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Falling for You

Annapolis Harbor Series, Book 5

He's off-limits, continually underestimates me, and yet… I can't ignore the attraction between us.

 

Callie
When I landed my dream job, I didn’t realize I’d be working with the one guy I’ve always avoided.
Jonah.


Caught off guard with a career-ending injury; he is the life and soul of every party, a likable, sociable guy on all accounts. His future relies on the success of the sports complex I’ve been hired to manage.


But…he doubts my capabilities from the get-go.


I’m tired of being underestimated, of having my capabilities judged by just my pretty face. This is my opportunity to prove everyone wrong, including Jonah.


I just never expected to fall for him, or to learn that Jonah isn’t the man he pretends to be.


Now I’m not sure if I can handle the truth.

Jonah


It only takes one injury to ruin your career and I’m not even sure I still have one. Investing in a sports complex made sense, until I realized that Callie was hired to manage it.


She’s young, beautiful and has an alluring innocence I have to remind myself to ignore. As my teammate’s personal assistant, Callie is off limits in more ways than one. She’s straight out of college, has no experience and now my future lies in her hands.


The closer we work together, the more I become captivated by her. She’s nothing like I expected her to be, but then we all hide behind masks.


Especially me.


If Callie learns the truth, both my future and my heart could be shattered.

+ Excerpt +

I pulled open the wooden door to the Horse You Came In On Saloon for Reid and Dylan’s engagement party. They’d gotten engaged around Christmas but waited to hold the party for their friends until after the playoffs. I hadn’t planned on attending, but Reid insisted.

Stepping inside, I let my eyes adjust to the dim lighting. A motorcycle hung over the lit fireplace. Sports highlights played on TVs mounted above the bar. The saddle-shaped barstools were empty because the saloon had been reserved for the party. Reid stood at the head of a long table where everyone was gathered, one arm around his fiancée, the other raised a champagne glass in a toast. 

Not wanting to disturb the big moment, I slid into the only available empty chair next to Reid’s teammate, Jonah Templeton.

I smiled at him before turning my attention to Reid. Dylan looked up at him, a large smile on her face, her eyes full of love. 

“Thank you all for coming here tonight to celebrate our engagement. Not only do I love Dylan with all of my heart, but she pushed me to be a better person.”

In the past, Reid avoided publicity outside of postgame press conferences. He’d hid a speech impediment for years before Dylan met him on a blind date and asked him to work with her law firm partner, Hadley’s charity, Kids Speak. The organization brought speech therapists into schools to help kids. Over the years, I’d encouraged Reid to be up front about his speech issues, but it was Dylan who convinced him. 

“Tonight wouldn’t have been possible without Callie’s help.” He tipped his head toward me.

I flushed, not wanting to be the center of attention in front of his teammates and friends.

“Thank you for coming out tonight.” Reid drank his champagne.

Silverware clinked on glasses around the room.

Dylan’s cheeks flushed pink as Reid kissed her.

Cheers erupted around the room. Several of Reid’s friends clapped him on his back while Dylan hugged her friends. I was so happy for them.

Jonah leaned over, his jaw sporting days-old scruff. “You’re late.”

Dark circles ringed his eyes. I wondered if he was sleeping okay. He wore a Baltimore team polo shirt and khaki shorts. He’d taken a hard tackle in the last playoff game, tearing his ACL and MCL. His return was questionable. 

“I didn’t want to come. Reid insisted.” As Reid’s personal assistant, I didn’t think it was necessary for me to attend. I felt out of place among his teammates, their girlfriends, and their wives. 

“You’re his friend.” Jonah’s voice was low.

I could barely hear him over the conversation carrying on around us.

“I’m his employee.” I helped him when he needed me. He was a conscientious boss, willing to work around my class schedule. 

“He doesn’t see you as just an employee.” Jonah’s gaze was locked on mine.

His focus was unnerving. He was always the life of the locker room, cracking jokes and quick to help a teammate, but he’d never singled me out before.

Conversation carried on around the table, but it was like we were alone—in our own bubble. I took a drink of the water the waitress poured for me. “What do you mean?”

“He said you were off-limits.”

I choked on the water, coughing, and clearing my throat until I could breathe again. Was he saying Reid told his teammates not to date me? I’d never considered the possibility.

“Are you okay?” Jonah leaned over, his large hand spread across my back. His touch was solid, comforting.

I wiped my mouth with a napkin. “I’m okay now. What did you say?”

Removing his hand, he settled back into his chair. “He said you were off-limits.”

“Why would he say that to you?” 

“You know.” Jonah tipped his bottle back, taking a long swig. He wiped off the moisture on his mouth with the back of his hand. 

I wondered if he was drunk. 

“No. I don’t know.” I wanted to ask if he should be drinking if he was on pain medication, but I was more curious about what he was going to say next.

“You’re gorgeous.” He flipped a hand at me in a way that made me think he’d had more than a few drinks. “You know you are.”

Glancing at the table, there were several empty shot glasses. Were they his? “Thanks.”

I glanced at Reid, but he was laughing with some of his teammates. 

“He warned us off you,” he repeated as if that explained everything.

I shifted in my chair. “I didn’t know anyone was interested.” 

 

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