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Tag: Hail Mary

Nat’s Review of Hail Mary by Lani Lynn Vale

by Lani Lynn Vale
Genres: Romantic Suspense

Today we have the release blitz for HAIL MARY by Lani Lynn Vale. This is the next standalone installment of The Hail Raisers Series! Check it out and grab your copy today.

Title: HAIL MARY
Author: Lani Lynn Vale
Series: Hail Raisers
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release: February 9th
Photographer: Furiousfotog
Cover Model: Quinn Biddle

Synopsis

Mary Persephone Hail
Mary—well-wished-for child.
Persephone—destruction.

Hail—well that speaks for itself.

Her name is painful to think about. Mary, his newfound daughter, isn’t a wished-for child. Persephone, though? Yeah, destruction is a fitting description. And Hail? Yeah, that’s just the final f-you.

The moment that her mother drops her off on his doorstep, Dante’s hell becomes complete.
Or so he thinks.

What can make life worse after losing one’s wife and kids, you ask? Here’s what: being given a baby that depends on him for her survival. Finding out that the baby’s mother is dying of brain cancer, and has a husband that he never knew about. A husband that Dante knows in the marrow of his bones is trying to kill her just as surely as the cancer eating her brain.

Dante’s a bad person. He’s done some not so nice things, and now he’s being punished for his misdeeds. Karma is finally catching up to him.

This child that he’s been stuck with is of his flesh and bone. This child is his salvation. This child is the final nail in the coffin of his wife and daughters’ too short lives.

He doesn’t want this child.

But this child will save him whether he wants her to or not.

With the help of a friend—yes, a woman friend—Dante finds his way back to life. But what he finds when he gets back isn’t the same life that he left behind. Turns out, he has to start living a new one. One where he’s suddenly having feelings for a friend that helped him get through some tough times, and loving a daughter that won’t let him quit.

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Review

A heart wrenching but heart warming story of family, love, loss, and a little lady named Mary. Dante is a man whose whole world collapsed when his wife and children were tragically killed in a car accident two years previously.. he cut himself off from everyone until the day Mary comes into his life and teaches him how to feel again. Cobie is a lady who comes into his world like a whirlwind he wasn’t expecting, but he was there for her at her weakest and their connection grew from friend to something more which caught them both off-guard. This book will capture your heart and imagination, you will be on the edge of your seat until the very last page as this story has so many twists and turns, highly recommend another great Hail Raiser novel.

Reviewed by Nat

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Check Out the Rest of the Series

Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

About Lani Lynn Vale

Lani Lynn Vale is a USA Today Bestselling Author of over thirty titles. She is married with three children, two dogs, two cats, a donkey, and a couple (a couple also meaning over twenty) chickens.
When she’s not writing, you can find her curled up in her favorite chair reading.
Lani is married with three children, and lives in the Great State of Texas.

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Hail Mary by Nicola Rendell – Review

by Nicola Rendell
Genres: Sports Romance
 
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AP new - synopsis.jpg
At a boxing gym in Chicago, Mary Monahan accidentally knocks out the most handsome man she’s ever met. After she wakes him up with a few slaps and some smelling salts, the very first thing he does is ask her out for ribs and beer. His name is Jimmy. He looks like a Gillette model. And he’s just too hunky to resist.

Jimmy “The Falcon” Falconi is mystified that Mary has absolutely no idea who he is. Mystified and refreshed. He is, after all, not your everyday NFL quarterback. He shops at Costco, has a soft spot for Pinterest, and is in the midst of an epic losing streak.

Jimmy falls for Mary fast and hard, the way he does everything—balls out and like it’s fourth and long. And he realizes he’s finally met his match. That stamina he’s so proud of? Doesn’t stand a chance against her Kegels.

But what they don’t know is she’s also his new physical therapist, recently hired by the Bears to work on his rotator cuff…and groin injury. If she can’t help him, he’ll be traded faster than they can say “offensive penetration.”

In spite of the thousands of internet memes featuring Jimmy’s face with captions like: “HEY GIRL, WANT TO TOUCH MY BALLS?” Mary finds herself falling for him and his unrelenting desire to make her his.

Until a toddler shows up at Jimmy’s door.

And throws their lives into total chaos.

***

To the reader: Contents includes love, sweetness, naughtiness, honey, champagne, and an HEA. Safe.


Review

4-starI enjoyed this really great read and I loved how it wasn’t all chocolates and flowers even though it was between Mary and Jimmy, it wasn’t regarding the rest of their lives. They had troubles and faults. He was the Quarterback but not the star that had no failings in his game.

This books was beautifully written and showed just much the mind can effect all parts of our lives and how sometimes when we think it’s our bodies that are the problems it is not always the case. Mary and Jimmy save each other in this story and I loved their chemistry, banter and love for each other as well.

I really would recommend this sports romance as it offers a lot more than just that. I look forward to reading more from this talented Author.

