With today being Super Bowl Sunday, what better book to highlight than one with a sexy as all get out quarterback. Jaci Burton takes us back to her fantastic series about a group of professional athletes, in her Play by Play series. This is one of my favorite series from her, and I’m loving this book so far.
“I was thinking. I have a game against Dallas next week, but I have a few days off before practice starts. I was planning to visit my parents’ ranch down in Texas. It’s my dad’s birthday on Monday, so everyone’s going to try and make it in. I thought maybe you and the kids would want to go.”
Leo’s eyes widened. “The Cassidy ranch? Where your dad lives? Can we go, Kat?”
“Never been to a ranch before,” Anya said. “Are there horses?”
“Yeah, there are horses. And some cattle, too.”
“No kidding. We should go, Kat,” Leo said. “I really want to meet Grant’s dad. He’s like a legend in football.”
Katrina really wished he hadn’t asked her in front of the kids. “I’ll . . . think about it.”
“Think hard about it,” Anya said. “It would be really fun.”
Katrina looked to Grant, who just offered up a hopeful smile.
They finished pizza and everyone gathered downstairs in the media room to watch a movie. After, Katrina wanted to wash off the chlorine from the day, so she went upstairs to take a shower, then put on a pair of shorts and a tank top and sat on the bed to read a book.
But thoughts of Texas kept pulling at her.
The kids wanted to go, but she didn’t think it was only because they’d never been to Texas, or that Leo wanted to meet Grant’s father.
She knew the kids were pushing her at Grant, shoving her toward a relationship with him. Mainly because they liked him. She got that. Logically, she understood their rationale. But she shouldn’t foster it. She couldn’t, because it wasn’t realistic.
They lived in New York, and soon enough it would be time to go back to school. She had her work. Her priority. Grant had his job as well. While right now she and Grant were having fun together, that’s all they had. There was no permanence to this.
Even if he was smart and fun and hot and sexy and she did like spending time with him as much as the kids did. But she was an adult, and she could make the break easier than they’d be able to.
Was she hurting Leo and Anya by allowing this to go on any longer? Wouldn’t it be better to break it off now instead of heading down to Texas to meet his family? That would only prolong the inevitable and make the kids heartbreak even more painful.
She knew what she had to do.
The problem was, she didn’t want to do it.
Not right now.
Which was so selfish of her. What was wrong with her, anyway? She always made the right decisions. She’d always sacrificed what she wanted in favor of what was best for the kids.
She heard a knock on the door. It couldn’t be Grant. “Come in.”
It was her sister.
“So I was thinking,” Anya said, slipping into her room and climbing in bed with her. “Wouldn’t it be easier to do some shopping along the way rather than flying all the way home to unpack and repack? There are stores in Texas, you know. And we’ve already done laundry here. We’ve actually already bought more clothes when we went shopping the other day. We’d only need to pick up a few things.”
“I haven’t yet said that we’re going.”
Anya tilted her head up to meet her gaze. “Oh, come on, Kat. You know you want to go. You like Grant. We all do. Let’s go to Texas.”
Her little sister wasn’t so little anymore. Katrina uncrossed her legs and stretched out alongside Anya on the bed, unable to fathom how long her sister’s legs were now. She remembered a time when Anya would huddle with her in the bed, and they would read stories together.
It wouldn’t be long now before Anya would be going off to college. She wouldn’t need Katrina anymore. She wouldn’t be in her life as much.
That’s what growing up was all about.
Maybe she was overthinking this whole thing with Grant. She had to constantly remind herself that the kids weren’t little—or as impressionable anymore.
Maybe she wasn’t worried as much about how the kids would feel after breaking away from Grant as she was herself.
She grabbed a piece of Anya’s hair and gave it a gentle tug. “I’ll . . . think about it.”
“You keep saying that. But you know you want to go as much as we do.”
She cocked her head to the side. “Really. And what makes you think that?”
“You like Grant.”
