(The Player, #6)
Publication date: May 16th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Sports
Money, power, prestige…Legacy. Gage Coulter is —The Player.
His whole life, all, basketball player, Gage Coulter, has heard is how he was meant to play basketball. Meant to be on the court. Meant to be elite. So what happens if he can’t even play on the damn team? With his father in and out of the hospital and more practice time than he’s used to, he’s struggling to hold up the ship and his grades are showing it. With his starting position in jeopardy, he needs help from the one girl on campus who can’t stand him. Too bad, she’s also the one girl he can’t get out of his head.
Becker Johnson has a plan for her life. And it doesn’t include doing some jock’s homework so he can toss a ball in the net or whatever. She’s getting the Collins Scholarship and moving to New York. See, all planned out. Until her adviser drops a bombshell. While her grades are excellent, she’ll need some work experience to be eligible for the scholarship. And lucky Becker, he’s got just the right student for her.
“Now comes the part of the night where I warn you I’m going to touch you.”
She swallowed hard. “Uh, okay. Just where are you going to touch me?”
He leaned close and whispered. “This is the part where you’ll just have to trust me.”
She couldn’t help but hold her breath. “You’re telling me you know how to dance?” she inquired.
“Well…my mother was a dancer before she married my father,” he told her. “All of us at least have a sense of rhythm. It can come in handy where coordination and learning intricate plays is concerned.”
He was right about having a sense of rhythm. Considering his height, he moved well to the music. He might not have had very fancy moves, but he was able to sway and keep time well for someone with such a tall frame. She might have expected him to look like some sort of disjointed marionette, but he was smooth as he pulled her in against his chest, curling around her so that his head hovered above hers and she could feel his warm breath near her ear.
She was hyperaware of his hands, his breath, his scent. She wanted him to touch her. Wanted his hands on her. Because you are a glutton for punishment. She turned in his arms, her ass gently brushing his thighs, his arm reaching around her and pressing her backwards so his chest would brush against her back, his arm inadvertently rubbing against her breasts.
The music switched from quick, pounding beats to something a little slower, but still so deep that it throbbed in her blood as she swayed and reached up behind her to get a hold of Gage, her hand sliding along his shoulder until she found his neck, gently tugging him to her.
He trailed his fingers up her side until he reached her elbow, then he curled his hand so his palm skimmed the flesh of her arms, leaving goose bumps behind.
Gage leaned down. “Becks?”
“I think we have an audience. Daniel’s got his eyes trained on you like a hawk right now. And we probably need to establish that we’re for sure a thing.”
Oh boy, he was talking about the kiss. Not the teasing ones he’d been giving her all night, the ones they’d been putting on for show. But the big one. “Uh, okay.”
Gage took her hand and led her through the crowd to the quieter hallway near the bathroom. At the end of the hallway, there was an alcove with a huge bay window that looked over the canyons of the backyard. It was the perfect spot. Just enough traffic so that everyone would report that they’d been all over each other, and private enough that it wasn’t just an outright show.
Gage studied her, paying close attention to her lips. “Hey, Becks,”
“Yeah?” she whispered.
“I’m going to kiss you now.”
Becker acted before her brain could think her out of doing the one thing she’d been dying to do. Tipping her head up, ever so slightly.
His chest rumbled with a low growl. For a second, he held her tighter, bringing her closer against his lean, hard frame.
A shiver stole up her back. “Uh, maybe we could go slow. I don’t think—”
“We’ll go as slow as you like.”
He was going to kiss her. Even as she braced herself, Becker knew she was in trouble. She’d been able to keep him at arm’s length for so long.
He dipped his head, and his lips hovered over hers for a moment. “Relax, this is supposed to be fun.” The first brush of his lips over hers was soft.
As soon as Becker relaxed into him, he wrapped his hand around her in an embrace so tight it could keep the world at bay. He shifted the angle of his head and deepened the kiss. She couldn’t help but respond to his insistent tongue as it probed and slid over hers. Teasing, tasting, testing to see if he could intensify the heat. The moment his hands went to her hips and pulled them against his, Becker was lost.
The heat that pooled in the center of her chest spread throughout her body, scorching the fine hairs on her skin from the inside out. His hands stayed at her waist, but his thumbs drew slow circles on her hip bones that promised hotter things to come.
For once, Becker didn’t overthink. For once, she didn’t overanalyze. For once, she didn’t let fear rule and she just felt. Hot. Tight. Itchy. Gage was her balm. She needed more. She wanted more. Becker moaned, and the sound bounced off the walls.
Gage kissed like an expert, demanding that she respond to him. This guy could give kissing lessons. And she’d be the first one in line. Every. Single. Time. Her nipples hardened to points with every movement of his chest against hers. He backed her against the wall of the deserted hallway and pressed his body into hers.
The cautious part of her brain tried to send up a flare. Tried to send out a warning. Tried to send out fear signals, but every instinct told her to feel, to enjoy, that she had nothing to fear here. All she had to do was feel.
USA Today Best Seller, Nana Malone’s love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she “borrowed” from her cousin.
It was a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana, and Nana was a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.
While she waits for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, in the meantime Nana works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.
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