Fuck, she looks good. And fuck, it’s hard to keep my eyes off of her.
Like the other girls, Cam’s dressed in a bikini. But unlike Ophelia and Tansy, hers isn’t two little scraps of cloth held together with strings. No, in typical Cam fashion, she’s wearing a simple black suit that’s much more about athletic function than hotness factor. And still she looks fucking fantastic in it. All long, lean lines and tanned, gorgeous skin, with legs that go on forever—legs that seem specifically designed to drape themselves over a guy’s shoulders as he thrusts into her again and again and again.
Not that I care. Not anymore. I may have been in love with her once upon a time, but after the disastrous one night we spent together, I am totally over it.
Or at least that’s what I tell myself once a day. More if I’m actually around her for any length of time.
Fake it till you make it. That’s the motto I’m living by these days.
“Dude, where the hell did that come from?” Ash demands as he sits down on the edge of the boat and fastens himself into his wakeboard.
I shrug. The last thing I want to say is the truth, which is I’m sick to fucking death of always coming in last. I’m a good athlete, a really good athlete, and in any other group, that would probably count for something. With my three best friends—all of whom top snowboarding podiums on a regular basis—not so much.
It’s not that I’m jealous of them, because I’m not. They’ve each had some really bad, really heavy shit to deal with through the years and I figure their mad skills are kind of the universe’s way of evening up the scales. Still, it’d be nice to not always feel like the loser. Like the ballast they cart around, not because I contribute anything to the team but out of loyalty.
“That was totally wicked,” Ophelia tells me as I move to the front of the boat. “I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
“Thanks.” I shoot her a smile, even knowing she’s just trying to make me feel better.
“Uh, sure you have,” Z tells her even as he grins at me. “I do believe you’ve seen me work a half-pipe before.”
She rolls her eyes. “Of course, baby. And you have a bigger penis, too.”
“Hey, now!” I squawk in mock affront. “That seems a little judgmental considering you haven’t seen the goods.”
“You want to fix that?” she asks, eyebrows raised. But she’s been Z’s girl long enough for me to know she’s all bravado.
I reach for the waist of my board shorts. “Sure—”
“No!” Z stands up abruptly, grabbing onto Ophelia as he does. “No, she doesn’t.” He’s picking her up in his arms and striding over to the side of the boat while I slip into the vacated driver’s spot.
“You want to take a go?” I shout to him, but instead of answering he just steps onto the bench seat at the back of the boat.
“Don’t you dare,” Ophelia shrieks. “I mean it, Z! You better no—” Her shriek is abruptly cut off when he jumps in the water, still carrying her.
I glance at Ash, who’s just shaking his head like when’s she going to learn? I know exactly what he means. Z pretty much dares everything and telling him not to do something is a surefire way to get him to do just that.
Logan and Cam are close to hysterical they’re laughing so hard, and when I glance in the water at Ophelia—who’s still so shocked that her mouth is opening and closing like a guppy’s—I can’t blame them. Especially when she finally seems to come around and starts smacking at Z, who’s laughing just as hard as the other two.
Tansy keeps glancing back and forth between the lot of them like they’ve all escaped from an insane asylum. But when Ophelia finally stops beating up on Z, Tansy leans over the side of the boat and calls,
“Here. I’ll help you up.”
Ash heads toward her—to help, I’m sure. Tansy isn’t close to being as fragile as she was when we first met her a couple months ago and she was fresh off of chemo, but Ash still has a tendency to treat her like glass. But before he can get there, Ophelia grabs her hand and yanks.
Tansy’s only protest is an astonished little squeak, and then she’s tumbling headfirst into the lake. Ash makes a dive for her, misses, and falls in after her.
By now Cam and Logan are laughing so hard they’re practically crying, and I’m not far behind.
Especially when Ophelia leaps on Z’s back and starts trying to drown him.
It’s second nature for me to look at Cam, to try to catch her eye and share the joke. At least until I remember that we don’t do that anymore. We don’t do anything anymore. So, I look at Logan instead, and that’s when I see it. The wistfulness. The envy. He won’t say it—the kid never says it—but I know he misses being able to jump out of the boat without a second thought. Misses being able to just do what he wants instead of having to plan every little thing out beforehand. After running it by Ash, who we’ve already established has major protective issues when it comes to the people he loves.
The boat is stopped, but I turn the ignition all the way off before I climb out of the pilot’s seat and head toward him. I pick him up easily—he may be long but he’s also super lanky—throw him over my shoulder. “Hold your breath,” I warn, then jump off the back of the boat without waiting to see if he follows directions. It’s exactly what I would have done a year ago, before the accident, and though there’s a tiny part of me that questions if it’s really okay, I tamp it down. Except for the paralysis, he’s all healed up. In as good a shape as any other fourteen-year-old boy. So to hell with it. He deserves to have fun, too.
