The offseason is heating up for one Carolina Cold Fury heartbreaker who’s eager to make nice with the girl next door.
No one plays like Reed Olson, whether it’s hockey season or not. After back-to-back NHL championships, he’s craving a little R&R. Reed leans to a specific type—blond, busty, and interested—and fortunately he has a little black book full of options. So why is it he can’t stop dreaming about the new girl who just moved in next door? A certified brainiac, she seems to want nothing to do with the hard-bodied athlete.
Josie Ives desperately needs something her celebrity neighbor obviously doesn’t: solitude. Reed is everything she imagined—a little too good-looking, with a body that puts Greek gods to shame. But she didn’t expect he would also be funny and charming. Josie knows she’s the opposite of his type, and that’s fine with her. Still, the chemistry between them is undeniable. Their newfound friendship certainly has its benefits, but she’s starting to wonder if opposites really do attract.
Praise for Reed
“Sawyer Bennett is my go-to author for all things sexy. And Reed certainly blew my skates right off!”—USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy
“Reed has quickly become one of my favorite books in the series. If you are a longtime lover of the Cold Fury boys like me, then you don’t want to miss this one. I guarantee that if you are grabbing this one as a standalone, it will make you want to jump in feet first to the entire series.”—Red Cheeks Reads
The Carolina Cold Fury series from New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett can be read together or separately:
The Love Hurts series features sexy standalone novels:
SEX IN THE STICKS
And the Sugar Bowl series is one treat you’ll want to read in order:
“One of the best voices in contemporary romance.”—New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne
Includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
I watch through the blinds as Josie parallel parks her little economy car in front of her house, which puts it right behind my gas-guzzling Tahoe. I’d been out on an early morning run yesterday and saw her leaving for work at 6 a.m. We chatted for a few minutes and she mentioned she was working twelve-hour shifts for the next three days.
I noted that night that she didn’t get home until 8:30, and I assume that’s because ER doctors can’t exactly clock out right on the dot if they’re in the middle of something. It’s a quarter to nine now and the pizza was delivered just ten minutes ago, so it’s still warm.
As she jogs up her front steps, which is impressive, as I figure she’s got to be exhausted, I pull up my phone and type out a quick text to her.
Come over here. I have something for you.
I turn away from the window and head into my kitchen. Before I can pull out two plates from the cabinet, she responds. Who is this?
Reed, I quickly type.
She’s just as fast in her response. I just got home and I’m exhausted. I need a shower.
Forget the shower, I text. Just come over right now. I just need a few minutes of your time.
She doesn’t respond, but within a minute she’s knocking on my door. I grin and call out, “Come on in.”
Josie opens the door and peeks her head inside first. Her eyes lock with mine across the expanse of living room that separates her from the kitchen, where I’m standing. “Hey.”
“Hey,” she says back hesitantly, then slides in, shutting the door softly behind her.
Her scrubs are the typical mint green you mostly see and hang on her tiny frame loosely. I’m not sure why, but they look sexy on her. Her long curly hair is tied back and she has no makeup on, although she doesn’t need it. None of these particular thoughts surprises me, but having thoughts about her does. I’ve been thinking about her a lot since our encounter at the pool just three days ago.
“I’ve got dinner ready,” I tell her nonchalantly as I put the plates on the counter next to the pizza box.
Josie doesn’t step away from the door, but just blinks at me.
“Well come on,” I say with a wave of my hand. “I don’t bite and I bet you’re hungry.”
“You want me to eat pizza with you?” she asks dumbly.
“Yes,” I drawl slowly. “I bought pizza. Come eat.”
“I don’t understand,” she says, and I force myself to swallow the laugh that’s bubbling up.
“Josie,” I say firmly. “I bought a pizza. It’s too much for me. You just got home and I bet you’re hungry. Just come eat, okay?”
I turn back to the cabinet behind me to grab two glasses, and when I turn back around, she’s standing on the other side of my kitchen counter that separates the kitchen from the open living area.
“What do you want to drink?” I ask her as I hold the glasses up.
“Um . . . water,” she says, as if she’s still confused as hell.
“Coming right up,” I say, and turn back to the fridge for the pitcher of filtered water I keep in there. Facing her again, I see with satisfaction she has a piece of pizza on a plate.
I slide the glass of water across the counter to her and put three slices on my plate. Nodding toward the balcony off my living room, I tell her, “Let’s eat outside. It’s a nice night.”
“It’s ninety degrees with a thousand percent humidity,” she says with a wrinkle of her nose.
“Crybaby,” I goad her as I start toward the balcony.
She doesn’t say anything, but I can hear her walking after me, her tennis shoes squeaking on my hardwood.
I have a round patio table with two chairs on the small balcony that overlooks the set of town homes across the street from me. Behind them, there’s a slight glow of light from a large shopping complex.
We are silent a few moments as we eat. She takes small bites of her pizza and chews daintily. I’ve got two of my slices polished off before she finishes the first.
“Lots more pizza in there,” I tell her with a nod toward the double French doors. “Want me to get you another?”
She shakes her head and leans back in her chair. “I’m good. I actually had a protein bar about an hour ago.”
“Wow,” I say with a smart-ass smirk. “You must be stuffed.”
Josie rolls her eyes at me and I laugh. I pick up my last piece of pizza, but before I take a bite, I tell her, “You know, I’ve been thinking about it and I’m offended you’ve stereotyped me.”
One elegant brow arches high and she purses her lips briefly before she says, “You stereotype yourself, buddy.”
“You don’t know me,” I return confidently. “You’ve only seen a small part of Reed Olson.”
Josie gives a tinkling laugh. “You mean you’re not a playboy professional hockey player who’s been burning his way through all the hot women in Raleigh.”
Not all of them, I think to myself as I surreptitiously take in her large dark eyes that sparkle with intelligence and humor. While her scrubs are baggy, I got a good enough look at her curves at the pool the other day to know she’s packing a whole lot of sex appeal.
I jolt slightly when Josie says, “Let me ask you something . . . what do you get out of casual sex?”
I’m the one who now cocks an eyebrow. “You do understand what comes at the end of sex, right?”
She waves a hand at me. “Of course, but you can do that all by yourself. So, what’s the appeal of random hookups?”
“Are you mocking me?” I tease her, amused mightily that she brought this up.
“Not at all,” she replies lightly with a wave of her hand. “I’m genuinely curious. It’s not something I’ve ever done before.”
“Never had sex?”
Another roll of those gorgeous eyes that twinkle slightly at me. She thinks I’m cute for sure.
She clarifies her question. “Casual sex.”
“Only ever had true-love sex?” I ask with a grin.
“Something like that,” she says almost wistfully, and my smile slides a little. Little Josie Ives has been in love before, and I don’t know what it is, but there’s a story there for sure.
Rather than poke at her secrets, I try to explain myself. “Well, sex is good, right?”
“It’s great,” she says.
“Yes, great,” I agree as I prepare to launch into the benefits of casual relationships.
She stops me, though. “You didn’t say ‘great’ right away. You said ‘good,’ which leads me to believe your Barbie dolls are just giving you good sex and not great sex.”
“Dial it back a notch, Freud,” I say dryly. “That’s not what I mean.”