#SampleSunday: Hot Number

Here’s an excerpt from my latest VK Sykes book, one of the sexy contemporary romances co-written with my husband.  Hot Number is set in Las Vegas and it features Sadie Bligh, a geeky math professor from Chicago, and Nick Saxon, the assistant chief of security at a large casino.  Sadie is having a really bad year–her work life has flat-lined and her social life…well, that’s pretty much non-existent.  Desperate to shake things up, she heads to Sin City with a friend for a wild week of fun.

And Sadie does shake things up, but not in the way she intended.  After causing a scene in the casino, Security Chief Nick hauls her off for an interrogation.

Nick stared at the little bombshell who sat quietly before him. He had to deal with drunken bimbos every single day. It sure as hell wasn’t one of the more interesting parts of casino security work, but it came with the territory.

When he’d hauled this one’s tantalizing ass off the poker table, he’d pegged her as the usual single girl tourist on the make, too excited by Vegas to know her booze limits. But it hadn’t taken him long to figure out that with Ms. Sadie Bligh—and that was a name for the books—he had an entirely different animal on his hands. How many bimbos used the word contretemps, for Christ’s sake?

But the Desert Oasis had strict security policies and procedures, and Nick was a professional. People who caused disturbances didn’t get a free pass. With rare exceptions, they were taken to a room like this one so he or other security personnel could scare the living hell out of them. No way would he have abandoned that policy and let this woman off without a trip downstairs. Not even though her luscious, jiggling body gave him a hard-on that would only temporarily obey his mental commands to subside. During the long walk to the interview room, he’d had to focus his mind on the worst firefight he’d ever been in, just to make sure she wouldn’t see him pitching a tent.

Still, he couldn’t bring himself to really scare the crap out of her. She was harmless and she was cute, and he should just let her go back to her hotel room and sleep it off. But some instinct kept pulling him back. Though still a little tipsy, she’d had no trouble stringing together some of the most articulate sentences he’d ever heard in a casino. Or anywhere else, for that matter. With her around, you’d never need a dictionary. For some reason he couldn’t quite put his finger on, she wasn’t adding up.

She began to fidget, offering him a vulnerable smile that made her look even more adorable.

He wouldn’t call Sadie Bligh a model-perfect beauty. Her face was sweet and pretty, not stunning, or particularly beautiful. Her hair—a color his mother referred to as auburn but he called reddish-brown—fell to her shoulders in soft curls. He figured if she hadn’t dressed so provocatively, she wouldn’t have attracted a whole lot of notice on the casino floor. Legions of hot young women with skimpy outfits and pounds of expensive makeup easily overshadowed her.

She did, however, have a killer body, one which Nick couldn’t help taking the time to appreciate.

Ms. Bligh moved uncomfortably in her seat. “Sheriff…Mr. Saxon, there’s really no need to give me the silent treatment. I’m more than willing to admit you make a very good point. Truly, I should have exercised better judgment. I’m thoroughly embarrassed. I came to Las Vegas intending to have a really good time, but I seem to have started out badly, indeed.”

Nick was glad she’d ditched her faked-up brassy attitude in favor of an apparently sincere mea culpa. She’d tried her damnedest to make him believe he didn’t intimidate her. But while she could keep her words under tight control, she hadn’t been able to rein in the nervous hands and shifting feet that gave her away to a professional like him. “Where are you from, ma’am?”

She stopped fidgeting, probably glad he’d shifted the discussion away from her behavior in the casino. “Massachusetts, originally. Now I work in Chicago. It’s a nice city, but I absolutely hate the weather there. Boston was bad enough, really, but when you’re trying to walk down Michigan Avenue with sleet flying—”

“Right.” He interrupted her. As much as he enjoyed hearing her talk, he didn’t need a Weather Channel special on life in the Windy City. “And how long will you be staying in Las Vegas?”

She smiled. “I was babbling, wasn’t I? Sorry about that. I seem to do that a lot when I’m nervous. As to your question, I’ll be here for just a few days. Less than a week.”

As much as he would have liked to have studied that hot little body some more, it was time to cut her loose. “All right, Ms. Bligh,” he said. “We can leave it at that for now. I’ll escort you to the hotel. I assume you’ll want to return to your room for a change of footwear.”

Her sigh of relief was both visible and audible. “Thank you. I do want to go back to my room, but I won’t be putting on new shoes. I think I’ve had enough excitement for this evening. So, I intend to crawl into bed with a book.”

