Book Title: Playing for Keeps
Author and Publisher: Beth Bolden
Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood Designs
Release Date: May 11, 2022
Genres: Gay contemporary sports romance
Tropes: Forbidden love, age gap, player/coach’s son
Themes: Overcoming fear, positive change, growing trust
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 85 000 words
It’s the first book in a new series
Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited
Sebastian Howard is the best damn cornerback in the NFL.
Or at least he was.
Age and injuries have taken a toll, and while most people have written him off, Sebastian isn’t ready to acknowledge that at only thirty-two, he’s already in the twilight of his career.
He signs with the Miami Piranhas intending to prove everyone wrong.
Only to realize that the head coach’s son, out-and-proud Beau Dawson, doesn’t believe he can.
Beau is infuriating but brilliant, and when he offers to help him on the field, Sebastian wants to say yes, but there’s one thing stopping him: the unexpected, inconvenient, and all-consuming crush he doesn’t want to have on Beau.
But Beau isn’t interested in playing it safe, with football or with anything else, and soon they’re embroiled in a hot—and secret—affair that would finish Sebastian’s career if Coach Dawson found out.
As Sebastian falls harder for Beau, he begins to realize that actually the worst thing in the world isn’t getting benched, but losing the man he loves.
The bartender set a new round of drinks in front of them.
“I shouldn’t,” Beau said.
Because if I have another drink, I’m going to think it’s a really, really good idea to have sex with you, and it’s not.
Sebastian broke into laughter then, and Beau realized, humiliation flushing his cheeks, that he’d said that out loud.
“Maybe you shouldn’t have another one,” Sebastian said, still chuckling as he swirled the straw in his own drink. But then he shot him a speculative glance, and Beau realized he wasn’t the only one thinking about it.
Sebastian had been checking him out all night.
Sebastian had almost kissed him twice, even when he was pissed as hell at him.
“Is that why you thought I manipulated you?” Beau asked before he could stop himself.
You’re the worst. The absolute fucking worst. You’re supposed to be flirting with the super-hot guy you haven’t been able to stop thinking about since he showed at camp, and instead, you’re bringing up that he hates you. A+ work, Beau. Really brilliant. You must be a genius.
At least, Beau thought as Sebastian continued to stare and swirl his drink, he hadn’t said any of that out loud.
Thank God for small miracles.
“Naw,” Sebastian finally said, another glimmer of a smile emerging on his handsome face. “You tried your level best not to flirt with me. It’s not your fault you trying to be all brilliant and professional about it made me hot.”
“No?” Beau squeaked.
Sebastian leaned in, and Beau could smell him again. Lavender and something darker and richer, and he wanted to lick up the neck that the open collar of his white button-down shirt had exposed and taste it, too. Wanted to trace the tattoo peeking out of his collar with his tongue.
Maybe he really shouldn’t have another drink.
Except . . . he could sleep with Sebastian. That wasn’t off-limits. But if they made it a habit, it would inevitably spill into the locker room, and then onto the field, and that was the one hard and fast rule his father had given him.
And he was going to want it to be a habit. They hadn’t even kissed, and Beau already knew it, as easy as breathing.
No, he should really keep his hands in his lap, and his drink un-drunk, but then Sebastian’s eyes practically sparkled with the dare of it and he leaned in another fraction of an inch.
“Don’t you want to know how hot it made me?” Sebastian crooned in that dirty, sexy voice of his, all low and enticing, and Beau lost the fight with himself.
He reached out and laid his hand on Sebastian’s thigh. His hard, muscular thigh, hot beneath the light wool of his slacks. He’d already removed his jacket, and rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, exposing those rippling forearms that had taken up residence in too many of Beau’s fantasies already.
He swallowed hard. But didn’t move his hand either.
“I think you do,” Sebastian said lowly.
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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