Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Blog Tour: Stealing Home by Nicole Williams

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Being the only woman working for a professional baseball team isn’t easy. As the San Diego Shock’s newest athletic trainer, Allie knows all about long hours, endless travel, and warding off players’ advances. Given she’s already the subject of a handful of rumors about how “lucky” she was to have earned such a coveted position, she can’t so much as flutter an eyelash a player’s way if she wants to be taken seriously.

But number eleven is doing more than fluttering eyelashes Allie’s way. Far more. Luke Archer is at the top of his game and doesn’t let the fear of striking out keep him from swinging. This is a motto he applies both on and off the field, but Allie appears immune, seeming to view Luke as nothing more than caution tape on legs.

He’s a player, and in Allie’s experience, they’re all the same. She won’t risk her job or her heart to another one, no matter how different this one claims to be. But as Allie gets to know him, she discovers the number eleven the public thinks they know is very different from the real Luke Archer. He seems too good to be true.

And maybe he is.

Allie will have to confront the stories attached to a player of Luke Archer’s stature and decide who she’ll put her faith in—The man she’s falling for? Or the rumors?

4.5 Stars
Review by Lisa Kane

Allie Eden is a professional trainer for the Shocks. She's worked her tail off to get here, but has pretty much sacrificed a personal life along the way. She was already gun shy of getting involved with anyone after her asshat of a boyfriend, Ben screwed around on her the whole time he was away at college. Of course her girlfriends all knew but said nothing. Every since then, a few guys have come and gone, but between her grueling schedule and her trust issues, but they don't really stand a chance. 

My lifestyle was costly, but it was worth it. Baseball was in my blood, and sports medicine was in my heart. 

Can there be a bigger turn on than a Hot Athlete? Luke Archer is the best hitter on the Shocks, he just may be the best in all of professional baseball. Since he's the hotshot on the team, the other trainer, Dax Shepherd attended to him. Dax is a sexist, insecure jerk. He's certainly no fan of Allie's. So when Allie gets dumped by way of text and Luke notices her down in the dumps look, she's more than a little surprised. 

"Doc? Archer's voice broke through my haze of thoughts. "Just give me his name and I'll take care of it."

Huh? He's never had a conversation with her but he knows when she's upset? Maybe Luke has noticed more than Allie realizes. It would seem that Luke knows exactly how hard Allie works, and might just be more than a little attracted. 

He pointed at his eyes. "I've got two of these and use them for observation on occasion."

Now Allie's heard some talk that Luke is a love 'em and leave 'em kind of guy. But there's a lot she doesn't know about this guy. Mostly-he's sweet, caring and ever since his parents' death, he's been responsible for his three little sisters. There's more to this jock than what meets the eye. Even if what meets the eye is more than a little easy on the eyes. 

"I've known you've existed from the first day you walked out onto the diamond at spring practice."

So now that we know he's all in, what is Allie going to do about it? Getting involved with a player on the team she works for is professional suicide. But is she sick of playing it safe? 

"Is your fear of being hurt and betrayed and lied to really in the past? Or is it in the same room with us now, waiting for the chance to come between us?"
My forehead crossed as I considered what he was saying. "It's behind me."
Luke nodded. "Good. Because I don't want to pay for some other asshole's mistakes."

I loved this book-Luke is a good guy. Of course he has a few secrets and when they come out (and they always come out don't they?) how's he going to explain why he didn't tell Allie things he should have told her? Allie has big trust issues and secrets aren't something she will deal with easily. I love angst and this one has it but it but not enough that it will crush your heart. 

Stealing Home is sweet and sexy and full of humor. Two likable characters, great baseball action and a host of secondary characters that balance the story line. Ms. Williams' has hit it out of the ballpark with this one!

