THE PLAYER’S GAME
by Alice Gaines
A Players’ Pact Novel
Publication Date: July 13, 2020
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Indulgence, Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance, Reunited Lovers
I’ve got to admit, life is sweet these days. As a starting NFL quarterback, I do okay, and I haven’t been lacking for female companionship. But I’d give it all up in a heartbeat if I could get back the woman I loved and lost—my ex-wife, Katy.
Now I’m at a wedding, watching one of my best friends tie the knot. I’m happy for him—really. I just wish things had turned out better when I’d taken that walk down the aisle. Still, those days are over.
I’m on my way up to my room when I run into my ex in the elevator. It’s like karma. Has to be. Only she’s with some random guy, who’s getting a little too handsy for my liking. I can’t help myself—I have to say something. Something that ruins her night…and mine, too.
Now, I’m sitting alone in my hotel room, when suddenly, Katy’s at my door, complaining that I ruined her 30th birthday. Her solution—that I give her the night of sexual adventure I’d derailed in the elevator.
I never was very good at saying no to her…
Found him! Katy strode toward Grant and brushed past into his room.
Of course, the “room” turned out to be a suite at the corner of the resort that looked out over sand dunes on one side and the ocean on the other. But she hadn’t come here to admire the view.
The view on the inside held her attention despite her attempt to ignore it. Grant had changed into faded jeans that hung low on his hips. He wore a tattered t-shirt that clung to the muscles of his chest and abdomen. His feet were bare. Only her ex-husband had sexy feet.
He put his hands on his hips. “Do you want to tell me what that was all about?”
“Do you know what day this is?”
He screwed up his face as if he’d never heard such a crazy question. “Saturday?”
Could he get any denser? “The date, Grant.”
“Let’s see…um…June first. No, the second.” Then his features softened into a hang-dog “I screwed up” expression. “Your birthday.”
“Yeah.” Her toes tapped of their own volition. “Do you know which one?”
“I don’t know.” He gestured as if he might snatch the answer out of the air. “Twenty-eight? Twenty-nine?”
“Thirty.” She advanced on him. “Stephen, or ‘not good enough for me,’ as you called him was my present to myself for turning thirty.”
“Ah, crap,” he said softly. “I’m sorry.”
He was sorry, all right. His two words for fixing anything. It had stopped working a long time before.
“I’m not like you. I don’t jump into bed casually,” she said.
He didn’t look her in the eye but sat on the couch and bent with his fingers interlaced between his knees. He also didn’t say anything.
“I had to get up my courage to do it this time because I needed…” She let her voice trail off before she confessed to a weakness she didn’t often admit even to herself. She needed. God, how she needed.
“I’m sorry,” he repeated.
She didn’t answer. He could be clueless sometimes, but he wasn’t a mean man. He didn’t enjoy hurting people.
The silence went on for a long time, her stomach churning while Grant still avoided eye contact.
“What can I do to make it up to you?” he said finally.
“Do you really want to?”
He did look up at her then. He had the most beautiful hazel eyes. That and his blond hair made him look innocent sometimes. This time, he appeared sincere…vulnerable almost. “I’ve screwed up, but I’ve never wanted to hurt you.”
That much she could believe. She only had to find some courage to ask him for what she really wanted. She’d kick herself for years, maybe the rest of her life, if she didn’t try. “It seems as if both of us lost our dates.”
“I apologized for that.”
“I didn’t say that because I’m angry. I said it because…well…maybe we can fix that for each other.”
“You mean…” His eyes narrowed as he studied her. “Like you and me…um…together?”
“Exactly like that.” He had to understand. If he was a good guy, he’d take over the discussion from here and spare her the embarrassment. At least, he hadn’t told her she was crazy…yet.
He rose and approached her slowly. “You want to have sex with me.”
Now, she avoided eye contact. “I do.”
ABOUT ALICE GAINES
Alice Gaines lives in the San Francisco Bay Area in a fixer-upper house she never fixed up. Aside from writing and reading hot, hot romance, she loves cooking, knitting and crocheting, and her church. She has a pet corn snake named Casper. She’s insanely passionate about the funky soul band, Tower of Power.