Not a typical sports romance, about people who have second chance at love, and are trying to take advantage of every second of it, despite the fact that life throws them curveballs.
“I’d rather have one day with you than an eternity with anyone else.”
About the plot: Ryan and Grant fell in love as they were still kids. They both lived in a dangerous area and supported each other for years. And then one day she left town without a word.
After seven years, Ryan returns to honor the memory of a woman who really helped her in life. She also wants to finish up old matters.
Grant Turner has everything, he is the star of football and is worshiped by fans. There is only one thing, that he doesn’t have, a woman he loved and who broke his heart, Ryan Hale. When he thought he is over her. She is back and wants to talk to him about things that will change his life forever.
“Grant had been my safe place in a world of darkness. As outlandish as it was, he still felt like one of those safe places.”
My thoughts: It is a touching second chance story. You will not find here a lot of sports or sexy scenes. It’s more focused on emotions and trying to cope with the problems of the past and the present. A bit rollercoaster with sweet hero. Life gives them a second chance, and he will do anything to take advantage of it.
“I’m still a piece of shit. Just a piece of shit who loves the shit out of you.”
For some it may be beautiful and surprising reading. I have some reserve because I have that feeling that I read a similar book. That’s why it didn’t surprise or touch me much. But I looking forward to read another Nicole Williams books, because it definitely has a big potential.
“How many men after me?” His forehead creased as he asked his question, setting down his fork.
His question surprised me. “What?”
“How many men have you been with since you were with me?”
I swallowed the bite of onion ring and set down what was left of it. Wolfing down fried food didn’t pair well with this type of conversation. “Like how many guys have I dated? Had as boyfriends?” My weight shifted on the counter stool I was situated on. “Had sex with?”
Grant’s jaw tensed, but he relaxed it right after. He answered me by lifting a shoulder.
The longer I took to answer, the more he looked like he was bracing himself for a full-on dissertation. Little did he know my answer to his questions could be summed up in one breath.
“I haven’t had any boyfriends since you,” I admitted, feeling kind of silly admitting it. At the same time, I felt strong. I’d never felt the need to fill a void in my life with a man. I’d never needed a man to define me. What Grant and I had had was special, and what we’d created together was even more special. I wasn’t about to let some shmuck looking to get a little piece of ass cheapen my whole experience with relationships.
The corners of Grant’s mouth were twitching, but he didn’t let the smile form. “What about dates?”
I leaned toward him. “Same story.”
He let the smile form then.
“And I thought we’d agreed to move on from the dating topic earlier tonight.” Giving him the look didn’t faze him—it never really had. Even my most impressive Look.
“Fine. No more talk about dating.” He lifted his hands in the air and pretended like he was getting back to finishing up the last few remnants of our gluttonous feast. When he just kept twirling the same fry in a gob of ketchup, I knew he hadn’t moved on yet. “How many have you had sex with?”
“Grant . . .”
“I need to know, Ryan. I know I don’t have any right to know. I also know you had a right to sleep with whoever you wanted.” He paused, his face looking like he was being tortured. “I just need to know.”
My lungs felt like limp bags when I thought about answering his question. Not because I was embarrassed or ashamed or anything like that, but because he’d know once I told him. He’d know the reason why, and he’d know he was that reason why.
He’d know I’d never really moved on from him, and I couldn’t have him knowing that because I needed to keep a careful distance between us. I needed to protect him, not from himself this time, but from me.
But even though I knew all of that, I also knew that the truth had never been optional when it came to Grant and me. Never a choice. The truth wasn’t what we picked when it was convenient. It had been the standard from the beginning, and if I had anything to do with it, it would remain the standard to the end.
The truth. I’d told him almost everything I had to. Almost. The one last thing I was withholding would have to come out soon.
“You were the first person I had sex with, Grant Turner.”
He slowly twisted toward me, his legs spreading wide, tucking around the outsides of mine. His hands lowered to my kneecaps, like he was trying to show me that no matter how I answered, he still wanted to be here with me—eating greasy food in an old diner that had already locked its doors.
One of my hands covered one of his. “And you were the last person I had sex with too.” It came out in one long exhale, my fingers braiding tighter through his with each word.
He was quiet for a minute. And then another. When his silence continued, my eyes lifted to see what was the matter.
His forehead was folded in half a dozen creases, his eyes narrowed in confusion. “Are you saying . . .?” He leaned in closer, confusion settling deeper.
“You’re the last person I had sex with.” I thought I’d spelled it out pretty solidly before.
His face ironed out, blinking like he was just waking up. “Does that mean . . .?”
I sighed. “I haven’t had sex in seven years? Yeah. That’s what it means.”
Glancing behind the counter, I made sure the owner and cook, who’d generously agreed to let us stay late, were still way in the back and preoccupied with something other than the conversation happening at the two end counter stools.
Grant leaned closer, his head moving just outside of mine. His breath was just rushed enough to notice. “Are you saying I’m the last man you’ve had inside you?”
His words surprised me, sending a shiver winding down my spine. I didn’t want him to know that his question or his proximity or his labored breaths were affecting me, but they were. I was feeling very, very affected in certain locations of my body.
“I think that’s the general definition of sex, yeah,” I answered, glancing down to make sure nothing too obvious was showing through the thin material of the dress. Thank god I’d gone with the thicker lined bra, because Grant’s eyes followed mine a moment later.
