This is one bad boy who’s fit to print.
Barrett: As a former pro football star, I’m used to playing the field. After injuries cut my NFL career short, my second act as a broadcaster ended on live television when a hot mic picked up a little verbal . . . indiscretion. But this latest publicity stunt might just land me back on top—much to the chagrin of Catarina Everhart, the prissy, beautiful journalist who’s been assigned to date a bad boy (i.e., me) and write about it. Catarina swears I’ll never touch her, let alone kiss those full lips of hers. Based on our chemistry, I’m not buying it. . . .
Catarina: Barrett Fox seems to be doing everything in his power to make me hate him. The cocky egomaniac is infamous for his bad behavior, and now, thanks to my boss’s harebrained schemes, he’s apparently my problem. As one fake date leads to another, I start to see a different side of Barrett. He’s close with his family. He does volunteer work. And, okay, he kisses like a dream. Am I really dating Barrett Fox? Or is he playing me? Because suddenly I’m risking my reputation—and my heart.
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I’m about to type out my stern argument in reply when a paper coffee cup appears by my right arm. My eyes travel past the cup, over the masculine hand, and up a bare forearm to the rolled sleeve of a white button-down shirt. It takes more than a little control to withhold my excitement.
For the coffee, of course.
“Have you been outside today, Kitty Cat?” Barrett’s attractive mouth quirks on one side.
“Sure. I was outside before I walked through the front door this morning.”
“Uh-huh.” He takes my coffee and starts walking away from me.
“Wait!” Desperate for caffeine I deplete my energy reserves catching up to his long-legged gait. He keeps walking, forcing me to follow him to the elevator.
He doesn’t turn over my Pike Place until we’re sitting on a shaded bench at the grassy area across the street from headquarters. It’s gorgeous today. Sunny and, compared to the frigid, air-conditioned office, incredibly hot. But there’s a breeze on the air that warms my bare legs beneath the knee-length white-with-flowers dress I wore today.
After a heavenly sip of my beverage, I hum and lean heavily on Barrett’s shoulder. “I love you.”
He chuckles, low and rumbly. “Does that mean I’m getting closer to a kiss?”
“Not on your life.”
“What are you doing here anyway?” I sit up. “I figured you’d take the day off.”
“Mia sent edits for my column.”
I brighten. “Can I help?”
“Dying to see it, aren’t you?”
“No.” I’m a liar. I’m dying to see it.
“I have a lot of work to do on it and I couldn’t do it at home. Or in the car. Or at the park.” He offers me a wan smile.
“Are they that bad?”
“She’s right” is all he says.
“She usually is. They can’t be that bad.”
“Stop fishing. If I need a bailout I will come to you first. Okay?”
“Okay.” I sag, defeated. “What are we doing out here if you have a bunch of work to do?”
“Where’s your coffee?”
“I drank it on the way to the office.”
We hold each other’s gazes and I find myself liking him like this. He’s slightly vulnerable and carefully honest. And he delivered a gift of coffee when I needed it the most. My favorite coffee.
He leans back on the bench, resting his arms wide. When I lean back with him he curls a hand around my shoulder.
“All part of the plan to get in your pants.”
More reasons to read Rumor Has it
Think: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, but with a Lemmon spin...
Catarina has a problem. Over six feet of smart ass, former defensive lineman, Barrett Fox. She's a type-A rule-follower, and he's the notorious "Bad Boy of the NFL," who lives up to his name in every imaginable way. When Catarina's boss assigns her to date Fox for a column that's a publicity stunt-slash-advertising money grab, Catarina remains the consummate professional and does as she's told, but as she spends more time with Barrett, she learns that he's much more than a bad boy out to reclaim his former job as a field reporter. Barrett learns something unexpected as well: as much fun as it is to be a cad, being on Catarina's to-do list is even better.
Rumor Has It is a true enemies-to-lovers tale, and as a result was incredibly fun to write! I'm making the very careful statement that Barrett Fox might be my favorite hero ever?! Can I say that? He's bad in all the great ways and good in all the right ones. RHI hits the scene in May which feels like light years away, but it'll be here before you know it! In the mean time, feel free to check out the teasers on this page.