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Authors: Michelle Betham

Striker (8 page)

BOOK: Striker
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She gasped out loud as his fingers slid down from her breasts, trailing over her stomach, down to a place he hadn’t been in a long time, but Amber was quite happy to welcome him back, moaning quietly as he touched her gently, his own groans matching hers as the intensity built.

She could feel her heart racing, so fast it was almost making her dizzy. She hadn’t had sex with anyone for so long and it felt good to be able to let go, to have that sweet release, and it felt even better to be sharing it with a man she trusted rather than some random person she’d picked up just for the hell of it. How Ryan Fisher could possibly get any kind of satisfaction from doing that, she had no idea. Jesus, why was she even
thinking
about Ryan Fisher? But she knew why. She knew exactly why, and she really didn’t
want
to think about him so she pushed him very firmly to the back of her mind, concentrating totally on what was happening here, with Ronnie.

She hadn’t realised how much she’d missed sex until now, and in a way Amber wondered if that had anything to do with the fact she’d been so uptight lately. Right now, though, she felt anything
but
uptight as Ronnie lifted her up, and she quickly wrapped her legs around his waist as he pushed into her with a force she welcomed, backing her right up against the wall. She wanted it hard and rough, she didn’t want gentle or careful. She wanted to feel every move he made, every push he gave as he thrust deeper into her and even though it was over far quicker than Amber would have liked, it had given her a taste for something she hadn’t realised she’d missed quite so much.

But it also made her realise something else. Something that didn’t make her feel comfortable or safe, and it certainly wasn’t something she wanted to dwell on. But it was real, and she had a feeling that it wasn’t going to go away, no matter how many times she slept with Ronnie or tried to forget it wasn’t happening. It wasn’t going to go away, and Amber had no idea how she was going to deal with that.

Chapter Four

 

 

The sun was shining and the sky was blue, but Ryan wasn’t in the mood to be cheerful. He’d gone to bed alone, even though that hadn’t been his intention when the evening had started. He’d wanted to party with his team-mates, see what his hometown had to offer up in the way of women, and then bring one or two back to play with. That’s how last night had started out, and yet here he was, waking up by himself, feeling like crap. And he hadn’t even drank that much.

Walking out into the vast back garden of his temporary home, Ryan knew he had to get out of there. He was stuck in middle-class suburbia, surrounded by doctors and bankers and wealthy accountants with their two cars and their privately-educated children and it felt stifling. This wasn’t where he belonged. Oh, he was grateful to the club for giving him a place to stay but he needed to move on, needed to find his own place, and fast. He’d give Max a call; get him to line up some riverside apartments for him to look at closer to the city. That was much more his kind of thing. Whereas this wasn’t. This screamed weekend dinner parties and Sunday mornings mowing the lawn or washing the car and whilst that may be fine for some people, a life like that terrified Ryan.

Sitting down under the shade of a canopy that covered the patio he threw his head back and closed his eyes, the image of Amber Sullivan in that figure-hugging black dress and those killer red heels filling his brain. It was an image that had been there all night, he couldn’t shake it. He’d gone to sleep thinking about her and woken up with the same thought still running through his head, accompanied by a hard-on he’d had to deal with all on his own. He wanted to know what she felt like. He wanted to know if she felt as uptight and rigid as she seemed to come across. He couldn’t help smiling as he thought how that could actually be a plus point, where sex was concerned. The more uptight the better. Shit! Ryan wasn’t used to having one woman on his mind. On the rare occasions when he’d actually had a girlfriend, none of the relationships had ever lasted all that long because he just couldn’t concentrate on one woman at a time. And why should he? He had this incredible opportunity to play a field bigger than Wembley and he was sure as hell going to make the most of that opportunity. What man in his position would turn it down? Well, quite a few, actually. Ryan knew a lot of players who’d settled down with the “right” woman, got married, had kids, given up the partying to concentrate on a more conventional life, but that just wasn’t for him. Not yet. At least, not
just
yet. But then, was that only because he hadn’t yet managed to meet his own “Miss Right”?