Reviewed by Donna

With her hand in mine, I hail a cab on Fullerton. She isn’t saying much, and I like that. I like talking to her, getting dirty, watching her lose her words. Because I’ll tell you what, I’m planning on her losing a shitload more than that before I’m done with her. Losing everything to me. That’s the fucking plan.
The cabbie pulls off to the other side of the road a little way up from us and puts on his hazards to tell us he’s waiting. As we head for the crosswalk, I kick aside a drift from one of the plows, but it’s unsteady footing, icy and slick. As she begins to slip, her grip on my hand tightens.
“That’s enough of that,” I tell her, and scoop her up into my arms, newlywed-style.
She squeals and hangs on tight. She fits fucking perfectly in my arms, and I love the way she feels tight against me. Her fingers slip past my collar, and her fingernails dig gently into the back of my neck. “I can walk,” she says, mostly to my mouth. Then she raises her eyes. “It was just slippery.”
I don’t answer right away. I don’t want to come on too strong. I don’t want to scare her, but I don’t want there to be any fucking mistake at all about what I want or how I plan to get it. “I know you can. I’m sure you can do pretty much everything.”
Her eyes glisten, and I hoist her up a little higher in my arms. The walk signal starts flashing its hand as we get to the other curb. “I’m no shrinking violet.”
“Good. Because I’m going to need you to come strong for me tonight.”
Her body reacts before her face does, her back arching under my hand, that bend so delicate under my palm.
“Multiple times. Loudly.”
She presses her face to my chest and moans out what sounds like, “Who are you?”
“And you’re going to tell me what you like and how you like it. We’re not going to fuck around. Communication, pussycat. That’s the key.”
There go her words again. I’m getting to know that glaze in her eye, disoriented with desire. “And what about you?”
Now we’re even with the cab, but I’ve still got some things she needs to know. “I don’t come until you do. At least twice.”
She’s got no answer for that, so I bring her chin up toward me, stretching her pretty neck out with my thumb on her jaw. “You hear me?”
She nods. She breathes. She blinks.
“That’s how it’s going to go.”
“I think I can handle that.”
I laugh, sending a plume of steam out of my nose. This girl has no idea how badly I want her. How badly I need her. How fucking hard I am already to get inside her. “Yeah? You think so? You think you can handle me?”
Her eyes widen a little. “I think so,” she whispers.
Then I let her slip from my arms, such a fucking shame, but I’m not about to let her open her own door. As she gets into the cab—on the street side, the safe side—I say into her ear, “We’ll just see about that.”
A signed copy of Hail Mary and a $50 Sephora Gift Card
Open US only
AP new -about the author.jpg
Nicola Rendell writes dirty, funny, erotic romance. She likes a stiff drink and a well-frosted cake. She is at an unnamed Ivy and prefers to remain mostly anonymous for professional reasons. She has a PhD in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from schools that shall not be named here. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. She realizes that her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady and she’s totally okay with that. She lives with her husband and her dogs. She is from Taos, New Mexico.
Author Links
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Hail Mary by Nicola Rendell

by Nicola Rendell
Genres: Sports Romance

 

 

 

goodreads-badge.png
AP new - synopsis.jpg
At a boxing gym in Chicago, Mary Monahan accidentally knocks out the most handsome man she’s ever met. After she wakes him up with a few slaps and some smelling salts, the very first thing he does is ask her out for ribs and beer. His name is Jimmy. He looks like a Gillette model. And he’s just too hunky to resist.

Jimmy “The Falcon” Falconi is mystified that Mary has absolutely no idea who he is. Mystified and refreshed. He is, after all, not your everyday NFL quarterback. He shops at Costco, has a soft spot for Pinterest, and is in the midst of an epic losing streak.

Jimmy falls for Mary fast and hard, the way he does everything—balls out and like it’s fourth and long. And he realizes he’s finally met his match. That stamina he’s so proud of? Doesn’t stand a chance against her Kegels.

But what they don’t know is she’s also his new physical therapist, recently hired by the Bears to work on his rotator cuff…and groin injury. If she can’t help him, he’ll be traded faster than they can say “offensive penetration.”

In spite of the thousands of internet memes featuring Jimmy’s face with captions like: “HEY GIRL, WANT TO TOUCH MY BALLS?” Mary finds herself falling for him and his unrelenting desire to make her his.

Until a toddler shows up at Jimmy’s door.

And throws their lives into total chaos.

***

To the reader: Contents includes love, sweetness, naughtiness, honey, champagne, and an HEA. Safe.