Luke Archer might have been the one who'd stolen home plate, but I'd stolen my own kind of home. Because sometimes you had to fight for the things you wanted.
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“Shouldn’t you buy me dinner first or something?” Archer smirked at me when he lifted up onto his elbows as I tugged his sweats down his legs.
“Tell you what,” I replied after I gave one last pull, freeing the dark gray sweats from him. After handing him a towel, I waited for him to drape it over his lap. Instead he curled it up and tossed it across the hotel room. “How about I draw you a nice, soothing, relaxing bath? Full of ice.”
As I came around the side of his bed, it took all of my concentration to focus on the compress I needed to unwrap instead of what was resting just a little higher. At least he had underwear on, but it wasn’t like they provided much coverage. Especially when what was tucked inside them looked about ready to burst free.
And dammit. I’d looked. From the way I could feel him watching me, he knew I’d looked too.
“Another ice bath. Sounds perfect. Since my balls aren’t already blue enough.” Archer spread his legs open farther as I reached down to unwind the compress circling his upper right thigh.
“Yeah, well, that’s what you get for not listening to the recommendation of your athletic trainer to take it easy.” I unwound the bandage slowly, not wanting to further inflame the area. “Every three hours, we’ll alternate fifteen minutes of ice and heat.”
“Yay.” He cleared his throat when my fingers brushed his inner thigh as I unwound the last of the compress Shepherd had wrapped back in the locker room after his first ice bath. “Since you got to decide on the ice option, how about I decide on the heat option?”
From the low notes in his voice, I knew exactly what he meant. “The plan is to calm the tear. Not further aggravate it.”
“Okay. I can work with that.” When I exhaled, he added, “I’ve got ideas.”
“Ideas that involve what you have in mind and not using your groin muscles?” My gaze wandered back to that part of his anatomy. Right before moving onto a different part of it. Holy shit. Something about knowing he wanted me and wasn’t concerned with hiding that desire made me dizzy. “Good luck with that.”
Archer watched me as I disappeared into the bathroom to turn off the water filling the tub. “Never underestimate the ingenuity of a desperate man.”
After testing the temperature of the bath, I grabbed one more bag of ice and dumped it in. I’d arranged to have four new bags arrive every few hours through the night so I could mitigate the damage Archer’s pulled groin muscle would have on his season.
The team doctor had done an exam in the locker room and assured Coach Beckett that with aggressive care these first twenty-four hours, Archer should be able to play the game in New Orleans three days from now.
From my own exam, I knew the doctor was giving Coach a serious case of lip service. The only way Archer would be able to play the Shock’s next game was if we injected him with every illegal substance in this sport and on the market in general. It was a class two pull—no amount of walking off would fix this in a couple days’ time.
“Are you hungry, Doc?” Archer called from the other room.
“That depends on the context of that question.”
His laugh carried into the bathroom. “You know me too well. However, in this instance, I’m referring to hunger as in for food. The room service type specifically. I can order something for us so we can eat once you’re done cryogenically freezing my gonads.”
Wandering back into his room, I dried off my hands with a towel. “Hey, this isn’t my fault—I warned you to take it easy.”
I ceremoniously waved my arms toward the bathroom, feeling nervous. I’d given so many ice baths I could have filled an entire ocean with them, but this one was different. It was for Luke Archer. In his hotel room instead of the locker room. Plus, back there, the entire coaching and medical staff had been present, pow-wowing a plan of treatment. No one else was here now though.
Just me. Just him. And a locked door.
“Dinner?” Archer waved the room service menu at me.
“I’ll order it for us. We need to get you in the tub before you get any more swollen.”
Archer’s gaze swept down his body, landing on the very part of him I was trying not to inspect. “I can think of something to help with the ‘swelling.’”
Crossing my arms, I gave him an unfazed look. “I’m here to see to your leg. Not your dick.”
“I think that by taking care of one, you’ll be taking care of the other.”
“True. Ice baths are up to the task of tending to torn muscles and swollen dicks. So let’s get started.”
Archer lay stretched out in bed for another minute, calling my bluff, but when I made no move to throw myself at him, he sighed. “The ice bath it is.”
“Good choice.”

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Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.


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