Dec 31 2016 12:00pm
Sarina Bowen Excerpt: Hard Hitter
He’s a fighter in the rink, but he’s about to learn that playing nice can help you score...
As team captain and enforcer, Patrick O'Doul puts the bruise in the Brooklyn Bruisers. But after years of hard hits, O'Doul is feeling the burn, both physically and mentally. He conceals his pain from his coach and trainers, but when his chronic hip injury becomes too obvious to ignore, they send him for sessions with the team’s massage therapist.
After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, she’s decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the Bruisers’ MVP. O'Doul is easy on the eyes, but his reaction to her touch is ice cold. Ari is determined to help O'Doul heal, but as the tension between them turns red hot, they both learn that a little TLC does the body good...
Get a sneak peek at Sarina Bowen's Hard Hitter (available January 3, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.
With a chuckle, Patrick caught her chin in his hand. “Can I come in?”
“Why? Nobody will know.”
“That’s what I used to assume, too.”
He ruffled her hair. “The horse is already out of the barn, sweetheart. Why do the time if we can’t do the crime?”
“It’s just not a good idea.”
He pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her. “I think it is,” he purred into her ear. His fingers rubbed up and down her back. “You feel tight.”
“It’s been a stressful day.”
“Too many massage appointments?”
“Too much shitty news.”
“Mmm,” he said, rubbing her back. It felt inconveniently marvelous. “Who massages you?”
She snorted. “Nobody.”
“Uh-huh. Want a massage?”
“I don’t know. Would it be a prelude to something else?”
“Is that a deal breaker?”
She smiled into the shoulder of his dress shirt. “Depends. How skillful is your massage technique?”
“For a guy who doesn’t like to touch people, I’d say I’m pretty decent.”
She laughed. “What the hell am I going to do with you?”
“I’m gonna let you find out.” He backed her into the room, and she let him. He felt so good, though. The backs of her legs collided with the bed and she sat down fast.
“Wait here. Where’s your table?” he asked, looking around. “Oh. There it is.”
Amused, she watched him struggle with unfolding her massage table. It took him a couple of minutes, but he did it. Whistling, he went into her bathroom and returned with four towels. Two of them went onto the table. Two he chucked onto the bed. Then he came back to stand in front of her. “Okay, sweetheart. Time to strip.”
She stood up and met his hungry gaze. “Really? You’re going to massage me? Or are we, like, writing a porno flick right now?”
He grabbed her top in two hands and tugged. “A little of both. Just work with me.” He lifted her shirt away, and she didn’t miss the appreciative look he gave her breasts in their lace bra. “This is going to be so much fun.”
Ari felt a sizzle right where it counted, and had to agree. Did it matter now that Hugh knew about them? Would it even help if she stopped getting carried away with Patrick?
Those were questions for later. Because he’d reached around her body to unzip her skirt. She let it fall, then swept her tights down her body and all the way off.
He growled when he realized there was nothing underneath them.
Ari grabbed a towel off the bed and put it in front of her body. She lay down on her own massage table for the first time ever, letting the towel cover her lap and thighs. “Let’s see your technique, big man.”
“All right, miss. Are you comfortable on the table?” he asked. “Do you have any pain or trouble spots I need to know about?”
She laughed. “I’m fine, thanks.”
“Good.” He rubbed his hands together, warming them. “Let me know if you feel too much pressure at any point. Massage doesn’t have to hurt to do good.”
“Some smart person must have taught you that.”
“The smartest.” He came to stand beside her left thigh, then gently rolled the towel to expose her leg, just the way she would have done. Warm hands landed atop her quadriceps and began working their way down her leg with firm but gentle strokes.
How bizarre to be on the receiving end of a massage from him. She spent the first five minutes grinning.
But then, somehow, she forgot that this was sort of a joke. His hands moved in a soothing rhythm, and her mind began to drift. She thought about the yoga class she’d teach in the morning, and a new pose she wanted to try with the players.
He switched legs, and then moved down to her feet. “Omigod,” she said as he rubbed her left foot in his big hands. “Arrrgh, that feels so good.”
“Not too much pressure, miss?”
“Oh-hell-no,” she stammered. “Don’t stop.”
“That’s what all the ladies say.”
She closed her eyes and sank back into the table. So this was how it felt to be her client. The foot massage would be even better with oil, but she didn’t want to stop him to fix that.
“Why don’t you turn over now,” he said softly, squeezing her ankle.
“Mmkay.” She grabbed the towel and rolled. Her bra dug into her skin, though, so she reached down and unclipped it, then tossed it aside.
Patrick put the last towel across her legs to keep her warm, just as she might have done. His big hands landed on her back. First, he stroked both hands down her lats, fingers spread. Then he reached up to her shoulders and began to work them both at the same time.
A happy groan escaped from her throat. She remembered giving Patrick a speech about touch, and how it wasn’t ever purely clinical. How true that was. She felt so cared for right now. This was blissful. His hands were warm and wonderful, and she never wanted it to end.
He swept the hair off her neck. And then—even while his hands continued to massage her shoulders—soft lips brushed her nape. His kiss was so light that she shivered. “Arms over your head,” he rasped.
Ari complied, draping her arms up and letting her hands fall off the table. His hands began to stroke her sides, now. His fingertips dipped down to tease the edges of her breasts. “Oh,” she sighed again. That felt delicious.
He kept it up, his fingers stroking down her ribcage, after reaching inward to tease her breasts with whisper-weight strokes. Wow. She squirmed against the towel. He’d barely touched any erogenous zones, and she was already turned on. There was something about lying here while he did all the work. Biggest turn-on ever.
He bent over her again and began to drop soft, open-mouthed kisses in a line down her spine. Goosebumps rose up on her skin, and she found herself holding her breath…
Copyright © 2017 by Sarina Bowen.
Learn more about or order a copy of Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen, available January 3, 2017:
Sarina Bowen writes steamy, angsty contemporary romance, including the Ivy Years, Gravity, and Brooklyn Bruisers series, as well as two series of new-adult fiction.