When my gaze dropped to a certain spot on his body, I found his own arousal not so easily disguised. It made the inhale I’d been taking sound more like more of a gasp than a breath. He knew what I was looking at, he knew what was on display, and he didn’t do anything to adjust or hide it. He wanted me to know. He wanted me to see.
Realizing that sent a rush of pleasure through my body, pooling between my legs.
“I’m going to kiss you, Ryan.” His head nuzzled my neck. “I should probably ask permission, but fuck, I don’t want to, because I have to kiss you. Whether you think it’s a good idea or not.”
My arms went limp, my legs following, from the sickness I had for this man. The one that crippled me. The one that paralyzed me. My eyes squeezed closed when his face came around in front of mine. “You don’t want to kiss me, Grant.”
He pulled me closer. “Like hell I don’t.”
How had I gotten here?
That was the question still cycling through my head when I heard the shower turn off. In the minute that followed, I did everything I could not to think about what was behind that closed bathroom door. What being a wet and naked Grant Turner.
What being the only man I’d ever loved and the only man I ever would. My life felt like it was ending, but his was only really getting started. There’d be more for him, despite whatever he said or thought. There’d be love, heartache, and more love. For Grant, I would be one of the many. For me, he was the one of them all.
When the bathroom door opened, a fog of steam burst into the bedroom. It wasn’t a plume; it was a thick fog.
“Do you have any skin left after that scalding shower?” I asked, turning toward the dresser so my back was to the bathroom. Grant fresh from a shower had always been a weakness for me, and I guessed nothing about that had changed.
“I don’t know. What do you think?”
I saw him from the corner of my eyes, standing beside me. When my gaze shifted to confirm whether he had or had not scalded off his skin, my breath caught.
“Why are you naked?” I blinked a few times to keep my eyes facing north. It was a chore though. I felt as though two metal weights dangled from my eyeballs and were trying to draw them downward.
Grant chuckled, pulling open the bottom drawer. “I’m not naked.”
“Why are you mostly naked?” When the fight against gravity became too much and my eyes dropped below his navel, I literally felt flames licking up my throat. Fuck me. That man had always had an amazing body, but now . . . I knew women who’d auction off their souls for a chance to be entertained by a body like that for a night.
“Because I figured you wouldn’t prefer the alternative of me being fully naked.” Grant pinched at the white towel tied around his waist as he pulled a pair of light grey sweats from the drawer. “But since I can tell from your shock I was wrong, what the hell.” In one flick of a finger, the towel fell to the floor.
“Grant!” It came out as more of a shriek than I’d intended, but he was standing two feet in front of me, fully naked.
“What?” His voice was innocent, but his smirk was the opposite. “Nothing you haven’t seen before.” His muscles rippled when he shrugged, tugging on his sweats. “Just seven years older is all.”
When he turned to pick up his abandoned towel, I got the full view of his back which, like this, looked as wide as the span of my arms.
“And seven years bigger,” I muttered, still unable to believe he’d just bared it all like that. Actually, the more I thought about it, I shouldn’t have been so shocked. Grant wasn’t exactly modest.
Glancing back at me, he winked. “Why thank you. Glad you noticed.”
When I caught what he was getting at, heat settled beneath my cheeks. “That’s not what I was talking about.”
“Maybe. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t what you were thinking about.” He slid the waistband of his sweats around until he found a comfortable spot. Which happened to be a good half foot below his navel.
“In your hurry to make me uncomfortable, you forgot to put on underwear.” I flattened my expression to give the impression that I was not half as shook up as he thought I was.
The truth was, I was probably twice as shook up as he thought.
“I don’t believe in them,” he said simply.
“You don’t believe in what? Underwear?” I felt my forehead crease.
“You know how some people are anti-gun or anti-abortion? Well, I’m anti-underwear,” he explained with a shrug. “But are you?”
My arms folded and I looked across the room. “Am I what?”
“Uncomfortable?” He moved a step closer, when he’d already been five steps too close.
Now, it wasn’t just the image of him clouding my mind. It was the way he smelled. The sound of his breath. The feel of the warmth cascading off of his body.
Sealing my eyes closed, I focused. I imagined the most Zen, peaceful place on the planet. “No,” I said as firmly as I was capable.
“Liar.” I heard the twisted smile in his voice. After a moment, I felt him move closer. “Why do I make you uncomfortable? I never used to.”
My eyes opened right into his. As dark as Grant’s eyes were, a person would never notice the flecks of light in them if they didn’t get close enough to see them. Up close, his eyes were more light than dark.
“You don’t make me uncomfortable.” I could hear the lie in my voice like it was a shout.
One by one, Grant’s hands formed around the outsides of my elbows, his fingers circling around my arms. His body pressed closer until his chest touched mine each time he inhaled. “Then why are you trembling?” His head dropped, his mouth moving just outside of my ear. “Why do I make you uncomfortable, Ryan?”
His voice, his body. His words, his touch. He was wrecking my resolve, one moment at a time, until I could feel the last of it about to crumble.
“It’s been a long day, Grant.”
“It has.” His head nodded beside mine. “Let’s keep up this trend and make it a long night too.”
My heart started to echo in my eardrums as a growing ache pulsed inside me.
“We should get to bed.” My voice was trembling now too.
“We should.” His head dropped lower to my neck. He took in a long breath, like he was trying to take me inside him.
“Yours or mine?”
Despite my resolve, I smiled. “They’re all yours technically.”
“They’re whatever you want them to be just as long a you say which one you want me to carry you into. Or feel free to point in the general area too. I can figure it out.”
About The Author
Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost& Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.