“Lost on Anna Maria Island” by Kristina Knight
Blurb: Florida Warriors star defensive end, Colby Sullivan, is the best in the business, but since his parents dropped the news that he not only had a biological sister but a biological twin sister, he’s been on his heels. He feels like he’s in the middle of a cover defense with no one backing him on the strong side. Colby knows, as the eldest, it is his job to keep the family going, but he can’t figure out what all this means to him with the daily interruptions from either his well-meaning parents or his rallying brothers. A flirtation with the girl next door is the perfect distraction, but all too soon she’s way past his defenses and heading for a touchdown that his heart just isn’t ready for.
Between her baby sister’s wedding and her job rehabbing Colby’s image, Madalyn Hunter is holding on by a thread. Mad understands football, cover defenses, and option offenses, but dealing with sneaky paparazzi, her sister’s obsession with the perfect wedding, and Colby’s not-friend-like kisses has her ready to throw a Hail Mary. The more time she spends with Colby, the harder it is to resist the gorgeous man who has always been her best friend. It’s fourth and goal with love on the line, but can Madalyn teach this star defender that the best way to protect his heart is to give it to her?
“I’m not here just because Henry thinks I need to be associated with football’s Queen of Nice. I’m here because there is something going on between the two of us that I can’t ignore any more.” He paused, and uncertainty floated into his eyes. Mad swallowed. “Mad, I don’t want to ignore it.” His voice took on a husky edge that made the hairs on the back of Mad’s neck stand up.
The butterflies stilled in her belly, and for a moment, everything else faded, too. It was just the two of them, and she knew the right thing to do would be to break whatever this spell was that was building between the two of them. For the first time in her life, she didn’t want to do the right thing. She didn’t want to be the nice girl, the good girl. For once, she wanted to do what she wanted to do. And she wanted to do it with Colby.
Dance in formal wear at this ridiculously theatrical party.
Walk on the beach in the moonlight.
Watch a romantic movie and share a bowl of popcorn and not make a concerted effort to keep her hand from brushing against his.
Wake up in his arms. Madalyn swallowed.
“Dance with me,” he said, holding out his hand. The band struck up a waltz. Of course, Livy’s first dance would be a waltz. From the corner of her eye, she watched Carlton sweep her sister onto the dance floor, the two of them flowing together as if they were part of the song. She could do that. Just let herself get swept away for a little bit.
Oh, this was going down the wrong path, and it was going fast. She should get things back under control. Back where Colby was her friend, and she understood that things between them would only ever be friend-related.
“Forget Henry and the paparazzi and my getting drunk the other night,” he said.
She needed to remind Colby they were friends, just friends. Remind him of the image rehab plans. Remind herself that this was only going to end in either broken-hearted suffering or the loss of a friendship.
“I want to dance with you, Mad.”
Madalyn ignored all the shoulds and reminders circling her mind, and put her hand in Colby’s. “Okay.” She wanted to dance with him, too. Maybe take things farther than a dance. Maybe, for the first time since they were kids, see if the undercurrents between them could be more than undercurrents.
Colby swept her onto the dance floor, which flowed around and over the pool area. Groomsmen and bridesmaids had joined Livy and Carlton, along with other party guests, on the dance floor. Madalyn caught a few flashes as different people took pictures, but she didn’t worry about what they were shooting or why. It was all she could do to keep her feet on the ground and to keep her heart from beating out of her chest.
Colby’s hand was warm at the small of her back. His thumb brushed bare skin at her waist, and Madalyn couldn’t hold back a shiver at his touch. His other hand was firm on hers, and he waltzed as effortlessly as he chased down running backs on the football field. She caught scents of ocean and something else that was inherently Colby. Something she usually worked hard at not allowing herself to notice.
Madalyn let herself be swept away. By the music, by Colby. She wasn’t completely sure. More than that, she didn’t care. Just for tonight, when things were already surreal from Livy’s elaborate staging, maybe it would be okay to lose herself in him.
Enjoy the feel of her skin against his, the way his hand seemed to burn, in the best possible way, where it touched her lower back.
**About the author: Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police – no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer’s capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she’s living her own happily ever after.
Kristina writes sassy contemporary romance novels; her books have appeared on Kindle Best Seller Lists. She loves hearing from readers, so drop her a line!