Chapter 1
Jimmy


She’s got a hell of a left hook, and her jab is no joke either. It’s hard to tell what she really looks like, with the big blue rubber mouth guard between her teeth and the black padded headgear covering her jaw and cheeks. But I know this: I want to get my hands on that body. Her tight pink tee is low cut and skin tight, and across her breasts are the words: “NOBODY’S PUSSYCAT.”
A cold draft blows in from the window, making goosebumps ripple up her arms. A thin stream of sweat runs down into her cleavage, and then I watch her nipples tighten. Christ. With little bounces, she heads back to her corner and bends over for her water bottle. Stretchy black leggings and no panty line.
Fuuuuuck.
The buzzer dings and we square up. She holds her gloves up to her face, ready to go. They’re bubblegum pink with white cuffs; the girliest weapons I’ve ever seen.
But never mind the gloves. It’s those eyes that have me. Shit, those eyes. This crazy deep green. Packers’ green. Jets’ green. Green like cash. Green that could make a guy go right out of his mind.
Pow goes a jab into my stomach and I double over, tasting my Gatorade from an hour ago. Before I can breathe, before I can even get up my gloves to slow her down, she pelts me hard with a cross to my sternum that knocks the wind straight out of me. I gasp for air and stagger back into the ropes.
“Jesus Christ,” I moan. “Who are you?”
Her eyes light up in this smile. This beautiful fucking smile that I feel way down inside. Then she bounces on her toes and smacks her gloves together out in front of her. Whap, whap. “I’m Mary!” she says around her mouth guard. “And you’re slow!”
Cute. But, yeah…no. Nobody talks to me like that. Nobody. I hurl myself off the ropes, colliding with her in the center of the ring, skin against skin now. I press into her sexy shoulder with my bicep, feeling the sweat between us. She nails me in the gut again; a solid, low-slung straight, and I think, I can’ t hit a girl, can I?
No. Fuck, no.
So I stretch my arm between us, the padding of my glove holding her steady right below her collarbone. She swings for me but I’m a foot taller and she doesn’t stand a chance. “Jerk!”
Obviously.
But on the upside, now I can really get a good look at her the way I want to; close up, but not so close that she’s pummeling me. Her legs are solid and I can even see that little curve of her hipbones barely showing through her leggings. I let my eyes follow the line of sweat to her inner thighs, to that wet, hot place where everything comes together. Fuck. I want my hands on that place. I want to feel the softness and the strength. I want to know the taste of that sweat. The way that softness gives under my tongue.
Ding goes the buzzer. I push her away, padded knuckles to her shoulder. She spins and gets into her corner, so I do the same.
I grab my water bottle and squirt it into my mouth, watching her all the time. She’s fucking beautiful, this one. Fucking gorgeous. The woman of dreams. Of fantasies.
From a pink Nalgene, she takes one big gulp, two, and a little water dribbles down her lips, rolling in drops down her throat. Her eyes stay right on mine. Her chest heaves. Her eyes flash. Her lips tighten. And that’s when it happens. She peels off her T-shirt and tosses it to the floor so that the only word showing is PUSSY.
Ding.
Her body is fucking perfect. I mean perfect. I moan into my mouth guard and I look her up and down. Lean but not thin. Sexy and strong. A fighter’s body. A woman’s body. A body strong enough to take everything I want to give it. And then some.
She turns to set down her water bottle, bending at the waist. And that’s when I see it. The tattoo. It’s a ribbon of black lace that runs in a beautiful, feminine line down her back from right shoulder to left hip, curving down into her pants. Tough as hell, pretty as can be. And with the sexiest tattoo I’ve ever seen in my life.
Stick a motherfucking fork in me. I’m done.
“Nice ink,” I tell her as we square up again.
“Thanks,” she says, leaning in to my shoulder.
“I’ve never seen one like it.” I hook my arm around her again and pull her in. I smell something familiar. I can’t place it. She slips free and moves behind me. For one second, all I can hear is her shoes on the mats.
“I rebelled when I turned 30. It was either this or a tramp stamp.”
“Of what?” I pivot so my face is close against hers.
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” She smiles tight around the mouth guard. Her glove comes through the air, cutting through the noise of the gym. Whooosh.
I get my right hand up just in time to block her with my glove. The impact rolls down my forearm like I’m nothing but Jell-O.
She lets another jab fly but misses me—barely—and I slip around behind her. The hair at the nape of her neck is curly and wet, and a long dark braid runs down her back. That strip of wet fabric at the top of her pants, dark with sweat. “Why are we fighting?” I growl as I get closer. “Why aren’t we out drinking? Making trouble? Fucking around? Let me take you out.”
She spins to face me, her eyes wide open, surprised. “You wanna drink with me?”
“Hell yes, I do. And a lot of other things.”
“You want me? Fight me.” She fires her bubblegum pink cannons at my stomach with a one-two combination that makes me feel like I’m nothing but a 283-pound heavy bag.
I try to get in a left cross, but she’s way faster than I am and comes up from under with a hook straight out of Manila.
That one got me in my brainpan, in my marrow. “Fuck that,” I snarl.
“Atta boy!”
No way. Nobody atta boys me. I’m Jimmy Goddamned Falconi. I’m nobody’s boy. Never.
“Atta girl.” I nudge her in the shoulder with my chest.
Around her guard, she says, “You fight like you’re in molasses. But you’re strong. You some kind of athlete?”
At first, I’m about to laugh. For about one second, I think I might be on Candid Camera or something. I mean, I can’t walk to the bathroom on an airplane without someone asking me to sign a cocktail napkin. I can’t get through Costco without someone asking me to sign their shopping list. Some kind of athlete?
I’m Jimmy “The Falcon” Falconi. Quarterback for the Chicago Goddamned Bears. I’m somebody.
But there’s zero recognition in her eyes. No flicker of the fangirl. No sign she’s playing it cool either. To her, I’m just a guy getting his ass kicked by a girl in pink gloves.
“Hello?” She presses into my chin with a slow uppercut from the right.
I snap out of it. I don’t even know how to answer her. I play quarterback for the Bears. Ever heard of them? Or maybe, Ever heard of football? America’s Game? Fuck. I wouldn’t even know how to start. I’ve never had to explain it. People just know. “Yeah, I like to work out.”
“Then act like it,” she says, all piss and vinegar, and puts her guard back in her mouth. Wham comes that jab into my gut. Pow goes the straight to my pecs. I loop one arm around her and pull her body in close, hooking the back of her neck with the crook of my elbow. I pull her closer, tighter, both arms around her, to get a feel for her…but also to give myself a goddamned break.
She struggles a little, trying to squirm free, but I see the smile on her face, the crinkle of the skin at her eyes.
I pull her head closer to mine. I must be twice her weight; no way is she going to get free now. We are the welterweight and the super heavyweight. Wrong class totally. But then she wedges her forehead in against my chest. I watch her wind up, her biceps flexing, and, boom-boom-boom.
Every time she connects, I lose a little more air and groan, “Fuck-fuck-fuck!”
“Atta boy!”
Fuck. That.
So I keep her pinned and she starts fighting harder, which makes me want to hang on to her more. I press my nose against her head. In her thick brown hair, I can smell her shampoo, her conditioner. Coconut.
While I’m distracted by that smell, thinking of sunscreen and ukulele music and drinks with umbrellas and her on a beach, she slips out from under my arms and pops up in my face.
Well, shit.
“What, you chicken? Gonna hit me back? Or do you want to dance around for an hour or two? Because I can totally do that. I just have to go home to feed the dog.” Whap-whap go her padded fists.
Oh no, no way. No way am I going to let a pretty little thing talk to me like that. I sniff hard and man up.
I give her a jab. A hook. A cross.
And she blocks me every damned time. Blocks me like she’s fought me before, or like she’s known all along what I’ll do when it comes down to it.
Fucking wax-on-wax off, one-two-three.
Pow-pow go her gloves into my side, and fuck. I think I feel those it in my spleen. Enough. Enough. Anger boils up through me like cheap vodka after a long night.
I’m Jimmy Falconi. And I’m gonna make this girl know my name.
I crack my neck side to side and get serious. I suck air through the holes in my mouth guard and get my fists up. I edge her into the corner and those eyes flash at me. She’s sweating hard and her mascara is smudged. Her hair is mussed and her skin is slick. It makes her look dangerous. Angry. I’d like to smudge that mascara a little more. In bed. Immediately.
But first, I’m going to show her who’s boss.
The more she works herself up, the hotter she gets. That’s when something catches my eye. There’s something written on the white cuffs of her gloves. All fuzzy, written in black marker:
On the right glove: HERE COMES…
On the left:…TROUBLE!
Whomp.
She nails me in the jaw with a haymaker, and my molars shake. “Come the fuck on,” I growl back at her, with my glove pressed to the side of my face.
She smacks her gloves together, and lowers her chin. “Are we sparring or chatting? Hit me!” Bounce, bounce, bounce. Butterfly, bee. Whap, whap, whap. “I’m not going to break!”
I work my jaw open and closed a few times thinking, Okay. Fine. Fine. I didn’t think it was going to go like this, but I can roll with a hostile defense, sure. Wouldn’t be the first time. I give her the old elevator stare—up, down, up again—and get stuck on her belly button for a little too long. But then I get a game plan together. I figure I can hit her in the stomach. Not too hard, not hard enough to hurt her, but hard enough to let her know who’s in charge here.
Which would be me. Me, pussycat. Me.
Nudging the edge of her shoulder with my glove, I drive her backwards. Our eyes lock and I get this…this…prickle all through me.
This woman.
This one. Right here.
I want her. So fucking bad.
The fucking gym with its ten phones playing mariachi goes silent. The guys by the cooler egging her on go silent. It’s just her and me and the sweat dripping between us. Soft skin, sparkling eyes. She smells like a summer day and she’s looking at me in a way that no woman has ever looked at me. Ever.
Like she’s gonna own me and she knows it.
Which is bullshit.
She gives me a little lift of her chin and tightens her lips around the guard. She wipes her nose with her glove and then lowers her head. “Come on! You going to fight or are you just going to screw around?”
With my left hand, I jab her softly in the stomach. With the right, a play-hook to the jaw. I raise her chin on my glove so her eyes come up to mine. Then I pull her close, my arm around the back of her neck again. “You wanna screw around?” I say into her ear.
Bam, another hit to the stomach. “I haven’t even gotten started,” she answers.
Fuck it.
She wants to play? Fucking fine. I’ll play. I’ll play hard. I square up. But she gives me this eye. This champion eye. A winner’s eye. Cocky like no eyes I’ve ever seen before. Tom Brady doesn’t have anything on this kind of cocky right here. My luck, this girl’s some UFC champion. Christ.
But I can take her. Yeah, I sure fucking can.
Probably.
I decide on a straight jab; a no-fail straight jab that I plan just hard enough to send her reeling but not hurt her, not actually injure her. I know the punch. It works in bar fights and brawls on the field. An all-American move. As I wind up, everything slows down. I’m 6’6”, 283 pounds, and I throw a football for a living. When I wind up, I wind up. As I do, she ducks, fast as fucking lightning. Greased. Elegant. Lethal. So as my arm is powering through the air, as my momentum gets caught behind 12-ounce training gloves, she pops back up like a goddamned whack-a-mole.
Those eyes flash again and she smiles so hard I can see her dimples.
Dimples. Oh, fuck.
I watch her shoulder tighten, her tricep pucker, and that’s when she lets me have it for real.
The punch comes from left to right, blocking out my view of everything. I don’t see the Mexican flag on the wall. I don’t see the graffiti mural over the windows. Nope. The universe turns bubblegum pink.
It doesn’t hurt, not at first, and as I’m flying backwards, airborne, I have just enough time to think to myself, I wonder if this is what a knockout punch feels like…
Before everything flickers to black.
AP new -about the author.jpg
Nicola Rendell writes dirty, funny, erotic romance. She likes a stiff drink and a well-frosted cake. She is at an unnamed Ivy and prefers to remain mostly anonymous for professional reasons. She has a PhD in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from schools that shall not be named here. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. She realizes that her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady and she’s totally okay with that. She lives with her husband and her dogs. She is from Taos, New Mexico.
Author Links
ArdentProse_LogoMain.jpg

