She’s the one bet I can’t resist...
Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills returns with an all-new swoon-fest of a novel about what happens when you look beyond labels and take a chance on love.
I Bet You, an all-new sexy college romance standalone is available NOW!
Sexy Athlete: I bet you…
Penelope Graham: Burn in hell, quarterback.
The late night text is random but Penelope knows exactly who “Sexy Athlete” is. And why she shouldn't take his wager.
Walks on water and God's gift to women.
Just ask him.
His bet? He promises Penelope he’ll win her the heart of the nerdy guy she’s been crushing on. His plan—good old-fashioned jealousy. Once her crush sees her kissing Ryker, he'll realize what he's missing. Sounds legit, right? The only question is…why is Ryker being so nice to her?
Lover of sparkly vampires and calculus.
His mortal enemy.
Penelope knows she shouldn’t trust a jock, but what’s a girl to do when she needs a date to Homecoming? And Ryker’s keeping a secret, another bet, one that could destroy Penelope’s heart forever.
Will the quarterback score the good girl or will his secret mean everyone loses at this game of love?
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PenelopeI stand in front of the mirror in the restroom and gasp. Holy moly, I’m a total disaster. Red is on my shirt, my neck, my cheek, and there’s even a dab in my hair. I let out a heavy sigh as I wipe at it with a wet paper towel. At least my hair is auburn and the red will just blend right in. I scrub at the stain on my shirt, but all I end up doing is making a giant wet spot. “Forget it,” I mutter to myself a few minutes later as I straighten my lopsided messy bun and adjust my glasses. My makeup is faded, and I reach into my apron for a tube of cherry red lipstick then quickly swipe it over my mouth. Like that’s going to improve the situation. I need a makeover and new clothes stat. I walk out of the restroom and take in Sugar’s Bar and Grill, a restaurant in Magnolia, Mississippi. The dinner rush is over, but a few stragglers will come in, mostly college students. Only a block from campus, Sugar’s has a modern farmhouse feel with galvanized steel light fixtures, pale pine floors, and straight-back metal chairs, but the food…well, that’s what keeps the place hopping. It’s the only restaurant near campus to get anything you want served up with a side of fresh fried green tomatoes. Their menu also features Southern classics, such as chicken and dumplings or macaroni and cheese with bacon sprinkled on top. Just thinking about it makes my stomach rumble. I was so wrapped up in writing during my break that I forgot to eat. I sigh and head to the football table, where they promptly hand over the money. “Nice doing business with you, boys,” I say before flouncing off, feeling Ryker’s eyes on me the entire time. What’s his deal with me? I mean, you’d think he’d want to avoid me because of the article, but it’s as if his mission is to be around me as much as he can. In fact, I’m not even sure he knew who I was before I wrote it since we don’t run in the same circles. I suspect he’s torturing me. I push him out of my head and walk over to a table that needs bussing, picking up half-empty soda glasses and putting them on my tray. The door chimes, signaling that someone has come in, and I raise my head to see-- Whoa. I freeze. Bring out the angels and cue the hallelujah chorus. Now that’s the kind of man I should be writing sexy scenes about. Standing at the door is Connor Dimpleshitz—yes, his surname is unfortunate, but his IQ makes up for it. I’ve been crushing on him since our sociology class last semester. Framed by a golden halo of sunlight as it glints through the windows, I decide he’s what would happen if Albert Einstein and Henry Cavill had a baby. “A hot genius. The perfect unicorn,” I murmur to myself. I chew on my lip, debating on whether to mosey up to him and say hi or hide. Hide wins. I know, I’m a little ridiculous, especially since we have calculus together this semester and he’ll obviously see me at some point in class. But then I’ll have good hair and ketchup-free clothes. I quickly survey the possibilities for my escape as the hostess seats him in another server’s section. My eyes land on the right side of the restaurant, where I could make a mad dash for the kitchen, but he’s bound to see me darting since I’d have to walk past him. Plus, I want to hang around and watch him without him knowing. I come to a decision. Wrangling the tray of half-empty sodas I cleared, I quickstep it over to the back left corner, the farthest away from the double doors of the entrance. I maneuver my body into an awkward hunkering