Scored is a sexy soccer novel by Lily Harlem and follows Lewis Tate, captain of the England football team and Nicky, a sports journalist, as they find romance amongst the fanfare of the European Cup.
Back cover information
Okay, so I eat, sleep and breathe football and reporting the beautiful game is my dream career. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have time for a major crush on the England captain, Lewis Tate. The bloke is sex on legs, hot with a capital H. Add in his awe-inspiring talent, his brooding good looks and what’s not to lust after?
So my excitement is sky-high as I set off with the official press team to cover England’s battle for the European Cup. But when a series of unfortunate, or as it turns out fortunate events, attracts Tate’s attention my way, who am I to say no?
Add in a misogynistic manager, an over-zealous colleague, two blue silk ties and some incredible ball-handling skills and it becomes clear the road to victory, for me, will be an intensely erotic journey. Determined to savor every moment, I hang onto my sanity as best I can while living the fantasy and wondering if it can ever become reality. Because once Lewis Tate has taken me to heaven and back, its clear no one else will ever compare.
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After dropping my robe onto a wicker lounger with deep cream cushions, I waded down the steps into the pool. Cool water wrapped around me, caressing my aching limbs like soothing hands. Bliss. Even more blissful because I had the place all to myself.
There were voices coming from the terrace. Three double doors were flung open to the sunshine and the breeze. I couldn’t hear what was being said, just the low hum of conversation.
Kicking out, I swam on my back toward a large silver tap-like jet and watched the shimmering reflections on the roof. They shivered and shook, the sunlight rippling across the ceiling in sparkling waves. Sighing, I moved beneath the jet, let the blasting water jostle and jolt me, bash against my travel-weary shoulders.
I shut my eyes. The heavy pounding was heavenly, massaging away several days of stress and strain. I tipped my head back, smoothed my hair from my face and allowed the water drag the sodden strands over my scalp and down my back. Later I would use the luxurious-smelling shampoo and conditioner in my hotel bathroom and tame my curls ready for tomorrow’s match. I was bound to see Phil there. I hoped he wouldn’t ask me too much about the Donbass and the players. Likewise, I hoped Reg wouldn’t give me a hard time later when I just did a report about the architecture and history of the hotel rather than a detailed account of my meeting with the team captain.
Just the thought of Lewis conjured an image of him in my head. His smile had had a devastating effect on my lusty hormones, sending them skittering this way and that. Prodding and poking me, and reminding me that it had been just over a year since I’d taken a man to my bed. How blessed was Naomi to get her hands on his hot body? She must know she was the luckiest woman on the planet.
I rubbed my fingertips over my shoulders and chest, blindly making sure my bikini was still covering my modesty. Sure Lewis was drop-dead gorgeous, but he was also a really nice guy. He’d been kind enough to make sure the press conference was fair, polite enough not to use the word vibrator in the elevator, and then more than happy to help out a stranger struggling with a keycard. And to top it all, he went to church like a good boy. He was perfect, there was no other way to describe him. I wondered what he saw in Naomi, whose reputation as a diva preceded her. Perhaps it was all for show and beneath the veneer she was a sweetheart.
Somehow I couldn’t imagine it.
I sighed and decided to relax on one of the soft loungers and let the breeze tickle over me as I dried.
Opening my eyes, I stepped out of the blasting jet.
Standing at the side of the pool were four England players staring straight at me.
Suddenly I was glad of the extra support the water gave me. My knees felt weak, and my stomach turned a cartwheel.
What the hell?
Neil Bryers stood at the far left, his dark skin gleaming and a wide, white grin on his face. Next to him was the goalie, Ted Hatton—he was tall and skinny, famed for his big hands, and right now he also had big eyes. Then came Liam Taylor; the baby of the team at only nineteen, he wore bright orange flowery swim trunks and was gripping a towel at crotch level, twirling it around his fingers. Finally, Lewis stood with his hands on his hips and his mouth slightly parted. He didn’t have the soft, smiley expression he’d had in the mental image I’d been enjoying. In fact, he looked beyond pissed off.
Damn, I really should have stayed in my room. I could hear that restricting order winging its way toward me.