 

Hail Mary by Nicola Rendell – Chapter Reveal

by Nicola Rendell
Genres: Sports Romance
 
Coming November 28th
Exclusive iBooks pre order:
goodreads-badge.png
AP new - synopsis.jpg
At a boxing gym in Chicago, Mary Monahan accidentally knocks out the most handsome man she’s ever met. After she wakes him up with a few slaps and some smelling salts, the very first thing he does is ask her out for ribs and beer. His name is Jimmy. He looks like a Gillette model. And he’s just too hunky to resist.

Jimmy “The Falcon” Falconi is mystified that Mary has absolutely no idea who he is. Mystified and refreshed. He is, after all, not your everyday NFL quarterback. He shops at Costco, has a soft spot for Pinterest, and is in the midst of an epic losing streak.

Jimmy falls for Mary fast and hard, the way he does everything—balls out and like it’s fourth and long. And he realizes he’s finally met his match. That stamina he’s so proud of? Doesn’t stand a chance against her Kegels.

But what they don’t know is she’s also his new physical therapist, recently hired by the Bears to work on his rotator cuff…and groin injury. If she can’t help him, he’ll be traded faster than they can say “offensive penetration.”

In spite of the thousands of internet memes featuring Jimmy’s face with captions like: “HEY GIRL, WANT TO TOUCH MY BALLS?” Mary finds herself falling for him and his unrelenting desire to make her his.

Until a toddler shows up at Jimmy’s door.

And throws their lives into total chaos.

***

To the reader: Contents includes love, sweetness, naughtiness, honey, champagne, and an HEA. Safe.