position behind a huge potted plant with wide fan-shaped leaves. At least five feet tall with a gnarly brown trunk, the green monster is perfect camouflage. I peek around a big leaf that’s in dire need of a good dusting,judging by the motes floating around. Feeling paranoid that someone is a witness to my absurdity, I throw a quick glance over my shoulder to make sure no one’s around. Ryker. Shit. He’s staring at me from the football table, and there’s a glint in his gaze, as if he’s wondering what I’m doing. I scowl and stick my tongue out at him. He makes me feel so rebellious and flustered and…excited. I can’t even stop myself. Ugh. His expression deepens in amusement, and I grimace, realizing my butt is sticking out. His annoying eyebrow jacks up and says, What the hell are you doing? With eye telepathy I tell him to mind his own freaking business. I pointedly turn my back on him and focus on The Unicorn. A few seconds later, a familiar deep voice resonates from behind me, making me start. “You look a little flustered, Penelope. Spying on someone for your next story, perhaps?” I freeze. Blink. His voice is husky and lower than before when he was calling me garçon, the tone reminding me of languid summer nights under a starry Southern sky while he gives me deep, passionate kisses-- Good Lord.Stop your daydreaming.Must. Stop. Reading. Romances. I heave out a sigh and turn around to face Ryker. What the hell does he want now? *** “I don’t submit to the Wildcat Weekly anymore,” I say. I worked for them most of last year, covering the home games and a few random articles. With a dad who was in the NFL, I know a lot about football, but when Sugar’s offered me more hours, I took it. “No more football stories, huh?” I shrug, my gaze taking in his chiseled cheekbones, the curve of his full lips, the hint of scruff on his jaw. Dammit, why is he so gorgeous? “What can I say? I covered the most fascinating story last semester—you. Guess I went out on a high note.” He nods, taking that dig. “I always noticed you at the games.” I scoff. “I didn’t think girls like me were on your radar.” “You sat near the third row at the fifty-yard line taking notes at every home game.” His eyes drift over me. “And I didn’t say you were on my radar.” “Really? Sounds like you did.” “Trust me, I have more discriminating tastes.” He shrugs. “Why, how sweet of you.” My Southern accent has thickened, the way it does when I’m sassy. It’s one thing to know he doesn’t like me, but for him to say I’m not up to his standards…well. “Did you pop over here just to be nice?” He exhales and rakes a hand through his hair, calling attention to the lighter strands that have been bleached by the sun. “Honestly, I’m not sure why I came over here.” A conflicted expression crosses his face as he tugs at his collar. My eyes stare at the myriad of curly blond chest hairs that are poking out from the V-neck of the light blue Oxford he’s wearing with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay from the ketchup getting all over you, but everything I’m saying is coming out wrong.” Oh. This is different. And not what I expected. “I’m fine, Baby Llama. No need to worry. You can go. Your girlfriends are waiting for you.” I tilt my head back toward the football table. He doesn’t budge. “Baby Llama?” An amused grin flashes over his face. I shrug. It’s been my private nickname for him since sophomore year when I stumbled upon him coming out of an upstairs bathroom at the Tau house after a shower with only a white towel wrapped around his trim waist. Some jersey chaser was with him. His hairy chest had both shocked my virgin sensibilities and excited me at the same time. The unruly curls just made him seem more naked, as if I’d seen his cock. Much to my dismay, I’d later dream about rolling around on that bed of golden curls. Seriously, who takes a shower with a chick in the middle of a kegger? Ryker Voss, that’s who. Because he can. And girls do whatever he wants. But not this one. I respect the game—even love it—but I don’t fall for football players, especially high and mighty quarterbacks who think they walk on water. My dad was the star player at Waylon twenty years ago, and trust me, I know how they operate. They get what they want and then they walk out, leaving broken hearts everywhere. “Have you ever seen a real llama?” he asks, continuing our conversation. It’s as if he’s actually trying to be nice. “I saw one at a safari park once. Little bugger tried to eat my hand off when I fed him, but he was cute. Maybe you need a poster of one in your room so when you see it, you’ll think about me. I’ll even sign it for you.” And there’s the cocky again. “Buy me one. I’ll