I hold onto him until we surface, making sure he can tread water using just his arms—which he does just fine despite the fact that he’s still laughing. Only then do I glance at Ash, expecting him to bitch me out. Which is fine. I know how he is and I’m prepared for it. Except when our eyes meet, his are filled with something that looks an awful lot like—shame.
I shoot him a questioning look, but he just shakes his head. Mouths “thank you,” then moves over to dunk his brother a second time.
Cam joins us after a couple minutes, and even though I know it’s totally masochistic, I can’t stop myself from swimming up behind her. From putting my hands on the silky skin of her waist.
“Hey, don’t—” she says with a laugh, twisting around to see which one of us is going to dunk her.
But dunking her is the last thing on my mind—even if I did start out with that as a vague plan—and when her surprised eyes meet mine, I don’t push down until she’s underwater. I don’t pull away, though, either. Instead I stay right where I am, hands lightly resting above her hips, thumbs gently stroking at the hard, flat plane of her abs.
Her green eyes are huge as she watches me watching her, and then she smiles a little tremulously. “Hi.” It’s almost a whisper.
“Hi,” I say back. It’s the first word I’ve said to her in weeks that hasn’t at least been partially for show.
Luc, has also been in love with Cam for many years. He has hoped and prayed for just a chance to be with her. Then one night…. he gets his wish and his heart broken all at once.
Cam, has been worrying about how to save her friendship with this amazing man. Wondering how to fix the shreds that are left. They don’t even look at one another and they are in the same room. What is a woman to do?
Luc and Cam solve everything by kissing and making up the old fashioned way. Is it really that easy? They both come into this with angst and pain and even tormented pasts.
There are so many surprises – beware readers! You will laugh, you will cry and yes, even root for this couple! I have not been so pleasantly surprised by an author and book in some time. I always recommend reading a series in order – and I had not done that with this story. I hope to own the other books in the Extreme Risk series before this review goes public. This was one book I could not even blink while reading! So good I am not sure how to put it in words!
His Lover to Protect
by Katee Robert
Former pararescuer, Luke Jacobs never met a challenge he couldn’t take, including Avery Yeung. Fans of Nicolette Day’s No Strings Attached or Maisey Yates’s Unexpected, will devour the sexy addition to the Out of Uniform series by NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author Katee Robert.
Title: His Lover to Protect
Author: Katee Robert
Series: Out of Uniform #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 7, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Print Length: 50,000 words
Format: Paperback and Digital
He’s never met a challenge he couldn’t take…
Alexis Yeung did everything right….only to watch everything go horribly, horribly wrong. Broken and angry, Alexis high-tails it to Europe, determined to face the world on her own terms and without consequence. Which includes a mind-blowing night with a sexy, scarred stranger.
Except, embittered former pararescuer Luke Jackson isn’t exactly a stranger. He’s supposed to keep an eye on Alexis without her knowing. Ending up in bed together was definitely not the plan. Now he’s chasing her (admittedly hot) ass across Europe, a game of cat and mouse that always ends with the two of them tangled up in the sheets.
Something in their scarred, damaged souls calls to each other. And God help them, the sex in unbelievably hot. But if Alexis discovers who Luke really is, he’ll lose the one thing that makes him feel whole…
See where it all began with book 1 of the Out of Uniform series, In Bed with Mr. Wrong.
The elevator ride passed in a blur, and he towed her down the hall to his room. The door barely shut behind him when he pinned her against it. “You’re mine now.”
Even as she wrapped her legs around his waist, she shook her head. “For tonight.”
He wanted to rail against the limitation, but Luke was more concerned with getting her out of her clothes. With one punishing kiss, he moved to the bed and dropped her on it. Before she had a chance to right herself, he yanked off her boots and tossed them behind him. “Unbutton your pants.”
“Bossy, bossy.” But her voice was breathy, and her hands shook as she followed his order. He helped her get them over her hips and then peeled them off her legs, leaving her in only her white knit top and a thong with a shamrock that read Lucky You.
“Lucky me, indeed.”
“Don’t let it go to your head.” She sat up, and he stripped off her shirt and bra. The panties could stay…for now. Alexis propped herself on her elbows and raised one slim leg to poke him in the chest with her foot when he started to crawl onto the bed. “Your turn.”
All he could see was her smooth skin and dark pink nipples. When she poked him again, he finally focused on her face. “What?”
“Your clothes. Get rid of them.”
For the first time since he’d kissed her, Luke paused. He hadn’t been with anyone in a long time. Hell, he could pinpoint the exact time because the woman had taken one look at his mangled knee and hightailed it out of the room. And that was after she cringed at the sight of his scars elsewhere. He couldn’t stand the thought of Alexis flinching from him. “Not yet.”
