Guess what, everyone. Today is the release of my DEBUT NOVEL! squeee!
Knowing the Score is the first in my London Legends series, featuring smokin’ hot men who play professional rugby. Ever since Spencer Bailey’s career was nearly ruined by a sex scandal, he stays celibate during the rugby season. Caitlyn Sweeney is an American aid worker temporarily living in London. She happens to be nearby when Spencer’s granddad has a heart attack, and she gives him CPR, saving his life.
Spencer’s more than just grateful. He’s incredibly attracted to the Yank and, since the season hasn’t started yet, he’s ready to have some fun. But Caitlyn has secrets that Spencer could never have fathomed, but he discovers one of them in this scene.
The scene takes place soon after they meet. When Spencer’s granddad gets out of the hospital, Caitlyn is invited over to Spencer’s for dinner. While she’s there, she trips over Granddad’s over-excited dog – a dog with bladder control issues – and has to use Spencer’s bathroom to tidy herself up.
I hope you enjoy it. In celebration of my debut release, I’m giving away some London Legends swag on my website this week. Visit my site for more details!
Caitlyn let the shower’s spray pound against her shoulders and back as steam billowed around her. Slowly, sensuously, she lathered her hands, lifted one arm and rubbed suds over the slick skin of her underarm, her breasts, her belly, sliding lower…
At least, that was what she was doing in Spencer’s imagination. But his imagination had got him in trouble plenty of times before, so he twisted his mental tap off and ended the dirty shower scene before she got to the good part.
The flesh-and-blood Caitlyn—and really, wasn’t that the one he’d rather see in the shower?—turned off his real shower in the bathroom next door. The click of the glass door told Spencer she’d stepped out of his slate-tiled shower and onto his bath mat. Had she wrapped a towel around herself first, or was she standing there naked and dripping while he lounged on a chair in his bedroom?
Stop that. The visions made him squirm uncomfortably, all his blood rushing to one throbbing place. He rested his forearms on his widespread knees in a pose he hoped came across as casual instead of pervy as she opened the bathroom door and stepped into his bedroom.
An uncontrollable smile curved his lips at the sight of her in his gym shorts and London Legends practice T-shirt. She’d obviously been too short to wear any of his trousers, and thank God for that because he’d been struck dumb by the sight of her curvy legs in that white dress and sexy heels earlier. Her skin had turned a splotchy red from the shower’s heat, and her curly hair had seized up like a muscle cramp.
“Oh. You’re still in here.”
Damn. And there fled any remaining thoughts of them taking advantage of his granddad’s distraction with Minnie in the other room.
“I wanted to make sure you were okay.” And hide my erection from my granddad. “You took quite a tumble.”
She grimaced and gripped the plastic bag he’d given her for her clothes against her breasts. “Yeah, unfortunately I don’t do anything daintily. I think I’ll retire those heels, even though tonight was their big debut. They gave me blisters the size of quarters.”
“Don’t move. I’ve got something for that.” He stood and strode toward the kitchen, sneaking past his granddad, who lectured Minnie with a disappointed voice Spencer remembered well from his teenage years. He returned to the bedroom seconds later with her gift.
She laughed. “That was supposed to be for your grandpa.”
“Yeah, well, I told you it was a bloody good gift. So good, in fact, that we can already use it. Sit down.” He gestured toward the bed, painfully aware that having her sit on it would be a huge mistake but unable to keep himself from making it.
She hesitated the barest second before following his order and perching her cute arse on the edge of the mattress, knees and ankles squeezed together tight as a virgin’s. He knelt before her, and her body jumped a little. “I can do it,” she said, reaching for the first-aid kit.
He set it on the floor, out of her reach, and looked up into her moss-green eyes, gut tightening at the confused mix of emotions he saw there. Visions of her breathing into his dying grandfather filled his mind, swiftly followed by the sight of her tonight, throwing her slim shoulders back, facing his humiliated granddad and acting like she didn’t consider it a good night out unless she returned home drenched in dog piss. She’d saved his life and then she’d spared his pride. Spencer could fall for a woman like this.
“Caitlyn, this may sound strange, but I want to do this little thing for you. Please. Let me.”
She stared down at him and his heart shifted in his chest, beating an irregular tattoo almost painfully against his ribs. Finally, she shifted her gaze toward her feet. A sign of assent. He wrapped his hand against the smooth back of her calf, noting that most of its curve came from the well-defined muscles underneath. Did she work out? Or was her work physical? Come to think of it, he knew she worked for a charity that helped women in desperate situations, but he had no idea what she did. He’d file that question away for a time when he wasn’t distracted by the heat of her soft skin against his palm.
He lifted her foot off the ground and examined it closely. Sure enough, an angry blister swelled the back of her heel. Resting her foot against his thigh—far too close to his still semi-interested erection for comfort—he cracked open the tin and rummaged around until he found a couple of plasters big enough to cover the area.
“So…you’re a model.”
Surprise made him laugh. “What? Oh, the advert. Jesus, don’t let Granddad hear you ask me that. I’ll never hear the end of it.” He shrugged, gratified to see he’d teased a smile out of her, and ripped open a plaster. “I guess…um, sponsorship…is how I make a lot of my money. But most people know me for being a professional egg chaser.”
