by: Violet Duke
Series: Fourth Down
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Random House ~ Loveswept
New York Times bestselling author Violet Duke kicks off her sizzling-hot new Fourth Down series with a friends-to-lovers romance between a no-strings-attached sports analyst and the hottest damn tomboy he’s ever met.
It’s no secret that sports analyst Jackson Gray doesn’t do relationships. What is a secret, however, is the reason why. Jackson’s life is . . . complicated. And it doesn’t help that his current hands-off “friendship” is with the cute-as-hell new sideline reporter he’s assigned to train. Turns out, not only is the woman damn sweet, she also knows as much about football as he does. Like it or not though, Jackson has to remind himself that sex is the only thing he has to offer . . . until now.
Leila Hart’s fast-growing friendship with Jackson is something she’d never risk, no matter how unbelievably seductive the reward. Becoming an NFL sportscaster has always been the goal, and thanks to Jackson’s fierce support and mentoring, it all finally seems within reach. Problem is, a girl can only take so much of that sexy-as-sin voice whispering dirty, filthy football stats in her ear before she loses all self-control. A workplace romance with Jackson is a disaster waiting to happen, especially for someone with big dreams . . . and secrets of her own.
Over the next few weeks, Leila took to her new job like fish to water. She quickly got used to Lloyd continuing to be a mildly chauvinistic and yet still basically good-hearted boss. A more potatoes than meat sort of producer. Slightly better than what she’d imagined coming into the job, but for the most part, pretty on-point with her assumptions.
Now Jackson, on the other hand . . .
He was continuing to prove himself to be far more than what she’d expected.
From what Leila could gather, the man knew the names of every single co-worker’s family members. In the entire building. He brought in extra donuts for the morning janitor because he knew those were her favorites. And he wrote a long sympathy card for Nancy in payroll when he found out her dog had passed away. Basically, he made everyone feel important and checked to make sure that they were all doing okay.
Just the other day, in fact, when their front office receptionist Carly had come into work looking like she’d spent the night prior crying, Jackson promptly went out and grabbed her an old-fashioned ice cream shake from the coffee shop across the street. Then he perched himself on her desk and launched into a hysterical alphabetized list of all the annoying, atrocious characteristics that described her now ex-boyfriend, who’d apparently dumped her for her roommate. Carly had been cracking up by the letter “j.”
Meanwhile, Leila had watched the whole sweet exchange from the hallway, where she’d melted into a puddle of goo by the time probably sometime around the letter “c.”
But that was nothing compared to what he did behind the scenes. While it appeared to be flying under everyone else’s radar, since Leila had been hovering in the background studying things like a fly on the wall these past few weeks, she’d noticed something about all the strange little occurrences happening around the station that half the workers thought were the act of playful poltergeists.
They were all being caused by Jackson.
Leila’s first week here, one of the reporters, a hardworking young woman named Cara, had been frustrated that her story was getting passed over for a tired story that every sports network in the country had been covering all week. But she was outvoted. Later, just as their main anchor was getting ready to report that tired story, his teleprompter suddenly blitzed out. Everyone panicked like crazy. The producers scrambled to try and find him a hard copy, but strangely, none—of the seven or so copies—were on the floor. While the other anchor fought to stall and buy them more time, Jackson suggested that they cut to a quick feature in the empty green room with Cara and that interesting little story she’d researched. Left without any other options, the producers followed Jackson’s suggestion. Cara nailed it. The producers were happy clams. But perhaps not as happy as the A.V. guys . . . whom she saw later on the receiving end of a Hollywood handshake from Jackson, along with a conspiratorial pat on the back.
Honestly, she couldn’t imagine anyone in her family’s circle going out of their way to help someone like that. With no personal agenda involved. No other intent than to help a fellow worker shine.
That aspect of Jackson’s character actually manifested in a bunch of different ways. In meetings, she noticed he was constantly encouraging the quiet ones to share their thoughts, while challenging the tired ones with something fun and innovative, or offering genuine, thoughtful praise to the spotlight hogs who seemed to need the attention more than anyone else.
And she never once saw him take credit, even when it was rightfully due. He always stood off to the side with a smile for all of his colleagues’ important moments, big or small, work-related or not.
With every day that passed, the ever-growing list of ways Jackson kept surprising her was never far from her thoughts.
He was never far from her thoughts.
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NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY bestselling author Violet Duke is a former professor of English Education ecstatic to now be on the other side of the page writing wickedly fun contemporary romances filled with strong, unique heroines and memorably romantic heroes. With just under a million books sold to date, since becoming an author in 2013, Violet has appeared on the USA Today bestseller list thirteen times and the NYT bestseller list three times, with the additional honor of charting in the Top 10 across the major e-retailers both in the U.S. and internationally. Her fans, who she just adores to pieces, affectionately call her books sweet & sexy 'laugh & cry' love stories.
When she's not feeding her book-a-day reading addiction, Violet enjoys tackling reno projects with her power tools, trying pretty much anything without reading the directions first, and cooking impossible-to-be-duplicated 'special edition' dishes that laugh in the face of recipes. A born and raised island girl, she spends her days in Hawai'i chasing after her two cute kids (daughter Violet & son Duke) and similarly adorable husband (their ringleader).
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