First, he was going to drive her so far out of her mind with pleasure that she wouldn’t have the ability to remember her own name, let alone worry about his damaged body.
GUEST POST/Getting to know Author, Katee Robert:
When I write, book and character ideas come from all sorts of random places. It could be a song or a news article or some nonfiction book I’ve read (I do that a lot these days). Often, it’s some strange alchemy of all of those, with a dash of some random thing I’ve seen on a sign or a TV show or… You see what I mean? There’s no one thing to pinpoint.
HIS LOVER TO PROTECT was the same weird combination of things that I probably couldn’t even tell you where they came from. But the one thing I KNOW inspired a good portion of this book is the time I lived in Germany. I spent four years there right out of high school, and being a hop, skip, and a jump from a dozen European countries really changes your worldview. It was during those travels that I came into contact with countless people backpacking across Europe.
If you’re not familiar with it, basically these people travel in pairs or small groups, live out of their backpacks, and stay in hostels. They often take advantage of Europe’s train system to get from place to place and sightsee.
One, in particular, gave me a lot of inspiration when it came to Alexis. I met this girl in Spain in a hostel and she was traveling alone. Honest to God, she looked about sixteen and was a total sweetheart. Naturally, I feared for her life. So our group kind of adopted her for the weekend and in the midst of shenanigans, she just causally mentioned that if a threat had materialized, she had both a switchblade and pepper spray.
I didn’t consciously draw from her when I started Alexis on her lone journey through Europe, but I’d be lying if I said this girl wasn’t there in the back of my mind. Just like her, Alexis is more than capable of taking care of herself. She doesn’t NEED a protector. But, much like my first reaction to hearing this girl was traveling alone, her friends and sister are SURE she’s going to be murdered or something equally awful.
It’s not always the case that I can point to a particular thing and say “Yes, THAT inspired a portion of this book!” but it’s certainly what happened here. So when you read about Alexis, know that there’s a woman out there who gave me the idea to have her carrying pepper spray for protection. Sorry, Luke!
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. She found romance novels at age twelve and it changed her life. When not writing sexy contemporary and speculative fiction romance novels, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her wee ones, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
Connect with Katee at:
Catch up on the Out of Uniform series:
There were days when you owned the world, and days when the world chewed you up and shat you out. Cass Zielinski, center for the redheaded stepchild of the National Football League, the Birmingham Rebels, had woken up thinking it was going to be the latter. First meeting after the draft, after a dismal second season and their complete and utter failure to make the play-offs, he’d expected some trash talk thrown his way and the offensive-captain patch to get ripped off his jersey. Instead he sat staring at the prettiest coach’s assistant he’d ever met, while the Rebels’ head offensive coach, Mike Richards, gave the traditional “This Is Our Year” opening speech. The speech wasn’t quite polished yet, but there were only four of them at the meeting, so he had time before trying to bullshit the rest of the team.
“Hat.” At the sound of the whispered word, Cass looked over at his best friend, Beau Perez. Beau gestured to the hat on the table. It was sitting right in front of the new assistant, and she couldn’t put her armful of papers down. “Hat,” Beau whispered again.
Cass clumsily yanked the cowboy hat off the table. He grew up in Texas, where people made room for hats on the table when there was nowhere else to put them. “Sorry, ma’am,” he said politely to the new assistant, who was staring at him. Marian, her name was Marian.
She blushed and smiled nervously, then looked away as she set her papers down at last. Damn, she was pretty. She had long, straight blond hair, part of it pulled back in some sort of professional-looking style, leaving the rest to hang down her back. Under the harsh lights, it shone brightly against the dark blue of her suit jacket. She was buttoned up like it was Sunday. He could still tell she was fit, long and lean and athletic. When they’d shaken hands she’d reached his chin in her low-heeled shoes. He was six four, so he guessed she was about five seven. Tall for a woman. She had a light tan to her skin, as if she spent time outdoors, not in a tanning bed. She made him think of those sexy beach-volleyball babes. Mike had told them she’d worked at a small Division III college in the northeast before coming to Birmingham.
Beau pinched his arm and he jerked away, glaring at him. “What?” he mouthed.
Beau wasn’t a captain, but where Cass went, Beau followed. It was part of the deal when they’d signed. Beau gestured toward Mike with his head, frowning.
Beau looked damn scary when he was frowning. He was six-six, with hair so dark it looked black. He had that sort of coppery skin Mexicans had, pretty and soft-looking. Not that Beau looked soft. His face was all angles, his nose broken a time or two, his neck as thick as pretty Marian’s thigh, Cass would bet. Beau’s mouth was fierce and wide, with thin lips, but he had a sharp indent above, making his upper lip bow. Cass jerked his gaze away from Beau’s mouth. Beau was looking at him, exasperated, and rolled his eyes at Cass. He looked like an exotic Hulk, but his brown-gold eyes full of laughter ruined the comparison. Beau got those pretty eyes and skin tone and hair color from his mama. Cass had met her. His daddy was some handsome stranger who had some fun and disappeared. According to Beau’s mom, he’d been tall and rugged, like Beau. Too damn bad he’d walked away. He could have had a son in the NFL.