This was a topic she didn’t really want to get into with her sister. “Yes. I like Grant. But you do realize there’s a difference between liking someone and having a serious relationship with them.”
Anya rolled her eyes. “I’m not a kid anymore, Kat. Of course I know the difference. And you know I don’t have a boyfriend. Who has time for that nonsense? I’m going to college after next year. I don’t even want to think about the drama of boyfriends. Dating is one thing. Relationships are a whole other package of cookies.”
Out of the mouths of babes. “Indeed they are.”
“Not that you would know since I’ve never seen you bring a guy home before. Until Grant.”
“I didn’t exactly bring him home. He showed up at the apartment.”
Anya shrugged. “Same thing. Why? Don’t you like him . . . I mean like him, like him? Like in the boyfriend way?”
In some ways, she was having a very adult conversation with her sister. In other ways, she had to remind herself she was still talking to a teenager. “He’s not my boyfriend.”
“Oh, really. And how would you differentiate between some guy you’re hanging out with and having a boyfriend?”
Then again, her sister was very perceptive Very smart. And sometimes quite irritating. “I’m not defining my relationship with Grant with you. I haven’t even defined it with him.”
Anya picked up her hand and squeezed it. “Maybe you should. Maybe there’s something there between the two of you. You know, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if you fell in love with someone.”
Yes, definitely too deep now. She tapped her finger on her sister’s nose. “And you should let me get back to my book.”
“So . . . about Texas?”
“I’ll get back to you.”
Anya sighed and climbed off the bed. “Whatever. Let me know when you decide.”
When she looked up to watch Anya leave, she saw Grant leaning against the doorway.
“Talk her into it, will you?” Anya said to Grant. “She’s being stubborn and vague.”
“Good night, Anya,” Grant said.
Anya left the room, and Grant shut the door. Katrina wondered how much of their conversation he’d heard.
“Second thoughts about Texas?” he asked. “Or is it just you and me?”
Obviously, he’d heard plenty. “I don’t know. She wants me to define our relationship.”
He came over and stretched out on the bed.
“Do you feel the need to define it? Because I don’t.”
She couldn’t help but admire the wide shoulders, the incredible chiseled biceps or his amazing legs. But she also realized there was a lot more than physical chemistry attracting her to him.
Maybe if it was just a sexual attraction this would be easier. They could have their fun, and then go their separate ways.
But there was such a depth to him that went beyond the hot body and physical talent. He was smart and funny and he not only liked her, he liked Leo and Anya, too. The bottom line was, she enjoyed being with him.
And for her, it meant a lot.
“I guess it requires no definition. We’re enjoying each other’s company at the moment. Isn’t that enough for now?”
“I think it is. I’m fine with taking things slow, Kat. And it’s nobody’s business—including your sister’s—what’s going on between us.” He cupped her foot, began to rub it. Just a simple gesture but it fired up the heat of pleasure, and also relaxed her at the same time.
Decision made, she supposed.
“I guess we’re going to Texas, then.”
He looked up at her and the fire she saw in his eyes flamed her.
“Glad to hear it.”
She wasn’t sure if she’d just made a good decision, or a really bad mistake.
She supposed she’d find out in the next week.
Grant Cassidy knows how to be a football star—flash that dazzling smile, throw the winning pass, get the girl. But while the hot quarterback loves the game and the lifestyle, no woman has come close to catching his heart. Then he matches wits with a smart, gorgeous model, and Grant finds himself wanting more than a fling.
Supermodel Katrina Koslova might live in a world of glitz and camera flashes, but she works hard to provide for the family that relies on her. She doesn’t have time for fun—much less a boyfriend—but Grant seems determined to be the exception to Katrina’s rule.
Their explosive chemistry is undeniable, but Katrina’s afraid to let go and rely on anyone but herself. Grant intends to ease her fears and prove he’s a man of style and substance.
Posted by arrangement with Berkley Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Jaci Burton, 2015.