Growing up with an adoring father for a boxing legend isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It looks more like hospital visits, bloody noses, and cracked ribs.
Isla Slade now works as a physiotherapist, helping athletes heal their bodies. Except for boxers. She has no interest in reliving the stress of her teen years. Dating someone in the boxing world? She’d rather snort wasabi powder.
Until she meets Preston Church.
Preston manages heavyweight boxing darling Brick Kramarov. A brute who’s built tougher than his name, with a cocky attitude to boot. She wants nothing to do with either man, but her father begs her to help them prepare for a huge Vegas fight.
She doesn’t expect Preston to recite romantic poems and slowly break her resolve. His fascinating mind gets under her skin, even if his star athlete reminds her how much she hates boxing.
Too bad it’s Brick coaching Preston how to woo Isla, falling for her from the sidelines. Once she finds out, she’ll have to decide if she can risk loving another man who puts it all on the line for the knockout.
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"These characters are so full of passion and heart--their romance is what happily-ever-afters are made of." --Brenda St. John Brown USA Today bestselling author
*New Orleans Rush
*Don't Go Stealing My Heart
*The Beat Match
*The Knockout Rule
“Don’t let the resistance pull your arms forward at the top,” Isla told him. “Keep your hands in line with your ears.”
He repeated the movement, noting her suggestions, sweat gathering along his neck. “Like this?”
“Exactly. Take it slow.”
She crouched next to him, the closest they’d been all session, and his stomach swooped. Fucking swooped, like he was a love-struck teen. The sensation divided his focus, part of it staying on the rope in his hands, a fraction diverting to her proximity, another locked on his reacting body. She shifted positions slightly, seemed to hesitate, then she placed her hand on his back.
Forget divided. All his attention zeroed in on that one spot. Isla. Hand. Hot. So much heat concentrating where she touched. He leaned back a bit, couldn’t control his body’s urge to ask for more. More contact, more Isla.
Her fingers spread wider. “Don’t overarch your back,” she said, her voice lower, breathy. “Sit straighter.”
He paused with the triceps rope at his chin, fixed his posture and turned his head, bringing them almost nose to nose. “Like this?”
Her gaze dropped to his lips. His thighs flexed.
“Yeah,” she murmured. “Like that.”
The moment lingered, sexual tension vibrating between them so thoroughly he was surprised the walls didn’t shake. And he was pissed. Angry at their circumstances. Upset for Isla and all she’d dealt with in her life. Mad that the easy friendship they’d developed had devolved in a matter of hours to broken sentences and awkward glances. None of it was okay.
Determined to salvage something from this mess, he worked through his next rep with slow precision, keeping his back straighter, his arms at the correct angle. At the end of the rep, he said, “What do you call spending the afternoon with a cranky rabbit?”
Isla made a startled sound, a muffled kind-of-laugh. From the corner of his eye, he caught the hint of a smile. “I don’t know,” she said.
“A bad hare day.”
Her tentative smile grew. “Have I told you your humor hovers at a grade-one level?”
“Have I told you that you have no sense of humor?”
“I wouldn’t know. I usually tune you out.”
He chuckled at that, turned his head toward her, bringing their lips dangerously close again. Her hand was still on his back, maintaining his posture. Her thumb moved, a small stroke he felt everywhere. They breathed deeply at the same time, their chests expanding like their hearts were reaching toward each other.Then they got back to work. Less awkward this time. They talked more easily. Joked occasionally. Everything out of Isla’s mouth sounded like foreplay to him: move slower, hold that position, yeah like that. But he somehow found his focus, stayed attuned to his body’s needs and pains, assessing when muscle fatigue meant a break was due. Neither of them crossed the invisible line they’d drawn. They were once again patient and physiotherapist, no different than during their early sessions. But everything was different.
A small-town girl at heart, Kelly moved from the city to enjoy the charm of northern Ontario. When she’s not out hiking with her husband or home devouring books, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head.
Her novels have been published internationally.
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