throw darts at it.” “Damn, you never stop.” He huffs out a laugh, his eyes lingering on my neck. “Oh, there’s a bit of ketchup here too,” he says, reaching out to glide his finger across the top of my collar, his knuckles barely brushing against my neck. The feather-light touch is brief and not sexual, yet my body hums, tendrils of sparks racing over my skin. I suck in a breath and catch his scent, warm and spicy with hints of leather and sandalwood. He blinks and clears his throat. “Um, I actually have this cleaner stuff that I spray on my practice clothes. It’s a miracle worker. You’re welcome to borrow it. Of course, you’d have to come by the football dorm to pick it up. We could even do laundry together if you wanted?” He says the words softly, as if they’re nothing,and I’m staring at him full on. Do our laundry together? I suspect Ryker Voss is flirting with me, though not well. The pimply-faced checkout boy at Big Star has better lines than this. Yet… Something warm grows inside my stomach and then flutters around, the sputtering of newborn butterflies. He is the hottest guy on campus. Still, I remind myself he’s a player, gather my resolve, and shoot those butterflies down. “You’re being weird, Ryker.” “Because I’m being nice? Yeah. New year, new start. I want to forget all the bad stuff from last semester.” He pauses. “And the article you wrote.” “Is that right? Even the part where I said you dishonored the sport and were a disgrace to college players everywhere?” He stares down at his hands. “I had my reasons for what happened.” So I heard. He got involved in the fighting to help his friend and fellow teammate Maverick save his disabled sister. “Ah, well, I did write a follow-up article, but it wasn’t nearly as popular as the first one.” He shrugs, and somehow, he’s closer now. I stare into his thickly lashed cerulean eyes and blink at the force of them. His irises…God, someone should name a crayon after them. “So…do you want to do laundry together sometime?” This again? My mouth parts. “What? Like a date?” “Yeah.” I blink rapidly, my brain trying to wrap about this new Ryker. “No. I’m sure you already have jersey chasers lined up outside your dorm vying to do your laundry. I’ve heard they actually beg to rub your shoulders and do your homework. I imagine they even fight to be the one to suck your sweet little toes.” I come to an abrupt halt. Suck his toes? SUCK HIS TOES? OMG. Where did that random comment come from? I don’t have a foot fetish. I blame it on his presence and carry on. “And don’t worry about me—I don’t need your laundry advice. A little ketchup never hurt anyone.” Determination crosses his face and with a flurry of movement, he drops a small piece of paper onto the tray I’m holding. I stare down at it. Sexy as Hell Athlete is written in masculine handwriting with a phone number after it. I look back up at him, my eyes tracing the enigmatic half-smile on his face. “I wrote it down for you earlier and wanted to give it to you after the ketchup thing, but I chickened out.” Several seconds go by. “Will you give me yours?” he asks after a few moments of us just standing here. “My what?” “Number.” He grins. I indicate the tray and my obvious impediment. “I don’t have any paper on me.” “Just tell me. I’ll remember.” I’m flustered, and that’s the only reason I rattle off my phone number. He grins and repeats it back to me. He lowers his voice in a conspiratorial way. “So…you’re watching someone, I take it. Anyone I know?” Feeling bemused by his attention, I shake my head, quickly losing control of this situation. “For a writer, you seem to be at a loss for words. Do I make you speechless, Penelope?” I scoff. “No.” “I’m curious as to what has your attention back here.” He slides in next to me behind the plant, his shoulder brushing against mine. He’s a giant next to my slender frame, and all at once, I feel protected and safe, which is entirely wrong. It’s probably his male pheromones, lulling me into softness before the kill—and damn if it isn’t working. He murmurs something about us hiding together and spying on people, but I’m distracted because my face is up close and personal with the chest hair that pokes out of his shirt. I want to trail my fingers through it and see if it’s as soft as it looks. He smells like alpha male and sex. Hard, passionate sex that makes you orgasm fast and furious. Not that I have any firsthand knowledge of that, of course, but I have my fantasies. Gird your loins, Penelope. Resist the quarterback. But I’m getting sucked in. I blame it on the dimple that appears when he smiles. My stomach does that fluttering thing again, and this time, I can’t shoo the butterflies