Excerpt from Naughty Balls by Suz deMello

Copyright © Suz deMello, 2015

Note: The short story is about two college basketball players who find themselves alone on V-Day evening. (M/F)

“I tell you what.” He was already close, and shifted so he was even closer.

I stared at his chest to avoid getting trapped by his gaze again. Not the best idea to avoid distraction. His chest was ripped like the rest of him and shiny with sweat. Not gross sweat. Sexy sweat.

I wanted to lick it.

I blinked, startled by the thought.

I wanted to lick Orlando Havens’ chest.

Actually, I wanted to do a lot more than lick Orlando’s chest.

He put a finger under my chin and raised my head so I’d have to look him in the eyes. His gaze was curiously intense. He said, “If we’re gonna play, someone oughta pay.”

I scrunched my eyebrows together.

He went on, “Let’s make a bet. You win, you get my manager’s name and number. I win, I…get…you.”

“You…what?” I was so far out of my depth I was drowning.

He grinned at me.

I breathed, felt, thought, then breathed again. Heavily. “That’s not exactly Sophie’s choice,” I said slowly. “But it’s a tough one.”

“Yeah?” His smile was a little smug and a lot sexy.

OMG. I realized with more than a little surprise that he was really interested in me. Not only as an athlete, but as a person.

As a woman.

Who’da thunk it? Not me.

I found myself grinning. “This is great. I win either way.” I looked him in the eyes again and allowed my eyelashes to flutter. “Don’t I?”

“So do I. I reckon I already won.”

“How’s that?”

“I didn’t know you liked me.”

My mouth dropped open. “Of course I do. Who doesn’t?”

He humphed. “A lot of people. And a lot of folks just wanna use me. You better look out for that, too, girl.”

“If anyone’s using me, I haven’t noticed.”

“You just got here, l’il Ms. Freshman. Come March Madness, people ’round here are gonna notice you even if you don’t bother noticing them. You’re gonna get hit on like you’re a punching bag.”

“Hm.” Nerves twitched in my belly. Starting to sweat, I unzipped my hoodie. “What do I do about it?”

“I’ll watch your back if you watch mine. If you want.”

“Oh, I want.” I again looked him square in the eyes. “I definitely want.”

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