Wouldn’t you rather crawl into bed with a security officer? He almost had to bite his tongue to keep the insane and unwelcome thought from transforming into words. Fraternizing with guests was strictly verboten. “That sounds like a good plan, ma’am,” he said in a gruff voice. “I hope you’ll continue to enjoy the Desert Oasis casino for the rest of your stay. But with a little less emphasis on the mojitos.”

Her lips curved into an effortlessly sexy smile—the first genuine one she’d given him since he’d hauled her off that poker table. Her mouth was on the small side, but her lips, tinted a bright pink that kind of matched her filmy top, were full. Lush, even. He couldn’t stop from thinking how much he’d like to crush those lips against his own, and then trail a string of wet kisses down into that soft, creamy, and very generous cleavage.

Nick frowned, disconcerted by his reaction to her. It didn’t make sense. Maybe that was because she didn’t make sense. Not to him. Or at least she didn’t fit into any of the neat categories he’d always used to classify women. Though sexy, she was odd, to say the least.

She tilted her head and stared at him, clearly puzzled. Her soft green eyes shone with an intelligence and perception that belied the trashy outfit she had poured herself into. Yep. Something just didn’t add up.

And right then, Nick decided to keep an eye—a very watchful eye—on Ms. Sadie Bligh for as long as she remained in his hotel.

Hot Number is currently available on Amazon and Smashwords for only $2.99.  Within a few weeks, it will also be available on Barnes & Noble, and at other e-tailers.  And don’t forget to check out our other books, CaddyGirls, Fastball, and Hardball.

Have a great Sunday!


#SampleSunday: Fastball, by VK Sykes

Here’s another excerpt from Fastball, my latest contemporary romance that I wrote with my husband under the pen name of VK Sykes.  In this scene, superstar baseball player Jake Miller is warming up for a game.  This is his first meet with the heroine, sports reporter Maddie Leclair.

After about ten minutes of warm ups, Jake jogged over to the batting cage to wait for his turn. As he leaned on his bat, watching other guys take their cuts, he got a prickling sensation on the back of his neck, like someone was eyeballing him. He was used to that, but this felt different and slightly unnerving.

A moment later he heard a voice as smooth as a shot of the finest single malt calling out from behind him. “Hey, Jake. Got a minute for me?”

Unable to resist those rich amber tones, Jake turned and looked back at the rail behind first base. A woman stood there, a woman so freaking gorgeous the sight of her caught up him up short, as if he had run nose-first into a sheet of Plexiglas.

The eyes got him first—eyes of startling, vivid blue that were made even more striking by her flawless, lightly tanned complexion. Her mouth was pink and full, her smile an intriguing combination of sensuality and, weirdly enough, innocence. She was short, not much more than five-three, but she held herself with a slender, athletic strength that took nothing away from her bombshell looks.

She stood just above the barrier, her knee-high leather boot propped casually up on a concrete step. That pose hiked her short skirt up, affording him an unimpeded view of her shapely legs. Her black stockings emphasized the unconscious sensuality of her stance, and a slow crawl of lust began to build in his muscles. Letting his gaze drift upward to the sweet curve of her hips and her slender waist, he took in the gently swelling breasts outlined in a trim-fitting black jacket.

Finally, he returned to her striking face and those magnetic blue eyes, framed by glossy, short black hair. And what he liked even better was her aura of quiet confidence.  No simpering smiles, no overtly flirtatious glances or wriggling her hot body in an effort to attract him.  She just waited for him to answer—cool, collected, and totally beautiful.

Oh, yeah, I’ve got a minute for you, sweetheart. No worries.

Jake did his best to look nonchalant as he crossed the dirt path and approached her, but the truth was that he wanted to hustle over like he was trying to stretch a single into a double. As he closed in, the woman’s engaging smile made him break into a grin himself. She held out a small, slender hand for him to shake, and he took it firmly but as gently as he could. But he needn’t have been concerned about crushing her hand. The pressure of her grip surprised him.

“I’m Maddie Leclair,” she said in that amazing voice of hers. “I’ve been covering the Patriots for the Philadelphia Post since the beginning of the year.”

Jake knew who she was as soon as he heard her name.  He was not one of those athletes who ignored the sports press. In fact, he liked to read all the coverage he could, from the daily papers to the magazines and the Internet sites. It was just something he’d always done, because he wanted to know what was going on—what people were saying and thinking about the game.

