Playing with Fire - A Sports Romance

BOOK: Playing with Fire - A Sports Romance
Playing with Fire
Lydia De Luca

COPYRIGHT 2016 Prism Heart Press


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission from the publisher or author. If you are reading this book and you have not purchased it or received an advanced copy directly from the author, this book has been pirated.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or, if an actual place, are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

To Isaac

Reach for the stars, buddy. Dreams do come true.


hen desire burns
hotter than fire...

knew the rules

I've played by them for years.

Don't get too close, 

Don't fall in love.

Focus on work, 

Focus on me.

ut I broke all
the rules,

I fell hard for him,

And he for me.

After all, how could I not fall for him?

A major league baseball player,

With a killer smile and an incredible body?

He's strong, hot, and amazing,

In bed.

e's everything

That I'm not allowed to have.

Someone doesn't want us together.

Someone will destroy us both if we get too close.

ut we're already there

Bound by love,

Held together by our hearts.

Burning for each other,

Just as the fire starts.

nd now
, we're forced to decide.

Let our desire burn,

Or extinguish what we both want.


Can the fire burn without destroying us both?

Chapter 1


hat’ll it be
, darlin’?”

I glance away from the stage to the bartender. “Vodka martini,” I throw at him before looking back. I didn't come here for chitchat, from the hunk behind the bar or anyone else for that matter. I need a drink like a fish out of water, and I need it now. Tonight is my last real night of freedom before Marco Leonetti finally gets his hooks in me.

“You got an ID?” the bartender asks.

I pull my eyes away from the stage again, where the drummer is practicing under the bright lights, his tattooed chest glistening with sweat like a glass of ice tea on a hot summer's day. I have half a mind to go up there and lick every last drop until he whimpers like a puppy, then make him mine for the night.

I take in the bartender standing before me under the dim lights shining down above the bar. He’s already making my drink, a crude little grin on his face as he watches me drag my eyes up and down his body. He’s wearing a tight black t-shirt and a well-worn pair of dark blue jeans - clothes that fit nice and snug, showing off every curve of his muscled body. A tattoo wraps up the back of his neck to the soft, fleshy spot under his jaw. His dark eyes are a piercing brown to match his unruly hair and the day-old scruff on his face.

I slip my ID out of my purse without taking my eyes off his. He spares a quick glance at my license before he hands it back to me. But he holds firm to the little piece of plastic, and his fingers graze mine before he lets go. He slides my drink in front of me and leans his elbows on the smooth, dark wood of the bar.

“Anything else, Francesca?”

I cringe at my given name. No one’s ever called me that, not even my grandmother.

“Frankie,” I correct him before I can think better of it.

He grins again and dips his head in acknowledgement. “Mitch,” he tells me. “Anything you need, you just ask, yeah?”

I run my eyes down the length of his body one more time as I take a sip of my drink. “Thanks,” I say. I’d like to tell him what he can really help me with. But if there’s one thing Marco’s taught me, it’s knowing when to hold back and when to fire. And Mitch is the kind of guy that’s better to hold than to burn.

I scan the gathering crowd as the rest of the band takes the stage and begins to play an upbeat dance mix that doesn’t match their grungy look. There’s all manner of people out tonight, strewn across the dance floor and scattered at the tables all around the darkly lit room. Suits and skanks. Bad boys and wannabes. There’s girls dressed up in miniskirts and fuck-me heels, others dressed down in t-shirts and jeans. Me? I'm here in a low-cut, sleeveless, crimson blouse and thin black, thigh-length skirt. Another thing Marco drilled into me: dress for the job you want, not the job you got.

This isn't a job. No, this is an escape. But I don't want it with just anyone. The perv standing at the bar, openly drooling over me, is a no. Too desperate, too clingy. That suit at the table across the room: stuck up and domineering. He’s trying to fuck me with his eyes. That’ll never do. I want a night, not a lover.

I lean my back against the bar and keep looking. Mitch, God bless him, has another drink ready for me as I finish the last sip of the one in my hand.

“You have an admirer,” he tells me as he slides the drink towards me.

“Oh yeah? Who?”

His face scrunches up before he straightens it out and casts his eyes to the end of the bar. A tall drink of water stands there looking back at me, lit up like a display under one of the pendulum lights overhead. His dark eyes are needy, and his blue-striped dress shirt begs to be torn from his body. I picture myself pulling my hands through his thick black locks as I ride him into tomorrow.

“You can do better,” Mitch says as he takes my empty glass from my hands. “Guy’s been trying hard all week. But the pale band around his finger keeps scaring the ladies away.”

