Author: Katherine Stark
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Sports, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 11, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
SERGEI DRAKONOV. The newest left wing for the Washington Eagles hockey team is a triple threat: muscle, roughed-up good looks, and a dangerous tabloid reputation. Not the kind of guy who fits into Jael Pereira’s five-year plan. Jael doesn’t have time for a relationship, between her challenging senior-year course load and her stiflingly dull internship at the FBI. But for one steamy night, she gives in to Sergei and his smooth-talking ways.
Sergei wants more than just another one-night stand. But his brother—a high-ranking member of the Russian mob—wants him to help the family business. He can use Sergei as an easy way to launder money, or to smuggle drugs on the Eagles team plane. And if Sergei doesn’t agree, he can kiss his skating career goodbye.
The FBI’s been watching Sergei. When they learn about Jael’s fling, they want her to persuade him to inform on his brother. But the more Jael sees the real Sergei, beyond the role he plays on the ice and in front of the cameras, the more she wants him in her life. How can she win his trust, though, when she’s playing a role of her own? And how can she protect him from his mobster brother when she can’t even protect her own heart?
Body Checked is a standalone HEA sports romance in the Center Ice series of interconnected hockey athlete stories. It contains explicit language and sexual content between consenting adults.
I glance toward the corridor’s entrance. Sergei ducks through the red velvet curtains and lopes toward me, his eyes glittering in the darkened corridor.
“It’s Jael.” Shit. Why did I tell him that? But it doesn’t matter. He won’t remember anyway.
“Jael.” He says it slowly, teasing, testing out the way it shapes on his tongue. I know this because I’m staring at his mouth as he says it, that ripe, boyish mouth, his lips just a little pink from drinking. His tongue grazes along the edge of his teeth as he speaks. And then I’m imagining how that tongue might feel on my earlobe and running between my legs and—oh, god. I have got to stop.
“I promise you,” Sergei says in Russian, “I’m not what you think.” He props one hand against the wall behind me and leans in close. He’s got half a foot on me, and at least a hundred pounds of muscle, but he’s left me an escape if I want it.
I tilt my head up toward him and keep the scowl firmly fixed on my face. “And how do you know what I think?”
“It’s what everyone with half a brain thinks about me. That I’m some overly talented, privileged asshole with no discipline and no concern for anyone but myself. That I’ll screw over my teammates, cheat on my partners, and burn through all my money.”
His voice is so low. It hums inside of me, steady as a drumbeat, igniting my every nerve ending.
“They think I’m just skating through on raw talent alone, and sooner or later, all my mistakes and all my callousness are going to catch up with me.” He sighs. His breath is so warm against my throat. “Is that what you think?”
“You really think I care enough about you to think all of that?” I ask. “That anyone does?”
Sergei’s hand curls into a fist and he closes his eyes. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
“Well, that’s how it sounds. That none of us have our own lives, our own problems, and all your adoring masses live and die by the attention bestowed on them by Saint Sergei.” I’m whipping out Russian vocabulary I didn’t even know I knew, but it’s flowing effortlessly. Maybe I am still a little drunk. “That all those women over there fawning over you only exist in whatever moment you choose to acknowledge their existence. That other teams only exist for you to defeat them. That your teammates only exist to make you look good.”
He runs his tongue across his upper teeth, quick enough that I don’t think it’s intentional, but oh, god, does it turn me on. Only the white fury of anger is keeping me from grabbing him by his belt buckle right now. Like I so badly want to do, despite how much I hate him right now. Despite how much I hate self-centered boys like him.
But I hate boys like ex-boyfriend, too, trying to dress up their baser instincts in their elaborate plans and career goals and trust funds. In the end, all it took was a pair of good legs attached to an MBA candidate to lure him away from me. At least Sergei is honest about what he’s after.
“So that’s what you think of me.” Sergei straightens up, his face no longer looming before mine. “I guess it’s fair.”
“It’s not what I was thinking right now,” I admit.
About The Author:
Katherine Stark is the pseudonym for an author of novels in a variety of genres for children and adults. She can nearly always be found buried underneath a pile of story notes. If she isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, playing video games with her husband, watching hockey, or eating her way across the East Coast.