away. I’m weak. I move my eyes up the strong column of his tanned throat to meet his gaze. At least ten seconds go by as we take each other in. What. Is. Happening? “You’re pretty,” he murmurs. “Have I ever told you that?” “We don’t usually talk except for when I take your order.” His hand reaches up and briefly touches a piece of my hair that’s fallen out of my topknot. He rubs it between his fingers. “Your hair…it’s—” “Auburn,” I manage, clearing my throat. “It reminds me of a new penny, the way the amber color catches the light…” His voice trails off, and he bites his bottom lip. “God, that has to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever said.” “You have worse lines. Tell me, is doing laundry code for sex?” I say, staring up at him. I’m itching to straighten my glasses, a nervous reflex, but my hands are holding the tray. “I only use lines on jersey chasers. You’re the kind of girl I have to work for.” “What about your discriminating tastes?” “Pure bluff. I think we have a real connection, Penelope.” His face is closer now, and I swallow, wondering how we must look to everyone else in the restaurant. I realize that in the process of talking, we’ve backed up to the wall behind the plant, and I figure the only table we’re visible to is the football one, but I don’t tear my eyes away from Ryker to check. “You smell like rainbows,” he says. My chest rises. I’m enjoying his full-court press. It’s…intoxicating. “What does a rainbow smell like?” “Sweet and delicious.” “It’s the suckers.” His eyes land on my lips, and it almost feels as if he’s touched them. Heat rushes over my skin. “The red ones are my favorite. I think they’re cherry or strawberry or raspberry…definitely not cranberry…that’s disgusting,” I say, rambling, feeling disoriented. “It’s crazy, but I really want to kiss you right now,” he murmurs. My eyes drift over his shoulder to where Connor’s table is. I can’t see his face, but I know he’s there, and even though I’m drugged by Ryker’s proximity, I remind myself he’s the one I should kiss. Not Ryker. Ryker is a player—just like my dad was. He watches the direction of my gaze and follows it. “You’ve been watching Dimples hitz, haven’t you?” he says, a frown line appearing on his forehead. “Are you into him?” My stomach dips. “Why would you say that?” “Because you hightailed it over here when he walked in and you’ve been hiding ever since. So, I figure he either did you wrong or you’re infatuated, and since I haven’t heard any gossip about you and him, I’m guessing you must have a thing for him.” Abort! Abort!He knows too much! Sanity slowly returns to my brain in small increments, and I take a deep breath, orienting myself as questions race through my head. What if he uses my crush against me? Maybe he wants revenge for the article. I don’t know! Flustered and unsure, my eyes dart around the restaurant, looking for an exit so I don’t have to answer his question. My gaze lands on the football table he came from, and I notice Archer watching us with focused interest, a calculating look on his face as he whips his eyes from me to Ryker. He leans over and whispers to Blaze, who turns to peer in our direction. I pause, my brain analyzing and decoding. Why is Archer suddenly interested in what Ryker is doing over here with me—especially when there’s a pretty co-ed sitting right next to him, tracing little circles on his bicep? Yet Archer’s eagle eyes are onus. Watchful. I notice all three players at the table have suddenly given us their attention, anticipation evident on their faces. Alarms go off in my head and things start to click into place. How nice he was to me. How we ‘have a connection’. Yeah, right. Mortification washes over me. How could I not have seen it sooner? God, I am an idiot.I was so distracted… I’m a bet. A stupid freaking bet. I feel like someone just punched me in the gut. My survival instinct tells me to get away from Ryker, and obviously,I could just walk away and hold my head high, but I want to make a point and show those football players they can’t toy with me. I release the tray I’ve been balancing for what seems like days in his direction. The contents of the glasses spill out and crash to the floor, watered-down soda and ice drenching us before dripping down to the floor. The plastic glasses make a horrible clattering noise on the wooden floors, and I imagine most everyone in the restaurant heard it. I don’t look to see their faces. I only glare at Ryker. He jumps back and stares down at the mess on his khaki pants then looks back at me. “Remind me to never bring up Dimpleshitz again.” “Stop your games, Ryker.” His face stills. “What games?” My teeth snap together. Enough.
