Francesca “Frankie” DiDominzio is an aspiring fashion designer. The opportunity of a lifetime falls in her lap to start her own clothing line but she has to come up with the start-up money. The trust fund her Noni left for her would cover the cost she needs but there’s one little problem-she won’t get the money until she’s twenty-five which is six months away. Desperately wanting to follow her dreams, she has to figure out a way to convince her old-school Italian father to sign off on the trust, releasing the money sooner than later.
Guy Sillars is fresh out of the military and not ready to face his family just yet. Instead of catching his flight to the South, he decides to spend some time in New York over the holidays. When Francesca approaches him with a proposition to pretend to be her boyfriend, he’s too enchanted by her beauty to say no.
Frankie has concocted the perfect plan to get her father to release her trust fund early. Bring home a guy that her father will hate, convince him they’re in love, and then agree to dump him in exchange for the money. The only problem is, the more time Guy and Frankie spend together, the harder it will be to let him go.
I sigh, dropping my shoulders. “Exactly. There’s no way this kind of offer will happen again either. My father is so hard headed and stubborn, especially since my mamma passed away.” I pause to make the sign of the cross, casting my eyes upward to show her my respect. “Of course, he had no problem when Carmine used his inheritance from Noni to buy La Bam but it’s a completely different set of standards when it comes to his daughters.”
“Okay, I’m following you now but where’s the non-Italian boyfriend fit into all this?” Guy’s eyebrows are arched high with the question.
My cheeks flush and I shake my head, looking into my now empty coffee cup. “It’s a ridiculous idea but I’ve already begged and pleaded my case and he refuses to budge. I had this wild idea that if I brought home a man that he wouldn’t approve of, I might be able to make a deal with him to ditch the guy if he gave me the money before my birthday.”
When I look up, Guy seems to actually be entertaining the thought. “Tell me how you see this working out.”
Surprised at his interest, I perk up and begin speaking quickly. “Well, I was thinking we, or whoever the pretend boyfriend is, would go visit my father, be all kinds of lovey dovey, and then let my father know I’ve accepted that I will have to pass on the opportunity but it doesn’t matter because I’m so in love with you, or whoever, that it doesn’t matter.”
Guy taps his thumb on his mug. “Have you ever been in love, Francesca?”
I squirm uncomfortably because the truth is I haven’t. I’ve dated, had boyfriends, but my passion has always been my work. “Other than with fashion, no,” I answer honestly.
The left side of Guy’s mouth lifts into a lopsided grin. “Well, if you’re in love with your career then it sounds like you have to go big to follow your dream.”
I raise my eyebrows, wondering what he’s implying. He stretches his hand across the table, holding it in front of me. “I can do that.”
My jaw drops and I shake my head. “I don’t think you understand what an Italian father can be like. The man’s stuck in his ways, and fiercely protective of his family, especially when it comes to his daughters and on top of that, I’m the baby of the family.”
He pulls his hand back and laughs. “Sweetheart, I’ve been to war, I think I can handle your daddy.”
His Southern drawl is strong when he makes this statement and I giggle. “Fine, if you’re up to the challenge of my papa then the job is yours.”
“Glad we have that settled. Now, I’m going to order some pie.”
He reaches for the menu and I quickly snatch it out of his hand. “Not from here. Come on.” I stand up, opening my clutch to pull out some bills to pay for the coffee. “I’ll show you how to treat your sweet tooth.”
I’m still flipping through the bills in my purse when Guy’s hand is on top of mine. My stomach flips at his touch and when I look up, he’s shaking his head. “I got this. I am your ‘boyfriend’ after all,” he says, his twang sending my heart racing and when he winks at me, I’m glad he’s still holding my wrist so I don’t fall over. “And here, put this on or you’ll freeze out there.” He holds his leather coat out, waiting for me to put my arms in the sleeves.
With an exasperated sigh, I slip the coat on and look up at him. “You’re supposed to be the opposite of the controlling men in my life.”
Guy smiles, wrapping his arm around my shoulders at we step into the cold air. “I prefer to call it gentlemanly, not controlling, so you should probably get used to it.”
I shake my head, fighting off the eye roll I feel coming on. Then, only because it’s sub-freezing temperature, or so I tell myself, I snuggle against the muscular chest of the Army man holding me. Despite his body heat and the warmth flooding my body from his proximity, my teeth still chatter and Guy pulls me closer as we walk a few blocks.
In a man’s world, Camila Lemos is one of the top sports agents in the market. The athletes beg for her attention, not just for business, but in the bedroom as well. However, feisty Brazilian beauty Camila is more than meets the eye and refuses to become involved with any of her clients, no exceptions.
Linebacker Evan Purser is the newest man in his family to join the NFL. Guided by his older brother and fellow teammate, he signs with Camila. Once the agent and the linebacker meet, anything but sparks fly.
As the tension rises, so do the feelings for one another, but neither will admit it. Evan can’t let go of the past. Camila’s not sure she can risk her reputation for love. When the walls are broken down, will a touchdown be scored or will it be yet another fumble for both?
His hands are shoved in his pockets and he’s wearing a shit-eating grin, exuding nothing but cockiness. I shiver in my peach baby doll tank top, my teeth chattering when I begin to speak. It’s not that cold in Florida this time of year, but my nerves are taking over. Honestly, I haven’t felt this way since back in college.
Evan pulls his hands out of his pocket and easily draws me against him, his hands sliding up and down my arms. “Geez, Cami, you weren’t shaking this much when we went surfing.”
He’s right and the water temperature was in the fifties. Slowly, my confidence comes back and I shake his hands off me, taking a step back. “What the hell are you doing here, Evan? I’m working, you can’t just show up whenever you want to.”
“Whoa!” He holds up his hands in a surrender motion. “F**k, Cam, I came down to visit my mom and thought I’d surprise you. You really know how to show your appreciation,” he mutters the last part and brushes past me.
Ugh, I sigh and run after him. He stops beside a black Yukon to get his keys out and I grab his hand. He looks back at me, but doesn’t say a word. Softly, I squeeze his hand. “I’m sorry. I am happy to see you. You… you just took me by surprise.”
Quickly, Evan spins around and with one step has me pinned against the SUV on the other side of his. “What are you so worried about? We’re friends, right? Blake pulls this kind of shit with you all the time, why can’t I?”
I stare up into his blue eyes clouded with anger. My fingers walk up his chest as I can’t tear myself to look away from him. “Evan, you’re not Blake…”
His eyes get darker and he takes a step back, muttering, “Of course I’m not and I never will be.”
My fingers clench around his sweater, keeping him from moving. “Blake doesn’t show up and make me feel the way you do. When Blake’s with me, I’m not constantly worried about what everyone else thinks.” I pause, unsure where this honesty is coming from but deciding to just roll with it. “When Blake’s with me, I don’t just stare at his lips, wanting to taste them so bad, but knowing they’re off limits.”
Evan’s chest rises and falls under my hand, his eyes go from a dark midnight blue to almost a baby blue color and a smirk comes to his lips. “Who said they’re off limits?” He takes a step back to me, his body crushing me against the car behind us.
My heart in my throat, I’m barely able to squeak out, “Me.”
Evan doesn’t make a move, he just stares at me, a smile dancing in his eyes while his hand moves to my stomach. Goosebumps tickle my skin as his fingers walk over the chiffon fabric of my shirt.
“What if no one knew?” he asks, his breath almost a growl and my panties are immediately wet. “I don’t kiss and tell…”