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Southern Player (Charleston Heat #2)
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I’m looking for a hot hookup with no strings attached. And I want my older brother’s best friend to step up to the plate…
My dating history is lame. My experiences in bed? Even lamer. As the owner of a thriving business, I’m used to calling the shots. But one place I don’t always want to be in charge is in the bedroom.
Enter Luke Rodgers. My brother’s best friend. Former major league baseball player. A guy who now hangs out on his farm, sweaty and shirtless, as he nurses a shoulder injury.
If the rumors are true, he also likes to work up a sweat behind closed doors. A total MVP in the sack.
Just the take charge guy I’m looking for.
With Luke and I, it’s game on. And it’s all good until Luke decides he wants forever, and he wants it with me.
I’m just not convinced I can trust Luke. Will he keep playing the field and break my heart? Or is he really ready to hang up his cleats for good?
SOUTHERN PLAYER is a full length, STANDALONE romance.
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He was a Duke.
One of the richest, most powerful men in England.
She was a bluestocking. A nobody who spent her days with books, tutoring girls from the village.
“A strange duck,” as her uncle called her.
She and the Duke inhabited different worlds. Moved in circles that never overlapped.
But here in the privacy of his bedchamber, he was just Max. She was just Jane.
And they were about to get naked.
His blue eyes reflected the light of the fire as they met hers.
“You asked me to aid you in your exploration of pleasure,” Max said. “I am honored by your trust, Miss DuPont. Know that you can ask anything of me, no matter how depraved you believe it to be, and I shall give it to you. Gladly.”
Jane’s heart went soft, even as the need in her sex tightened. He understood.
He made her feel safe. And wanton. All at once.
“Depravity,” she managed, swallowing. “I’m intrigued.”
Max’s lips twitched. Gaze locked on hers, he held up his hands in silent request.
He slipped his finger inside the low neck of her bodice. Her body rose into the simple caress, heaviness gathering between her legs.
“Tell me something,” he said.
“What is it you’re really after? Within the pleasure? Beyond it?”
Jane swallowed. Thought about her answer for one heartbeat, then another.
“Intensity,” she said at last. “Transcendence.”
Max smiled. “Ah. Merely the meaning of life, then.”
“Not the meaning of life,” she replied. “Just the sensation of it. I want to feel alive.”
His finger dipped lower, catching on her nipple. “Ask and you shall re—
I blink at the sound of a horn. Drawing up short on the sidewalk, I narrowly avoid being run over by a gigantic SUV, scruffy bros hanging out the windows. It’s plastered with College of Charleston stickers. I hold up my hand in apology.
As the bros drive away, I put that hand on my chest.
My heart is pounding. Jesus, that was close.
And Jesus is Max the Duke distracting. Delicious. Dedicated in all the right ways.
I pull my ear buds out of my ears. Audiobooks are the bomb. But if I’m not careful, My Deal With the Duke is going to get me killed. It’s the second historical romance my brother’s girlfriend, Olivia, recently published. And just like her first book, My Enemy the Earl, it’s really, really good.
So good it’s making me wish I could time travel to 1800s England to find a broad shouldered, erotically adventurous, politically woke Duke to hang out with. My love life has left me disheartened lately. The plan I’ve always had in my head—where I find my own happily ever after with my soul mate—hasn’t panned out the way I hoped it would by this point in my life.
Looking both ways this time, I cross Meeting Street and hang a left onto Queen. The pavement wavers in the heat of the afternoon sun. I’ve barely walked half a mile, but sweat beads on my forehead and makes my tank top feel clammy against my skin.
The heat is typical for mid-June in Charleston. Down here summer starts in May and usually doesn’t end until October. Ten miles away, at the beach, breezes make the heat bearable.
But downtown? It’s a fiery, humid, airless furnace.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my city. Never want to leave. Its magic is considerably less potent, however, when you’re walking around with perpetual swamp ass.
I pluck at my tank top, fanning it to get some air circulating. The heat is making me second guess my decision to head to my brother Elijah’s restaurant, The Pearl, for a quick bite. It’s a little after four, which means he’s about to feed his staff before dinner service begins. He always has his chefs make a little extra for drop-ins like me.
But right now, I’m more thirsty than hungry. I just finished up one of my shifts behind the counter at Holy City Roasters, the coffee shop I own on Wentworth Street. I walk to and from work every day—I live just down the street here on Queen. Usually the mile-long walk is enjoyable, especially in the morning.
Today, though, it’s killing my appetite.
Still. I know some grits and good conversation with my brother and his staff will make me feel better about things. I’ve been bumming a bit ever since my ex, Nick, broke things off a couple months back.
To be honest, it’s not Nick I’m bumming over. Although I still feel a good bit of shame when I think about his reaction to some of the fantasies I shared with him. I didn’t even share the good ones. When I look back on it, I realize how much of myself I smothered—hid—to try and make Nick happy.
I’m a romantic at heart. Always have been. I want to hit it off and feel all the feelings and experience great, real, lasting love.