“Cass? Anything to add?” Mike asked. Cass turned his gaze to the coach, who was standing there, arms crossed, his expression clearly showing he knew Cass hadn’t been paying a damn bit of attention. Mike was in his late forties, and with his short, graying hair he looked every inch the suburban dad who shuttled his kids to football and soccer practice and mowed the lawn every Saturday. In truth he was a workaholic who’d been divorced twice and had no kids. He paid someone else to mow the lawn of the house he barely saw.
“Nope,” Cass said, covering, frowning and nodding his head as if he knew what was going on. “Not right now. I think you said it all. I may have something after we talk.” Nice way to make a good impression on the front office, Cass thought, mentally kicking himself in the butt.
“I’ll just bet you will,” Mike said sarcastically. “You know we drafted a good running back in Tom Kelly,” he went on, getting down to business. “We traded for two second-round picks next season, as well. We’re still building this team.”
They sure as shit were. “Tom was a mediocre player,” Cass said, trying not to grind his teeth as he talked. Beau had told him that pissed people off. “And we got Danny Smith in the trade. We didn’t need two new running backs. We had a chance to grab Taylor Reutsch when he went free agent, instead.”
“Reutsch wasn’t a good fit for this team,” Mike said stiffly. “We discussed this.”
“And I disagreed,” Cass reminded him.
“Marian convinced me Tom’s stats indicated he had more potential than what we saw while he was at Nebraska. Their system didn’t work for him. Ours will. It’s done.” Mike’s tone indicated the topic was dead.
Cass glared across the table at Marian Treadwell. He’d underestimated her, obviously. She was more than a pretty face. And she was messing with his team.
“I’d be glad to go over his stats with you and explain why I encouraged the team to acquire him,” she said with a polite smile. There was nothing weak about her demeanor. He liked that. Liked that she spoke to him like an equal and clearly expected the same from him. Her offer was an olive branch. Cass recognized it. She wanted to stay. Cass had the power to make or break her here. He knew it. She knew it. The whole damn table knew it. But she wasn’t begging.
“Sure,” he said, with a stiff smile and a nod. “That would be good. But Reutsch—”
“Reutsch is a pig,” Mike said, cutting him off with a curl of his lip. “I told you to trust me, Cass. I know what I’m doing.”
“I heard that about Reutsch, as well,” Marian said. “I don’t like to give credence to rumors, but these were too prevalent to ignore. I didn’t feel that, personalitywise, he would fit in here.” She was cautious, but still exuded confidence with each word she spoke. It turned him on. He was surprised by his interest in her because normally he didn’t poach in team territory. But damn, she was going to be hard to resist.
We are so excited to bring you the Cover Reveal for Kristen Proby’s EASY MELODY! EASY MELODY is a Contemporary Romance novel and is the 3rd book in The Boudreaux Series. It is due to be released on November 10, 2015! If you haven’t already, be sure to grab EASY LOVE and EASY CHARM, the first two books in this sexy series!
Cover, designed by Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations with photography by Kristen Proby
ABOUT EASY MELODY:
Callie Mills never intended to return to New Orleans and the life she left behind more than a decade ago. There was no need to open old wounds when she had the life she’d worked hard for in Denver. But when she’s fired from her awesome job in Colorado and her father dies, she has no choice but to return home to run the derelict bar left to her in the heart of the French Quarter. Callie must not only face bad memories but turn The Odyssey into something she can be proud of.
And who better to help bring in crowds of people than Declan Boudreaux?
Declan is a sought-after musician who knows he’s good at what he does and loves doing it. Known to pack the house, he also loves women and doesn’t expect to be knocked back a step by the beautiful new owner of The Odyssey. Callie is sharp, gorgeous and funny, and makes him yearn for something he never has before… Commitment.
But when Callie’s able to turn the business around with renovations, making it one of the hottest bars in the Quarter, will she sell out and leave her past behind once and for all, or will Declan be able to convince her that’s she’s where she needed to be all along…in his arms.
And don’t forget to grab the first books in the Boudreaux Series!
ABOUT KRISTEN PROBY:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Kristen Proby is the author of the popular With Me in Seattle series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong characters who love humor and have a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type—fiercely protective and a bit bossy—and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves. Kristen spends her days with her muse in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys coffee, chocolate, and sunshine. And naps. Visit her at KristenProby.com.