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Scorched Turf (EBOOK)

Scorched Turf (EBOOK)

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A steamy second chance, brother's best friend football novella.


As the first female defensive line coach for the LA Wolves, I excel at not letting small things bother me and being able to see the big picture. But when tragedy struck five months ago, I went scorched earth on my life and cut off anyone who could remind me of what I’d lost–including the love of my life and my brother’s best friend, Danny. 

But Danny’s not ready to give me up without a fight. Can I let down my defenses when his job as a firefighter scares the crap out of me? I’ve already lost my brother. I won’t survive going through that again with Danny. How can I possibly be the partner he needs when I can’t get over my fear? 

Scorched Turf is a steamy novella in the LA Wolves series and can be read as a standalone. This novella is ONLY available on my store. 

This ebook will be delivered immediately after purchase via Bookfunnel. If you don't receive it after 10 minutes, please check your spam or promotions folder. 

Main Tropes

  • Female Football Coach/Firefighter
  • Brother's Best Friend
  • Second Chance

Read Chapter One


Chaos reigns as Tommy and I move through the crowd of football fans on our way to the field. Sweat builds underneath my shirt, and it’s not because of the heat on this warm Southern California night. Tommy is yammering on about how excited he is to meet the Fierce Four—the key players on the LA Wolves’ defensive line who have become legends in their own right. I’m more excited about seeing their coach—Alison Fairbright.

The first female defensive coach for the LA Wolves.

And the love of my life—even if she’s convinced herself we should be broken up.

Nothing will be right until I have her back in my bed with my ring on her finger.

My steps feel heavy with trepidation that she’ll continue to push me away, but also light in anticipation of seeing her in person. It’s been two weeks since I’ve breathed the same air as her, and that was only because her Pop invited me over for dinner without telling Alison. At least her grandad is on my side.

I understand why she bolted. You don’t work in my line of work as a firefighter without seeing a vast array of experiences from loved ones. Some can handle the danger and the long shifts. Others struggle. It takes a special strength to love a first responder.

And sometimes it only takes one tragedy to break even the strongest.

I knew I wanted to be a firefighter when I was five years old and saw those flashing red lights come down my street to save my friend Joel’s house from burning to the ground. His teenage sister had tried to smoke a cigarette, and instead of putting it out all the way like she had thought, it set her trashcan on fire—the same trash can that was right under her long curtains.

I joined the firefighter academy right out of college. I’d already been a part-time EMT through school. I met my best friend, Mark, on the first day of academy and we even got jobs at the same station. Every shift working with him was always my favorite, and anyone who knew us knew the pranks we’d play on each other, or how where one was, the other wasn’t far behind.

When he introduced me to his sister, Alison, he secured his position—not that he was really at any risk of not being my best friend—and he definitely gained bonus points for helping me convince his sister to go on a date.

It wasn’t hard to get Alison to say yes. Our chemistry was off the charts from the very first moment we met. Her eyes sparkled with joy and mischief as she schooled me on football. She’d been watching religiously since she was a little girl, and it was hot that she knew more than I did and was just as invested in the game as I was. She could call how a play was going to pan out before the ball had been snapped. It was like football was her chess, and she observed the game like a chess master at the board.

It certainly didn’t hurt that she also filled out a pair of jeans in a way that made me bite my fist and was without a doubt the most beautiful woman I’d ever met. Her long dark hair fell straight to her shoulders with bangs that were right above her eyes. Her hazel eyes were more green than brown, but the brown flecks were prominent and mesmerizing.

But her laugh sealed my fate.

She laughed with so much pure joy, it made everyone else in the room light up too. I was convinced her laugh could heal almost all ailments.

If only it could heal a broken heart.

I can’t remember the last time I heard her laugh. She’s been serious and withdrawn every time we’ve run into each other these last five months. And by run into each other, I mean I do everything in my power to go to places where I know she’ll be because I miss the shit out of her. I’m surprised—and thankful—she hasn’t filed a restraining order for stalking.

