By: Samantha Kane
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Author Website: http://www.samanthakane.us/
The Birmingham Rebels play both sides of the field, proving that the hottest action isn’t always in the arena.
Rookie running back Tom Kelly loves the perks of football stardom. Men, women—there’s no shortage of companionship for a pro athlete who’s hot, young, and willing, and Tom is definitely willing. But deep down he wants a committed three-way relationship, especially if the female in the middle is Carmina de la Cruz. The undeniably sexy Army veteran may not say much, but her body speaks loud and clear.
After a traumatic tour in Afghanistan, Carmina is struggling to regain her speech and rebuild her life. More than anything, she wants to feel like a woman again. Tom may be a wholesome All-American, but he knows just how she needs to be touched—and he’s not the only Rebel who arouses her interest. With his scorching intensity, Tom’s best friend leaves her wondering if two players might be better than one.
Danny Smith is no stranger to his team’s kinky reputation. He gave in to temptation once, but he’s not going down that road again. Sure, Carmina’s curves promise pleasure, but her eyes guarantee it comes with baggage—and Danny has enough of his own. Still, giving up control can feel so good. And when it comes to everything Danny craves, Carmina and Tom make the perfect team.
“Tonight, we celebrate,” Sam said, lifting Carmina up in a bear hug. She laughed. He set her back down and put both hands on her shoulders, staring into her eyes. “Are you sure you’re ready? For a job, I mean?” She nodded.
“Yes,” she said firmly. “I’m bored.”
Sam’s girlfriend Jane laughed and gave her a one-armed hug. Jane was a nurse and she’d just gotten home from the hospital and was still in her scrubs. “That sounds about right,” she said. “I could tell you were getting restless sitting around your apartment and playing Call of Duty.”
“Nigel’s having some people over,” King said from where he was leaning against the kitchen counter. “He told me today, asked me to tell you. Sort of a holiday thing.” He winked at Carmina. “I think he likes you.” She shook her head vehemently. “No?” King asked. “Too bad. He’s a pretty good guy.”
“He’s a dog,” Sam said in disgust. “I mean, I like him, but he gets around. You know?” He frowned at Carmina. “Stay away from that.”
“Okay, Dad,” Carmina said sarcastically. She loved Sam to pieces, she did. He’d been her rock the last couple of years. They’d been sitting next to one another on the transport when they hit the IED. She’d been thrown from the truck and knocked out and Sam had been badly burned on his back, then shot a few times. They were the only survivors. Sometimes she felt like he was more family to her than her actual blood ties. But he was so overprotective. That was probably her fault because she’d relied on him so heavily when she was first released from the hospital and she still couldn’t speak properly. She even moved to Birmingham to be closer to him. It was no wonder he felt like he needed to protect her. But she’d come here because her family was stifling her, trying to force her recovery on their terms, treating her like an invalid. That wasn’t what she needed. She’d needed someone who understood what she’d been through and who she was now, and that was Sam.
“You’ve been out of commission for a while,” Sam said defensively. “Nigel would be like going from the baby pool to Olympic competition.”
“I’m not a baby,” Carmina said angrily. “I’m not a virgin, you know.”
“TMI,” King said, leaving his position by the counter. “We’ll let you two work this out.” He picked Jane up with one arm around her waist without even slowing down. Jane squealed and laughed and when they were out of sight Carmina heard King murmuring something she couldn’t understand and the tone of Jane’s laugh changed. Sam gazed at the door wistfully and Carmina rolled her eyes. These three spent half their life in bed. Not sleeping. No wonder Carmina was frustrated. She was surrounded by people constantly having sex.
“I want to have sex,” she told Sam, determined to set him straight.
“What?” he asked in horror, backing away from her.
“Not with you, numb nuts,” she told him. “But with just about anybody else. I am hard up. No lie.”
“Jesus, de la Cruz,” Sam said, running his hand over his short hair as he blushed. “Why are you telling me?”
“Because I don’t want you to get in the way,” she said slowly. “The only guys I know in Birmingham are Rebels. So it’s probably going to be a player. Leave him alone. And me. Leave us alone. I’m not looking for a ring. I just want to get laid.”
“Can I at least have some say in who you pick?” Sam asked, clearly frustrated. “I know these guys and, seriously, there are a few you do not want to get mixed up with.”
“Like who?” she asked, motioning impatiently with her hands.
“Dominique Reyes, for one,” Sam told her. “That dude is bad news. He’s got gang connections in L.A.”
“Crossed off,” Carmina said, nodding. “Who else?”
“Prince Merrill,” Sam said. “He’s a great guy, but his wife died of cancer a couple of years ago and he’s not over it.”
“Oh,” Carmina said. “Sad.”
“Yeah.” Sam nodded. “Also Marlon Parris. He was screwing another player’s wife. That’s what got him traded from Jacksonville.”
Carmina made a face. “Not cool. Okay.”
“And Michael Swan,” Sam said. Carmina made a surprised face. Swan was one of the best players on the team, an All Star cornerback. “He’s into that dom and sub stuff,” Sam told her. “Do not go there. My heart can’t handle it.”
“Mine either,” Carmina said, putting a hand over her heart protectively. “Go on.”
“Well, Kellan Lawry is in the middle of a nasty divorce, so you should probably stay out of that. And Kitt Doyle got dumped by his fiancée right before the season started and there were rumors he abused her.”
“Doyle?” Carmina said incredulously. He was an Irish choirboy having a career season. He was half the reason the Rebels were going to the playoffs.
“Yeah, we don’t buy it either, and he denied it. Also, the league didn’t find any proof and he wasn’t disciplined or charged by police. So we don’t think it was true. But still, you never know for sure.”
“You never know,” she said, agreeing with him. “Okay, none of those guys.”
“Hell, if I had my choice no one at all,” Sam grumbled.
“You don’t get to make the choice,” Carmina told him firmly. “Promise?”
“Fine. Go get laid. Whatever. Don’t you think you’re moving a little fast? First a job, and now this?”
“Fast?” she asked in disbelief. “It’s been over three years since I had sex.”
“Oh.” Sam looked shocked. “Well, I went two.”
“You want a medal?” she asked sarcastically.
“Got one, thanks,” he said just as sarcastically.
“Me, too. Not as good as sex,” she told him. He grinned.
“Nope,” he said. “Not as good as sex.” He came over and hugged her. “Don’t worry. I’ll be your wingman.”
And this was why they were best friends.