Apr 20 2017 12:10pm
Sarina Bowen Excerpt: Pipe Dreams
A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…
Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers' office during the play-offs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.
Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.
Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.
One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.
Get a sneak peek at Sarina Bowen's Pipe Dreams (available May 2, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.
Lauren reappeared with two bottles of Dos Equis, a lime wedge in each one. She gave him a curious look, and he realized he was still standing by the door like an idiot.
“Thank you,” he said, taking one. He pushed the lime into the bottle, his eyes sweeping the room until they landed on her bed against the far wall. It was made up with a white comforter and a million throw pillows.
Hell. Don’t look at the bed.
Beacon followed her to the sofa and sat down, his back to the bed. He would not allow himself to think about pushing her down into that white cloud and learning the answers to all his fantasy questions.
Then, for the first time ever, they had thirty minutes of awkward conversation. She asked where he was staying and he answered in halting sentences. “I feel like I’m house-sitting, you know? Maybe it won’t be so weird once we start traveling.”
She made sympathetic noises, and he got tired of hearing himself talk. All the funny things he’d wanted to tell her deserted him. There was only the strain of the shitty month he’d been having and the tension of whether or not their friendship would still be the same.
It was unbearable. He needed to go to what passed for his home and have a nice tall pour of whiskey.
“You were studying,” he said, standing up to ferry his beer bottle into her kitchen. “I should go.”
“Okay,” she said quietly. “Just . . . leave it.”
It took him a beat too long to realize she meant the bottle. “Thanks,” he stammered, overwhelmed by how close they were, and how alone. Her bra strap peeked from underneath the tank top. Hot pink. Her skin looked buttery soft. He wanted to taste it.
She took both bottles and set them onto her coffee table. “I’ll see you at work.”
“Right.” He needed to get the hell out of there before he did something stupid.
She frowned up at him. “Sit down, just for another minute.” She studied him carefully. “Are you really okay? Would you tell me if you weren’t?”
“Yeah.” His voice was a raw scrape. He sat down on the couch, suddenly too aware of his hands. He rubbed them on his bare knees.
“Okay,” she said. “I worry about you. I hope you’re taking care of yourself.” Then she scooted closer and folded him into a hug.
And it was sudden sensory overload. Soft, lilac-scented hair brushed his face. Long, tanned arms wrapped around his back. She was saying something more—telling him she was sorry, or not to worry. He couldn’t make sense of the words because his pulse kicked up four notches. Unbidden, his arms clamped around her back. He stuck his nose in her hair and took a deep, forbidden breath.
That’s when everything got quiet. She stopped talking and just held him. His worried brain went still, because this right here was everything he needed. He drew a dozen peaceful breaths while the fingers of his right hand traced absently up the centerline of her back. She fit perfectly in his arms, just like he’d always known she would.
Lauren shivered in his embrace, and it brought his brain back online. He felt her exhale a careful, shaky breath against his shoulder. A deep, achy sound came from his own chest. He lowered his head to sweep a soft kiss across her forehead.
She gasped, her hands bracing his back.
Now he had to know. Was he crazy, or were they both fighting the same battle?
“Lo,” he whispered. “Hey.”
She didn’t move.
“Look at me.”
She turned her chin away.
Beacon palmed it, turning her face toward his. And the heat in her gaze could have melted all the ice in the NHL.
He cursed under his breath, his hand still trapping her face. He lifted her chin another inch and dropped his lips to the soft skin of her neck. One soft, open-mouthed kiss and he was hooked. It was the first taste of her he’d ever permitted himself. Heavenly.
Lauren first went rigid in his arms, then just as rapidly melted against him. “Fuck,” she whispered, and the sound of that dirty word on her pristine lips made him hard. Or maybe he was already there. Logic and rational thinking had left the building the minute she leaned into his arms.
He actually felt drunk, which was ridiculous. But his head was swimming as he tongued his way across her jaw to her ear.
“Mike,” she gasped, the sound both shocked and needy. He turned his head and their mouths found each other, finally.
He kissed her softly at first, his senses a little stunned that this was real. But it was really Lauren’s soft body pressed against his chest, and Lauren’s arms around him. He pressed the tip of his tongue gently forward, seeking entrance to her mouth. And when she opened for him he tasted summer ale and temptation.
Even then, he had a last, split-second moment of clarity. Will I regret this, later? He asked himself the question as his lips slid across her softer ones. No, he decided. Maybe weakness led him here, but the strength of his feelings for her would not be denied.
Their gazes locked, and he moaned into her mouth. She gripped his biceps. Hard. The moment combusted like a brush fire—scorching heat and loud disorder. He leaned over her body, pressing her into the back of the couch, deepening the kiss. And suddenly their hands were everywhere. He palmed her hip, her thigh. Lauren’s fingertips swept his ribcage, leaving goosebumps in their wake.
Their kisses were so fast and desperate that it was impossible to mark where one ended and the next one began. Every urgent kiss demanded another. Every taste was intoxicating. And everywhere his hands landed he found sun-warmed skin. His fingers slid unbidden beneath her tank top, and she whimpered as he palmed her lower belly just above the waistband of her shorts.
Her helpless sound made his balls tighten dangerously. He’d never needed anything as badly as he needed to touch her right now, and to hear that sound again. With a tug, he raised her tiny shirt up off her body.
She lifted her arms and let him shrug it over her head. That broke their kisses, of course, so he got a look at the expression on her face. There was no reluctance, only molten heat in her bright blue eyes. She grabbed the hem of his T-shirt and lifted it, tossing it to the floor.
“Fuck,” he heard himself say as his gaze wandered south, down her delicate neck, to the creamy skin of her chest. She wore a lacy hot pink bra, and rosy nipples peeked through it. He had to lower his mouth to one of them, tonguing her nipple through the fabric. She gasped and arched into him.
Years of anticipation pulsed through him. He shoved that bra out of his way and sucked one perfect nipple into his mouth, while his hand popped the button on her shorts.
She moaned his name and grabbed his ass. Both their hands became busy, busy, busy. It shouldn’t have been possible for the two of them to get naked so fast given the confines of her sofa, but he was an athlete and Lauren was an overachiever…
Copyright © 2017 by Sarina Bowen.
Learn more about or order a copy of Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen, available May 2, 2017:
Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance, including the Brooklyn Bruisers series, the Ivy Years series, and the Gravity series. She lives in Vermont’s Green Mountains with her family, six chickens, and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.