Chapter 1
Jimmy


She’s got a hell of a left hook, and her jab is no joke either. It’s hard to tell what she really looks like, with the big blue rubber mouth guard between her teeth and the black padded headgear covering her jaw and cheeks. But I know this: I want to get my hands on that body. Her tight pink tee is low cut and skin tight, and across her breasts are the words: “NOBODY’S PUSSYCAT.”
A cold draft blows in from the window, making goosebumps ripple up her arms. A thin stream of sweat runs down into her cleavage, and then I watch her nipples tighten. Christ. With little bounces, she heads back to her corner and bends over for her water bottle. Stretchy black leggings and no panty line.
Fuuuuuck.
The buzzer dings and we square up. She holds her gloves up to her face, ready to go. They’re bubblegum pink with white cuffs; the girliest weapons I’ve ever seen.
But never mind the gloves. It’s those eyes that have me. Shit, those eyes. This crazy deep green. Packers’ green. Jets’ green. Green like cash. Green that could make a guy go right out of his mind.
Pow goes a jab into my stomach and I double over, tasting my Gatorade from an hour ago. Before I can breathe, before I can even get up my gloves to slow her down, she pelts me hard with a cross to my sternum that knocks the wind straight out of me. I gasp for air and stagger back into the ropes.
“Jesus Christ,” I moan. “Who are you?”
Her eyes light up in this smile. This beautiful fucking smile that I feel way down inside. Then she bounces on her toes and smacks her gloves together out in front of her. Whap, whap. “I’m Mary!” she says around her mouth guard. “And you’re slow!”
Cute. But, yeah…no. Nobody talks to me like that. Nobody. I hurl myself off the ropes, colliding with her in the center of the ring, skin against skin now. I press into her sexy shoulder with my bicep, feeling the sweat between us. She nails me in the gut again; a solid, low-slung straight, and I think, I can’ t hit a girl, can I?
No. Fuck, no.
So I stretch my arm between us, the padding of my glove holding her steady right below her collarbone. She swings for me but I’m a foot taller and she doesn’t stand a chance. “Jerk!”
Obviously.
But on the upside, now I can really get a good look at her the way I want to; close up, but not so close that she’s pummeling me. Her legs are solid and I can even see that little curve of her hipbones barely showing through her leggings. I let my eyes follow the line of sweat to her inner thighs, to that wet, hot place where everything comes together. Fuck. I want my hands on that place. I want to feel the softness and the strength. I want to know the taste of that sweat. The way that softness gives under my tongue.
Ding goes the buzzer. I push her away, padded knuckles to her shoulder. She spins and gets into her corner, so I do the same.
I grab my water bottle and squirt it into my mouth, watching her all the time. She’s fucking beautiful, this one. Fucking gorgeous. The woman of dreams. Of fantasies.
From a pink Nalgene, she takes one big gulp, two, and a little water dribbles down her lips, rolling in drops down her throat. Her eyes stay right on mine. Her chest heaves. Her eyes flash. Her lips tighten. And that’s when it happens. She peels off her T-shirt and tosses it to the floor so that the only word showing is PUSSY.
Ding.
Her body is fucking perfect. I mean perfect. I moan into my mouth guard and I look her up and down. Lean but not thin. Sexy and strong. A fighter’s body. A woman’s body. A body strong enough to take everything I want to give it. And then some.
She turns to set down her water bottle, bending at the waist. And that’s when I see it. The tattoo. It’s a ribbon of black lace that runs in a beautiful, feminine line down her back from right shoulder to left hip, curving down into her pants. Tough as hell, pretty as can be. And with the sexiest tattoo I’ve ever seen in my life.
Stick a motherfucking fork in me. I’m done.
“Nice ink,” I tell her as we square up again.
“Thanks,” she says, leaning in to my shoulder.
“I’ve never seen one like it.” I hook my arm around her again and pull her in. I smell something familiar. I can’t place it. She slips free and moves behind me. For one second, all I can hear is her shoes on the mats.
“I rebelled when I turned 30. It was either this or a tramp stamp.”
“Of what?” I pivot so my face is close against hers.
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” She smiles tight around the mouth guard. Her glove comes through the air, cutting through the noise of the gym. Whooosh.
I get my right hand up just in time to block her with my glove. The impact rolls down my forearm like I’m nothing but Jell-O.
She lets another jab fly but misses me—barely—and I slip around behind her. The hair at the nape of her neck is curly and wet, and a long dark braid runs down her back. That strip of wet fabric at the top of her pants, dark with sweat. “Why are we fighting?” I growl as I get closer. “Why aren’t we out drinking? Making trouble? Fucking around? Let me take you out.”
She spins to face me, her eyes wide open, surprised. “You wanna drink with me?”
“Hell yes, I do. And a lot of other things.”
“You want me? Fight me.” She fires her bubblegum pink cannons at my stomach with a one-two combination that makes me feel like I’m nothing but a 283-pound heavy bag.
I try to get in a left cross, but she’s way faster than I am and comes up from under with a hook straight out of Manila.
That one got me in my brainpan, in my marrow. “Fuck that,” I snarl.
“Atta boy!”
No way. Nobody atta boys me. I’m Jimmy Goddamned Falconi. I’m nobody’s boy. Never.
“Atta girl.” I nudge her in the shoulder with my chest.
Around her guard, she says, “You fight like you’re in molasses. But you’re strong. You some kind of athlete?”
At first, I’m about to laugh. For about one second, I think I might be on Candid Camera or something. I mean, I can’t walk to the bathroom on an airplane without someone asking me to sign a cocktail napkin. I can’t get through Costco without someone asking me to sign their shopping list. Some kind of athlete?
I’m Jimmy “The Falcon” Falconi. Quarterback for the Chicago Goddamned Bears. I’m somebody.
But there’s zero recognition in her eyes. No flicker of the fangirl. No sign she’s playing it cool either. To her, I’m just a guy getting his ass kicked by a girl in pink gloves.
“Hello?” She presses into my chin with a slow uppercut from the right.
I snap out of it. I don’t even know how to answer her. I play quarterback for the Bears. Ever heard of them? Or maybe, Ever heard of football? America’s Game? Fuck. I wouldn’t even know how to start. I’ve never had to explain it. People just know. “Yeah, I like to work out.”
