Across the Middle (PAPERBACK)
Across the Middle (PAPERBACK)
A steamy second chance at love football romance.
From the moment I laid eyes on Gina Rodrigo, she twisted my whole world on its axis. For months I refused to give into the feelings she evoked in me. I’d gone down that road before and it led nowhere good. But one kiss changed everything and I couldn’t fight my feelings anymore. Except she doesn’t know my secret and the deeper we get, the more the ghosts of my past threaten to ruin the first true happiness I’ve ever found.
Living in San Francisco was my saving grace from the feelings that plagued me every time I was in the same room as Will Edmonson. Our chemistry was insane, but he always pulled away before we got the chance to explore it. Until I got offered a job with my best friend in LA and he finally kissed me. Now I’m falling harder than I ever have, but he’s got ghosts in his past and the more I get to know him, the more I worry I can never compete with the true love he already lost.
Across the Middle is the second steamy standalone sports romance in the LA Wolves Series.
This is the paperback edition.
- Broody Hero
- Love After Loss
- Soft for Her
Read Chapter 1
Read Chapter 1
I grab the neck of my beer bottle and bring it up to my lips, tipping it back and tasting the bitter hops that define this specific IPA. My eyes scan the room taking in the scene before me. There are waiters walking around with snacks and a bartender set up in the corner. Several players from our team are present to celebrate.
Jack and Paige have transformed their mansion into an elegant soiree to celebrate their engagement and New Year’s Eve. I watch as Jack wraps his arm around Paige, a smile encompassing both their faces. I’ve never seen him look so happy. She’s been one hell of a game changer for him.
I continue my perusal of the room until my gaze catches on a figure I recognize well—one I’ve been desperately trying to forget. Gina Rodrigo stands at the entrance of the room, and my heart pounds at the sight of her. I don’t know what it is about this woman that sets my blood on fire, but every time we’re in the same room, it’s like no one exists but her. She’s absolutely magnetic, and I’m getting really tired of fighting my body’s response to her.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw her. She walked out the doors of Paige’s apartment building, smiled up at me, and twisted my entire existence on its axis. It was the first time in over a year I’d felt anything, and frankly, it was the first time in my life I’d had such a visceral reaction to a woman.
My gaze slides down her body. Her deep blue dress hugs every curve on her voluptuous frame. Everything about her calls to me, but I’ve been successful in fighting my attraction to her so far. I just need to continue to avoid her, which is easier said than done. Every time we’ve found ourselves thrown together this past year, I’ve been drawn to her. I always try to pull back, but something about her keeps me from pulling away completely, even when I know I should.
I take a deep breath, trying to find some composure. She’s just a woman. Ah, if only that were true. The reality is Gina is so much more. She’s vibrant and full of life. I won’t be the one to drag her down.
My gaze slides back up her body, mesmerized by the café au lait color of her smooth, perfect skin. God, what I would give to trace every inch of her body with my tongue. But I’m not the guy that gets the woman of my dreams. Candace made sure of that.
The second her name slithers into my mind, guilt overwhelms me. How can I look at another woman after what happened with Candace? I’ve done so well being alone, with only the occasional meaningless fuck. I look down at the floor, wishing it would swallow me whole and all my guilt with me. I’m sick of the weight of it, but I can’t let it go. Or it won’t let me go—I’m not sure which anymore.
My skin prickles with awareness and I look up, my gaze crashing into Gina’s, her light brown eyes holding mine hostage from across the room. My whole body aches to go to her, but I fight it with everything I have. I don’t know how much longer I can battle this attraction to her. I’ve never felt this way before, but I know better than anyone that I don’t deserve happiness, and I sure as hell don’t deserve it with someone as effervescent as Gina.
She makes her way toward me, and I watch with both a desperation to escape and a yearning to make her mine in every way a woman can belong to a man. A year of repressed feelings is finally starting to overwhelm me. I need to get a fucking grip on this situation.
I take another pull from my beer, hoping it’ll give me the strength to get through this night. I can’t believe Jack talked me into coming to this New Year’s Eve party. I haven’t been to one since Candace died, and if it wasn’t also his engagement party, I probably would’ve bailed and spent the night in my house watching the ball drop on my big-screen TV.
Gina comes to a stop two feet in front of me. I put my free hand in my pocket, so I won’t be tempted to touch her. I use the other hand to bring my beer to my lips and take another swig.
I watch her eyes scan my body and feel my blood rush south. It’s been too long since I’ve been with a woman. I should be stronger than this.
“I didn’t know you’d be here,” she says as her eyes make their way back to mine, her cheeks slightly flushed.
My heart pumps harder in my chest at the hooded look in her eyes. Fuck, why couldn’t she just hate me and make this easier?
I clear my throat and break eye contact, my eyes looking around the room. “I didn’t expect you to be here, either. You didn’t have any fun New Year’s plans up in San Fran?”
“Paige was planning a big New Year’s Eve thing before they got engaged, so I was already going to be here.”
I look around the room. “That explains how they were able to pull this together so quickly.”
Gina nods and looks at me closely, hesitating before she speaks. “It’s good to see you. It’s been awhile.”
“A few months at least, right?” I act like I don’t know, but I do. It’s been four months. Jack and Paige invited everyone out for a big beach day before the weather changed. The image of Gina in her pink bikini has kept my right hand busy, not that she’ll ever know.
“Yeah, September, when I came down for the beach weekend.” She tucks a lock of her silky dark brown hair behind her ear, and my eyes catch on the diamond studs sitting elegantly on her lobes. She seems nervous, which throws me off. She’s never been nervous around me before, at least not that I’ve noticed. She always comes across as strong and confident.
The only other time I’ve seen her less than confident was after a club event when she overheard me tell Max, Jack’s best friend and assistant, I wasn’t interested in her. It was a blatant lie, one she was never meant to hear.
The truth is I’ve been interested in Gina since the very first moment I saw her. But just because I’m interested doesn’t mean I can ever have her. I can’t. I don’t deserve to be happy or fall in love, not after Candace.
I can’t stand here much longer making pointless small talk. I’m already at the end of my rope just trying to keep myself from touching her.
“It’s good to see you. If you’ll excuse me, I need to go talk to Matt.”
I ignore the brief moment of hurt on her face and make my way to my teammate Matt Fischer across the room. He’s surrounded by a handful of women, and I’m hoping desperately one of them will be able to distract me from the only woman in this entire house who could ever truly capture my attention.