I’m so excited to bring you this book … and so sasd to see the series end 😦
Players, Book 5
by Mackenzie Crowne
Sometimes love and luck collide . . .
When sultry British Baroness Piper Darrow falls on desperate times, she needs a diversion—and cash. As a talented photographer, she jumps at the chance to travel to the U.S. for a Manhattan Marauders football event. But she gets more than she bargained for when buff quarterback Wyatt Hunter’s errant pass lands . . . in her face. And when it results in Wyatt’s comeback of a lifetime, the superstitious athlete is convinced Piper is his good luck charm . . .
With his sights on the Super Bowl, Wyatt will do anything necessary to keep Piper close. The fact that she’s a feast for the eyes is a bonus. And as they get closer, he discovers that beneath her proper English surface is a sweet, sexy seductress. Soon the notorious playboy finds himself genuinely smitten, and surprisingly open to love—until his powerful family uncovers something about Piper that threatens to shatter his trust. Now he’ll have to decide whether to team up with his fears, or his heart.
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“Why did you come back?” She arched a brow, and he was quick to clarify. “Not that I’m complaining, mind you, but you made it pretty damned clear you thought I was nuts.”
She paused with her fork hovering over the open carton. “Technically, I still think you’re full-on barmy.” A single dimple popped in her cheek and her emerald eyes twinkled with laughter. “But, I’ve been assured your money is quite spendable.”
He didn’t have a fucking clue what barmy was, but if accusing him of being so made her smile like that, he’d gladly become the king of Barmyville. He poured himself a glass of wine. “So, you came back for the money?”
He’d rather she’d come back for his body, but she was here. Sitting in his kitchen. He wasn’t one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
She paused in scooping the Chinese noodles and shrimp onto her plate and cocked her head. “Even we duchesses are occasionally in need of coin.”
“Touché.” He chuckled, then sipped at the chilled chardonnay. “If you don’t mind my asking, what’s V paying you for the Marauders’ deal?”
Piper set aside the carton and picked up her fork. “Fifty-thousand dollars, plus expenses, and the copyright purchase of all the photographs I produce.”
He whistled between his teeth. “Not bad money for five weeks of work.”
She nodded her agreement, and satisfaction gleamed in her eyes. “Added to the one-hundred-thousand you’ll be paying me, you can understand why I came back.”
He dipped his chin and leaned in to tease her. “Yeah, duchess, now that I’m thinking about it, that amount is pretty high. Especially since the profits go to charity.”
She didn’t blink an eye. “Sorry, that figure is non-negotiable. I’ll require half up front with the remainder due upon completion of the photographs, which is the same arrangement I made with V on the Fab Five project.”
He bit back a grin and leaned toward her with his elbows on the granite countertop. “That’s all well and good for V, but if you recall, the one-hundred-thousand-dollars was contingent upon your physical attendance at all twenty of my games this season.”
She mirrored his position, leaning in. “Which I’m willing to do, if you agree to your originally quoted figure, plus cover any additional travel expenses I’ve incurred once I’m back in England and have to return to follow you around the States.”
He straightened with a jolt. “Hold on. Are you screwing with my head? You’re willing to show up at the games?”
He’d all but given up on that happening, which sucked. Sharing a bed with her would be impossible from the other side of the Atlantic, but then, sleeping with her wasn’t a requirement of her lucky charm status. Neither, technically, was her attendance at his games when a weekly phone call would’ve covered it, but he wasn’t about to admit that now.
Having her on his turf, live and in person, was worth a hell of a lot more to him than a lousy hundred K.
Her lips flattened in a prim line. “It’s the least I can do, considering you’re paying me a fortune. And, I assure you, I have never screwed with anyone’s head.”
He choked on a laugh. Jesus, with the exception of that bollocks slip, the woman spoke like Queen Elizabeth’s spinster cousin. The contradiction of Piper’s upper crust speech and made-for-sin body, not to mention the way she’d kissed him… He shook his head. He’d bet his Aston Martin she hadn’t learned that skill at some dusty boarding school. Fuck, yeah. The enticing paradox of her was a definite head screw.
He grinned. “Then you should try it sometime. You have a natural talent for it.” She slowly straightened on her stool and he held up his hand. “You’ve got yourself a deal. One-hundred-thousand plus any travel expenses to get you to and from the games after you’ve finished the calendar and returned to England.” And since it appeared this was his lucky day, and she was in such a generous mood… “One more thing. About that suite at the Plaza…”
Blink, blink, blink.
Just when he thought his heart was going to explode, she sniffed. “Now, you’re just being greedy.”
Well, hell-o, duchess. She hadn’t said no.
Wyatt has perfected the charming rascal face that he shows the world and for the most part he’s found a way to live a life that he wants. But all is not perfect in his world. Piper knows what it is like to have the world turn on you but she’s got moxie and is willing to work for what she holds dear. It can’t be easy for either of them living in such scrutiny, but at least it is something that they can both understand. And best of all, both of them have a great support system in their friends and family. (Well, for the most part.)
Together Wyatt and Piper are a hoot. From their first introduction to the take no prisoners seduction campaign that Wyatt stages, there is laughter and fun and heat. He definitely makes it difficult for Piper to do what she feels is best and resist the oh-so-tempting QB. And then … *sigh* I knew before I started that Wyatt was going to do something to screw things up. (Well, one of them was and it was most likely going to be him.) That didn’t stop me from giving these two my heart and then watching him just stomp all over it. I understand why he does what he does – and major props to the guy for making up for it – but that didn’t stop me from getting mad and hurt … but that’s what tells you you’ve found a great book and an amazing author, right? That you get so invested in the characters that it feels like you are involved with them too?
I have loved this series from the beginning and I was super excited to be given the chance to not only read this one but to be involved in promoting it. At least until I realized that Ms. Crowne said this was it, the last of the series. Say it isn’t so!!! If this is your first chance to experience these rough and tumble football players (and the women who bring them to their knees) it is definitely a great place to start. But don’t blame me when you find yourself adding the rest to your TBR pile 🙂
Mackenzie Crowne is an award-winning, bestselling author, breast cancer survivor, and personal assistant to Freeway, a rambunctious pound puppy, Zoe, the blind cat, and Gato, a stray Tom with a big heart. Her friends call her Mac. She hopes you will too.
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