“Then act like it,” she says, all piss and vinegar, and puts her guard back in her mouth. Wham comes that jab into my gut. Pow goes the straight to my pecs. I loop one arm around her and pull her body in close, hooking the back of her neck with the crook of my elbow. I pull her closer, tighter, both arms around her, to get a feel for her…but also to give myself a goddamned break.
She struggles a little, trying to squirm free, but I see the smile on her face, the crinkle of the skin at her eyes.
I pull her head closer to mine. I must be twice her weight; no way is she going to get free now. We are the welterweight and the super heavyweight. Wrong class totally. But then she wedges her forehead in against my chest. I watch her wind up, her biceps flexing, and, boom-boom-boom.
Every time she connects, I lose a little more air and groan, “Fuck-fuck-fuck!”
“Atta boy!”
Fuck. That.
So I keep her pinned and she starts fighting harder, which makes me want to hang on to her more. I press my nose against her head. In her thick brown hair, I can smell her shampoo, her conditioner. Coconut.
While I’m distracted by that smell, thinking of sunscreen and ukulele music and drinks with umbrellas and her on a beach, she slips out from under my arms and pops up in my face.
Well, shit.
“What, you chicken? Gonna hit me back? Or do you want to dance around for an hour or two? Because I can totally do that. I just have to go home to feed the dog.” Whap-whap go her padded fists.
Oh no, no way. No way am I going to let a pretty little thing talk to me like that. I sniff hard and man up.
I give her a jab. A hook. A cross.
And she blocks me every damned time. Blocks me like she’s fought me before, or like she’s known all along what I’ll do when it comes down to it.
Fucking wax-on-wax off, one-two-three.
Pow-pow go her gloves into my side, and fuck. I think I feel those it in my spleen. Enough. Enough. Anger boils up through me like cheap vodka after a long night.
I’m Jimmy Falconi. And I’m gonna make this girl know my name.
I crack my neck side to side and get serious. I suck air through the holes in my mouth guard and get my fists up. I edge her into the corner and those eyes flash at me. She’s sweating hard and her mascara is smudged. Her hair is mussed and her skin is slick. It makes her look dangerous. Angry. I’d like to smudge that mascara a little more. In bed. Immediately.
But first, I’m going to show her who’s boss.
The more she works herself up, the hotter she gets. That’s when something catches my eye. There’s something written on the white cuffs of her gloves. All fuzzy, written in black marker:
On the right glove: HERE COMES…
On the left:…TROUBLE!
Whomp.
She nails me in the jaw with a haymaker, and my molars shake. “Come the fuck on,” I growl back at her, with my glove pressed to the side of my face.
She smacks her gloves together, and lowers her chin. “Are we sparring or chatting? Hit me!” Bounce, bounce, bounce. Butterfly, bee. Whap, whap, whap. “I’m not going to break!”
I work my jaw open and closed a few times thinking, Okay. Fine. Fine. I didn’t think it was going to go like this, but I can roll with a hostile defense, sure. Wouldn’t be the first time. I give her the old elevator stare—up, down, up again—and get stuck on her belly button for a little too long. But then I get a game plan together. I figure I can hit her in the stomach. Not too hard, not hard enough to hurt her, but hard enough to let her know who’s in charge here.
Which would be me. Me, pussycat. Me.
Nudging the edge of her shoulder with my glove, I drive her backwards. Our eyes lock and I get this…this…prickle all through me.
This woman.
This one. Right here.
I want her. So fucking bad.
The fucking gym with its ten phones playing mariachi goes silent. The guys by the cooler egging her on go silent. It’s just her and me and the sweat dripping between us. Soft skin, sparkling eyes. She smells like a summer day and she’s looking at me in a way that no woman has ever looked at me. Ever.
Like she’s gonna own me and she knows it.
Which is bullshit.
She gives me a little lift of her chin and tightens her lips around the guard. She wipes her nose with her glove and then lowers her head. “Come on! You going to fight or are you just going to screw around?”
With my left hand, I jab her softly in the stomach. With the right, a play-hook to the jaw. I raise her chin on my glove so her eyes come up to mine. Then I pull her close, my arm around the back of her neck again. “You wanna screw around?” I say into her ear.
Bam, another hit to the stomach. “I haven’t even gotten started,” she answers.
Fuck it.
She wants to play? Fucking fine. I’ll play. I’ll play hard. I square up. But she gives me this eye. This champion eye. A winner’s eye. Cocky like no eyes I’ve ever seen before. Tom Brady doesn’t have anything on this kind of cocky right here. My luck, this girl’s some UFC champion. Christ.
But I can take her. Yeah, I sure fucking can.
Probably.
I decide on a straight jab; a no-fail straight jab that I plan just hard enough to send her reeling but not hurt her, not actually injure her. I know the punch. It works in bar fights and brawls on the field. An all-American move. As I wind up, everything slows down. I’m 6’6”, 283 pounds, and I throw a football for a living. When I wind up, I wind up. As I do, she ducks, fast as fucking lightning. Greased. Elegant. Lethal. So as my arm is powering through the air, as my momentum gets caught behind 12-ounce training gloves, she pops back up like a goddamned whack-a-mole.
Those eyes flash again and she smiles so hard I can see her dimples.
Dimples. Oh, fuck.
I watch her shoulder tighten, her tricep pucker, and that’s when she lets me have it for real.
The punch comes from left to right, blocking out my view of everything. I don’t see the Mexican flag on the wall. I don’t see the graffiti mural over the windows. Nope. The universe turns bubblegum pink.
It doesn’t hurt, not at first, and as I’m flying backwards, airborne, I have just enough time to think to myself, I wonder if this is what a knockout punch feels like…
Before everything flickers to black.
AP new -about the author.jpg
Nicola Rendell writes dirty, funny, erotic romance. She likes a stiff drink and a well-frosted cake. She is at an unnamed Ivy and prefers to remain mostly anonymous for professional reasons. She has a PhD in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from schools that shall not be named here. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. She realizes that her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady and she’s totally okay with that. She lives with her husband and her dogs. She is from Taos, New Mexico.
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Hail Mary (The Mavericks Series) by Julianna Marley – Review

