ever wanted any woman.   He devoured her mouth, and his arms pulled her flush against him as he leaned over the console.  With a whimpering little moan that shot his lust sky high, she snuggled into him, sifting his hair through her fingers.

With a harsh breath, Nate drew back a few inches and gazed into her eyes.  There was no mistaking the message in their smoky, hazel depths.  She wanted him as much as he wanted her.

He came back down on her like a rocket, devouring her mouth again as he lost all sense of his surroundings.  The fire in their kiss seemed to consume the oxygen, taking his breath with it.  He knew only her lips, the hot cavern of her mouth, the sweet, welcoming taste of her.  But he needed more.  He needed her body.  So, he slid one hand up to cup a full, soft breast as his other hand inched across her lap to an exposed thigh.

A mechanical roar from behind drove them apart.  Nate jerked back into his seat as headlights bathed them in a wash of halogen light.  Part of him cursed the interruption, but the rest of him realized the parking lot was no place to be fooling around.  Especially not with a woman as classy as Doctor Holly Bell.

Holly let out a nervous laugh as she smoothed her dress down then ruffled out her hair.  “God, that was embarrassing.  I think I gave up about five years of life with that one.”

Nate buckled his seat belt and pressed the crystal starter knob on the dash.  “Scared the hell out of me, too.  Whoever it was must have been damn quiet getting into the car.  I didn’t hear a thing before the engine roared.”

“We were a little preoccupied.” Holly said in a muffled voice.  Thank God she sounded amused.  He sure as hell had no intention of offending her by making out like a horny teenager in the parking lot.

Hardball is available on Amazon and Smashwords for $2.99.  You can read all about it, including another excerpt, on my VK Sykes website.

Have a great Sunday!

#Sample Sunday: Hardball

For #Sample Sunday, here’s another excerpt from Hardball, the sexy contemporary romance I wrote with my husband under the pen name of VK Sykes.  Our hero Nate, a superstar baseball player, is taking Holly, a serious and rather shy pediatric surgeon, to an upscale charity dinner for their first date.

Nate smothered a curse as they walked through the door of the country club.  As he’d suspected, they’d missed the cocktail hour, and the golfers and tournament guests had already started moving into the dining room to take their seats.  Fortunately, the cash bar remained open.  He definitely needed a stiff drink after the frustratingly clogged traffic on the expressway.

And after the frustration of keeping his raging libido under control.  He’d enjoyed the conversation with Holly, but right now he wanted nothing more than to pick her up in his arms, carry her out to the back seat of his car and wrap himself around her beautiful body.  Not that there was much of a back seat in the DB9, but he’d figure it out.

But it wasn’t time yet for that kind of action.  Not even close.

God, the woman looked so damn hot in that snug-fitting dress.  Just walking behind her on the way to the bar, his hand riding low on her slender back, gave him a hard-on.  Probably every other guy in the place, too.  Her long, elegant legs and the tantalizing swell of her breasts didn’t pass unnoticed by the men crowding around the bar.

Forget it, suckers.  She’s mine.

Holly turned slightly and unleashed her sweet smile on him, causing his heart to actually skip a beat.  She’d forsaken the wire-rimmed glasses and ponytail, her true natural beauty no longer obscured by professional armor.

He managed to pry his lips open to speak.  “What can I get you to drink?”

“I’d love a glass of white wine.”

“Sure, but I’ll be ordering wine for the table, when we get inside.  Red and white both.  But I think I’m going to start with a shot of good old Knob Creek.”  He’d been pleased to see the bar trolley included his favorite bourbon.

Holly didn’t hesitate.  “Make it two, then.  Bourbon sounds about right after the kind of day I’ve had.”  She paused for a moment.  “Fortunately, the car distracted me a little,” she said in a wistful voice.

Nate sighed dramatically.  “Well, then, thank God I got that car.  It’s obviously way more interesting than its owner.”

Holly turned down the corners of her mouth into a “poor you” expression.  “I didn’t mean it that way.  Gosh, you are a sensitive flower, aren’t you, Nate Carter?”

He faked a wounded look.  “I have tender feelings, easily bruised.  Self-esteem issues, I guess.”

“I’m sure,” she said dryly.  “Just let me know if you need professional help.  I know a couple of good shrinks who could give you a hand.”

