Having made it to the major leagues, AJ "Rage" Romero is determined to shake the stigma his temper has earned him over the years. He's finally managed a shaky hold of that elusive self-control. Until he meets them . . . Without warning, his coach and mentor's brilliantly gifted granddaughter Clair and her equally amazing mother Addison Lara blow into AJ's life. The harder he falls for Addison, the closer and more attached he becomes to Clair. Having fallen so fast and hard, he agrees to respect the understandably protective single mother's wish to forever keep the identity of Clair's absent father unknown to everyone—including AJ. But when the ugly truth about Clair's dad begins to surface, the fire in AJ's fiercely possessive heart is lit. As more of the troubling reality comes to light, his zero tolerance for secrets and dishonesty put his temper—and his love for Addison—to the ultimate test. Self-control has never felt so impossible.
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“Morning, AJ,” Clair said, barely looking up from her tablet. “You’re just in time. I was looking for a video I wanted you to see.”
Thanks to Clair, AJ glanced away from Addison for a moment.
“Here you go, big guy,” Addison’s dad said, tossing him a water bottle and then tossing Addison one.
Her dad took the seat off to the side that faced the television and flipped through the channels. Clair showed AJ the video she was talking about. It was baseball-related, of course. AJ and the coach made small talk about the game the night before and then Niagara Falls. Her father mentioned he’d been as surprised as Addison had been to hear AJ say this was the first time he’d been there.
“Even during the off season, I stay pretty busy though. But aside from my busy schedule, you’d be surprised what a normal guy I am.”
She was locked in his eyes for a moment until the sheath of lashes draped over his eyes when he looked down at the tablet after Clair hit play on another video. He watched silently as Clair narrated, pointing out the pitcher’s killer sinker ball in the video and what AJ should keep an eye out for the next time he was up against him.
It gave Addison a few minutes to contemplate his last statement and how to respond to it. She hadn’t known AJ for long, but already he’d said enough things to her that confused the heck out of her. Yesterday there seemed to be more behind his words and the way he stared at her when he said them.
When he finally pulled his eyes away from the tablet and met Addison’s again, she felt that familiar weakness she always did when he gazed at her that way. “At my age,” he said before she’d been able to string even two words together, “you’d be surprised how many other firsts I’ve only recently experienced and how many others I still haven’t.”
His comments felt like a riddle. His playful gaze—something so unlike him—practically dared her to ask him to elaborate. It couldn’t possibly be the obvious first he might be referring to. He wouldn’t dare mention that, not in front of Clair. Addison wouldn’t buy it for a second anyway, not with the slew of Mirandas he likely had throwing themselves at him on a daily basis.
Everything about the man exuded sensuality. An air of sultriness infused every one of the gazes he’d indulged her with so far, even the hardened ones—especially the hardened ones. The darker, more censorious, the more breathtaking. With AJ’s legendary temper, Addison could only imagine the kind of unabashed passion a man like him would unleash in the bedroom. The very thought had made her body tremble even the first time she’d laid eyes on him in person. Then again the following day, when she’d been so close to him, the temptation to reach out and touch those incredible muscled arms was unreal. She’d been admiring those arms in photos and on television for years.
“Are you, Mom?”
Addison felt her face flush when she realized she’d zoned out, staring at AJ’s muscular arms and chest, and the twinkle in his eyes said he knew it. Fortunately, Clair was busy setting up the cards for whatever game it appeared they were getting ready to play.
“Am I what now?” she asked, taking a much-needed long gulp of her water.
“In?” Clair said, still too engrossed in her cards to look up.
“Sure,” Addison said, praying her face wasn’t as beet red as it felt.
She refused to look at AJ for a few moments, focusing instead on Clair’s shuffling. “It’s the truth, right?” Clair said, still not looking up. Addison stared at her daughter, not sure what she meant. That’s when Clair finally glanced up at her. “This would be a first for me.” She grinned. “Losing a game of Gigs.”
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About Elizabeth Reyes
Award winning, USA Today Bestselling Author, Elizabeth Reyes continues to answer her calling on a daily basis. Since releasing her debut novel FOREVER MINE (MORENO BROTHERS #1) in 2010 she has since published seven more in that series, FOREVER YOURS, SWEET SOFIE, WHEN YOU WERE MINE, ALWAYS BEEN MINE, ROMERO, MAKING YOU MINE, and TANGLED with more stories about the Moreno family and their friends to come. She's also published a second series, 5th Street which includes, NOAH, GIO, HECTOR, ABEL. FELIX. Her Moreno Brother's spinoff series FATE includes FATE, BREAKING BRANDON, SUSPICIOUS MINDS and AGAIN (Sydney's story). Her debut traditionally published title is DESERT HEAT and her latest release is her first ever three part romance serial DEFINING LOVE.When she's not writing (which is rare) she spends as much time as she can with her husband of almost twenty-one years, two young adult children, her Great Dane, Dexter and big fat lazy cat named Tyson.