by Julianna Marley
Genres: Sports Romance

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This sexy sports romance is NOW LIVE!
FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

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BUY NOW:
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Blurb:

He’s football’s poster boy with one thing on his mind. Well, perhaps two things, but Shay Cunningham’s outstanding football career and contract negotiations take precedent over everything else. Even women. Living life to the extreme, Shay’s past indiscretions continue to fuel his lifestyle. And that’s just how he likes it.

Whitney Scott is broke, anxious and afraid. After an unexpected break up with her newborn baby’s father, her life is a mess. Down on her luck, she’s working hard to solidify her-and her baby’s-future. One uncertain step at a time.

When an emergency thrusts Shay and Whitney together will one heavy dose of uncertainty push them apart? Or will they be willing to make a Hail Mary pass with their hearts-trusting that the other one will catch it?

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Review:

4.5stars

I really and truly fell in love with this beautiful story, I was swept away from the beginning right to the very end and I couldn’t put it down as I needed to know what was going to happen next.

I loved the chemistry between Shay and Whitney but as well as them the supporting cast brought so so much to this story. This book is yes a sports romance but I wouldn’t necessary put that as the only area it would be able to fit it in. It’s a book about finding somewhere you belong, about learning to forgive yourself as well as others.

This book was full of love, family and hope. I was left with a great feeling after reading this book. I really recommend this book and I will most definitely be checking out more from this great and new author for me.

Reviewed by Donna

Excerpt:

Peeling off the ridiculous black stickers from underneath her eyes, Whitney smirked. Had she really just done that? Good Lord her mama would have been horrified. But for as embarrassed as she was, the permanent smile on Charlotte’s face and the glow she had worn all night long while talking to people about her designs had been totally worth it. She had taken so many orders for clothing pieces that she feared she wouldn’t see her cousin until springtime.

