Book Title: Playing by the Rules (Miami Piranhas Book 3)
Author and Publisher: Beth Bolden
Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood Designs
Release Date: October 7, 2022
Genres: Gay contemporary sports romance
Tropes: Forbidden romance, friends to lovers
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 103 000 words
It is #3 in the series.
Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited
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Ex-quarterback Davis Abernathy knows he’s on his last chance.
If he strikes out as Paxton Kelly’s coach, nobody else is going to call him. Not to get back on the field, and not to stand on the sidelines.
He’s got a lot to teach Pax, and as a second-year quarterback, Pax has a lot to learn. But Davis doesn’t anticipate the irresistible way they’ll be drawn together from their first meeting. He never could have predicted such a fierce and uncontrollable yearning—or that Pax would feel the same.
It should be easy to remember rules aren’t meant to be broken, and certain lines aren’t meant to be crossed, but the only thing that’s easy is falling totally, completely in love with Pax.
As Davis falls harder, Pax succeeding becomes just as important—and maybe more so—than resurrecting his own career. If he messes this up, his last chance isn’t all he’ll be sacrificing.
What he should be is focused on being the perfect mentor. But what he wants is Pax in his bed, Pax in his life, and more impossibly, to win Pax’s heart forever.
Davis gave Pax credit, watching him after the game, because he put on a good face. The kind of face that a leader would wear when one of his players had an extraordinary game, and Dylan undeniably had. He’d tied the record for the most field goals made in a single game.
Davis thought he might be the only one who saw the frustration lingering in Pax’s face. The only one who looked close enough to see it.
After he finished with the press conference, Davis went to find him.
And found him, just as he’d expected, back to the wall in a tiny empty hallway a few doors down from the media room.
This was always where he went to decompress after a game, and after the media had finished tearing him apart.
Davis knew it wasn’t goddamn easy, and he didn’t begrudge Pax the quiet time he needed. Whatever was required to rebuild the confidence, to shore up the walls that everyone constantly kept trying to tear down.
When he appeared in the mouth of the hallway, Pax glanced up. “I just need another minute,” he said.
“It’s cool,” Davis said. He took the spot right next to Pax, leaning against the wall, too. Didn’t say anything else. Just watched.
It wasn’t really allowed to watch him this way.
But he did it anyway.
Pax’s head was tipped back, eyes closed, as the stress of the day slowly slipped off his face. He had a good week’s worth of scruff, golden brown and glinting even in the darkened light of the hallway. He’d unbuttoned his suit jacket, and Davis could see the shadow of his torso under the white shirt he wore underneath it.
Davis’ fingers flexed. He wanted so bad to reach out and touch, even though he knew he couldn’t.
But for one minute, for sixty seconds, he let himself really want it; for once, didn’t try to bury the desire, just felt it. It didn’t make this any easier, but there was something freeing about letting himself have this. Even if it was only for a brief moment.
He was on second sixty-seven when finally, Pax spoke.
“My hips weren’t loose,” he said ruefully.
“What? I’m shocked,” Davis teased.
“No, you’re not.” Pax sighed. “What are we gonna do about it?”
“How do you know there’s something we’re going to do about it?”
Pax shot him a look. Hot, singeing him around the edges. The desire flared, but this time, Davis stuffed it right back down, right back into its box, straining at the corners and joints. But it held. Barely.
They’d won the game today. They were four and two, and they’d won their last four games. Pax had come so far. The last thing Davis needed to do was lose himself.
“Okay, fine, yeah, I’m gonna do something about it. But you’re not going to like it.”
“Oh, I didn’t think I was going to like it.” Pax’s voice was very dry. He still hadn’t opened his eyes, but Davis knew that if he did, he’d see amusement in them.
And trust. So much trust.
Was it any wonder he couldn’t betray that?
“If it’s any consolation, I’m not sure I’ll like it either.” He already knew he wouldn’t. But it would make Paxton a better football player, and that was the only thing that mattered. Not all of his sleepless nights, not all of his pointless yearning, not any of the feelings that he kept trying to push away.
About the Author
A lifelong Pacific Northwester, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.
Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published twenty-three novels and seven novellas.
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