Fans of the Worth the Fight series rejoice as the fourth installment, Laid Out by Sidney Halston, just hit shelves! Keep reading to get a tantalizing taste of this friends to lovers romance and then add it to your bookshelf.....
Growing up an Army brat, Violet Channing could never meet her dad’s high expectations. But in the eyes of her best friend, she could do no wrong. He even insisted that he should be her first kiss. Now Cain Sorensen is all grown up, hardened by years in special ops and always looking for a good fight. Tall, with striking blue eyes and impossibly blond hair, he’s a modern-day Viking warrior. Of course, Violet’s all grown up, too, and she’s ready to surrender to his every command.
Cain knows he’s bad for Violet. His work is dangerous, and his hobbies are downright deadly. As a private mercenary and a mixed martial arts fighter, he could never let such an innocent soul into his world. And yet his most grueling combat training is no match for Violet’s killer curves, hot touch, and suggestive glances. Now all of Cain’s most explosive fantasies are coming true—but once they cross the line between friends and lovers, there’s no turning back.
She was kicking a rock out of the way when Cain grabbed her hand and pulled her to a nearby tree, causing her to yelp as she struggled to keep her balance. At nineteen, Cain was thin and lanky—all limbs. She was still short and stumpy. He turned her around brusquely and pressed her back against a tree, the bark digging into her. She looked up at him and saw an intensity in his eyes she’d never seen before. His cheeks were flushed and the vein by his neck pulsed. Suddenly she became nervous. He’d never looked at her this way—the way the cute guys looked at the pretty girls.
Lately she’d felt flustered when Jeremy was nearby, with his mess of curly dark brown hair and dimpled smile. Feelings that hadn’t been there before were now creeping in. In fact, she could’ve sworn Jeremy had been flirting with her lately—complimenting her clothes and hair, brushing against her “accidentally,” inviting her to the movies without Cain around. But these brief flirtatious moments were with Jeremy. Not with Cain. Never with Cain. Cain was just her friend. A little gangly, a little quiet, a lot overprotective.
That was until now.
Suddenly there was an awareness that had never been there before.
When he licked his lips, her pulse sped up. A foreign feeling—desire—began to take root. He reached toward her hair, and she flinched a little before he tucked a stray strand behind her ear. The tender action surprised her. For the first time, she noticed how clear his blue eyes were, how his hair was so blond it almost looked white. All of a sudden, he didn’t seem like just this boy who was always around. Unfamiliar feelings began to erupt throughout her body. She felt her cheeks flame and her heart race.
When he finally spoke, his voice shook a little. “I’m your friend because I want to be your friend. Not because of your parents or your dumb threats. I don’t like it when you call yourself fat. You’re not fat.”
She nodded and murmured, “Okay.” She drew her lower lip into her mouth and nibbled as her wide eyes gazed at his. Cain reached over and pulled her lip out of her mouth. “You’re nervous.” It wasn’t a question. He knew her well enough to be aware of her tells.
“I . . . uh . . . what are you doing, Cain?”
“I don’t want you to kiss just anyone to get it outta the way.”
Words failed her, so she just nodded again. There was a moment where neither spoke. He just looked at her as if trying to decide on his next move.
“I should be the first person you kiss,” he finally said as his tongue flicked out a little and wet his lips.
She gasped and looked up into his eyes nervously. His eyes never left hers, but his reddened ears and neck showed that he was also nervous. She too knew him well.
Like a fool, she bobbed her head up and down mostly because the words were stuck in her throat. It felt like he stared at her lips for an eternity until he finally leaned forward, causing her to press herself further back against the tree, her hands gripping the bark. He tilted his head to the side and she imitated the action.
Should I open my mouth? Leave it closed? What about my tongue? What should it be doing?
Softly, almost feather light, his lips brushed against hers. Her eyes instinctively closed tight, and she stopped breathing. It was less than ten seconds but it was forever. In that moment she fell into the category of girls who’d had their first kiss. She kept her eyes closed for far too long, and when she opened them he was standing upright, his face even more flushed. Her own tongue snuck out of her mouth to taste her lips. She swallowed and looked at him, her eyes as wide as saucers. What just happened?