“As it should.” A married man is a sure bet for a one-night stand. But I'm not a homewrecker, though this man clearly wants just that if Mitch is right about the week. He’ll have to get his kicks elsewhere. “Send it back,” I say as I push the drink back across the bar.

“I warned him you’d say that.” Mitch smiles wide and pushes the drink back to me. “On the house, darlin’, drink up. I’ll go let him down easy.”

“Not too easy,” I warn. If there’s one thing I despise, it’s a fuckin’ cheat.

I return my gaze to the crowd as I sip my new drink. I slide the toothpick of olives out of the glass and suck one into my mouth as my eyes land on yet another man whose gaze is pasted to my body. Something tingles inside of me, deep in my stomach, as I watch him. He stands as I tongue another olive into my mouth, giving me a view of his fine, hard body. He’s better to look at than Mitch. Taller, thinner, but just as buff. The man’s eyes are a deep blue and his hair a perfectly-styled, dirty-blond mess that’s short on the sides but long enough on top to slide my fingers in and pull.

Yes, this one will do nicely.

I turn to the man and uncross my legs, then cross them again on the opposite side. His eyes heat as he watches me, and he slides into the space next to me at the bar. I throw back the last of my martini and I run my hand down his chest to his rock-solid abs.

“You here to buy me a drink, handsome?”

A delicious smile pulls at his lips. “Is that all you want from me, doll?” The way his voice rumbles in his chest makes my insides quiver.

Down, girl
, I admonish myself. Suddenly, what I wanted for the night takes a turn.

“Mitch,” I call without taking my eyes off the man in front of me.

“What do ya need, darlin’?”

“What do you know of this one here?” I ask, trailing my finger back up the man’s stomach and chest.

“Never seen him before,” Mitch tells me.

Ah, perfect. “The man wants to buy me a drink.” I push my empty glass across the bar as I cast my eyes in Mitch’s direction.  He gives me a knowing smile as he pulls my empty glass towards him.

“And you?” Mitch asks my new friend.

“Another of these,” he says, holding his nearly empty beer bottle to his lips. With his eyes still glued to mine, he flicks his tongue out of his mouth and traces the rim of the bottle before taking one last swig.

Fuck, I need a drink. Mitch slides a new glass towards me and I down it in two large gulps. As Mitch sets the new beer bottle on the bar, I grab the tight black t-shirt that’s hugging my new friend’s pecs and pull him towards me. He moves like he means to take me right here, but I stop him with an inch between our mouths.

“I wanna dance,” I tell him.

He looks down at me, his eyes on my lips. I glide my tongue over my bottom lip and watch the tension build inside him. I will never tire of having this effect on a man. He is putty in my hands.

He slides the back of his fingers down my cheek. “Mind if I drink this first?” he asks as his hand goes lower, down my neck and to the swell of my breast. I push my chest into his fingers and watch the breath flutter out of him. “I have a feeling I’m going to need it.”

“By all means,” I say, turning back to the bar. I feign giving him the cold shoulder, but really, it’s all a play. Something dear old Marco taught me years ago.

“Don't appear too eager,” Marco told me. “Even if they’ve got the one thing you need and you can't get it anywhere else, you let them think you could walk away without it, no harm done. They’ll be more than happy to adjust their terms.”

It seems someone taught my new friend the same thing. He pulls back from me and slides onto the bar stool beside me as he takes a long pull from his drink. I watch those dark eyes watching me in the mirror behind the bar. When he sees me looking, he gives me that delicious smile again. The quiver in my stomach throws me and I flag down Mitch once more.

“A shot of Patron.” I try for indifference, but I’m not sure it comes out that way.

“I’ll have one, too,” my new friend says, his eyes not moving from the mirror behind Mitch.

I turn to him and raise an eyebrow. “You gonna drink all night, or you gonna take me out on the dance floor?”

“I’ll take you wherever you want to go, doll,” he says as he turns his face to me. He grabs his shot glass off the bar as Mitch slides it towards him, and in one fluid movement, the drink disappears into his mouth. He raises his brow at me as if daring me to do the same.

I down my shot, then grab his beer and take a long pull. “Come on, hot stuff,” I tell him, grabbing at the collar of his shirt as I slide off my bar stool. “You take me here, now, and maybe I’ll let you take me somewhere else later.”

He grabs the beer from my hand and takes a quick swig before setting it on the bar and following me to the dance floor. The music is good, making it easy for me to ignore the nagging in the back of my head. This isn’t what I came here for tonight. I wanted a quick distraction, something to take my mind off the coming week, my new life working for Marco. I was looking for a drink or two, a guy who didn’t come around often, one I could spend a couple hours with and send packing without the worry of running into him again.

