She’s a rising tennis star from a family of con-artists. He’s a football hotshot and devoted to his family. When her path crosses with his family’s, he’s immediately suspicious, and she’s determined to keep her secrets, despite their sizzling chemistry. Fans of Ivy Smoak and Tijan will love this addicting, edge-of-your-seat sports romance.
It’s match point in the most important tennis match in my life, and nothing can distract me. Nothing, that is, except the sight of Jude Wilder sitting in the stands with his little sister on his lap. He’s never watched me play. Never even noticed me before. And yet his eyes are on me now. I know what he must be thinking. I’m not just an outcast, I’m a social pariah thanks to my family being the town’s most notorious con artists. Jude is on the opposite side of the spectrum. Not only is he accepted, he’s worshipped. I’m nobody to him, and yet I’ve got this chance to impress him.
As it turns out, he isn’t at all impressed when I win the match, and I’m worse than a nobody to him. Jude thinks I’m a threat to his family. This should alarm me. It should scare me. Jude in protective mode is hot, all right, but I can’t afford to be on his radar. I’ve got one year to secure a college scholarship. It’s hard enough keeping a low profile with my tennis success, and the last thing I need is Jude Wilder of all people drawing more attention my way.
Especially if it’s hostile.
Even if I like it.
One second, the future of my tennis career is brighter than ever; the next, nothing is certain. Nothing, that is, except that I won’t be swinging a racket anytime soon. Jude Wilder wants to come to my rescue. I don’t need rescuing, even if it’s offered by the one guy who ignites a fire inside of me like I’ve only ever felt on the tennis court.
I’ve done things on my own my entire life, and I won’t let this setback steal my independence. Only, it’s not so easy to turn Jude away when he’s determined to help me. I want him, but I don’t trust him enough to let him in. Then again, if I can keep his savior complex at bay, he might just be the perfect distraction while I’m sidelined. It’s not like he’s going to stick around for long, and I can always cut him out of my life when I need to. That is, if I don’t fall in love with him first.
The addicting, edge-of-your seat Wilder trilogy concludes with this final installment filled with sports, romance, and characters you’ll obsess about. Enjoy this fast-paced binge-read and its twisty, unpredictable plot!
I’m back on the tennis court, but the rest of my life is a hot mess. My mom stopped paying my bills, and I just discovered the reason for it: she’s dead. I’m about to get kicked out of my apartment – the same one that’s been broken into twice – if I don’t pay rent soon. My sister is still lurking about, up to no good. And someone is leaving messages telling me to break up with Jude.
He’s back from football camp and didn’t forget about me while he was gone. Jude’s seen the reality of my life, and he isn’t running away. Instead, he’s demanding I open up to him more, even though I’ve already made myself more vulnerable with him than with anyone else in my life. I keep telling myself it’s for his own good to keep secrets from him, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s more about protecting my heart than it is about proving my independence.
We’ve fallen hard and fast, and it’s up to me what happens next.
The man who’s come to deliver the news about my mom is about to tell me who my father is, and I have a feeling my world is going to get turned upside down. Should I take Jude’s hand and bring him along for the ride? And if I do, will having Jude beside me make me weaker, or stronger?
Copyright 2022 Ali Dean
“That would have been your first kiss?”
She shrugged. “Yeah.”
Her eyes finally met mine, and I could see the relief there. She was glad I hadn’t pushed about the “other stuff” she’d referred to, which only made me more curious about it.
“So? I’m too busy with school and tennis, and now college applications and work, to hang out with people.”
“You really think you led him on? That’s fucked up, Karis. He was the one who kept touching you all territorial-like all night, and you never responded.”
“Should I have pushed him away? Told him to stop? I mean, he wasn’t groping me or anything.”
“Pretty sure you did give him a few shoves at the ping pong table.” I raised my eyebrows and she laughed softly.
“Only because I wanted to win and he kept screwing up.”
“Karis, guys should be able to read women’s signs. Anyone looking at you two would have seen that you weren’t into him like that. But Ferris has it bad, and he’s ignoring it or in denial. Telling himself it’s because you’re inexperienced or something.”
“So I should have told him to back off or pushed him away earlier if you hadn’t shown up? Even though it would have made it awkward when I saw him at BTC, which is practically every day in the summer?”
“You would let a guy kiss you, your first kiss, so you didn’t hurt his feelings?”
Karis laughed again and the rage beating inside me dimmed slightly. “Okay,” she conceded. “You’re right.”
“You didn’t have any trouble pushing me away the other night,” I reminded her. And she’d been turned on, I hadn’t misread that. She’d liked how my body felt crowding hers.
“Yeah well, you were pissing me off. I didn’t have to worry about hurting your feelings.”
“If I tried to kiss you now, what would you do?”
She rolled her eyes like she didn’t think I was serious. “I need to get to bed, Jude. I’ve got to be up at 5:30 in the morning.”
“Yes,” she said on a long sigh, moving to the bed. See? She had no problem walking away from me.
I found myself following her as I remembered that look in her eyes as she ran her finger along her lip in the hallway. The way her chest rose and her eyes dilated. The deepening blush. Her husky voice. It hadn’t been for Ferris. She felt this between us. I wanted to be Karis Jackson’s first kiss.
About Ali Dean
Ali is a USA Today Bestselling author of girl power sports romance books, with enough suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat. She has always loved to read, especially when there’s a happily ever after, but found that there weren’t enough books out there featuring girl athletes. So, she decided to work on that. Like the heroines in her books, Ali is an athlete, with running and skiing her favorite sports these days. Ali hails from Vermont and now lives in her own happily-ever-after in Colorado with her husband, two sets of twins (yes, you read that correctly) and golden retriever Pancake. When she’s not pursuing an outdoor adventure, Ali’s less healthy passions include ice cream, coffee, and beer.