Her face scrunched up in confusion.
Oh, yeah. American. “I play rugby,” he explained. “The ball’s shaped like an egg. Sort of.” Not really.
Her body, which he’d felt thrumming with nervous excitement seconds earlier, stilled. “Rugby? But…isn’t that a violent sport?”
“Can be, but there are rules. Biting, for instance, would get you a twelve-week ban.”
She closed her eyes in obvious chagrin, making him laugh.
“Worst injury I’ve had is a broken femur.” Motherfucker had it hurt. And nearly terminated his career. He shrugged off the memory. “It wasn’t too bad.”
Thank God he’d been twenty, full of calcium and fury, ready to work his arse off to prove himself a better man than he’d been made out to be in the papers.
He left the foot he’d treated on his thigh and picked up the other one, bending over to examine the back of it. Another violently red blister stared back at him, but his gaze also caught on a wine-colored blemish staining the side of her calf, too dark to have been caused by the shower’s heat. He trailed his fingertips over it, making her leg twitch.
“It’s a scar from a snake bite.” Caitlyn sounded almost breathless, her voice turning husky in a way that sent every cell in his body humming until her words broke through his pheromone haze.
“You’ve been bitten by a fucking snake?”
“I worked in Thailand after the tsunami. Stumbled across a pit viper—literally. Fell right over it. Fortunately it didn’t hold much of a grudge and only bit me quickly before trying to escape the scary red-and-white beast that nearly crushed it.”
His heart picked up pace. “You could’ve died.”
“Not likely. Not from a pit viper, anyway. And we had a field hospital nearby, so I got antivenom quickly. Believe me, the country was teeming with aid workers getting into all sorts of trouble. We probably outnumbered snakes ten to one.”
Jesus, her job sounded so worthy. And he’d practically bragged about surviving a broken leg so he could go on to play more rugby. Unable to restrain himself, he pressed his lips to the scar, his hands bracing both of her feet against his thighs. Her body froze, and he glanced up to see her hands tightly clasped in her lap, eyes closed and a slight smile curving her lips.
With only a second’s hesitation, he stroked a palm over her calf and kissed her bare knee. Her leg spasmed, and he clasped it harder, grinning up into her surprised face.
“You weren’t going to knee me in the teeth, were you?”
Her throat flexed. “Not intentionally. I’m, um, not very experienced, Spencer. You should know that up front. Before I accidentally hurt you.”
Every muscle in his body tensed, and he swallowed hard. “How not very experienced?”
She grimaced. Suddenly, her knee-clenching posture and all the mixed signals she’d thrown his way became clear in one terrifying, blindingly bright shaft of realization.
Goddamn it. She couldn’t be a virgin. She had to be at least in her mid-twenties. No…not possible. Certainly not possible for a funny, clever woman who had the added benefit of looking like a walking, talking wet dream.
She was jumpy as hell whenever he got close, but women her age weren’t virgins. Not unless they were waiting for the right man and simply hadn’t given up hope of finding him yet.
Spencer’s hopes plummeted. One thing he knew for certain: he wasn’t her Mr. Right.
Not having any fucking clue how to respond, he busied himself applying a plaster to her second blister, then stood and reached out a hand to help her up. She clasped it and let go as soon as she could, brows drawn together and lips pressed tightly to the side in an expression of ironic disappointment, as if she’d heard his thoughts.
Playtime was over. All he could give her—any woman, in fact—was summer. Once the season started again, he would dedicate every ounce of his focus to his career. The Rugby World Cup only came around every four years, and the next was just a year from now—in England, on his home turf for the first time in his life. He hadn’t been selected to play in a single World Cup since he’d screwed up in Australia, and he would be too old to compete in the one in five years’ time.
No, he couldn’t seduce a virgin and then dump her when the season started. He cared about her too much already to treat her that way. His whole body ached at the realization that all he could have of her was friendship.
Even that made his blood flow with temptation. Could he be man enough to walk away from her tonight and never see her again?
He would have to. For both their sakes.
He refused to be the first man to break her heart.
Did you enjoy the excerpt? I hope so! Don’t forget to stop by my website this week for a chance to win great prizes!
Publication date: August 5, 2013
Book one of the London Legends
Rugby player Spencer Bailey is determined to win a spot on England’s World Cup team. But with a month break before the selectors start watching him, he’s eager to have fun with a woman who knows the score: the relationship will end when rugby season begins. The lovely American Caitlyn Sweeney seems perfect for the role of temporary lover, since her visa will run out soon anyway.
Caitlyn works for an international disaster relief organization and can handle the world’s worst crises, but she flinches from her own. Her past has left her with a fear of intimacy so deep that she has trouble getting close to anyone—until she meets sexy Spencer. His hot body and easygoing nature are too much for even her to resist.
Neither Caitlyn nor Spencer expects to fall hard for each other. But with their relationship deadline approaching, the old rules of the game seem less important than before…until past secrets surface, challenging everything they thought they knew about each other.