A deeply emotional standalone romance set in the worlds of professional basketball and high fashion.
Divorced. Single dad. Traded to a losing squad.
Cheated on, betrayed, exposed.
My perfect life blew up in my face and I’m still picking up the pieces.
The last thing I need is her.
A wildflower. A storm. A woman I can’t resist.
Lotus DuPree is a kick to my gut and a wrench in my plans
from the moment our eyes meet.
I promised myself I wouldn’t trust a woman again,
but I’ve never wanted anyone the way I want Lo.
She’s not the plan I made, but she’s the risk I have to take.
A warrior. A baller. The one they call Gladiator.
Kenan Ross charged into my life smelling all good, looking even better and snatching my breath from the moment we met. The last thing I need is him.
I’m working on me. Facing my pain and conquering my demons.
I’ve seen what trusting a man gets you.
I. Don’t. Have. Time. For. This.
But he just keeps coming for me.
Keeps knocking down my defenses and stealing my excuses
one by one.
He never gives up, and now…I’m not sure I want him to.
The trick is to control it. A little pressure. A little tongue. A tiny taste, then get out.
With my battle plan in place, I meet Kenan’s eyes over our shot glass rims and, on the crowd’s count of three, we knock our drinks back together. The fiery liquid scorches my throat. I give an “ahhhhhh” and slam my glass down. He does the same, and we face each other across the table.
“Let’s get this over with.” I flash a wide smile and false bravado to my friends. “I’m gonna blow his mind, folks.”
They answer with wolf whistles and catcalls, emboldening me. The tiniest quirk of Kenan’s mouth is the only clue that he might find this all amusing.
Instead of leaning across the table like everyone else has done so far, he steps aroundthe table until he stands directly in front of me. My quips and quick humor wither under the intensity of his stare. He leans down until his lips are only a breath above mine. He slides his hands down my bare arms and grasps my elbows to pull me up, eliminating the last few inches separating our lips.
It starts with the lightest pressure, barely a kiss at all. His lips rest against mine. Him, demanding nothing. Me, determined I won’t give him anything, but with a slight shift of his head, the new angle deepens the contact, opens my mouth. It’s a petition to enter, to taste, to sample. My lips barely part, but my sigh grants permission, and he doesn’t hesitate, cupping my face, tugging gently on my chin, opening me and probing inside, slowly and languorously with fiery, liquored licks. When his tongue brushes the roof of my mouth, a thousand fingers, everywhere at once, stroke my arms, my spine, my neck, my legs. Not even the most hidden parts of me remain untouched by sensation. Every inch of me is stimulated. I gasp, and he immediately dives deeper, like he’s chasing the secrets tucked under my tongue and sealed in the lining of my mouth.
I don’t know if the growl is his, if the whimper is mine, but all the things that would keep this tame—my friends watching, our inhibitions, propriety—melt in the wrath of this heat, like we’re kissing under the sun. Rusty cogs inside of me, oiled by tequila and passion, start turning in ways long forgotten, if ever known before. Mindlessly, I strain up, push my hands over the width of his shoulders and wrap my fingers around his neck. He’s too far, and I want to be close. He splays his hands over my back, completely encompassing as he pulls me into the shelter of his body. He bites my lip and I lick into the tangy well of his mouth. God, he’s delicious. I’ve never tasted anything like him. Never felt anything like this.
With each second, it intensifies. We intensify. Our hands grip tighter. Our mouths grow desperate. The breaths come fast and short through our noses because I won’t release his mouth and he won’t let mine go. This kiss is a dark corridor, twisting and turning, luring me deeper. I can’t find my way out, and if someone opened a door offering escape, I’d slam it in their face.
A Top 30 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.
She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta families living with Autism, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.