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About the Author Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap. She's best known for her angsty, heartfelt new adult college romances. A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice; Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero. She's also addicted to frothy coffee beverages, Vampire Diaries, and any kind of book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females.
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I Bet You by Ilsa Madden-Mills
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow! What a delicious read! I devoured every single word. I loved the characters, their story and the writing is phenomenal.
Ryker and Penelope are the type of characters that have You routing for them the whole way. He’s a jock, tall, blonde and sex on a stick. She’s quirky, smart and easily puts him in his place. I loved the banter with these two and really enjoyed the secondary characters as well. Great read all the way around! You’ll love it!
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Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills brings you a brand-new heartfelt, sexy contemporary romance with I DARE YOU is LIVE!
Bad Ass Athlete: I dare you to… Delaney Shaw: Who is this? The late night text is random, but "Bad Ass Athlete" sure seems to know who she is… Delaney Shaw. Good girl. Lover of fluffy kitties and Star Wars. Curious. His dare? Spend one night in his bed—a night he promises will be unforgettable—and she can solve the mystery of who he is. She knows she shouldn't, but what else is she going to do with her boring Valentine's Day? One sexy hook-up later, her mind is blown and the secret's out. Maverick Monroe. Bad boy. The most talented football player in the country. Just ask him. Too bad for him Delaney's sworn off dating athletes forever after her last heartbreak. But Maverick wants more than one night and refuses to give up on winning Delaney’s heart. She isn’t one to be fazed by a set of broad shoulders.
After the semester ends, will the bad boy land the nerd girl or will the secrets they keep from each other separate them forever?
Welcome to Magnolia, Mississippi, where locusts are as big as your hand and iced tea comes with a double helping of sugar.
It’s also home to the best damn annual bonfire party at prestigious Waylon University, which is currently happening right now in the middle of a cotton field.
I shouldn’t even be at this party.
It’s mostly for Greeks and jocks and popular people, yet here I am, a mere freshman, hanging out with my bubbly redheaded roommate, Skye.
“See?” she says as we take in the bonfire. “Isn’t this better than watching cat videos on a Saturday night? What do you want to do first?”
I sigh, feeling nervous. Ever since I moved here from North Carolina, I’ve been pushing myself to try new things. Might as well put a crazy college party on that list. “Let’s get a drink.”
She claps and excitedly replies, “Done. Alcohol at two o’clock.” We weave through the crowd, headed in that direction, and eventually we reach the bar, which is really just a long collapsible table someone set up. On top are various bottles of alcohol, and I grab the Fireball to pour shots. I’ve just tossed mine back and set down my cup when a prickling sensation washes over me, giving me goose bumps.
My gaze moves across the crowd, stopping on a tall guy with dark blond hair, broad shoulders, and a cocky smile. Aha. He’s been staring at me, and now that he’s caught, he raises his glass as a half-grin crosses his face.
I blush wildly as I adjust my black cat-eye glasses. I’m not used to such blatant male attention.
Skye—who’s followed the trajectory of my gaze—spits out part of her drink. “Oh my God, do you know who that is?”
“Obviously I should,” I say dryly.
Her mouth flops open. “You really need to get out more.”
My eyes drift back to him but keep moving as if I’m not staring. “So who is Mr. Hottie McParty Pants?”
“If you don’t know him, you don’t deserve to know. But, he’s H-O-T—like Chris Hemsworth hot. I dare you to flirt with him.” She wiggles her eyebrows at me, knowing full well that for some reason, I can’t resist a dare. Normally rather reserved, a dare gives me permission to be someone I’m not.
So does Fireball. I sling back another shot.
“I’ll bring you a donut every day for a week if you flirt with him,” she adds, watching me.
My ears perk up. “The ones with edible glitter?”
She nods, and I toss a quick glance back to him. Our eyes collide again, and a zing of connection fires between us. He has a strong, handsome face and a stance that has masculine written all over it. A smile tips up his full sensuous lips, and--
Two brunettes—twins, no less—approach him, one on either side, and wrap their arms around his waist. He smiles down at them. Oh. Well then.
