Heisman winner. Member of the National Championship team. NFL Rookie of the Year. Quarterback Colin O’Connor knows he’s become the ultimate romance novel cliché: all the success he’s ever dreamed of but nobody to share it with. Too bad it’s not as simple as asking out the next girl who intrigues him – because the next girl to intrigue him probably won’t be a girl at all.
Unexpectedly, the solution comes in one neat package: Nick Wheeler, lead journalist for a leading sports and pop culture blog. Hired by Colin’s team, Nick comes to Miami to shine a spotlight on the NFL’s most private quarterback.
The heat in Miami rises when Nick discovers that Colin is nothing like the hollow personality he pretends to be in interviews and he’s even hotter in person than on his Sports Illustrated cover. Nick knows this is the story of his career, and after spending his teenage years as a bullied, closeted teen, it hits very close to home. What he needs is to help Colin share his story while keeping their growing relationship from boiling over in the press, but what he wants is to tell the world.
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Nick walked over to where Colin was sitting on the lounger. Every molecule was screaming at him to stay away if he wanted to keep things platonic between them, but he needed to have enough self-control for this. Because somewhere along the line, someone had convinced Colin that he wasn’t the ’right’ kind of person to be who he was, and he needed to understand that was just plain bullshit.
Nick gingerly sat at the end of the lounger and when Colin lifted his eyes to look at him, his face was finally out of the shadow. Perfect. If he could only ignore the way Colin looked and sounded and even smelled. How did he smell so clean after a night of dancing and drinking? Nick was sure he smelled like a locker room full of flop sweat and too much booze.
“Listen, you don’t have to do what everyone expects. Even if it’s easier. Especially if it’s easier.” Nick inched closer and tried to ignore the desperate pounding of his heart at Colin’s nearness. If he moved half a foot closer, he’d be close enough to kiss.
Kissing was definitely not what Nick needed to be thinking about right now, especially when Colin’s expression was still skeptical.
Nick changed tactics. “Do you know what they call weird people if they’re rich? They don’t call them weird. They call them eccentric. Money and success buys you the ability to break the mold. You can do whatever you want. You’re about to change your whole life. Embrace that you’re different. Stop apologizing for it.”
It was slow, but the doubt on Colin’s face had begun to melt a little. Nick prayed a little and threw his Hail Mary. “The first time we met, you told me that your personal role model wasn’t Tom Brady. It was Nelson Mandela. That’s you, that’s not the cardboard cutout the media wants you to be. Be you. Trust me, you’re a hell of a lot more interesting than the cardboard cutout Colin O’Connor.”
“But you’ve always been easy to win over,” Colin smirked, echoing that first interview. Nick had to swallow down the lump that had grown in his throat, because Colin had insisted he hadn’t remembered that interview. But maybe some of it had come back.
“True,” Nick said. Anything else was a complete lie. He’d been easy to win over from the first moment. The easiest, probably.
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About the Author
Beth Bolden lives in Portland, Oregon with her supportive husband and their beloved cat. She wholly believes in Keeping Portland Weird, but wishes she didn’t have to make the yearly pilgrimage up to Seattle to watch her Boston Red Sox play baseball. She’s a fan of fandoms, and spends too much of her free time on tumblr.
Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published two novels, The Lucky Charm and Getting Lucky, and a short story, Eye of the Storm. Her next novel, Summer Attractions, will be released in August 2016.