But it’s the only way I can check in on her directly without going through Pop.

It’s been five months since Mark died in a fire, and my whole world shifted on its axis. A week after he died, Ali broke up with me. She gave a bunch of bullshit excuses about not really loving me, but I could see the devastation in her eyes. I could see the self-preservation too. Not only was I a reminder of her only brother—and her only family apart from Pop—but I was also in the same line of work and therefore at the same amount of risk. She could lose me just as easily as she lost Mark, and that wasn’t a risk she was willing to take—not anymore.

I understand her fear and her reasons for ending it, but I also know her better than anyone else, and I know she lashed out to protect herself from further pain. While I can’t always guarantee my safety, I can guarantee that no man will ever love her the way I do.

Even Mark knew that. In fact, I’d gotten his blessing to propose only three days before his death. I even had the chance to show him the ring I’d picked out for her. It’s the same ring that I keep on me at all times. It’s a reminder of what I’m fighting for.

I’ve been patient for five months and given her space, but I know better than most that time is precious, and I’m done letting her sabotage our happiness.

Tommy and I pass a large group of police officers, also here for “Hero Night,” which is a yearly event the team puts on where all first responders get free seats and can meet some of the players. But unlike the other people milling around, I didn’t come for the players this year.

My breath catches when I spot Alison less than twenty feet away from me. She’s standing next to one of her players—Gabe Romero—and nodding as a man talks to her and Gabe.

I came for her.

And fuck, it’s good to see her, but my heart aches when she smiles and it doesn’t reach those gorgeous eyes of hers. I’d give anything to take away her hurt and promise she’d never have to experience that kind of pain again.

“Holy shit, that’s Gabe Romero!” Tommy exclaims next to me.

“Yeah.” I’m being a terrible friend right now, but I’m too distracted by Ali.

We move closer, my gaze eating up every inch of her in her tight jeans, tennis shoes, and an LA Wolves sweatshirt. Her dark hair is up in a ponytail, and the headset she normally wears during the game has long since been removed, but some loose strands of hair fall around her face from wearing it during the game.

She turns her head, her eyes sweeping over the crowd before they land on me, and my body warms from the heat of her gaze. A spark of recognition and happiness lights her eyes for the briefest moment before immediately shuttering, but it’s enough to feed the flame of my determination.

The man finishes talking to Gabe and moves on to the next player right as Tommy and I reach them. Tommy shakes Gabe’s hand with all the exuberance of someone who’s meeting their idol for the first time. My gaze stays locked on the only person in this stadium who matters.

“Hey Ali,” I say, my voice soft like I’m trying to put a spooked animal at ease.

“Danny.” Her pained gaze scans my face as her arms cross over her stomach and her shoulders curl inward. Her eyes sweep across my features and my body as if she’s cataloging any changes since the last time she saw me—like she’s reassuring herself that I’m okay. I’d be better if she’d stop being stubborn, but her stubbornness is also one of the many things I love about her, so I suppose I have to take the bad with the good.

“I didn’t expect to see you here,” she says, her voice now completely neutral as if I’m just an acquaintance. With another breath, she drops her arms to her sides and stiffens her posture. She’s trying to look put together, but I can see the cracks in her veneer.

“I would never pass up a chance for a free football game. Plus I couldn’t pass up the chance for the meet and greet. My favorite Wolf is here.”

“Who’s your favorite?” Gabe asks conversationally, but with a faint trace of a smile. We’ve met before at events Ali used to bring me to. I know he’s loyal to her, but he’s not giving me a death glare, so I’ll take that as a good sign. He nods at the small football I bought at the gift shop to toss around at work when I’m procrastinating on paperwork. “I bet we could get that signed.”

I look down at the football and then back up at Alison. Extending my hand with the football toward Ali, I say, “I’d love to have it signed.”