I turn back to Skye and frown. “Player. Not interested.”
She waves her hands in my face. “He likes you—I saw it on his face.”
I snort. “Probably gas pains. Your dare is not accepted.”
We hear our names being called from the other side of the party and turn to take in the helmet-haired Martha approaching us, which is taking some time due to the fact that she’s wearing stilettos and a slinky halter dress. She carefully picks her way through the crowd, nudging people out of her way—sometimes rudely—as she focuses on us. Great.
“Incoming mean girl,” I mutter under my breath.
Like us, Martha Burrows is a freshman and lives on our floor. Rather full of herself, she announced within a week of meeting us that she’d no longer answer to anything but Muffin, a nickname she’d given herself.
She eyes us both, a look of superiority on her pretty face. “I didn’t know you two were invited to this little shindig. Obviously, I know all the right people, so I’m always invited.” Her gaze zeroes in on my outfit and she rears back. “What on earth are you wearing, Nerd Girl?”
“Clothes.” I stiffen at her name for me as I tug on my fitted Star Wars shirt and the pleated red miniskirt I made from a man’s shirt. My long pale blonde hair is up in curled pigtails, and I went a bit heavy-handed with the shimmery eye shadow and red lipstick. It’s not your typical look for WU—which is anything monogrammed—but I’m learning to ignore the raised eyebrows.
Skye, the peacemaker among us three, clears her throat and nods her head at the guy who’s been staring. “Delaney has an admirer, but she doesn’t know who he is.”
Martha-Muffin follows Skye’s gaze, eyeballing the mystery man over my shoulder. She gives me an exasperated look. “That’s Maverick Monroe, you idiot. He’s the biggest football star in Mississippi and the freshman recruit of the year. Word is, though, girls like you aren’t his type—not at all.” Her hand flicks a stiff honey-colored curl over her shoulder.
My teeth grind together. “Martha, if you think I care what you think about me and whether or not a quasi-famous football player is interested in me, then you are confused.”
Her lips tighten. “It’s Muffin now, and why do you have to use such big words? What does quasi even mean?” is her cutting reply.
Skye’s eyes get as big as saucers, and I assume it’s because Martha-Muffin and I are about to finally have it out. I can’t stand her, and she can’t stand me. We just…clash.
But that isn’t what has Skye in such a titter.
She points over my shoulder, and I get it.
It’s the person standing behind me, the one I can’t see. I feel a nervous sneeze coming on and—thank God—I somehow push it down.
A husky voice reaches my ears. “Quasi means seemingly or supposedly. What she means is I’m probably not a famous football player but rather one that’s been highly touted but is without merit.”
Oh, shit. The voice is rich and smooth with just enough southern drawl to make a girl swoon. He also sounds halfway intelligent.
I turn around slowly. Mr. Tall, Blond, and Football is right in front of me wearing a cocky smile.
How in the hell did he get over here so fast?
You know that moment when everything stops and the next breath you take is the first one of the rest of your life? That’s what it feels like as Maverick Monroe stares at me with his piercing blue eyes.
I glance down and take in the sculpted chest and hard biceps.
I look back up and see a chiseled jawline that’s defined and lined with a slight scruff. I see the thin pink scar that slices through his left eyebrow, and it does nothing to detract from his appeal.
Which I desperately need right now, because I can’t breathe.
He smirks, as if reading my mind, and I scramble to pull myself together. Someone calls his name—it’s a girl’s voice, probably one of those twins—but he doesn’t budge.
His eyes rove over my skirt, glasses, and lips. “The question is…do you even know what makes a good football player?”
His lips twitch. “Hardly.”
“A tight end?” I smirk, feeling sassy…which is weird. I don’t know who I am right now, but it’s like my mouth has a life of its own, saying things I normally wouldn’t.
Martha-Muffin chokes on her drink at my remark and Skye watches me with glee, clearly excited that I have the attention of someone who is apparently very important at Waylon.
I put my hand on my hip. “The question is…why do I need to know?”