He laughed.  “I’ll keep that in mind.”  He picked up their drinks and stuffed a fiver in the tip jar.  “We should go in now.  I see my friends are already at the table.  Would you care to take my arm, ma’am?”

“Absolutely, sir,” she said with a brilliant smile as she slipped her arm through his.

As they made their way through the crowd to his reserved table, Nate saw that Jake and Maddie had already taken their places, as had Dr. Fredericks and his wife.  Martha and Dirk apparently hadn’t yet arrived.

Nate had slipped a tip to the banquet manager earlier that afternoon to have name cards placed behind each plate at his table.  That way he’d ensured the seating arrangement he wanted.   Clockwise, starting with himself, the seating was going to be Nate, Maddie, Jake, Martha, Dirk, Mrs. Fredericks, Dr. Fredericks, and Holly.  He’d have to share Holly with Fredericks, and would probably get the short end of the conversation, but there was nothing to be done for it.  After all, he’d lured her there with the promise of spending time with the famous doctor.  And the idea of doing something that so obviously pleased her pleased him.

As they approached, everyone at the table except Maddie stood.  Maddie immediately started apologizing.  “You’ll have to forgive me for not standing up.  I’m afraid it practically takes a block and tackle to hoist me perpendicular these days.”

Maddie was eight months’ pregnant, and it seemed to Nate that her diminutive body was becoming nearly as wide as it was tall.

He made introductions all around.  Beaming, Holly shook hands with James and Diana Fredericks, and then moved around to greet Jake and Maddie.  As she leaned down to shake Maddie’s hand, Nate heard her murmur, “You’re absolutely radiant, Maddie.  When are you due?”

“First week of July,” Maddie replied.  “This baby is so huge I’d swear there were twins in here if I didn’t know better.  But look at my husband and you can see why.”

Holly eyed Jake Miller as they shook hands.  Nate found himself clenching his jaw at her appreciative look as she sized up his mountain man of a friend. At six-four and close to two hundred fifty pounds, Jake was a hell of an impressive specimen.  Holly gazed seriously for a moment at the two of them standing side by side, as if she were comparing them at a celebrity auction.

Nate put his arm around Jake’s shoulders.  “Holly, this gorilla is my best friend in the whole world.  He’s actually a lot smarter than he looks, too.”

“Nah,” Jake retorted, “I’m obviously dumb as an ear of corn because I keep putting up with you, Carter.”

Maddie groaned.  “Ignore the boys, Holly.  They rag each other endlessly, like irritating little brothers.  It’s some kind of jock ritual that I’m afraid will never end.  You’ll just have to get used to it.”

Holly flinched a bit, but then laughed.  She patted Maddie on the shoulder before returning to her seat beside Dr. Fredericks.  Nate flagged down a waiter and ordered three bottles of a Sonoma Valley Cabernet and three of a French Sancerre.  As the table’s host, he wanted to make sure everyone had a good time.

Especially Dr. Holly Bell.  After all, he had plans for her later tonight.

As he took his seat, Holly was already in full-flight conversation with Fredericks.  Between Maddie’s easygoing warmth and Fredericks’ collegiality, she seemed at ease right away.  Nate took the opportunity to study the contour of her neck and shoulders in the sexy sleeveless dress.  She’d draped her glossy, long hair to the side and down over her shoulder, revealing the perfectly smooth skin of her elegant neck.  It was all he could do to stop himself from leaning forward and running his tongue and his lips over every square inch of that exposed skin.  He was enjoying thinking about what he would do to her later when Holly turned back, catching him unawares.

“I love these cute little snow globes,” she said.  She picked up one of the little souvenirs the tournament committee put in front of each place setting.  “Philadelphia landmarks.  What a great idea.”   She turned the globe over and then set it back down upright.  As the flakes fell over the miniature Independence Hall, Holly gave him a wide smile, obviously delighted.

“You can take it home,” he said.  “Party gift.”

She gave a laugh as smooth and sweet as hot honey.

“You bet I will,” she said.

Her smile was so inviting that he almost leaned in and kissed her right then and there.  But Maddie broke in, tapping his arm.  She started to say something about the Patriots, then stopped as she craned her very pregnant body to see around him.  Nate followed her gaze and saw Martha and Dirk sweep into the room.  Martha was a step in front, more or less dragging Dirk by the hand.  Poor Dirk  looked nervous and uncomfortable, dwarfed and intimidated by Martha’s flamboyant personality.  She sashayed around the table planting air kisses on everyone, including the Fredericks, who she’d met at the previous year’s banquet.  When she got to Nate and Holly, she took a quick step back, looked the two of them over with arched eyebrows and whistled.