And Shay.

That kiss still had her hands shaking as she threw the strips in the trashcan, running the washcloth under the warm water. She could still taste him on her mouth and she licked her lips again. Removing some makeup from her cheek, her chest grew heavy. It had been a long time since she had kissed a man. A real man. One who kissed with strength and purpose. Nothing like the mandatory quick pecks she had received from Adam over the course of their relationship. But nobody had ever felt like Shay had. She almost married a man whose kisses didn’t pack a punch with them the way Shay’s had, her stomach twisting at the thought. Dabbing off the heavy eyeliner she cleared her throat. The look on his face when he realized what they were doing could only be described as painful. As if he had just made the biggest mistake of his life. Men like Shay Cunningham didn’t come after women like her. It was just a fact. Which was fine, more than fine, actually, as it was better this way. She didn’t know the first thing about a professional athlete’s life and she should have stopped him the moment he grabbed her, but he had taken her by surprise. And he felt good. So good. Scrubbing the bright red lipstick from her mouth, shimmer smearing across her face, she heard loud pounding at the door. Dropping the washcloth into the sink she darted towards the front door. Magda had mentioned that Quinn had finally fallen asleep just a little before she arrived home. Swinging the door open quickly to end the banging, she saw Shay on her doormat, his hair damp looking like he just stepped out of an editorial magazine. Swiping his hand across his mouth slowly, she knew he was anxious. And Shay being anxious made her nervous. He was the most assertive, self-assured man she had ever met and he just stood there watching her, forcing the air to turn thick.

“Hi,” she breathed.

“Hi.”

“Are you alright?” she asked swallowing against her dry throat.

Nodding, he moved through the door slowly, stopping as his forehead met hers. Closing her eyes, her heart rammed against her chest so hard she was almost afraid that he could hear it. “Is Quinn awake?”

“No,” she whispered, shaking her head as he walked her backwards, feeling his hands finding their way to her hips.

“Is Charlotte home?”

“No.” She closed her eyes again and he continued pushing her further inside the house. Curling her lips under, she peeked up at him. His face unmoving, his eyes searched hers and it felt like he was fighting a war. One that his life depended upon. “Why are you here, Shay?”

“I’m not sure.”

Young attractive football player with ball on gray background

About the Author:

Julianna Marley is fairly certain that she was born on the wrong side of the Mason-Dixon line. She’s in constant search of warmth, sunshine and water. When not writing about all the places she yearns to be, she can be found enjoying obnoxious amounts of coffee and getting bossed around by a four year-old. Julianna loves romance, humor and football.

Author Links:

Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Hail Mary (The Mavericks Series) by Julianna Marley

by Julianna Marley
Genres: Sports Romance

hailmary-banner-nowlive

This sexy sports romance is NOW LIVE!
FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

hail-mary-ebook

BUY NOW:

http://amzn.to/2dg9NzN

 

ADD TO GOODREADS

hailmary-nowlive

Blurb:

He’s football’s poster boy with one thing on his mind. Well, perhaps two things, but Shay Cunningham’s outstanding football career and contract negotiations take precedent over everything else. Even women. Living life to the extreme, Shay’s past indiscretions continue to fuel his lifestyle. And that’s just how he likes it.

Whitney Scott is broke, anxious and afraid. After an unexpected break up with her newborn baby’s father, her life is a mess. Down on her luck, she’s working hard to solidify her-and her baby’s-future. One uncertain step at a time.

When an emergency thrusts Shay and Whitney together will one heavy dose of uncertainty push them apart? Or will they be willing to make a Hail Mary pass with their hearts-trusting that the other one will catch it?

img_0561

Young attractive football player with ball on gray background

About the Author:

Julianna Marley is fairly certain that she was born on the wrong side of the Mason-Dixon line. She’s in constant search of warmth, sunshine and water. When not writing about all the places she yearns to be, she can be found enjoying obnoxious amounts of coffee and getting bossed around by a four year-old. Julianna loves romance, humor and football.

Author Links:

Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Cover Reveal: Hail Mary by Julianna Marley

by Julianna Marley

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This sexy sports romance is coming straight for your kindle on October 10th!

hail-mary-ebook

ADD TO GOODREADS

Blurb:

He’s football’s poster boy with one thing on his mind. Well, perhaps two things, but Shay Cunningham’s outstanding football career and contract negotiations take precedent over everything else. Even women. Living life to the extreme, Shay’s past indiscretions continue to fuel his lifestyle. And that’s just how he likes it.

Whitney Scott is broke, anxious and afraid. After an unexpected break up with her newborn baby’s father, her life is a mess. Down on her luck, she’s working hard to solidify her-and her baby’s-future. Once uncertain step at a time.

When an emergency thrusts Shay and Whitney together will one heavy dose of uncertainty push them apart? Or will they be willing to make a Hail Mary pass with their hearts-trusting that the other one will catch it?

Young attractive football player with ball on gray background

About the Author:

Julianna Marley is fairly certain that she was born on the wrong side of the Mason-Dixon line. She’s in constant search of warmth, sunshine and water. When not writing about all the places she yearns to be, she can be found enjoying obnoxious amounts of coffee and getting bossed around by a four year-old. Julianna loves romance, humor and football.

Author Links:

Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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