I didn’t plan on this - dancing with a gorgeous hunk. I didn't plan on letting anyone practically feel me up in such a public place. But I’m enjoying this. I enjoy the feel of his hands gripping my hips and pulling my back into his body. I enjoy the feel of his muscular legs as I slide my hands from his hips down to his knees and back up again.

We dance until the band takes a break. The music switches from the fast-paced thumping that races like my pumping heart to a slow, sensual beat. I pull my body away from his, only to have him grab my hips and pull me back to him.

“What do I call you, doll?” he asks, his lips grazing the skin at the base of my jaw.

“Call me whatever you want, baby.”

He pulls back, and I can see the confusion in his eyes. “I’m Luk—.”

Before he can say more, I cover his lips with my fingers. “No names.”

“No names?” His words are muffled through my fingertips.

“That’s not what I’m here for, baby.”

His eyebrows rise as he wraps his long fingers around my wrist and pulls my hand away from his mouth. “And what are you here for?”

I rise up on my tiptoes, getting my face as close to his as I can. The heat of his breath brushes across my face and the intensity in his eyes grows as my hand runs down his chest to the waistband of his blue jeans. “I'm here to have fun,” I say against his lips.

I don't have to say any more. Luke’s lips crush mine as he pulls me tighter against his hard body. His tongue slips between my open lips and mine greets him with unrelenting greed, starting a dance as sensual as what we were doing on the dance floor. The world around me fades into the background as I lose myself in this moment. But only for a moment. The song ends and another steady beat picks up. The tempo reminds me where we are and what I came here for.

“Let’s go to your room,” I say against his ear as he trails hot kisses down my neck.

He tenses and pulls away. “I’m not staying here.” I narrow my eyes at him and his words come out in a rush. “I live across town. I came for the band.” His hands slide down my back and cup my ass, giving it a firm squeeze. “But I can stay for the fun.”

That nagging feeling is back. Another of Marco’s teachings flitters through my head: Be careful about mixing business with pleasure, or you may find your pleasure becomes the job you don't want to wake up for on Monday morning. I push the warning aside and give into the need that’s pooling inside of me. I yank Luke’s head down to mine and slide my tongue into his mouth. After another slow, sensual dance, after I can't take another second of the squeezing and grinding of our bodies against one another, I grab the waistband of his jeans and pull away from him.

“Let’s go to my room.”

Luke beams at me as if it’s Christmas Day and I’ve handed him the keys to his dream car. “I thought you’d never ask.”

 I drag Luke back to the bar and throw a fifty towards Mitch. The man grins at me as he watches Luke behind me, hands on my hips, lips against my neck.

“Close out our tabs, will ya?” I say, fighting the wave of desire flowing through me.

“Of course, darlin’.” Mitch winks at me. “Enjoy your night.”

Oh, I plan to. I wave my fingers in his direction as I pull Luke along behind me. By the time we make it through the opulent hotel lobby to the elevator, my body is singing with want. I can't keep my hands off this gorgeous man, and I don't want him to take his off me.

Enclosed in the plush bamboo and stainless steel elevator, Luke pushes me up against the wall and starts kissing along my jaw and down my neck. His hands take a slow ride down my thighs before coming back up, finding their way under my skirt.

“Holy fuck!” he groans, a low grumble in his chest that makes me quiver with excitement. I laugh as he realizes my little secret - I'm not wearing underwear.

“Surprise,” I say, a whisper exhaled on a breath.

“Surprise, indeed,” he says, smiling down at me. With one hand, he cups my bare ass. Then he slides one of his long fingers up inside of me. “Jesus, doll, you’re so ready.”

“Ready for you, baby,” I say, punctuated by a satisfied moan.

He removes himself from me when the elevator dings. As we step out of the doors, I silently curse myself for insisting on the room farthest from the elevator. I grab Luke’s hand and pull him along as I stride down the dimly lit hall. Twice he pulls me back to him, pushing me up against the cream-colored walls, impatient to feel me once again.

Within seconds of walking through my hotel room door, Luke lifts me up and I wrap my legs around his waist. He rips open a condom wrapper with his teeth, then locks his lips to mine. He lifts me with one arm, and I gasp as he lowers me down on top of him.

This. I want this.

My arms are wrapped snug around his neck, and as I squeeze my thighs tight around his hips, I take control. I lift myself and then lower down, taking him in as deep as he’ll go. I set a steady pace even as he pushes me hard against the wall. His tongue and lips fight a battle against my neck and chest, each demanding dominance over the other, each losing the fight.

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