The Heat of the Moment
The Boys of Summer # 3
By: Katie Rose
Releasing September 22, 2015
Physical therapist Jessica Hart has learned her lesson: Never date professional athletes. She’s been down that road, and barely recovered after the relationship crashed and burned. Then Jessica meets Gavin King. An All-Star slugger with chiseled good looks, Gavin was traded to the Sonics because he hurt his knee sliding into second, and now his future is in her hands. Gavin’s no bad boy—but he’s tempting enough to make Jessica think twice about all her rules.
Gavin is trying to find a comfortable routine. If he wants his old life back, he must take it easy, stay out of the limelight, and keep his distance from gorgeous redheaded physical therapists. The thing is, Gavin isn’t the kind of guy to sit on his ass and let other people pull his weight. And when he sees something he wants, he can’t help but fight for it, even if it means risking everything, even if it only lasts a single moment: like one kiss from Jessica.
“Okay, let’s try the crunches with your feet a little higher on the bench. If that goes well, we can add it to your routine.”
Jessica Hart bent over to arrange the baseball player’s sneakers in the proper position on the bench, completely missing the once-over he gave her. Clad in sweats and a tank top, her copper-colored hair in braids and a Sonics cap on her head in an effort to restrain a multitude of curls, she was the kind of woman who wouldn’t appreciate a lascivious glance.
But when she rose, Roger Adams couldn’t help but openly admire her toned athletic body, biceps that rivaled those of some of the players, and the sheer strength of her physique as she tossed one leg over his trunk and positioned his shoulders in a perfect square. Her face was intriguing, with a turned-up nose and a sprinkle of freckles, her green eyes intense, and somehow her workout clothes only enhanced a feminine beauty that seemed innate.
“Christ,” Roger moaned even as he lifted his back off the floor. “I’m sick of working out. Besides, I have a groin injury. What the hell do crunches have to do with that?”
“Everything,” Jessica said firmly. “These exercises work your core. If your body is balanced, injuries are a lot less likely. Besides,” she added, giving him a thoughtful look, “Matt Carpenter never complained about a few sit-ups. But then again, he was in much better shape.”
That did it. Roger threw himself into the workout, determined to show her and Matt Carpenter that no one bested him. Squatting beside him to count, she hid a grin.
As the new sports therapist for the New Jersey Sonics, Jessica knew more than she ever wanted to about motivating athletes. She had grown up in a house full of brothers, all of whom went on to play pro sports. So she understood how they thought, what made them tick. She also knew that even though they were bigger and stronger than she was, they weren’t a damn sight better.
When she was in high school, her physical education teacher suggested she take up cheerleading, and she had laughed out loud at the idea. The thought of standing on the sidelines with a couple of pom-poms, a ponytail, and a push-up bra was totally ridiculous to her. Instead, she wanted to compete, to be treated as an equal. Unfortunately she discovered that for a female, the world hadn’t gotten there quite yet.
So she became a sports therapist, utilizing her skills and knowledge of the male athletic psyche to become a successful trainer. After a few temporary positions, she got offered a job in New Jersey thanks to her brother Rory, and established her reputation among the jocks.
The position was just to her liking: the Sonics were a fairly new team, filled with reckless young rookies looking to make it to the big time, players who would certainly get hurt and need her help.
She was on board.
“That’s fifty,” Roger said, collapsing on the mat, puffing from the exertion.
“It was forty-eight. But I guess if that’s all you’ve got in you . . .” She shrugged indifferently.
He completed the last of the set and went on to add five more, hoping to impress her. But she was already preoccupied with the weights on the wall, carefully selecting a pair of dumbbells for his next torture.
“Give me thirty reps, the first ten slow, then pick up the pace. We need to get these arms in shape.” She indicated his biceps. “No wonder you’ve hit zero for twenty.”
His eyes blazed, but as she’d predicted, he worked even harder. By the time they were done, she almost felt sorry for him. Roger was dripping in sweat, red from exertion, and trying to hide his puffing.
“Okay, you’re done for the day. Good work.”
He beamed like a three-year-old who had been praised for putting away his blocks. Rising, he grabbed a towel and proceeded to blot some of the sweat that now gleamed from his torso. Tossing it aside, he approached her with a speculative look in his eyes.
“You know, we work together every day and yet we don’t hang out. Why don’t we grab a few beers, get to know each other?” He gave her his most charming grin and reached up to finger a lock of hair that had escaped from her cap.
Jessica burst into laughter. “That’s very flattering, but no thanks.”
“Why not?” He seemed genuinely puzzled. “Some guy screw you over?”
She froze for a second before putting the mat away, and then she turned to look him in the eye. “Not that it’s any of your business, but with the exception of my brothers, I don’t care for professional athletes.”
“Why?” Roger asked, bewildered.
“Because you all have egos the size of the state of Texas, and you want to screw everything that moves. You don’t care about anything but the game and yourself. What about all that would be appealing to me?”
“Come on, we’re not that bad,” he said with a smirk and tried to pull her into his embrace.
She laughed and threw a fresh towel at him, chuckling when it smacked his head. “You are exactly that bad. Hit the shower. Same time tomorrow. Got it?”
Roger grinned. “Yeah. I get it.”
She hoped for his sake he did.
Author InfoAward-winning historical author Katie Rose makes her contemporary debut with the Boys of Summer novels, Bring on the Heat and Too Hot to Handle, which combine Katie’s true loves: baseball and romance! When not watching baseball, Katie is at her lake house in New Jersey, hard at work on her next book.
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