“Hoo-whee,” she said, “will you just look at these two!  Isn’t that just a darn magazine cover in the making?  Have y’all seen a handsomer couple north of the Mason-Dixon Line?”

Nate sighed.  Martha did like to ramp up the Southern Belle routine for first impressions.

Everyone at the table stood except Maddie.  Nate glanced at Holly, who had started to blush under Martha’s avid examination.  Cursing silently, he moved quickly to intervene.

“Martha, Dirk, you know everyone here except Holly.”  Nate put a comforting hand on Holly’s shoulder, and first introduced her to Dirk.  “And this often annoying creature,” he said with a fake growl, “is my good friend, the one and only Martha Winston.”

“They broke the mold after they made Martha,” Jake quipped to Holly, obviously trying to make her feel comfortable.

“As a public service,” Nate added.

“Now you jock boys mind your manners,” Martha scolded, shaking her finger at them.  “The doctor might just start believing your juvenile hogwash.”

Martha hugged Holly, giving her air kisses on both cheeks.  When she whispered a few words in her ear, Holly looked startled for a moment before she broke into a smile.

Nate frowned.  Jesus, what trouble is she up to now?  As usual, Martha had immediately drawn all the attention to herself.  God knew she was a great friend, but her diva qualities sometimes drove him nuts.

When they sat back down, Nate murmured in Holly’s ear.  “What lie did she just tell you about me?”

Holly’s eyes danced with amusement. “Mr. Big Ego.  Why do you think it was about you?”

He snorted.  “Let’s just say Martha and I have a history, and we know each other very well.  Too well.  She lives to pull my chain.”

“Is that a fact?  Well, she seems very nice to me,” Holly said in a teasing voice.

Two could play at that game.  “Of course,” he said solemnly, laying a hand over his heart, “I’d never do anything like that to her.”

“I’ll just bet.  All right, if you must know, she told me that I look way too sweet for—how did she put it?  Oh, an old hound dog like Nate Carter.”

A mischievous little smile lifted the corners of her mouth.  “And,” she continued, “I’m inclined to think she could be right.”

“She’s a vixen,” Nate said, trying not to laugh.

Holly poked him, pure joy lighting up her beautiful face.

Yep.  The night was getting off to a damn good start.

Hardball is available on Amazon and Smashwords for $2.99.  You can read all about it, including another excerpt, on my VK Sykes website.

Have a great Sunday!

We Have A Winner!

The winner of Erica Ridley’s latest book, Too Sinful To Deny, is Dalila G.!  Congrats, Dalila.  I’ll be in touch soon.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.  My guest authors next week will be historical romance writer Lila DiPasqua and contemporary romance writer Cheryl Alldrege.  Be sure to stop by and see what they’re up to!

And tomorrow I’ll be posting another excerpt for #SampleSunday from my sexy new contemporary romance, Hardball, written under the VK Sykes pen name I share with my husband.

See you around the blogosphere!

#Sample Sunday

For #Sample Sunday here’s a short excerpt from Hardball, my sexy contemporary romance that I wrote with my husband under the pen name of VK Sykes.  Holly, a rather buttoned-up pediatric surgeon, is going on her first date with Nate, a very alpha, very hot pro baseball player.

When the doorbell finally rang, Holly stuck her eye against the spyhole just to make sure it was him.  Nate stood on her front porch, hands in his pockets, looking like he’d walked off the cover of some men’s fashion magazine.  She leaned her forehead against the door for just a second.  She actually felt a little light-headed.

Shaking away the crazy sensation, she opened the door.

For a moment, Nate didn’t say a word.  He stood there and did a slow appraisal, a leisurely up-and-down movement of his eyes as he took her in from head to toe.

“Well?” she ventured, feeling intensely shy.

He reached for her hand and raised it to his lips for a lingering kiss.  “You look as beautiful as a summer sunrise, Holly.  The way your hair tumbles down onto your shoulders makes that amazing dress even more perfect on you.”

