Detroit’s expansion pro team has a hot star forward, fresh from the English Premiere League. Thanks to a series of fatal misunderstandings coupled with his famous temper, Declan MacGuire only has one thing left to him—soccer—and he’s determined not to make the same mistakes in his new life stateside.
Emily Keller, an accidental low-level PR flunkie for the team watches as Declan gets sucked into a whirlwind romance with Cassandra Dean, the team’s Queen Bee groupie, trying not to be jealous while the woman maneuvers him into a sickeningly familiar situation.
When things escalate, the team is forced to take sides, and Declan faces the toughest choice of his life.
“Hey,” a familiar voice said, making her flinch and almost knock over the glass of ice water the bartender had helpfully provided. She looked up and came face to face with Declan, his deep green eyes sparkly, his thick auburn hair slicked back, that stupid shirt hanging open, per marketing department instruction. Her eyes went directly to his cut torso as if pulled by magnets. She blinked and looked away.
“Hey there.” She held up a finger, figuring it time to resume the alcohol intake. Maybe she could pass out on the way home in the cab and just forget this night ever happened. She shifted when he took the seat next to her and brushed her arm with his.
“It ended all right, didn’t it? I mean, for the charity or whatever it was?” He grinned at her, forcing her to match it and sending a zing of lust from the base of her spine to her toes. That singsong voice—dear Lord, but she could listen to it all night. And she would, if given half the chance.
Stop it, Emily.
“Um, yeah. I mean. It’s for, uh…” She gulped, realizing she’d totally forgotten the cause du jour that had made her have to chaperone this nightmare. “Food Pantry.”
“Right,” he said, accepting a cup of coffee from the bartender. “Cheers, mate.” He sipped, looking straight ahead while she sat, gnawing the inside of her cheek and wishing she could unhear what she’d just heard in the hallway.
“Gabe and Lillian leave?” She sipped the fresh gin and tonic, hand shaking. It was their common conversational thread and she grasped at it.
“Aye,” he said.
The silence took on a heaviness that made it hard to breathe. When she risked a glance at him he was staring at her, his eyes narrowed. “What?” she said, startled and defensive. “Do I have lime in my teeth?”
“No,” he said and resumed sipping his coffee in silence.
She clenched her jaw, willing something resembling a coherent small-talk starter or even a mildly flirtatious comment to emerge. Nothing. She cleared her throat, sipped, cleared it again, sipped some more. Her heartbeat pounded in her ears. The heat from his leg seemed to increase. She moved her thigh ever so slightly away.
“Well,” they said in unison. She giggled and nearly fainted when a flush crept up his neck into his cheeks.
“You first,” they said together.
“Cut it out,” she said. “God, you’re making me feel like a dolt.”
“Me?” He reared back in mock dismay, hand to his bare—very bare—chest.
“Yeah, you. Where’s Jason? Please tell me he didn’t decide to carry his vendetta outside the building?”
“Nah, he’s over there.” Declan pointed behind her. “He’s the one in the lip lock with, ah, what’s her name. I think she’s actually gonna play on the women’s team.”
“Oh, okay,” Emily said, suddenly recalling the recent lip lock she’d been privy to.
“I think Coop is messing with your office girl,” Declan said, motioning for the bartender to refill his cup.
“We call them ‘interns’ in the twenty-first century, at least here in the colonies.”
He laughed and blushed again. She had to sit on her hands not to touch his face, to not brush a lock of thick red hair off his forehead.
“Aye, well, you know what I mean.” He rubbed his jaw and ran his hand around the back of his neck. “Bastard really clocked me.”
“I know. I’m sorry.” She let herself do it—to reach out and just graze his shirt-covered biceps with her fingertips. He flinched as if she’d burned him. “I mean…right. Well.” She sighed and consumed the entire drink in a gulp.
Declan gave a low whistle. “I do love a woman who can do that. It’s the English in me, I guess.”
“English?” She said, wiping her lips with a BJG-logoed napkin. The bit of the booze that wasn’t headed straight to her brain sloshed around in her bloodstream, reminding her of her lack of food in the past few hours.
Oh well. Fuck it.
She turned to him and leaned on one elbow, deciding to flirt because why not?
For some reason, the bar didn’t materialize under her arm and she sensed herself sliding sideways. The teetering barstool made a loud screeching sound right before Emily shut her eyes, waiting for the inevitable embarrassing landing.
But there were strong, warm arms around her waist and lips at her ear, making her eyes fly open.
“Gotcha, PR lady,” Declan said. She swallowed hard and got her feet under her, stepping away from him at the precise second Cassandra appeared, smiling until she saw that Declan still had one hand on Emily’s arm. “You all right?” he said, looking into her very soul.
