in Second Chance Hero by Kimberly Readnour.
I glance down at the jade-colored dress I borrowed from Jocelyn and self-consciously tug the hemline. A slow burn rises from my chest to my cheeks. I’m not used to wearing something so short, and I suddenly feel naked from all the flesh the off-the-shoulder sleeves exposes.
“Thanks. You don’t look so bad yourself.”
Zach grabs my hand, and we stroll to the main entrance and then wait for the driver. He turns to me with an impish glint in his eyes.
“When was the last time you went out and let loose?”
I study Zach, and for a fraction of the time, I wonder if he knows the entire truth. That’s impossible. He wouldn’t be standing beside me if he did.
“I live in New York City. I go out all the time.” The lie slides easily off my tongue, but there’s no way, I’m admitting the timeframe of my last date.
Zach’s nostrils flare, and an all too familiar look crosses his eyes—the one that claims I’m his, at least for tonight.
A black Mercedes car pulls up and breaks the strange spell between us. I’m still a little dazed as we enter the back seat.
Now, Zach’s tall, and his legs fill most of the space, so it’s not surprising when his thighs brush against mine. Nor am I surprised when he interlaces our fingers. It’s the warmth invading my system and shooting straight to my groin that catches me off guard. Holy crap, I can’t be in confined quarters with this man.
I steal a glance at Zach. It’s meant to be quick, but he’s staring back with such intensity that I can’t turn away. I need to, though. I shouldn’t risk being sucked into the Zach Zone—the area where my heart reaches a point of no return.
He zeroes in on my mouth, and my lips part of their own accord. Zach inhales a sharp breath and tightens his hand around mine. With a slight shake of his head, he rapidly blinks a few times. At least, I’m not the only one affected by the other’s presence.
Zach clears his throat and asks, “How’s Grandpa Denny doing?”
What better way to douse a fire than to bring up my grandpa? I take a moment to collect my thoughts before speaking.
“Grandpa’s good. He had a hip replacement a year ago, but he’s pretty much recovered now.”
Zach lowers his chin and stares at the floorboard. “I only met the guy once, but I sort of miss that old man.”
I press my lips together, fighting a smile. During the graduation celebrations, Zach’s presence was an instant hit, especially with Grandpa. I blame their baseball bond, but if I’m honest, Zach has a personality that draws people in. My family loved him, which made it that much harder when things ended.
“He’s proud of you, ya know.”
“I figured he’d hate me.”
“No. It’s not you he’s upset with.” I clamp my mouth shut, shocked by my confession. Confusion crosses Zach’s face, but I’m not surprised. My statement was rather cryptic. I ignore his unspoken question and continue, “I know he secretly keeps up on your stats.”
“Secretly?” Zach raises an eyebrow.
“Yeah. Well…” I stir in my seat, wondering why I opened my mouth. “No one’s allowed to speak your name around me.”
His back stiffens, and he withdraws his hand.
“God, Lacey, I can never apologize enough. Can you ever forgive me?”
Guilt consumes me. I should’ve kept my mouth shut. “I already have. It was a long time ago. We both did what we had to do.”
“I wish I’d done things differently.”
“Yeah, me too.” More than you can ever know.
Zach sighs as the car creeps along in Friday night traffic.
“What about the rest of your family? Your mom, sisters.”
I face forward and press my lips. I wring my hands together like I do every time someone brings up my family. Hurry up, driver, and get us there.
“I haven’t talked to them for a while, but I think they’re doing okay.”
“You guys were so close. What happened?” The sincerity in his voice tightens my chest. He returns his hand on top of mine.
“Um, we just had a falling out. Some things were said.” I shrug. “It hasn’t been the same since.”
With a gentle squeeze, he lifts my hand to his mouth and sweeps a soft kiss across my knuckles. Lowering our hands to his lap, he says, “I’m sorry, babe.”
“Me too.” In more ways than one.
We arrive at a club, and Zach has no problem getting us past the bouncer. It’s amazing what fame, or more like money, will do. A twinge of guilt passes through me as I eye the people standing in line, but with these four-inch heels Jocelyn insisted I wear, I have no desire to spend the evening waiting on the hard concrete. Plus, this is my first actual “club” experience. I do want to make the most out of it.
