#SampleSunday: HARDBALL, by V.K. Sykes

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 at Amazon, the Nook, and at Smashwords for $2.99.  You can read all about it, including another excerpt, on my VK Sykes website.

Have a great Sunday!

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