Oh good Christ, stop it! You are drunk off your ass. This is no stupid romance novel. He is not looking into your soul. He’s staring down the front of your sleazy costume.
“Well, isn’t this cozy,” Cassandra-who’d-just-been-fucked-by-Max said with a sneer.
“Where’s Max?” Emily asked, unable to stop herself, even while knowing better than to engage in any kind of a cat-fight with this bitch.
She had to give the woman credit. Not even a quick blink or blush to acknowledge the blatant cheat. Emily watched as Cassandra ran her fingers through her hair, and then touched Declan’s arm. He let go of Emily and stepped away, blinking fast as if waking up from a trance.
“Time to go, Scotty, my darling.” Cassandra took his hand and turned him away without another word. But as Emily bent down to slip her shoes off, grateful yet sad to let go of the moment, the other woman looked around and pinned her with an accusatory glare.
With a long sigh Emily righted the overturned barstool and sat slumped, mostly makeup-less and wishing herself anywhere in the universe but here.
Bad boy of European football, Nicolas Garza is about to hit American shores with a vengeance. Signed by the Detroit Black Jack Gentlemen as lynch pin for their expansion club, Nicco only half believes he’s making the right move. But with a past full of ghosts and rotten behavior chasing him from his homeland, he has no real choice.
Parker Rollings is a college soccer superstar, but his parents’ plans for their only son do not include professional athletics. When the Black Jacks approach him to finalize their roster, Parker leaps at the chance to keep playing, leaving behind medical school, stability and his first and only college sweetheart.
Nicco and Parker face off as bitter rivals for a coveted starting spot at midfield and are forced to channel their negative energy into something positive for the sake of the group—and themselves.
All eyes are on the fledgling team in its debut season. It’s crucial that the Black Jacks prove all the doubters wrong. They must make a good showing in the league and with new fans. But player drama, club dynamics, and misplaced priorities may tear it apart before it even begins.
Free will makes us human.
Choice makes us individuals.
Love makes us unique.
Metin Sevim has it all. At the pinnacle of international soccer playing success, he has managed to craft a perfect world for himself along the way.
When fate strips him of free will and the ability to choose his own path, he retreats from everyone and everything, destroying his hard-won career in the process.
Dragged back from the brink by his desperate family, Metin reluctantly agrees to coach the Black Jack Gentlemen Detroit soccer team but remains debilitated by memories and loss. When a surprising friendship emerges, it renews his passion for life, providing much needed solace… and extreme complications.
A saga of family dynamics and gender politics that cuts across cultures and circumstance, Red Card illustrates the human capacity for forgiveness through the life of one man as he attempts to rebuild his shattered existence.
A submissive once, a submissive forever?
A man on the run from the only life he’s ever known, Brody Vaughn is poised to accept the Black Jack Gentleman’s newly vacant goalkeeper’s position. It’s a desperate move, but one he must take to regain his emotional equilibrium. Reeling from his Mistress’s rejection and on the ragged edge of a total breakdown, he arrives in Detroit. Numb with thinly veiled grief, he walks into the club’s front office completely unaware that an encounter with true destiny awaits him.
Sophie Harrison has seen it all–as Domme, sub, and victim. Now that her complicated circumstances have landed her as legal counsel for the expansion Black Jacks team, she holds herself aloof in body and spirit. Nothing and no one gets past her fiercely guarded walls. Until the day she looks up to greet the new goalie standing in her doorway, his raw combination of vulnerability and strength making her breathless.
Two people, horribly scarred by the excesses of the BDSM lifestyle and hiding from their true selves, meet across a desk over a simple contract. All bets are off.
$20 Gift Card and winner’s book of choice from Liz’s backlist
How did you come up with the idea for this story?
I’m a huge fan of soccer, at almost every level, since my daughter plays at the National league level with her team full of 17 year old girls and we subscribe to every soccer channel available to us. Living in Europe for several years had a lot of influence on that too but honestly, it’s the game with the hottest dudes, so….yeah. I figured, Detroit needed a team and it would be a team full of misfits and outcasts.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Um….usually in the bottom of a bottle of craft beer.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Trying to be heard above the crowd of book options when my books don’t adhere to any formula.
What are your current projects?
Finishing up The Love Brothers, currently my best selling series with FAMILY LOVE, the final novel, releasing September 2, 105. Also, looking ahead to a 6th revision of my thriller novel PRECIOUS VESSEL. Plus a couple of hot RE (Real Estate) romance novels coming end of the year: APPRAISED & CONTINGENT.
Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.
Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction hybrid, “Unconventional Romance. Worth the Risk,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
Don’t ever ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.
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