Then, with the same intensity in his expression, he leaned back down, but this time he pressed harder against her lips causing her lips to part slightly. His body moved closer to hers, and then she felt his hands grip her waist and his tongue touch her lips before it moved into her mouth and brushed hers for a brief second, his fingers digging into her skin at her waist. She instinctively melded into him, her body seeking him out.
Again he moved away and looked at her. His expression never changed, and neither did hers. Her eyes were wide; she touched her lips, as if to determine whether the kiss had really happened. They just looked at each other, neither saying anything, her heart beating so loudly she was sure he could hear it. Finally she spoke and said the only thing that came to mind. “Wow, my cup runneth over,” she whispered. It was a phrase he teased her about constantly, but it was exactly how she felt: she could barely contain her happiness.
He chuckled, and the smile did her in: she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. Hard. He wrapped his arms around her waist and walked them the half step back against the tree again. Their noses bumped. It was awkward, but as first kisses went . . . it was perfect.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Vi.” It was the last thing he said to her before leaving for war.
THE PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE WORTH THE FIGHT SERIES....
AGAINST THE CAGE (Worth the Fight #1)
For Chrissy Martin, returning to her Florida hometown always seems to bring bad luck. The day starts with a breakup text, followed by a jailhouse phone call from her troublemaker brother. Now a routine traffic stop has ended with her accidentally punching an officer . . . in a delicate place. Then Chrissy realizes that the hot cop on the receiving end of her right hook is none other than the man from her teenage fantasies.
Jack Daniels knows how to take a hit. After all, when he’s not chasing reckless drivers, he’s kicking ass in a mixed martial arts ring. So what takes his breath away isn’t the low blow, but the woman who dealt it: a gorgeous knockout with legs Jack wouldn’t mind being pinned under—who just so happens to be his best friend’s nerdy little sister, all grown up. Soon their instant chemistry leads to a sizzling affair, but Jack and Chrissy are fighting an uphill battle if they want to make love last beyond the final bell.
FULL CONTACT (Worth the Fight #2)
How could she have been so stupid? When Jessica Cross decides to give her violently jealous boyfriend—the otherwise influential and charming Dennis Stavros—a second chance, she very nearly becomes a statistic. After weeks of healing from a broken rib and collapsed lung, and with Dennis behind bars, Jessica finally feels ready to come out of hiding. But will she ever be able to take a chance on love again with someone new?
Mixed martial arts fighter Slade Martin knows he has a bad reputation. Hell, he's probably earned it. So it won’t be easy to convince beautiful, vulnerable Jessica that she can trust him—that from the moment she walked into his life, she’s been the only one he’s wanted. Powerful and confident, Slade knows he can honor his vow to protect Jessica body and soul. Winning her heart will be another matter . . . but a woman like Jessica is worth the fight.
BELOW THE BELT (Worth the Fight #3)
Once one of the most sought-after names on the mixed martial arts circuit, Antonio “Scarface” Marino watched his career go down for the count as he chased skirts and made tabloid headlines. Now he’s finally making a comeback, and it’s all thanks to Francesca Silva, a Brazilian bombshell as tough as any of her fighters. But who’s the real Francesca: the trash-talking trainer who rides him hard, or the vulnerable woman who blushes at his touch?
Francesca went to the mat to sign Tony because she believes he still has the potential to bring big success to her gym—if she can keep his head in the cage and out of her personal life. After a short-lived marriage soured her on love, a one-night stand is all she can handle. Now Tony’s kisses are stirring up complicated feelings—especially when he agrees to face her ex in the ring. Francesca’s used to freezing guys out. But Tony’s tempting her to give in to the heat.
USA Today bestselling author, Sidney Halston lives her life by one simple rule: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started” (Mark Twain). Or even simpler: “Just do it” (Nike). And that’s exactly what she did. At the age of thirty, having never written anything other than a legal brief, she picked up a pen for the first time to pursue her dream of becoming an author. That first stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing. Halston lives in South Florida with her husband and children.
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