Mitch Ryland accomplished what his father said he never would—he made something of himself.
When his wife suggests she’d like to start a family, Mitch is thrown for a loop. He’s never told her about his life before he ended up with his foster parents, or his plans never to become a father. So when he’s taken out of the game, his failings from the past come back to haunt him, and Mitch blames his injury on his loss of focus. He’s unprepared for his career as a professional quarterback to be over. Nor is he ready to tell his wife about why football is so important to him. He’d rather put emotional and physical distance between them and focus on getting back in the game.
Serena Ryland has dreamed of becoming a mother. But when she mentions the idea to her husband, he freezes her out and she has no idea why. She’s worried that if they don’t start talking soon, she’ll lose him forever. When he refuses to come home to mend from an injury, she takes matters into her own hands, determined to spend more time with him, hoping to reignite the romance in their relationship. But she’s unprepared for the things she learns on this trip. Her husband has been carrying a few secrets that just might change the outlook of their future.
Excerpt from The Final Quarter (Book #2: A New League Series):
A shiver of anticipation vibrated through her. I can do this.
Rising once more, she picked up her drink and held the glass out to him. “Can you hold this for a moment, please?”
“Sure.” His deep rumble set her on fire. That was his sex voice. Each time she heard it, awareness skittered along her nerve endings. Her senses sharpened. And it had been a while since he’d used it, so the fact that he did now thrilled her and urged her on.
Serena placed the papers on her chair, then turned and dipped back into her briefcase. A low growl came from behind her this time. With an added wiggle, she retrieved a linen tablecloth from her bag and twirled around. His gaze shifted to her hands. “I don’t want to get the papers wet,” she explained. “Excuse me, please.”
She nudged his arms out of the way, careful not to jostle him too much so he wouldn’t spill their drinks, while she draped the white tablecloth over the round table. It puddled on the floor. “Perfect.” She flashed him another smile, set her papers atop the table again, and reached for her water, though she set it down without taking a drink. Her stomach was a pile of nerves.
“All set to get down to business.”
“And are you going to tell me what the business is?”
Her husband clearly remained leery. She couldn’t fault him for that. This was so out of character for her. He was typically the aggressor in their relationship. She’d always preferred to let others take the lead, even as a child. Maybe because her mother simply rolled right over everyone in her way, a trait of her legal position. Serena had simply found it easier to stay out of her path.
But whatever was going on with her husband was affecting their marriage, and that she wouldn’t stand by and watch while it withered away. She loved him too much to let him go that easily.
Which meant she needed to step up her game if her husband wasn’t prepared to. But maybe it was more than that. Maybe this was about her suggestion a few weeks ago. Didn’t he want a family? She needed to convince him she loved him more than anything, perhaps even more than fulfilling one of her own dreams.
“It’s like I said, Mr. Ryland, we need to discuss a few things.”
“What’s with this Mr. Ryland shit? What game are you playing, Serena?”
“I know you’ve always enjoyed game nights,” she said instead.
He shifted in his seat and looked down at his drink. His clenched the glass in his hand.
“The rush of the game, the physical and mental challenge, the excitement of a win. The devastation of a loss.” She felt bad that they’d lost tonight and almost regretted her words. “I bet the endorphins are flying through your system, even right now.” She cocked her head. “Is it like sex?”
He coughed, very nearly spitting out the mouthful of tea he’d just taken. “Excuse me?”
She put on what she hoped to be an innocent face and mentally prepared herself to forge forward. “Well, I think the high of the game must be like foreplay, then the party afterwards, like an orgasm. So game nights are like having sex.” At least she hoped, because she needed all the help should could get tonight. And she felt utterly foolish saying this crap. But how else was she supposed to lead up to her plan for the evening?
Serena almost let loose with another giggle, watching Mitch trying to figure out where the hell she was going with this ridiculous conversation “You know,” she purred, “I’m well aware that you couldn’t actually play tonight.” She toyed with the papers. Spun her glass around a little.
And her poor baby was pissed and hurting about that. Well, he needed to learn that she had his back. That when shit like this happened, he needed to talk to her. Knowing her husband, he was probably worrying himself sick that he was letting his coach down, his team down, the fans down. And he probably thought he was letting her down too.
The fact that he wouldn’t meet her gaze confirmed it. So she’d just have to help him forget for a while and remember the benefits that went with having somebody who cared for him. Somebody who loved him and was willing to fly across multiple states, plan some pretty special and erotic nights for him to take his mind off his troubles. If he wasn’t going to come home to her, then she would damn well to come to him.
“I have a something that might take your mind off your current situation.” Serena pulled her gaze from the man across from her and scanned the bar. Nobody paid them a bit of attention. She slipped off the stool, dropped to her knees and scurried under the table, letting the cloth provide the cover she needed.
“Serena.” Mitch’s harsh whisper reached her ears, but she chose to ignore him, instead she tucked her hands beneath his pants and ran her hands up his legs.
He jumped. “What the fuck?”
About the author and where to find her:
Shoes are her addiction, but books are her passion. Anne Lange grew up with a love for reading. If you take a close look, she’s got either a book, her Kindle or her Kobo nearby at all times. You know, just in case there’s time to sneak in a chapter or ten. Anne reads many genres of romance, but prefers to write sexy stories, often with a dash of humor, and usually with a side of those sinful pleasures your mom never told you about. And always with a happily ever after. While embarking on this wild journey of becoming a romance author, Anne juggles a full time job and a family. Though not always successfully. Who needs a clean house every day? And what’s wrong with cereal for dinner? She lives in Ontario, Canada with her wonderfully supportive husband, three awesome kids who are growing up way too fast, and the family pets, Rocky the bearded dragon and Lily the chocolate lab.
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