“It’s a pleasure, Maddie.” He slowly released her hand, letting his fingers graze her smooth skin as he pulled back. “I’ve read your stories and columns.  But that grainy little black-and-white photo on top of your column doesn’t even much look like you, let alone do you justice.”

What he was really wanted to say was that no picture on earth could possibly capture her luscious magnetism. He’d only just met her and she was exerting a pull stronger than a riptide.

She sighed dramatically, even though her eyes laughed at him. “The only worse shot of me is my passport photo, which should tell you something.” That amazing gaze dropped briefly, giving his body a quick up-and-down. “But your picture in the media guide doesn’t exactly capture your many qualities, either.” Her lips tilted in a knowing smile that shot heat right to his groin.

“Well, I appreciate that. I think.” Jake almost had to laugh at his lame reply. He was normally at ease with banter and pretty quick with a response, but little Ms. Leclair was making him feel like a tongue-tied fool.

She moved to lean against the barrier, her posture a little tense. In an instant, her startling blue eyes turned serious. Intent. All business.

“Jake, I know you don’t have much time to talk, so I’ll get straight to the point. I was wondering if you’d be willing to do a feature interview with me tomorrow. I’d like to write an in-depth piece on you for the Sunday edition. You’ve been away for quite a while, and I think the readers would really like that.”

The idea of spending time with Maddie Leclair sounded pretty attractive, even in a professional setting. The little slip of a thing was pulling on Jake’s imagination and hard, which was a hell of a surprise. Like most players, he’d been pursued by beautiful women throughout his baseball career. It was something he’d learned early on to keep in perspective, so his extraordinary response to her didn’t make sense a lot of sense.  All he knew was that when he saw her again, he wanted to be alone with her, not in some formal interview under the watchful eye of one of the team’s PR guys.

It was a crazy idea on his part, but it had already taken hold and he couldn’t seem to shake it.

He nodded. “I think I could manage that.”

Just as he was about to suggest some conditions for their meeting, Maddie jumped in.  “Great!” She flashed him a blinding grin. “How about tomorrow morning? If that works for you, I’ll get Media Affairs to set it up. Here at the park, as usual.”

That’s what he’d expected to hear, but it was definitely not what he had in mind. He didn’t say anything for a few moments, rapidly formulating a plan.

“Here’s my problem with that, Maddie,” he finally said, frowning a little. “I don’t think you’re going to get the kind of interview you’re looking for if we’re stuck across a table in some formal media room, like we’re a couple of lawyers facing off against each other.” He shook his head slowly, as if pondering. Yeah, he was being manipulative, but he had the feeling it would be well worth it. “It’s one of the reasons I don’t give many interviews, and tend not to say a whole lot. I’m afraid that if we do it the way you said, all you’re likely to get from me is stuff everybody already knows.”

Maddie shot him a quizzical look, edged with a tinge of wariness. “Do you have an alternative in mind?”

You bet.

“Absolutely. This is a little unorthodox, for sure, but why don’t we meet for dinner tomorrow evening? That way I can give you all the time you need, and I guarantee you’ll get a much better story that way. I can relax and not worry about some PR guy waiting to jump down my throat.” Jake casually swung his bat, keeping an easy smile in place and knowing he risked putting her off from the get-go. It was obvious from the way her eyes had narrowed and her body tensed that she was surprised, if not shocked, by his unusual proposition.

“Hmm,” she murmured in a suspicious tone. She dropped her arms from the railing and crossed them over her chest, clearly perplexed by his request.

“You don’t have to answer right now,” he said. Actually, he wanted to push her for an answer, but he sensed she would bolt if he did. “You can catch me after the game, or leave a message at the hotel.”

Maddie smiled but didn’t look particularly happy. “I’m not sure taking time will help, Jake. We both know that all formal interviews with players are supposed to be set up by the team and take place in the media room or another approved location. You know what could happen if we violated those rules. Media Affairs hates it when players go rogue. It wouldn’t be smart for either of us to do that, as I’m sure you realize.”

Despite her words, Maddie’s assessing gaze suggested she might actually be mulling over his suggestion. And she hadn’t said no. She’d said it wouldn’t be smart, which he figured was a long way from a flat turndown.

He dropped the bat at his feet and leaned both arms on the barrier. “I admit it’s a bit unorthodox. But the PR flacks don’t have to know, right? We can make it an informal interview,” he said, playing on her words. “And we can pick a totally out-of-the-way restaurant, like somewhere up the coast. We meet, we eat, you ask all the questions you want, and then we go our separate ways back to the hotel. We’re in San Diego, not Philly, so it’s pretty unlikely anybody would recognize you, anyway. Then, if somebody asks where we did the interview, we can say we did it over the phone.”