She blinked at the unexpected flowery compliment, wondering how many other women he’d practiced on before he’d perfected a fluid line like that.

Stop it, Holly.  Take the compliment!

“That’s a beautiful thing to say, Nate.  And you look fantastic yourself.”

She was no expert on men’s clothes, but a true expert had tailored Nate’s lightweight gray suit.  It draped his long, lean body perfectly.  A black shirt, open at the neck, and black Italian-looking loafers complemented the suit.  The outfit accentuated his rugged, tanned features, and Holly had no doubt most women at the banquet tonight would lock onto him like heat-seeking missiles.

Nate gave her a little bow.  “Would you care to take my arm, Doctor?

“Why, thank you.”  She slid her hand over his bicep, delighting in the feel of the rock-hard muscle under the silky material of his expensive suit.  “Lead me to your conveyance, sir.”  She smiled when she saw the sleek machine parked by the curb.  “I have to say I’m pumped to finally get a ride in an Aston Martin,” she confessed, abandoning her attempt at sophisticated banter.

The prospect of a drive up the freeway in the DB9 sent a flutter of excitement along her nerves.  Maybe if she and Nate hit it off tonight, she’d muster up the courage to ask if she could drive his wildly expensive baby home.  Not that she would likely have any success.  Men were often nuttily protective about their cars.  Her dad had been like that, and Nate was probably the same.

He popped open the passenger door and turned to help her into the seat, but Holly slipped past him and walked to the front of the car.

“Wow.”  She gave a low whistle as she stroked her hand across the sleek nose of the famous British sports car.  “What a beauty.”

Nate stared at her, not at the car.  “You can say that again.” His voice was low and slightly rough, and that was even more thrilling than his sweet ride.

Feeling a bit reckless, she began to circle the car, trailing her fingertips across the smooth metal side strakes.  “The lines are so smooth, so sexy,” she purred.  At least she tried to make it sound like a purr, even though part of her wanted to burst into giggles.  Holly Bell, flirting with a guy like Nate Carter?

“Sexy, yeah,” he purred back, his gaze still glued to her body.  Then, raising his eyes to meet hers, he went on, “I remember that Aston Martin describes the bodywork as gently curved, like an athlete with great muscle tone.  It stuck in my mind.  I guess because I thought it was a pretty cool way to describe a big chunk of metal.”

But Holly had the feeling he wasn’t really describing the car.

She tilted her head and pretended to study him.  “I couldn’t compare them.  I haven’t had my hands on an athlete with great muscle tone.  One of the drawbacks of pediatrics, I suppose.”

Nate chuckled, but her remark had obviously stoked what was already burning inside him.  He began to stalk her, his hot gaze locked on her body as she moved around the car.  The hunger in his eyes set off a little jolt of sensation low in her belly.

“Aston Martin custom designed the interior leather tones, and the wood is handcrafted,” he continued, his voice so gravelly it was almost a rumble.

She smiled as she bent to look through the driver side window.  “Really?  Well, that leather is the deepest and richest-looking I’ve ever seen.  Absolutely decadent.”  She deliberately emphasized her southern drawl, and his dark eyes flashed with laugher and sensual heat.

But as she gazed through the window, Holly experienced an unexpected stab of irritation as she imagined all the other women who had probably ridden in Nate’s sex-on-a-stick car.  She cut a cautious glance his way and realized that he’d silently prowled up right behind her, just like a dangerous beast of prey.

A very big, handsome, and sexy beast of prey.

Heart thumping in her chest, she dodged by him and completed her circle of the car to the passenger door.  Nate followed right behind, throwing off enough masculine heat and energy to power up a small city.

Too much, too soon.  Slow down, girl.

Holly opened her mouth to make some casual remark, intending to ease the sexual tension spiking between them, but every thought flew out of her head under his scorching gaze.  He leaned over her and, for a heart-stopping moment, she thought he was going to kiss her.  Instead, he lightly grasped her arm and gently urged her down into the seat.  She drew in a shaky breath as she slid onto the butter-soft leather, admonishing herself to get a grip.  It was just a date, after all.

Hardball is available on Amazon or Smashwords for $2.99.  You can read more about it, including a longer excerpt, on my VK Sykes website.

Have a great Sunday!

Excerpt Mid-week!

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.

Hardball is available on Amazon and Smashwords for just $2.99!