This is one bad boy who’s fit to print. A notorious jock tackles life—and love—after football with a type-A journalist in this sexy standalone from the author of Eye Candy.
Barrett: As a former pro football star, I’m used to playing the field. After injuries cut my NFL career short, my second act as a broadcaster ended on live television when a hot mic picked up a little verbal . . . indiscretion. But this latest publicity stunt might just land me back on top—much to the chagrin of Catarina Everhart, the prissy, beautiful journalist who’s been assigned to date a bad boy (i.e., me) and write about it. Catarina swears I’ll never touch her, let alone kiss those full lips of hers. Based on our chemistry, I’m not buying it. . . .
Catarina: Barrett Fox seems to be doing everything in his power to make me hate him. The cocky egomaniac is infamous for his bad behavior, and now, thanks to my boss’s harebrained schemes, he’s apparently my problem. As one fake date leads to another, I start to see a different side of Barrett. He’s close with his family. He does volunteer work. And, okay, he kisses like a dream. Am I really dating Barrett Fox? Or is he playing me? Because suddenly I’m risking my reputation—and my heart.
Look for Jessica Lemmon’s standalone romances with heartfelt HEAs:
FIGHTING FOR DEVLIN | FORGOTTEN PROMISES | SHUT UP AND KISS ME | EYE CANDY | ARM CANDY | MAN CANDY | RUMOR HAS IT
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➜Website – www.jessicalemmon.com/rumor-has-it
“Your cohort will be writing from his own POV on what it’s like to be the bad boy who’s committed to dating. It’s a dash of fiction, a dash of romance, and a dash of what you’re best at writing: relationships.”
“Who is it?” Nanci asks, excitement rounding her blue eyes. I’m not there yet. I’m still in shock.
“Me,” a rough voice announces from the doorway behind me.
I turn my head to look over my shoulder, stunned further into silence by the sheer attractiveness of the man standing there. He’s so good-looking it’s criminal. But then, he is—
“Barrett Fox!” Nanci says and then bursts into a series of nervous giggles.
“In the flesh.” He bends at the waist to place a kiss on Mia’s temple. “Sorry I’m late.”
“I’d expect no less,” Mia says with a smile that—yeah, is a little gooey. She bats her un-mascaraed lashes while she’s at it.
Who knew my boss had a sexual bone in her body? I thought she was made of steel beams and asbestos.
Everyone at the conference room table, save me, stands as one and moves to Barrett Fox like he has his own orbit. Mia shushes the chatter around us.
“Okay, all right. Now that you all have your assignments, let’s leave Barrett and Catarina to theirs.” She makes a shooing motion and everyone shuffles reluctantly out the door.
I slide a derisive glance to my new “co-worker” and wonder what I did to Mia to make her stick me with this assignment. Except I know exactly why she did it. Mia’s work ethic can be described in two words: bottom line. She knows a prime opportunity to bring money to this paper when she sees it.
She flips to another sheet in her yellow pad and tears it out, laying it in front of me.
“I’ll let you hash out the details.” Before she shuts the door, she adds, “Barrett. You know where to find me.”
“Sure do, doll.” He winks then takes her chair at the head of the table, leaning back and kicking up his feet.
I recoil from the blatant rudeness of that move, but I shouldn’t be surprised. Barrett Fox is known for his rude antics, and this one is tame by comparison. Unlike the photos of him I’ve seen online: sweaty, streaked in dirt, or even dressed in a suit making lewd gestures at the camera.
There’s no way to escape the popularity of the local OSU football player who went pro, especially in Columbus. This paper was built on a foundation of footballs.
He wears a crisp, white shirt tucked into dark pants, black leather shoes, and because he kicked his feet up and crossed them at the ankles, I also notice a pair of red socks with white polka dots.
“What’s your name, gorgeous?”
I reroute my gaze to his face. Sharp, angular, a deep dent in his chin. His eyelids are narrowed in assessment, but I know under those red-brown eyelashes his irises are so blue they border on turquoise.
Nanci had a calendar of him last year. I’ve seen this guy in every pose from decked out in full gear to shirtless, to the one where he’s lying on a beach, his shorts pulled past his ass crack.
He’s long and lean, and I might have had a passing appreciation for how attractive he is if I didn’t know so much about him.
“What if I called you Ginger? Would that upset you?” I ask tartly, referring to the perfectly coiffed reddish hair on top of his head. He’s good with gel, or has his own stylist. Or maybe he’s sleeping with a stylist.
He grins at my question—straight white teeth he didn’t lose any of playing ball for eight years—and props his hands behind his head.
His shirtsleeves are uncuffed and rolled to the elbows, the scruff on his face two days past clean-shaven.
“Apologies, beautiful, but you know my name. I don’t know yours.”
“You mean Mia didn’t tell you my name when she threw me to the wolves?” I snap. I have a momentary fantasy where I talk Mia into reassigning this puff piece to Nanci, but she won’t. Nanci mostly helps out with articles. She hasn’t honed her journalistic skills well enough to be entrusted with a column.
When ad dollars are involved, Mia’s focus is ensuring a climb in readership. Not to brag, but that’s the reason I’m in charge of the relationships section. I’m good. Not because of some magic fairy dust but because I work my ass off.
Still, it would have been nice to write a commentary about how to date a real man instead of this one. A man who knows how to properly wear a button-down shirt, for example. Like North.
“Ouch. I’m guessing you’re not a fan?”
“Of you? I barely know who you are, Mr. Fox.”
“You seem to know plenty. I can read it in the pleat between those two perfect eyebrows.” He runs those blue eyes over my face, down my blouse and lingers at my breasts.
I lift the paper Mia left behind in front of my chest to avoid further scrutiny.
“Catarina Everhart,” I say as I read over the sheet of paper in my hand. Mia’s shorthand is atrocious but after five years of practice, I can read her hieroglyphics without any problem.
“Do you go by Cat?”
“No. I don’t. Do you go by Bare?”
“Sometimes.” He shrugs, lowers his feet to the floor, and leans over the table. He flicks the back of the paper I’m using as a shield.
“Is this what ‘dating you’ is going to be like?” I sneer.
“Close.” His lips twitch at the corner. “Add in a few slow, long, wet kisses that’ll curl your toes and a little under the shirt/over the bra action, and you’re there.”
This book is a quick, sexy, hot and a whole lot of funny.
These two can’t be more different but somehow they seem to be perfect for each other. Catarina aka Kitty Cat is such a great MC. I loved her quick wits, smart mouth, her lovely heart. And Barrett.. now that man is a poster child for Bad Boy. I loved how even though he knew better he was still helping his brother out. Or how he went out of his way to help his Kitty Cat relax and just be present and enjoy the moment. Oooo how I loved Barrett’s sense of humor or his romantic side.
“Falling?” I make a whistling sound while pointing to the floor. “I haven’t hit the ground yet, but yeah. Falling.” “What if I don’t let you hit the ground?” and cue the swooning…
My first book by this author and if I’m judging by this I’ll be a repeat reader for sure.
***Review copy requested and reviewed on behalf of OMGReads Blog ***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing about super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.