“Lie, you mean,” she said in a doubtful tone.

“A harmless lie. And we can have a phone call, too.”

She peered down at her feet, suddenly looking a bit shy and fidgety.  Jake could practically hear her thinking it through, weighing the pros and cons.  God, she was cute.  He decided to push it another notch.

Fastball is available for only $2.99 on Amazon and Smashwords.  For more details about Fastball and other VK Sykes books, please visit our website.

Have a great Sunday!

#SampleSunday: Fastball, by VK Sykes

Here’s an excerpt from my brand new VK Sykes book, a sexy contemporary romance that I wrote with my hubby.  Fastball is actually a prequel to our award-winning romance, Hardball.  It stars Jake Miller, baseball superstar, and Maddie Leclair, intrepid sports reporter.  Maddie has just landed the job as the reporter assigned to the Philadelphia Patriots, Jake’s major league baseball team.  She’s about to join him for dinner and a private interview, although Maddie suspects that the sexy ballplayer had ulterior motives in agreeing to meet her…

After what seemed like an interminable and altogether tense cab ride, Maddie arrived at the restaurant shortly after eight. She spotted Jake immediately, already seated and looking astoundingly handsome in a navy sports jacket that framed his broad shoulders, a crisp white shirt, and a gold silk tie. The tie alone would likely have cost her at least a week’s salary and, for a moment, she couldn’t hold back a flash of anxiety. Jake Miller was so far out of her league it wasn’t even funny, and she had to fight the urge to back slowly out of the room before he even saw her. Impossible, of course, since the maitre’d was conducting her to the table with as much ceremony as a drum major led the band before a college bowl game.

Suck it up and act like a pro, girl.

She plastered a smile on her face as Jake stood to greet her, his sexy mouth parting in a slow grin, his gaze flicking appreciatively over her body. For a few seconds, she actually felt faint with pleasure and nerves, and she had to clamp down hard on the dizzy sensations rocking her body. Despite the effort, she could still feel the blush spreading over her cheeks, and the butterflies in her stomach went into full flap as Jake gallantly brushed the maitre’d aside and pulled out a chair to seat her.

As a sportswriter, Maddie was used to being around hot guys. She’d had her share of locker room encounters, and had seen enough naked chests and towel-wrapped asses to make such sights routine. But no player had affected her quite like Jake Miller, and she’d only seen him fully dressed. All he’d done so far was smile and pull out her chair for her, but she could already feel her hormones sparking in reaction.

And she couldn’t even remember the last time a guy had pulled out a chair for her, waiting until she was settled before taking his own seat. She had to get a grip on her all-too-eager libido or she might be offering to have his babies before they finished the first course.

“Thanks, Jake. Sorry if I’m a bit late. I hope you haven’t been waiting long.” She tried for casual, even though she felt anything but.

He shook his head, sending a lock of thick, wheat-colored hair sliding onto his forehead. He quickly raked a hand back to put it in place. “Maddie, would you mind if I say that you look absolutely spectacular tonight?”

She accepted the compliment with a smile and fussed with her purse for a moment before meeting his gaze. Casual wasn’t working, so maybe a little honesty was called for. “I’m not exactly sure how to do this, Jake. I’m obviously not used to conducting an interview under these circumstances. Maybe the best thing would be to eat, and then I’ll get out my recorder and we’ll talk business over coffee. Would that be okay?”

Jake shrugged, and Maddie found herself mesmerized by the slide of his brawny shoulders under the smooth, expensive fabric of his jacket.  She blinked and gave her head a mental shake. Man, she truly needed to get a grip.

“Sounds good,” he said. “But why don’t we make a start on it now, after we get you a drink?”

“Even better,” she said, relieved to focus on work. Right now, it felt just a bit too personal for her comfort.

Jake motioned to the waiter. Since it was supposed to be a business meeting, she thought about ordering a coke or mineral water. But she opted instead for a glass of Sauvignon blanc, secretly acknowledging she could use a drink to settle her nerves. Jake ordered a bottle and Maddie retrieved her digital recorder, placing it on the table between them.

“Okay to start?” she said.

He leaned back, elbows resting on the arms of his chair, fingers laced in an easy grip. “Fire when ready,” he replied, looking totally relaxed. Maddie had never met a man who seemed more comfortable in his own skin, and it had the effect of easing her own nervous tension.

