USA TODAY Bestselling Author Dakota Madison returns with another spicy sports romance. This story set in the world of college basketball.
Neuroscience student SEDONA MILLER is perfectly imperfect. She’s slightly nerdy and slightly eccentric, but completely brilliant.
When an unfortunate accident leaves Sedona with an injured arm and she’s fired from her part-time job shelving books at the university library she has to find a new gig fast.
The only job available mid-semester is working as a tutor for the athletic academic center. And the notorious bad boy of the university’s basketball team, JESSE WALKER, is the one and only guy on the new tutor’s roster.
But when SEDONA discovers a secret that could ruin the school’s winning basketball team doing the right thing could mean destroying the only guy she’s ever loved.
When I finally hit the last room in a long row of rooms I see a guy sitting there looking bored and staring at two fast food containers in front of him on the table.
He glances up at me when I enter. The first thing I notice is his piercing green eyes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen eyes that green on a human being that weren’t Photoshopped
The second thing I notice is his messy, light brown hair. It doesn’t look like it’s been combed it in a week. It makes me wonder if it’s some new hair trend or if he just doesn’t bother to style it. Not that I have too much room to talk when it comes to hair. My curly red mop has been the bane of my existence since I was a kid. About the only thing I can ever do with it is pull it back into a pony tail.
“Have a seat.” He points to the chair right next to him.
I remember Lewis’s warning and take a seat across the table instead. I want to be as close to the door as possible. The guy is big and muscular and much more intimidating than I imagined he’d be.
My heart is thumping in my chest because his size and rough demeanor are making me nervous.
When he pushes one of the fast food containers in my direction I cringe. I rarely eat fast food and when I do it’s from Just Veggies, an organic vegetarian place near campus.
He doesn’t hesitate to open his container and take a bite of the messy burger that’s dripping some kind of white sauce all over his pile of fries.
My stomach turns in response.
“I bought you a burger.” He points to the second container he’s pushed in my direction. “Ambrose scheduled our sessions during lunch.”
I make a point of pushing the container back over to him. “No thank you.”
He frowns. “It’s from Frankie’s. Everybody loves Frankie’s burgers.”
“Clearly not everyone.”
His brows knit like he can’t believe I refused the food he bought.
“You don’t want it?” He actually sounds hurt.
“No, I don’t.”
I lift my book bag from the ground and point to one of the many political cause buttons I have covering the knitted tote my mom made for me.
He barely acknowledges it. “What is that supposed to mean?”
Now I’m the one who’s frowning. “Meat is murder. It’s a slogan. It means that I don’t eat animal flesh.”
“You’re one of those vegans?” He doesn’t bother hiding the condescension in his voice.
“Technically I’m a vegetarian. I eat free range, organic dairy products.”
“Fine. I’ll eat the burger.” He glares at me as he opens the second container and takes a huge bite of the burger.
I’m appalled until I notice that he slyly pushes both containers away and doesn’t take another bite of either burger.
“I guess I should have brought an apple for the teacher.”
“Only if it’s organic. And I’m not actually a teacher. I’m a tutor.”
We both stare at each other for a long moment. Awkward does not even begin to describe our pairing. We’re like two people from different planets trying to communicate when we don’t speak each other’s languages.
I remove a slip of paper from my bag. “Mr. Ambrose gave me your schedule of classes for the semester. You’re taking Film Appreciation, The History of Jazz, Advanced Yoga and Stress Management. What’s your major?”
He shrugs. “Undeclared right now. But I’ll probably go with Sports Management.”
“So these are Gen Ed classes?”
He cocks his head and looks confused.
“General Education classes,” I clarify. “Elective classes you need to take to fulfill requirements that aren’t directly related to your major.”
“I guess so.”
I’m a little disturbed by his lackadaisical attitude, but I let it go for the moment. We’re clearly not going to be able to develop much of a rapport so maybe it’s best just to get down to business.
“We’re just handed a class schedule,” he clarifies. “Assigned classes. We don’t pick them ourselves.”
“And they assigned you the History of Jazz? That’s the class that you’re having trouble with?”
“The dude who was supposed to teach the class croaked and they got this new chick who apparently doesn’t like basketball.”
There is so much wrong with his statement I don’t even know where to begin. “Might I suggest that you call your professors either professor or doctor and not chick.”
I bristle at my own use of the derogatory word, but I continue, “And what does her not liking basketball have to do with your performance in the class.”
At this he gives me a sly smile. “Let’s just say she’s not willing to play ball the way the other professors are.”
I’m not sure exactly what he means by that, but there seems to be some kind of sports reference that is lost on me.
“So you’re saying your other classes are going well and you’re just having trouble with the one class, History of Jazz?”
He leans back in his chair and eyes me for a few seconds before he nods. I don’t like when he looks at me like that. It’s like he’s examining some weird, new specimen and trying to make sense of it.
“All of my other teachers are huge basketball fans and they know I’m the in the starting lineup. I’m not sure what the jazz goddess’s problem is.”
I take in a deep breath before I say something that’s sure to get me fired. “Why don’t we start by calling her Dr. Fisher? I think that might help. And why do you think she has a problem?”
“She doesn’t like basketball. That’s not normal. Everybody loves basketball. This entire campus lives and breathes the sport.”
“I don’t love basketball. I don’t even like it. Not even a little bit.”
He actually looks stunned for a moment. Like I slapped him. Then he regains his cocky composure.
“You’re one weird chick,” he mutters almost to himself, but still loud enough that I can hear him.
“Excuse me?” I say even though I heard him. I just didn’t like having an insult hurled at me by someone I don’t even know.
“You. Are. One. Weird. Chick.” His words are slower and louder as if I didn’t hear him the first time.
“I actually heard what you said. I just didn’t like it.”
A smug smirk appears on his face that I would love to slap right off if I could.
I continue. “In case you haven’t noticed I’m not a bird I’m a human being. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t refer to me as a chick.”
He bites his bottom lip as if he’s actually giving it some thought. Then he says, “You’re one weird woman. Is that better?”
“I’m not sure why you have to bring gender into the equation at all. Why not just call me a weird person?”
That makes him laugh. “You don’t care that I think you’re weird. You just don’t want me to call you a chick?”
“I’ve been weird my whole life. I’m used to it.”
“At least you’re willing to own it.”
“So did you bring your textbook with you or are you just going to spend the next ninety minutes taunting me?”
“I kind of like taunting you.”
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Mueller Bryson writes romance novels under four pen names: Dakota Madison, Savannah Young, Sierra Avalon and Ren Monterrey. She lives in a small town outside of Phoenix, AZ with her husband and their bloodhounds.
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