About THE LAST LETTER:
“Ella.” It was a plea to speak, to not speak. Hell, I didn’t know anymore.
“You don’t see me like that. I totally get it.” She reached for the TV remote.
“How exactly do I see you? Please, enlighten me.” I leaned forward, stealing the remote. She’d opened this box and had better well dish it.
She huffed in annoyance. “You see me as a mom. As Colt and Maisie’s mom. And of course you do, because that’s what I am. A mom with two kids.”
“Well, yeah,” I said. Her motherhood—that selfless devotion she had to her kids—was one of her most attractive attributes.
She rolled her eyes with a little sigh, and the metaphorical light bulb went off in my head.
“You don’t think I want you.”
She shot me a look that confirmed my guess and blushed the same crimson of her couch. “You know, you’re right. It’s late.” She faked a yawn. “Suuuuuuper late.”
“I want you.” Damn, it felt so good to say the words.
“Yeah, okay.” She gave me a goofy look and a thumbs-up. “Please don’t make me feel any more idiotic than I do right now.”
Yeah, enough of this bullshit.
I pounced in one smooth motion, taking her back to the couch, sliding over her as I gathered her wrists in one hand above her head and settled between her open thighs.
“Holy shit, you move fast.” There was no fear or rejection in her eyes, just surprise.
“Not in every arena,” I promised.
Her lips parted.
“Ella. I want you.”
“Beckett…you don’t have to.”
Yeah, that soft little sigh she did was going to be my undoing.
I let go of her wrists, letting my fingers trail down her arm until I had one hand weaving my fingers into the hair at the base of her scalp and the other at the curve in her waist.
“Feel this?” Then I slid forward, letting my dick stroke along the seam in her pajama pants hard enough for her to gasp at the contact. I couldn’t remember ever wanting to shred a piece of fabric so much in my life. “I’ve never wanted a woman as much as I want you.”
I moved again, and her eyes slid shut as she let loose the sweetest moan.
My dick throbbed, knowing everything I’d fantasized about for the better part of the last eight months was one decision away.
“Beckett.” Her hands found my biceps, her nails digging in.
“Don’t ever think that I don’t want you, because if things were different, I would have already been inside you. I would know exactly how you feel, and what you sound like, look like, when you come. I’ve thought about it at least a hundred different ways, and believe me, I’ve got a great imagination.”
She rocked her hips against me, and I locked my jaw to keep from giving her exactly what her body was asking for. “Ella, you have to stop.”
“Why?” she asked, her lips dangerously close to mine. “What do you mean if things were different?” Her eyes flew wide. “Is this because I have kids?”
“What? No. Of course not. It’s because you’re Ryan’s little sister.” Before I could do any more damage, I got the hell off her and sat back on my side of the couch.
“Because…I’m Ryan’s little sister,” she repeated, scooting so she sat upright, facing me. “And you think he’d, what? Haunt you?”
Three things: The letter. The cancer. The lie.
I repeated those in my head until I was certain I could look at her and not drag her back under me.
“When I was growing up, if I wanted something, I took it. Immediately. I had sex at fourteen with a girl in my foster home of the moment. I opened Christmas presents early if I was lucky enough to get one, and it was usually from my social worker or some charity.”
“I don’t understand.” She wrapped her arms around her knees again.
“I took it immediately because I knew if I didn’t, chances were I wouldn’t get it. It was a now-or-never kind of thing—there weren’t second chances.”
“I can’t touch you, can’t talk about it, because I’m afraid I’ll act on it.”
“And why does that matter if I want you to?”
“Because I won’t get a second chance. And I’m crap with people, with relationships. I’ve never had one that lasted more than a month. Never loved a woman I’ve slept with. And chances are I’d do something to screw this up, because it’s not just my dick that wants you, Ella.”
That O popped right back onto her face, and I closed my eyes to keep from lunging across the distance and kissing her. Knowing she’d let me—that she wanted it—sent my need from a bullet to a nuclear missile.
“And when I’d screw it up, because it would happen, trust me, it would hurt Colt and Maisie, too. You’d be on your own again, because there’s no chance you’d let me hang around and help you out like Ryan asked.”
“And there it is.”