Emotion flickers in her eyes, but it’s too brief for me to figure out exactly what she’s feeling. Until she nibbles on her bottom lip, which has been her tell for as long as I’ve known her. She only does it when she’s feeling vulnerable and unsteady.

I just need one of those cracks in her armor to widen enough for me to find a way back in.

In my periphery, Gabe’s head swings back and forth between us like he’s watching a tennis match, but my gaze is still locked solely on hers. She reluctantly grabs the ball, clears her throat, and says, “Did you want me to get it signed by someone who’s not here?”

“No, I want you to sign it, since you’re my favorite Wolf.”

She swallows hard, the motion moving her delicate throat that I’ve kissed hundreds of times. I even left a hickey once, which she covered up with makeup for the few days that it lasted because she didn’t want the players to razz her. My fingers itch with the desire to trace her throat and pull her to me so I can kiss her as hard as I used to. My whole body aches being this close to her and yet feeling so far away.

“Can I have a word with you?” she says through clenched teeth. She doesn’t wait for my response, but instead just turns and walks away toward a more secluded corner of the field where not as many people are congregating. She doesn’t look back to see if I follow—she knows I will.

I’d hope she’d know by now that I’d follow her anywhere.

When we’re far enough away not to be overheard, she spins on her heel, facing me. Her expression is filled with the kind of determination that used to get me hard but now fills me with dread because I can already tell she’s about to dig her heels in further and refuse to talk about us.

“I need the rest of my stuff back from your place. I’ve been asking since”—she catches herself—“for months, and you conveniently never remember to bring it when Pop invites you to dinner.” She rolls her eyes at the mention of Pop, and I fight the smile tugging at my cheeks.

God bless her Pop and all the ways he’s tried to help me these past five months. That man loves me as much as he loves Mark and Alison, and he’s been an avid supporter of me even as Alison has worked hard to freeze me out.

“I can bring it by tomorrow night.”

She opens and closes her mouth like a fish out of water, her eyes hesitant as she watches me like she can’t believe I’m giving in that easily.

I’m not, but I’ll let her think I am.

It’s all part of my game plan to win her back. To convince her not to give up on us, even if my job scares the shit out of her.

I’m a firefighter to my core. It’s what I was born to do. I can’t live without it.

But I can’t live without her either.

“Just like that? You’ll bring it over tomorrow, and we can finally end this for good.”

I shrug, trying to play nonchalant, even if my entire body feels like it’s bracing for a blow. “If that’s what you want.”

“It is,” she says with a nod, but there’s the faintest waver that gives me hope. “We’re never getting back together, and it’s time we finally tie up all the loose ends. Once I have my stuff back, we can call it good.”

She says it almost like she’s trying to convince herself. Maybe she is. Maybe that’s exactly what she’s doing every time she adds a crack to my heart with her words—as if it’s so easy for her to be done with us.

I really hope it’s not, because it’s been nothing but hell for me.

And yet, I know she’s suffering through the loss of Mark, and I hate the idea of her in any kind of pain. Especially trying to deal with it alone.

“Tomorrow night then?”

She nibbles her lip, and for a minute she lets all her sadness fill her hazel eyes. “Tomorrow night.”

She looks at me one last time, as if memorizing my features and saving the image for later, and then walks back across the field toward her players.

I remain where I am, watching her go, knowing she’s the only woman I will ever love and there’s no way I can give up on her, and praying with every ounce of my being that my plan will finally be enough for her to give me another chance.

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My Favorite Things in this Book

This novella is jam-packed with yummy goodness. Brother's best friend, second chance, hot firefighters? Sign me the hell up! But in all seriousness, Alison is grieving the loss of her firefighter brother. I loved watching her work through her grief so that she didn't completely sabotage her relationship with Daniel. And Daniel. God, could you ask for a more devoted hero? He knows why she ended things, but he also knows she's the only woman for him. He's so patient with her.