Hooked on You
by Kate Meader
Chicago Rebels, #4
Publication Date: May 7, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance, Standalone
Time to book it out of here. She was already moving toward the door when she felt a pressure around her wrist. She looked down to find a big Scottish hand halting her progress, and she kept looking because that was generally the universal sign for lay off, buddy!
He didn’t take the hint. In fact, he was now looking in surprise at his hand as if he wasn’t quite sure how it had gotten there. As if forces beyond his control had made him do it. It was the first time he had touched her. It was also magnificent.
She pulled away. Not a jerk, just a slide, because she wanted to hold on to his touch for a few more pathetic seconds.
He stabbed fingers through his dark hair. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have done that.”
No, you shouldn’t, but I will count the seconds until you do it again.
She shook off that ridiculous thought. This guy had totally dissed her to Harper, then almost kissed her after scaring away what could have been the love of her life in the soup aisle. What a dick.
Silent seething was not her MO. It was time for a reckoning.
“Why did you say that? Why did you tell Harper you didn’t want me near your kids?” God, was that her voice? She sounded so . . . hurt.
“Fine.” She pivoted and took a few steps, tempting him to touch her again. Reel her into the embrace of his big, hard body—so she could stomp on his oversized feet!
“Wait,” he gritted out. “Let me explain.”
She faced him, her bag on a cocked hip, giving him her best I haven’t got all day vibe.
“When Harper talked about how she’d get all the wives and girlfriends on board to help, she started listing them off. I was grateful, and then your name came up and I felt something . . . else.”
He paused, so she filled the gap. “Disgust?”
“No. God, no.” He scrubbed a hand through his hair again. “You know my history. Everyone knows it. Today I’m eleven months sober.”
“I think if you were in this house, I might not make it to twelve.”
“Me being near your kids—or near you—would drive you to drink?”
She stepped in close, needing to test this hypothesis for herself. Could he be serious? Admittedly, she had it going on—her ass represented the Puerto Rican sisterhood big time—but surely he had enough willpower to withstand the sensual onslaught of one Violet Vasquez.
“You’re kind of”—he waved over her—“provocative.” She watched the bulge of his Adams apple, how his blue eyes darkened to inky midnight. “I’m not supposed to date anyone during my first year of sobriety.”
“You want to date me?”
“No. I don’t want to date anyone. I’m using that word as a euphemism for everything, and I mean everything, I want to do to you.”
She wasn’t sure she had the imagination to conjure the everything Bren meant. She wasn’t sure she needed it. His honesty toppled her.
“I—I don’t get it. You’ve done nothing but glare at me since we met like I’m something on the bottom of your shoe.”
“And you’ve spent that entire time getting under my skin.”
They were so close now, almost skin-to-skin. “You’re fun to provoke.”
“Right. Fun.” A breath left him, warming her lips, stoking her desire. “I can’t be involved with anyone right now, not when I need all my strength for my kids and the play-offs. I’m barely holding on, Violet. I want to do everything to you. I want everything from you. I would consume you with need. Desire. Darkness. It’d be dirty and desperate and not very pretty. And I suspect you’re the kind of woman who needs more than I have to give. A hundred percent of my focus.” A hundred percent of his focus dipped to her breasts, then back up to her lips.
“I never intended to set back your recovery.”
“I know that. I know it’s not malicious. You’re this vibrant force, a woman who lights up every room she enters. You can’t be expected to dim your sun.”
What a lovely thing to say. “I tease, Bren, but I never imagined that you thought of me that way. Not seriously.” That she might possess such power shocked her. Thrilled her, too. Those things he’d said. All that need he’d expressed. It had been so long since any man saw her that way, as having the potential to ruin him.
Ruin them both.
“I do, Violet. I think of you all the fucking time.” He was breathing hard now, hot puffs of want drawing her close. Pulling her under. “And it’s—fuck, it’s killing me.”
Don’t die, she thought, just as his mouth descended on hers, taking advantage of her gasp to curl his tongue inside. Her shock extended past a few seconds, her brain still caught on his protest mere seconds ago.
But shock gave way to surrender.
Surrender gave way to ferocity.
His mouth on hers was everything she’d never known she needed.
He pushed her back against the fridge. Something fell—magnets, perhaps?—and then his body was a wall of heat and sinew stealing every slice of common sense. She felt his erection, hard and flagrant, against her belly. He lifted her, his hands under her ass while she responded in the only way she could: she wrapped her legs around his hips like a hussy.
If this was only a fraction of his focus, she was a goner.
The steamy Chicago Rebels series returns with this racy and sassy tale of embittered hearts, second chances, and going for the goal—on and off the ice.
Violet Vasquez never met her biological father, so learning he left his beloved hockey franchise—the Chicago Rebels—to her is, well, unexpected. Flat broke and close to homeless, Violet is determined to make the most of this sudden opportunity. Except dear old dad set conditions that require she takes part in actually running the team with the half-sisters she barely knows. Working with these two strangers and overseeing a band of hockey-playing lugs is not on her agenda…until she lays eyes on the Rebels captain and knows she has to have him.
Bren St. James has been labeled a lot of things: the Puck Prince, Lord of the Ice, Hell’s Highlander…but it’s the latest tag that’s making headlines: washed-up alcoholic has-been. This season, getting his life back on track and winning the Cup are his only goals. With no time for relationships—except the fractured ones he needs to rebuild with his beautiful daughters—he’s finding it increasingly hard to ignore sexy, all-up-in-his-beard Violet Vasquez. And when he finds himself in need of a nanny just as the playoffs are starting, he’s faced with a temptation he could so easily get hooked on.
For two lost souls, there’s more on the line than just making the best of a bad situation… there might also be a shot at the biggest prize of all: love.
DON’T MISS THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE CHICAGO REBELS SERIES!
ABOUT KATE MEADER
Originally from Ireland, USA Today bestselling author Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.
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