Come on! What the hell was he thinking? Settling down, getting married, having kids, they were things that were still way off in the future. So what if he couldn’t stop thinking about one woman in particular? What was so wrong with that? Amber Sullivan was different, that was all. He never usually went for the older woman, but she gave no man any other choice but to take notice of her. And she’d looked as hot as hell last night. It was almost like she was two different women – the professional, uptight sports reporter who gave off attitude and a look that could break your balls, and the red-haired vamp who oozed sex appeal the like of which Ryan hadn’t seen in a long time. It was one hell of a turn-on, and he knew that if he didn’t get to sleep with that woman soon it was going to kill him. He wanted to go where others had failed. Many before him had tried, but he wanted to be the one to succeed. So far, the only footballer she’d ever slept with, to his knowledge, had been Ronnie White, but Ryan was going to change that. He’d make it his mission.

Amber Sullivan may be oblivious to him right now, but he’d find a way to thaw that ice-cold exterior. She’d give in, he knew she would. She’d give in. And she’d give in soon. Ryan Fisher was up for the challenge, but he didn’t play the long game. He was going straight for the goal, and there was no doubt in his mind that he was going to score.

 

*

 

‘Shit, Ronnie, I’m sorry,’ Amber sighed, opening her eyes and rolling onto her back. ‘I’m not sure last night should have happened.’

‘Oh, I don’t know about that,’ Ronnie smiled, lying on his side, resting up on his elbow as he looked at her. ‘You promised me you’d show me you could let yourself go, but, even
I
have to admit I wasn’t expecting
that
to be quite the way you meant.’

Amber turned to look at him, giving him a small, half-smile back. ‘No. Can’t say I was expecting that, either.’

‘So, what made you suddenly decide you wanted some of the old Ronnie White magic, then? You been missing it, huh?’

She couldn’t help laughing, because she knew his tongue was firmly in his cheek again. Although, she’d been quite happy with where his tongue had been last night, too. Now
that
had been a feeling she’d
really
missed. ‘Yeah, sure. It’s all I’ve been able to think about for the past heaven knows how many years.’

‘Yep. I’ve still got it,’ Ronnie sighed, sitting up and stretching out, quickly winking at Amber before he slid out of bed.

Amber watched as he walked into the en-suite, naked and handsome and still as fit as he had been when he’d been playing professionally. But they’d never get back together as a couple. They’d never go there again.
She
knew that, and Ronnie knew that. Last night had been a bit of fun. She’d needed it to take her mind off something that had been niggling away at her all day yesterday, and it was back to niggle away at her again today. With a vengeance. She’d known it wouldn’t go away, she’d known last night had been nothing but a temporary measure, even though she’d hoped she’d wake up thinking that, whatever had been going round in her head yesterday, it had been nothing but a silly error of judgement. A stupid lapse of rational thinking. She had self-enforced rules she wanted to play by, and it was up to her to make sure she didn’t stray from those. What had happened with Ronnie had been an exception, of course. The one and only exception.

Slipping out of bed she wrapped her robe around herself and walked over to the window. She loved the view she had from the back of her modest, semi-detached house on the outskirts of
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
. It was a view that could almost lead you to believe that you were anywhere but a few miles from the city centre. With green fields stretching as far as the eye could see it felt more like the countryside than a suburban village, and that’s what Amber loved about it. It was peaceful, yet just a few minutes drive from work and less than half an hour from the coast. She’d bought the house not long after she’d started working at News North East and over the years she’d slowly made it her own, so much so that she couldn’t see a time when she’d ever want to leave. She had a life she loved, a career she’d worked hard for, and a home she adored. What else could she possibly need?

