Title: City of Champions (Gateway to Love, #2)
Author: Chloe Barlow
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 10, 2014
How do you find the will to try, when you've spent all of your life playing on a field strewn with shattered lives and broken rules? Tragedy and betrayal taught Jenna Sutherland early on that her safest bet was to fiercely avoid any risk, whether it is in work, life, or love. Now a respected orthopedic surgical resident on the cusp of finally breaking through in her career, she’s more guarded than ever. When injured NFL quarterback Wyatt McCoy bulldozes into her life there’s no denying he’s cocky, selfish, and downright dangerous — everything Jenna’s sworn she doesn’t want. Suddenly the levelheaded doctor finds herself facing down her greatest fear, and she’s tempted to gamble all she’s fought so hard to build. The two embark on an intense holiday love affair that quickly teeters on obsession, and tempts them both to think they could go all-in on a real future together. Yet Wyatt's desperation to stay on the field — and out of the operating room — lures him to take dangerous risks with Jenna's trust. Will they win at love or lose everything — including their fragile chance at happiness?
City of Champions
"Please call me Wyatt. How about we start with the locker room, that seems as good a place as any to begin your education," Wyatt drawled at her. Jenna took a steadying breath. She then steeled her nerves and schooled her face into its most confident expression before responding, "Sounds good, Mr. McCoy." "Oh, come on, now. Don't be so formal. Don't you like me, sugar?" "I just met you, I have no opinion of you," she answered stiffly, immediately bristling at his ridiculous name for her. "I don't think you're being honest. I'd say you definitely have an opinion of me, and it doesn't seem good," he responded, leading her into the expansive room lined with cherrywood lockers, benches, and various forms of equipment. Jenna had been in countless locker rooms during her life — including this one — but the nearness of Wyatt McCoy made it feel surreal and claustrophobic. It was a dream set-up for an athlete like herself, but all she could focus on was the singeing heat coursing through her from merely his fingertips on her lower back. She turned to him to break the connection, but that only served to plant her back against a locker and her face smack dab in front of his well-built chest. She was suddenly overcome by a terrible sense of déjà vu — the sensation that she'd been in this place before. Yet then it had all ended so very badly. Her prior sense of light irritation and intrigue from the current situation was quickly morphing into an overwhelming sense of almost frantic nerves. Jenna looked up into his eyes and immediately regretted it. Having spent so many years avoiding any romantic involvements with athletes, her instant attraction to this one was vexing to say the least. It felt like her emotions were changing more rapidly than she could process them. Wyatt stared down at her and smiled. "Now that I have your attention, maybe we can get to know each other better, you can give me a chance to improve that low opinion you have of me. Did you like the game?" Jenna was relieved that the conversation had turned to her favorite topic, and she immediately felt control and calm return to her. "It was a tough loss and you seemed to be having a rough go of it." "Ouch, that hurts." "You keep telegraphing your throws like that and you're going to spend the rest of the season on your ass — trust me, that will hurt a lot more. You need to shorten your release," Jenna advised him. "Um, I'm not sure I heard you right. What was that again?" "Just critiquing your throwing style is all," she answered. "So, you were watching me closely?" "It's an occupational hazard." He looked confused for a moment but quickly regained his cocky composure. Meanwhile, Jenna kept feeling hers slipping away. With each unsteady breath she noticed another aspect of him that was intoxicating to her, whether it was the slight golden streaks in his chestnut hair, the matching hint of stubble on his strong jaw, or his broad shoulders — everywhere she rested her eyes on him only served to make her body more consumed with attraction and her brain more furious with that fact. "Well, for the record, I've never heard any complaints about my release," he said, with a wink, and Jenna rolled her eyes in disgust, which only made him chuckle in amusement. "Though I thought you weren't supposed to know about football, sugar?" "No. My ex-best friends were playing a joke. Now that you know the truth, I'll be moving along, let you get back to your life." "But I'm having so much fun pretending to educate you. Maybe I can teach you Spanish." "I already speak Spanish, so you've got nothing to teach me." "Oh, I wouldn't be so sure of that. How about I teach you to relax?" he whispered in her ear — sending a shot of warmth coursing through her traitorous body. "I'm plenty relaxed," she huffed. He smirked again, running a finger across her shoulder until she jumped. "Relaxed, really? Hmm," he added with a cocky drawl and a slow perusal of her body that had her stomach tightening, even as her jaw clenched in irritation. Wyatt leaned into her until she could smell his freshly-washed hair and count the beads of water on the part of his skin bared by the undone buttons at the top of his crisp Italian shirt. He was insanely attractive and far too close for Jenna's comfort. She cringed a little at her own big mouth, wishing she'd left this bad boy well enough alone. The worst thing you can do with someone like Wyatt is to engage him, and she'd done worse, she'd challenged him. Dammit, Jenna, rookie mistake! She thought, chastising herself. Jenna shook herself out of her hormonal stupor and stood up straight enough that he backed off a bit, "I have to ask — does this usually work?" "What do you mean, sugar?" "I mean this ego the size of Texas routine of yours. Calling me 'sugar' and the double entendres. I mean, come on. You want my opinion of you? Here it is. I find your little shtick — and you — exhausting and insulting. Please excuse me. I need to get back to my friends." "I was under the impression my 'little shtick' was working," he teased, raising a hand and placing it alongside her head. "Please. Working? Hardly," Jenna said, rolling her eyes again theatrically and ignoring the tightening in her belly and her intense desire to bury her face in his chest and just sniff him for a while.
About the Author
Chloe is a contemporary romance novelist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and their sweet dog. She is a native Washingtonian that graduated Duke University with a degree in English and Chinese language. She met her husband at Duke and he brought her to Pittsburgh over a decade ago, which she has loved ever since and made her adopted hometown. She also attended the University of Pittsburgh Law School where she continued to be a book-loving nerd. Chloe has always loved writing and cherishes the opportunity to craft her fictional novels and share them with the world. When Chloe isn’t writing, she spends her time exploring Pittsburgh with her husband and friends. She also enjoys yoga, jogging, and all Pittsburgh sports, as well as her Duke Blue Devils. She also thoroughly enjoys every opportunity to communicate with her readers. Since the release of her debut novel, Three Rivers, she has enjoyed the honor of meeting and talking with numerous fans, and looks forward to getting to know many more.
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