Book Title: Playing Deep (Miami Piranhas Book 5)
Author and Publisher: Beth Bolden
Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood Designs
Release Date: February 15, 2023
Genre: gay contemporary sports romance
Tropes: hookups to lovers, mysterious past, player and reporter
Themes: loyalty, honor, and unconditional love
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 98 000 words
It is #5 in the series, but could be read by itself.
“You really didn’t know who I was, did you?” Kenyon asked.
Julian shot him a look. “I told you, you’re going to believe what you want to believe.”
“I want to believe,” Kenyon said, his voice a little unsteady, “whatever the truth is. That’s all. I promise.”
“What if the truth isn’t what you want to hear?” Julian angled his head, licked his lips. He was trying to be flirty again. Tough. Put those walls back up between them. Kenyon could see his technique now, easy as breathing.
The thing was, Kenyon could never hate Julian flirting with him. Even if it was because he was trying to deflect from the truth.
He pressed a palm right into Julian’s chest, felt the firmness of his pectoral muscles. He was slim, but he was strong. What would he look like naked?
Gorgeous, that’s what he’d look like.
Kenyon kept trying not to think about it, but instead, it was all he could think about, the possibilities fogging up his brain, obscuring every bit of good sense he had.
“Fine,” Julian said with a resigned sigh. Like he was finally giving in. “Fine. Okay. I didn’t know who you were.”
Kenyon curled his fingers into the cotton of Julian’s polo. This one was baby blue with a tiny white and red stripe through it. The man looked like the hottest goddamn American flag that he’d ever seen.
It should have been such an asshole move, like he was the guy who mounted a flag on the back of his giant truck, or hung one from the tallest mast of his fucking sailboat, and Kenyon should’ve been desperate to steer clear. But that wasn’t Julian. He knew it wasn’t. He could see just a flash, just a glimpse of the guy behind the polo. Behind the act. So, instead, he took another step closer. Until he felt the warmth of Julian’s thighs through the thin fabric of his shorts.
“Thank you,” Kenyon said. “I think we both deserved the truth, didn’t we? It was . . .” He hesitated.
There was another crack in Julian’s armor. A genuine smile, flashed quickly, Kenyon barely getting the impact of it before it was gone. “The best thing that could’ve happened and also the worst?”
“I think,” Kenyon said, dipping his head, so tempted to just end this ridiculous standoff by kissing Julian so thoroughly he always smiled at him that way, “we should just focus on the best part.”
Julian shot him an unimpressed look, clearly trying to pretend he wasn’t affected by Kenyon’s nearness, but Kenyon could feel the faintest tremor in his chest, just like he’d trembled last night and there was no denying it now. Kenyon wanted him to give in. Wanted to feel him shake when all that self-possession and self-control fell and the orgasm overtook him.
“It would be a terrible idea to do it again,” Julian said. There was a look in his eyes, though, that said he wouldn’t exactly mind it.
Kenyon knew it was a bad idea to repeat their initial mistake. But they’d done it last night, hadn’t they, and the world hadn’t stopped revolving. Coach hadn’t found out. Julian’s boss hadn’t discovered any deep, dark, dirty secrets about him.
“You know what I think?” Kenyon asked.
“What?” He was still pretending. Kenyon could feel it, and wanted nothing more than to strip Julian down to the bare essentials, so he could see the real man behind the act.
“I think you want me.” He stripped off the practice jersey. Tossed it on the floor. Then reached over and tugged Julian’s polo out of his jeans.
Julian didn’t stop him. Just kept looking at him with those inscrutable eyes.
Like they could see right through him, see down to every single thing he kept close, every single thing he hid from the world.
It was all laid bare before Julian.
“I think you,” Julian said in a soft, damning voice, “want me.”
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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