You can do this. Just stick to the prepared questions and you’ll be fine.

A deep breath and she launched into her questions. “Jake, I’m sure you must be expecting that I’ll want you to talk about the progress of your recovery from the ankle surgery,” she said rather formally for the benefit of the recorder. “About your expectations for this season and so on. I do want to talk about all that, but we can get to those things later, if that’s all right.”

He arched his brows slightly. Good.  She had surprised him.

“I say that,” she continued, “because that stuff isn’t really what I’m interested in for a feature piece.”

He unleashed one of those sexy smiles. “Whatever you like, Maddie. I’m in your capable hands.”

It finally dawned on her just how much that devastating smile contributed to his charm. His was an open and honest face with chiseled features, and his easy, masculine grin conveyed both mature intelligence and good humor. Maddie found it disarmingly inviting.

She blinked, losing her bearings for just a second before pulling it back together.

“Um, what I want to write about is what it’s been like to be Jake Miller, ballplayer and man. What was it like for you growing up? What were your hopes and dreams, and have you fulfilled them yet? What your life is like now, both on and off the field—who you’re close to, what inspires you, that sort of thing.”

His sharp gaze narrowed on her, as if assessing her intent. That irked her a bit, since she’d been straight with him from the beginning. If someone at this table had an ulterior motive for the evening, it sure as hell wasn’t her.

“You said you’d tell me what I wanted to know. Well, that’s what I want to write about,” she said, defiantly meeting his gaze. “I want my readers to know something about who Jake Miller really is. I don’t want to simply feed them the usual babble and athlete-speak that players and reporters always trot out. That’s incredibly boring and we all know it.”

When she stopped talking, a short silence fell over the table. Maddie reached over and clicked off the recorder before lifting her eyes back to his face. “Look, Jake, I’m even willing to let you see a draft of the article and talk about it before I submit the final version to the paper. I don’t want you to hold back because you think I’ll sandbag you somehow. That’s not my style, and I think you know it. When this piece is ready to go, my hope is that you’ll be as happy with it as I am.”

She held his gaze, praying she hadn’t made a huge blunder by coming here. She couldn’t afford to offend him, but she had a job to do and he needed to be clear on that. Whatever else might be going on she could address later, after she got her interview.

If she got her interview.

Jake took a drink, his eyes narrowed in concentration. She had to repress the temptation to fiddle with something—always a dead giveaway whenever her insecurities rose to the surface—but she vowed not to back down. She’d be willing to bet that no other reporter had ever stated the matter so bluntly, or under such unusual circumstances. He’d always made it clear to the world that he was a very private person, rebuffing any attempt to get him to talk about anything other than baseball. And although he had a well-deserved reputation for being a gentleman, she knew Jake had told more than one pushy reporter to mind his own damn business. His personal life had always been out of bounds to the press and the public.

As the silence between them lengthened, and Jake’s inscrutable expression revealed nothing, the butterflies in Maddie’s stomach took a synchronized nosedive. It looked like her exclusive, ground-breaking interview would be over before it started.

Fastball is available for only $2.99 on Amazon and Smashwords.  For more details about Fastball and other VK Sykes books, please visit our website.

Have a great Sunday!

#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 Dr. 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.

I’m also very happy to announce that V.K. Sykes will have another book coming out in the next few weeks.  It’s called Fastball.

Nice cover, eh?  Fastball is actually a prequel to Hardball, starring Nate’s friends, Maddie and Jake.  Stay tuned for details on the release!

#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, took Holly, a serious and rather shy pediatric surgeon, to an upscale charity dinner for their first date.   They’re back at her place now, and things are getting a bit hot and heavy…and Holly is getting bad case of cold feet.

Holly plastered her hands on his chest, her fingers digging into the smooth fabric of his suit.  “Nate, hold on,” she gasped.

He slowly pulled back, his eyes clouded with passion “What?”

She looked away from him and took a step back.  They hadn’t even made it out of the hallway and she’d let him get her half-naked.  Mortified, she quickly put her bra back on.  “I could use another glass of wine,” she said in a shaky voice.  “What about you?”

She needed time to recover her wits.  If she started babbling about how she felt, it would probably come out all muddled and stupid.

Nate looked mystified.  But, after a moment he nodded uncertainly, raking a hand through his thick hair.  “Well, okay, we can take it slow. Maybe I came on too strong, but…”  His eyes cleared and he shook his head.  “No buts.  Sure, I could use a drink.  Got any cognac?”