“There it is. You’re Ryan’s little sister.”
“There were only five years between us. Not so little, you know.” She reached for the remote.
“I’m well aware.”
“So if Ryan were still alive…” She shot one last look at me.
I let everything slip for a millisecond, letting her see it all in my eyes, how badly I wanted her, and not just for her body. “Everything would be different.”
“Everything but the way I feel about you, which he probably would have killed me for. Where does that leave us?”
“You mean besides me being a dried-up spinster and you being honor-bound to a ghost?”
“Something like that.”
She rolled her head along the back of the couch, muttering something that sounded like a curse word under her breath. Then she sat up straight and powered on the TV with a click of her thumb. “That leaves us choosing a movie on demand. Because I’m not letting you walk out that door right now.”
“Nope. You walk out now, you might get all weird about this and not come back. Honor is a fabulous thing, but sometimes pride can be a lot stronger, especially when you convince yourself it’s for the good of the other person.”
Damn, the woman knew me.
“So movie it is,” I agreed. “Just…stay on your side of the couch.”
“I wasn’t the one who crossed the center line,” she teased with a smile that got me hard all over again.
Movie chosen, we sat and watched, both of us stealing sideways glances. There was that saying…the horse out of the barn. Yeah, the horse was out of the barn, and it wasn’t going back in. Not no way. Not no how.
That horse was running amok and screwing with my carefully constructed control.
But I didn’t complain when she moved over. Or when she pressed against my side. Nope. I lifted my arm and savored the feel of her curves, her trust. Still didn’t complain when she lay down in my arms. Hell no, I held on and memorized every second.
About Rebecca Yarros:
Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and a lover of all things coffee, chocolate, and Paleo. She is the author of the Flight & Glory series, including Full Measures, the award-winning Eyes Turned Skyward, Beyond What is Given, and Hallowed Ground. She loves military heroes, and has been blissfully married to hers for sixteen years.
When she’s not writing, she’s tying hockey skates for her four sons, sneaking in some guitar time, or watching brat-pack movies with her two daughters. She lives in Colorado with the hottest Apache pilot ever, their rambunctious gaggle of kids, an English bulldog who is more stubborn than sweet, and a bunny named General Fluffy Pants who torments the aforementioned bulldog. Having adopted their youngest daughter from the foster system, and Rebecca is passionate about helping others do the same.
Ice Knights defenseman Zach Blackburn has come down with the flu, and my BFF—his PR manager—begs me to put my nursing degree to use and get him back to health. Of course she would call in a favor for the most hated man in Harbor City.
But when he’s finally on the mend and I’m sneaking out of his place, everything goes sideways. Paparazzi spot me and pictures, plus accusations that I slept with him, fly faster than a hockey puck.
At first, all of Harbor City wants my blood—or to give me a girlie-girl makeover. But then…the team finally wins a game. And now this fickle town wants me with the big jerk twenty-four seven.
Argh. I never slept with him the first time! But no one will listen. Then the grumpy bastard goes and promises to break his no-fan-appearances rule to help raise money for a free health clinic—but only if I’m rink-side at every game. That’s not a deal I can turn down.
But when the team keeps winning, and I realize there’s more to him than his bad reputation, suddenly remembering to keep my real hands off my fake date gets harder and harder to do.
So this is the third book in the series and while Lucy (Muffin Top) spoke to me in ways that most people wouldn’t understand, this one spoke to me in a different way. Let me explain.
I worked for the Dallas Stars Hockey Club from 1998-2004. Yes, I worked stadium promotions before the ice dancers (seriously) and watched the much hated Scott Stevens skate the Cup on our ice. I don’t think I will ever get that image out of my head but I digress. I’ve seen the good, bad, ugly and VERY ugly when it comes to the “other side” of professional sports. I have seen The Great One (not a fan but that’s a whole different blog), named our kid after Brian Leetch and have too many hockey jerseys hanging in the closet. Red Wing fans are the rudest fans EVER and I still HATE the Sharks. Oh, and I have a cousin that married Keith Tkachuk. I know I go on about baseball but hockey is my mistress. He He! Ms. Flynn nails the hockey parts in this book.