But what could I do? I was here now, in the water, and they were there, waiting to get in.
I took a deep breath and waded toward the steps, wishing there was a little more support in my bikini top. I could feel my breasts shifting as I moved. With each step they bounced and jiggled. There wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.
The players stayed stock still and continued to stare. I wondered about flashing them a smile then decided against it. That would just make me look like a footy groupie. And I certainly didn’t fall into a WAG-wannabe category. I was a serious reporter, here for the game, not the players.
Gripping a steel bar, I exited the pool, the water splashing away from my body as I rose. Typical that was where they were standing and I had to walk right past Lewis to reach my robe. I caught his eye briefly. He’d pulled down his brows, narrowed his eyes and was gnawing at the inside of his cheek. I dropped my gaze and admired, for the shortest pocket of time, his broad chest and the scribble of blond hair at the center that led a tantalizing trail downward, past his naval to the waistband of his shorts.
I reached my robe and used it to dab against my face, wiping away the drips. Thankfully, I heard the shuffle of feet, someone mentioned the sunshine outside, and I was aware of the players moving out of the pool area.
Dropping the robe onto the lounger, I took a deep breath and sagged my shoulders.
“It’s see-through, you know.”
Standing directly in front of me was Lewis.
I was shocked to see him when I thought I was alone again. “What?”
“Your bikini, it’s completely see-through.”
I pulled in a sharp intake of breath and glanced down.
Oh fuck! He was right. My white bikini was opaque. My nipples were dark and erect, poking at the pathetically thin material, and my little strip of pubic hair…fuck, you could make out every strand and the first indent of my labia.
“Shit.” I scrabbled for my robe, but Lewis was already holding it open for me.
“Here,” he said.
“I, er, thanks.” I shoved my arms in and pulled it tight around my body. Every millimeter of my flesh prickled with embarrassment. “Shit, I didn’t know, it’s new, I—”
“Hey, these things happen. Trouble is, these guys are all on enforced celibacy. Seeing a beautiful woman standing in a see-through bikini underneath flowing water might just tip them over the edge, if you know what I mean.”
Oh my God. Had I heard him right? Had Lewis Tate just called me beautiful?
“I’m really sorry,” I gabbled. “I didn’t know. I’ll just go and…and…” And what, get dressed, curl up under a stone and die?
He cocked his head and studied me. “I’m not complaining on my behalf, but Liam’s just a baby. He barely has the self-control needed to cope with Fellows’ damn rules.”
I gripped my hair into a ponytail and squeezed it to wring out the pool water. “Like I said, I’m sorry.”
“No apologies.” He was watching me fiddle with my hair. “But if I catch him trying to bed some Ukrainian chick later then I’ll know who to blame.”
“Well, I’m sure it won’t come to that.” Words and thoughts were tumbling in my head. Was I really having a conversation with Lewis about his team’s struggle with celibacy?
“You’d better hope it doesn’t.” He twitched his mouth into a half smile. “Perhaps I’ll go and order him to have some quality alone time. Take the edge of it. That usually helps, doesn’t it?”
My intestines knotted. “I don’t know what you mean.”
He shoved a hand through his hair and it flopped messily around his face and temples. “Sure you do.”
He turned and walked away, in the direction of the terrace. His movements were so easy and graceful he almost glided, his body under absolute control. If I hadn’t been so ruffled at the bizarre conversation we’d just had and his parting comment, I would have enjoyed seeing the way the sinewy muscles in his back sat taut beneath the skin, shifting ever so slightly with each step.
But I was seriously ruffled. My cheeks were burning and the traitorous bikini felt cold and sticky against my skin. There was no way I could chill out by the pool now. The relaxed state of a few minutes ago had evaporated and in its place sat yet another dagger of mortification.
There was only one thing for it. Clearly, I couldn’t be trusted out of my hotel room, because each time I did venture out some humiliating incident occurred with Lewis. I would shower and change and order room service. In fact, I would only come out for matches over the next few weeks. That would be the best thing. I would live there, it was certainly sumptuous enough. Perhaps then I’d be able to avoid any more toe-curling episodes of shame.
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