Relief weakened her knees.  As if they aren’t already weak enough.

“Of course,” she said.  “I’m my father’s daughter.  I always have a good stock of fermented products on hand.”  She led him into the kitchen and retrieved a bottle of Courvoisier from her pantry.

“Make it a double,” he said.

Holly pulled up her bodice and flipped the straps back over her shoulders.  Seeing Nate’s face deflate, she decided not to reach around for the zipper.  She’d already thrown enough ice water in the poor guy’s face.

“Sorry, I just need a breather,” Holly apologized.  “But take your jacket off and stay.” She poured a double cognac into a snifter and handed it to him, then uncorked a bottle of red wine and poured a small glass for herself.  She didn’t really want any more alcohol, but she needed the cover.

“Okay,” he said, his confusion evident.

He draped his suit jacket over a stool at the counter and followed her into the small living room off the galley kitchen.

“Okay, did I do something wrong?” he asked as sat on the sofa.  Its old wooden frame creaked ominously, but he ignored it.  Given his big, rangy body, that kind of thing probably happened all the time, but she could only pray her grandmother’s antique sofa didn’t collapse beneath him.

Wouldn’t that be a great end to the evening?

Repressing a spurt of semi-hysterical laughter, she sipped her wine.  Finally, when she could no longer avoid his question, she sat down in the overstuffed armchair on the other side of the coffee table and forced herself to look at him.  Part of her was amazed he hadn’t already bolted.  And it touched her that he continued to wait patiently for her to find her voice.

“Nate, I’m sorry.  I really wanted to do this.  I can’t tell you how much.” She paused, unhappily searching for the right words.

He simply nodded.  If he was angry with her, he was doing a good job of repressing it.

“It’s just that I haven’t had that much experience, and most of what I’ve had has been, well, sort of mediocre.  I was always too busy with school or work to bother very much with men and sex.”  She shook her head, feeling a prickling in her eyes that told her tears weren’t far behind.  That was so not going to happen.  “It’s weird and embarrassing to be talking about myself this way.  But I feel like I have to get this out on the table,” she finished in a firm voice.

He leaned forward, setting his snifter on the table between them.  A smile lifted the edges of his mouth.  “Can I try to help you out?”

“Please,” she sighed.

“Based on what you’ve no doubt heard already about me, I’m guessing you think I’m some kind of, I don’t know, super stud or something.”

She stared at her feet, wishing she could crawl under the floorboards.  How had she gotten herself into this ridiculous situation?  But now that she was in it, she had to plow ahead.  “I don’t know about that.  But I do know the kind of women you’re used to.  And I’m not in the same league.”

Her voice caught on an infuriating croak.  Suck it up, Holly.  You can do this.

“Look, if we do this, I’ll disappoint you,” she said through clenched teeth.  “And I can’t stand the thought of being judged on how good I am.  In bed, or whatever.  By you or anyone else.  That’s not what I’m about.”  Angry, embarrassed tears stung her eyes.  “Damn, this is ridiculous!”  She shook her head hard, furious and lost in an unfamiliar jumble of emotions.

Nate pulled out a crisp white handkerchief from an inside pocket and handed it over.  With a defiant sniff, she dabbed at her eyes.

“Holly, look at me, okay?  Everything’s cool.  I understand where you’re coming from.”  He moved around the coffee table and went down on one knee before her, reaching out his hand.  She hesitated a moment, then held out her own.  As Nate grasped it gently, Holly absorbed the warm strength of his calloused palm and her heartbeat began to settle.

“Forget about not being experienced enough,” he said gazing straight into her eyes.  “Experience is way over-rated.  Trust me on that.”  His eyes were warm and open, but his voice held a touch of cynicism.  Oddly enough, that reassured her.

Without letting go of her hand, Nate stood and drew her up to him.  “And as for disappointing me, you can forget that, too.  You’re incredible—in every way.  Man, I’m the one who should be worried, not you.”

Hard to believe that, but it sounded like he actually meant it.  The tension in her body began to ease.

“Truth?” she whispered.

“Truth,” he said firmly.  He slowly pushed the straps of her dress down, his lips brushing each bare shoulder in turn.  She shivered as the bodice fell away, just as it had done minutes earlier, and she had to fight not to stiffen up again.

“Relax, sweetheart.  Let me take care of you.  Let me make love to you,” he whispered in her ear.  “Tonight is going to be all about you.”

“Okay,” Holly said, allowing him to pull her close.  “I think I can go along with that plan.”

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!