Walking downstairs and into her cosy kitchen she filled the kettle and sat down on the brown suede sofa next to the French doors that led out onto a small patio area. She liked to call the sofa “lived in”, whereas some people would probably call it tatty, but she’d had it for years and it was probably the most comfortable piece of furniture she owned so she had no intention of getting rid of it just yet. It was where she spent most mornings, sitting on that sofa, watching the sun come up with a huge mug of tea, thinking about the day ahead and what it might bring – just like she was doing now, although the tea hadn’t yet arrived. The sound of the kettle boiling told her it wasn’t far away, though. And exactly what
was
today going to bring? Amber pulled her knees up and hugged them to her chest, resting her chin on them, looking out over her simple yet pretty garden as the late-August sunshine began to sweep across it.

She wondered what Ryan Fisher was doing right now. Was he waking up with yet another young and beautiful stranger in his bed, ready to pack her off out into the cold light of day, marking her down as nothing but another conquest he’d managed to notch up? Another disappointed young woman whose dreams of becoming that glamorous footballer’s wife would now have to rest with someone else? Because it seemed apparent that Ryan Fisher didn’t do commitment. And why would he? He was a twenty-six-year-old professional footballer with the world at his feet.
 

Amber threw her head back and sighed heavily, closing her eyes as she listened to Ronnie padding about upstairs. Sometimes she wondered if her life would have been simpler if she and Ronnie had just got it together, stayed a couple. Who’s to say what might have happened? But it would never have worked. She had absolutely no desire to be a footballer’s wife. Not even Ronnie’s. She couldn’t do it. It just wasn’t her.

The sound of the kettle switching off brought her back to reality and she opened her eyes, jumping up off the sofa to fill the teapot, sliding two slices of bread into the toaster, even though she was anything but hungry. Her head was spinning with thoughts she couldn’t seem to shake off, feelings she wasn’t used to experiencing, and it frustrated her because it was almost as if she couldn’t control them, which she couldn’t. Not really. If she could control them then she could stop them from infiltrating her usually rational and sensible brain, and that just wasn’t happening today. But, the scariest thing of all, and it was something that Amber still couldn’t quite get her head around, was that she couldn’t stop thinking about Ryan Fisher.
 

 

*

 

‘I like it,’ Ryan smiled, spinning 360 degrees on his expensive trainers as he took in the vast space that surrounded him. ‘I like it a lot.’

‘It’s the first one you’ve seen,’ Max said, leaning back against the breakfast bar and folding his arms, watching as Ryan spun around again, looking like a kid in a toy store who’d just been given free reign to play with anything he wanted. Mind you, as far as Max was concerned, professional footballers like Ryan were no different, in reality. On the kind of money some of them earned they really could have anything they wanted and bugger the price. Which is what was happening here, with Ryan. He wanted a place of his own, money was no object, therefore he could live anywhere he wanted without so much as a thought as to what it might be costing. Max doubted very much whether Ryan – along with most of the other footballers he had on his books – actually had any real idea of how much things cost, anyway. Whatever they wanted – be it a new car, a holiday or, in Ryan’s case, a new home – they could have it just by asking someone to find it for them.

‘So, why waste time trailing round other places when I’ve already found the one I want?’ Ryan pointed out, nudging Max out of his day dream about a quiet, footballer-free retirement in
Monaco
.

‘This is the one you want, then, is it?’ Max asked, already pulling his phone out of his jacket pocket, ready to call the estate agent who was waiting downstairs in the lobby.

‘Yeah… Why not?’ Ryan grinned, looking out at the view of the river, the famous
Tyne
Bridge
just a stone’s throw away. He could even see Red Star’s Tynebridge Stadium in the distance. This place was perfect. There was a resident’s gym and swimming pool downstairs, private car parking, a concierge service, and the best thing of all – it was close to the city centre bars, clubs and restaurants he still had yet to explore. Yes, this was much more Ryan Fisher, not that vast detached house way out in the country. This was what Ryan called a home. ‘How soon can I move in?’

BOOK: Striker
10.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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