The electronic beats resonate through the air as we scope out a table. I scan the room, taking in the lights and decor. The orange and brown hues, along with the funky styles, has a seventies vibe to it. And people? There are tons of people crowding the sunken dance floor. How can they cram so many bodies together?
After a few glasses of wine, the crowd’s no longer a concern. My upper muscles relax as the alcohol works through my bloodstream, but not even the strongest port could lessen the tension in my lower half. My legs burn with need from the magic of Zach’s fingers softly caressing the inside of my thigh. It’s like he cannot not touch me. His hands are constantly somewhere on my body. I want to push him away, but I want to maul him right here and now. This constant hot and cold feeling is driving me insane. I need to get up and move before I do something stupid.
“You ready to dance?” Zach asks.
A low chuckle escapes his mouth as he follows me to the dance floor. If I thought dancing would chill my impure thoughts, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Time. Distance. Heartache.
It all seems irrelevant with our bodies molded together. Something that feels this right must be good. How can it not?
Those sensual hands I’ve been craving land on my hips, and he growls a deep guttural sound as he presses my backside against his lower half. We start to grind, practically dry-humping to the beat.
It doesn’t take long to figure out Zach’s own needs. Not when his impressive bulge rubs against my ass. I develop a quick love-hate relationship with the denim company, wishing the layers of clothing would disintegrate. I’m hyper-aware of the multiple orgasms his “bulge” can produce, and if I don’t get some relief soon, I’ll die from relentless want.
As if reading my mind, Zach spins me around and then crashes his lips upon mine. His hands move everywhere, exploring my sides, waist, hips, and ass. They finally rest upon my hips, and I practically unravel returning his kiss like the starved woman I am. The last thing I want is to embarrass myself on the dance floor, but it’s been too long since I had a man’s touch. Zach’s touch. And my body is wired.
Zach pulls away. His gaze remains fixed on me, and our rapid chest movements sync together. I reach out to pull him back, but he grabs hold of my hands to stave me off. What the heck?
“Let’s get out of here,” Zach pants.
He motions his chin toward a dark hallway. I should protest, but I kind of fear the mutiny my overactive hormones would stage. I want this. Need this. I want to be reckless once with no responsibilities—only uninhibited adulterated sex.
I follow Zach down the hall to the flashing red and white exit sign. He pushes the door open, and a blast of cool, night air strikes our faces. I halt, and Zach turns toward me right as the door slams shut. We’re alone in the narrow alleyway, trapped outside with the bustling sounds of the city in the distance. My heartbeat thrashes loudly in my ears.
“Fuck, I want you so badly,” Zach says.
The next thing I know, my backside scrapes along the bricks. It’s just this side of painful, but I don’t care; the ache between my legs has worsened with need. I want Zach more tonight than I’ve ever wanted him.
Meet bad boy pitcher, Zach Pritchett...
Two things I love: baseball and Lacey Stark. Back in college, I had them both. But after graduation, I made the biggest mistake of my life. I let Lacey go.
Five years later, I can’t complain. A Cy Young winner, I’ve achieved what I set out to do—pitching in the Major Leagues. Life is great.
Until it’s not.
And the day it all went south? The day Lacey Stark appeared at my post press conference. The reality of not having her slams against my chest. Lacey’s still sexy as hell, sporting more curves and a little more sass. Pitching in the Major’s isn’t the only thing I want anymore. Now, it’s time to go after what I’ve denied myself all these years. I want Lacey and will stop at nothing until I make her mine.
Lacey seems determined to stay away, but we belong together. I know this. I just need to convince her to give me another chance.
Because one thing is guaranteed, I won’t stop until she’s back in my arms.
Second Chance Hero is book one in this new standalone sports romance series. If you like sexy, alpha baseball players, click to meet Zach in this hot, new series.
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Visions, book one of the Mystical Encounters Series, is a #1 Amazon Kindle bestseller and a 2015 Readers' Favorite book award finalist. Her series, the Mystical Encounters, has spent many weeks on the Amazon's teen and young adult's mysteries and thrillers bestseller's lists.
Kimberly worked as a Registered Nurse for fifteen years before hanging-up her stethoscope. When she isn't running her own business, you can find her tucked away writing.
Follow Kimberly on Amazon HERE