Zach is a teddy bear, despite the piercings and tats. He never had it easy growing up and the way his parents treated him in the end, I can emphasize with him on not getting close to anyone or having the trust issues that he had. Fallon absolutely has no filter but that’s what I loved about her. Fighting for position in her big family isn’t easy so shooting from the hip and not having a filter helps. I didn’t quite understand all the tomboy stuff because I felt like Fallon was her own person and didn’t need to be girlie for the book to work. But that’s just me. However, I did get it when the whole social media thing blew up. And yes, trolls exist. *sigh* She’s a nurse for Christ’s sake. I don’t know too many nurses that spend an hour in the bathroom before a shift knowing that the makeup will wilt within an hour of getting to work.
Ms. Flynn has written another winner in the series. The sex is hawt, the emotions real and the issues that they both have are relatable. Plus, Fallon’s family is priceless. Her mom getting into the social media action, Lucy trying to still fix things and the girls with their Sip and Paint nights are golden. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading.
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The blaring ring echoed off the bare walls of the nearly empty mansion as Fallon Hartigan marched down the hallway with murder on her mind.
As soon as she got to the source of that ringing, she was going to give Harbor City what they wanted most and kill the most-hated man in hockey. Sure, she might get arrested, but the metro area would probably throw her a parade. She turned the corner and stopped dead in her tracks outside the open double doors leading to the overpriced defenseman’s bedroom.
The man—who’d been puking his guts up less than twenty-four hours ago—was in the middle of a king-size bed, wearing nothing but a smirk and a bed sheet that was draped so low across his hips that she could see miles of those V lines south of his hard abs. Like she was a newbie nurse on her first set of rounds, her breath caught, and a blush she most definitely did not want to appear started to burn her cheeks. Damn her pasty Irish skin.
Still, she had to admit, if only to herself, that the view was fucking amazing. The man was a professional athlete and had the muscular, inked-up chest to prove it. Practically against her will, her gaze traveled over the plentiful ink across his pecs and lingered a few breaths too long on his silver nipple rings.
Seemingly indifferent to her perusal, Zach swiped his thumb across his cell phone’s screen, ending the incessant ringing.
“About time,” he said, his voice a mellow, low rumble. “I’ve been ringing for you for almost ten minutes.”
He dropped his phone on the small table next to the bed and then lounged against the headboard, managing somehow to look down his nose at her even with their current height differential.
Forget killing him, she was going to go after her bestie. It was Lucy’s fault Fallon was even here.
She squeezed her eyes shut and counted to ten as she recalled all the reasons why the man was a menace and not the solution to her three-month-long sexual dry spell.
He was a selfish player.
He was surly to the press, to the fans, and probably to his neighbor’s dog.
He’d banged a puck bunny tattooed with the logo of the Ice Knights’ most hated rival.
She counted to another ten while remembering why she couldn’t off him.
He was Lucy’s client.
He was, for some incomprehensible reason, one of her bestie’s friends.
He had the skills to turn around the Ice Knights’ sofar shitty season if he could remove the giant chip from his shoulder and start playing as if he actually liked hockey again.
Exhaling a deep breath, she reopened her eyes and barely noticed his muscular shoulders this time as she moved away from the door.
There. All better.
She’d managed to pack away the Hartigan attitude, and her temper hadn’t even made an appearance. Bully for her. Now to get back to that cool, clinical demeanor she strove for whenever she was on the clock.
“You rang?” she asked, managing to keep a good 73 percent of her annoyance out of her tone as she walked farther into the room.
USA Today bestselling romance author Avery Flynn has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip.
She fell in love with romance while reading Johanna Lindsey’s Mallory books. It wasn’t long before Avery had read through all the romance offerings at her local library. Needing a romance fix, she turned to Harlequin’s four books a month home delivery service to ease the withdrawal symptoms. That worked for a short time, but it wasn’t long before the local book stores’ staffs knew her by name.
Avery was a reader before she was a writer and hopes to always be both. She loves to write about smartass alpha heroes who are as good with a quip as they are with their *ahem* other God-given talents. Her heroines are feisty, fierce and fantastic. Brainy and brave, these ladies know how to stand on their own two feet and knock the bad guys off theirs.
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