Title: Off the Record
Series: Nashville Fury, Book 1
Author: Chelle Sloan
Genre & Tropes: Contemporary Romance; Sports/football romance; forbidden love
Chelle Sloan brings a story of forbidden love as sports reporter Sadie Benson falls for football coach Hunter McAvoy in Off the Record.
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We keep our word to avoid interview questions for the rest of dinner. We share stories of our childhood and families. Well, I did. I tell him about how my mom died when I was five, and how for a while it was just me and my dad until he married Helen. He doesn't dive deep into the family well, and I don't blame him. He does tell me a story about one Halloween when he dressed up as a cheerleader and his sister, Whitley, was the football player.
Now that's the photo I wish his mom would have shown me in Birmingham.
The conversation is easy and flowing. Before I know it, he has paid our bill and we are walking hand in hand toward Beale Street, still talking about everything and anything. It's a bit chilly for Memphis in February, but I don't mind. I'm not ready for this night to be over.
"I can't believe I'm out with a Tennessee graduate," he says, giving a shiver as if he said something that tasted horrible on this tongue. "Please tell me you don't own twenty pieces of orange checkerboard clothing."
"I do not, but even if I did, it's better than that houndstooth your school insists on claiming for itself," I say, giving his shoulder a nudge. "You think I like being seen in public with a 'Bama man? I have a reputation to uphold, ya know."
"Your reputation?" he asks, pulling me around so I'm now standing in front of him, our bodies just inches away from each other. "I'm one of the most famous men to ever graduate from my school. How would it look if someone saw me out with you?"
I know we are teasing each other about our schools being rivals, but his words are laced in a double meaning that we are both deeply aware of. I'm now looking up at him, my hand still in his. I feel like I'm short of breath, but it's not because of the chilly air or the walk. It's because being this close to Hunter is physically taking my breath away.
"Are you okay?" he asks, but instead of taking a step back, he takes a half a step closer.
I look down for a second, because his gaze is too much for me to handle. "What are we doing?"
My words come out as a whisper, and for a second, I wonder if I actually said them out loud. Especially because Hunter doesn't answer right away. When I've convinced myself I only said those words in my head, he takes my chin in his free hand, tilting my head up to look into his eyes.
"I don't know, Sadie. All I know is that I can't not touch you. I need to hold your hand. I needed to know what it would be like walking next to you like you were mine to have."
"We shouldn't be doing this."
My breathy words are the truth, but they taste like a lie as they pass through my lips. The sensation of my hand in Hunter's feels right. The way he is looking at me right now? Like I'm the most beautiful thing he has ever seen? No other man has ever looked at me like that. No man has made me feel as feminine and as wanted as I do right now.
How can something that feels so right and natural be so wrong?
"Sadie?" Hunter's words are soft, and even though we are on a busy street in the middle of Memphis, I can hear them like it's the only sound around us.
"I know we shouldn't be doing this. But if I don't kiss you right now, it will be the biggest regret of my life."
Then he does. Before I can object, before I can utter again why this is a horrible idea, Hunter leans down and presses his lips against mine. In the middle of Beale Street, with strangers walking past us, with jazz music filling the air, Hunter gives me the best first kiss of my life.
And it is better than any fantasy I have ever had.
Check out the awesome GIVEAWAY for Off the Record HERE
Chelle is a contemporary romance author who writes happily ever afters with a lot of love with a little bit of humor mixed in. A native of Ohio, Chelle decided that after a decades-long career in sports journalism, it was time to take a step back. She is currently working on her Master’s degree in journalism and is set to graduate from her program in 2021. She is a diehard Cleveland sports fan, is the owner of way too many, yet not enough, tumblers and will be a New Kids on the Block fan until the day she dies. She also does her best writing at Starbucks, where you can usually find a venti caramel frappucino on her table. As for her own happily every after? Maybe one day...
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