“You don’t. All you need to know is I’m the best.”
I suck in a little breath at his arrogance.
A guy walks past us and claps him on the shoulder. “Badass game last week, Mav. Rock on.”
“Thanks, man.” Maverick acknowledges the compliment and lifts his chin, his eyes never straying from mine.
“What position do you play?” I ask. “Quarterback?”
He smirks. “Middle linebacker—defense.”
Skye, who’s been eavesdropping unabashedly, sighs with a dreamy expression on her face. “His stats are the best in the country.” She clears her throat. “I-I only know that because my brother is a huge fan, I swear.”
“Hi, Maverick,” Martha-Muffin says as she edges closer to him, nudging me out of the way with her sharp shoulders. “Remember me?”
He focuses on her. “No.”
She glowers. “I was in your dorm room with your roommate last week. You said hello to me.”
He shrugs. “A lot of girls come through. I can’t remember them all.”
Oh. My. God. He is arrogant, but I like how he just shut her down.
Martha-Muffin’s face reddens and she mutters something under her breath, flips around, and flounces off. Good riddance.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Skye is drifting away too, giving me a thumbs-up.
Whatever. I am not going to flirt with this guy…am I?
He’s definitely got something about him, something that makes my body buzz. I tilt my chin up, taking in how tall he is. He has to be at least six-four.
His gaze drifts over my face. “You know there’s a legend here at Waylon about our famous bonfire party?”
He smiles, a flash of white on his handsome face. “Legend says the first person you kiss at the party is the one you’ll never forget. It might be years later, and still their face is the one you dream about.”
“Sounds like hocus-pocus.”
He lifts that mesmerizing left eyebrow. “I like to believe in legends—after all, I am one.”
I smirk. “Probably a game made up by some frat-boy-slash-jock wanting to kiss all the girls.”
He pauses for a moment as if thinking, and then he steps in closer, so close that I can see the varying shades of blue around his pupils. “May I?”
My heart does somersaults.
“May you what?” I ask, my voice low, but I know what he wants. My body is already leaning toward him, wanting it too.
“This.” He kisses me, an almost imperceptible touch as he brushes his full lips against mine. The contact of our mouths is electric, sparks of fire skating along my skin.
As if from a distance, I hear someone calling his name. It’s a female, and she’s pissed.
It’s one of the twins probably.
And I’m jealous.
But, I don’t look. We pull away, and I stare at him as he stares right back. A stillness settles over the party, although I don’t think anything’s actually changed. The music is still playing. People are still talking. Beers are being passed around.
Two stars in the black velvet sky.
Two ships passing in the night.
Oh, fuck, stop the nonsense, I tell myself.
“What was that?” I ask, my voice breathless.
“That’s your first kiss of the bonfire. Now you’ll never forget me.”
And then, before I can think of a reply, he’s gone.
I watch him go back to the twins, frustration coiling inside of me as I exhale.
It would be two years before I kissed him again.
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About the Author Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap. She's best known for her angsty, heartfelt new adult college romances. A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice; Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero. She's also addicted to frothy coffee beverages, Vampire Dairies, and any kind of book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females.
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I Dare You by Ilsa Madden-Mills
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Nerdy girls for the win!
Look out ladies your next book boyfriend is here.... Maverick is everything we dream about. He’s sweet, funny, hot and yes a football player. Mix all that together and you’ve got heaven. Yes, he’s that sexy.
Delaney is a major nerd. From her glasses to her hand made clothes. Getting over a bad relationship she’s sworn off football players, that is until the one who she shared that one kiss with freshman year coming back into her life.
These two together are amazing. I love there banter and their chemistry is off the charts. Not only is this a sexy read it also has heart. I’m totally in love with it and it’s a definite must read.
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From Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills comes a new standalone romance about a flawed hero and the woman he can’t forget.
Spider, a sexy and forbidden new standalone, is available NOW!
Title: Spider Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills Publication Date: November 13th, 2017
From Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills comes a new standalone romance about a flawed hero and the woman he can’t forget.
"She crossed my path and changed my whole direction."
He calls himself Spider.
I just knew him as the sinfully gorgeous guy with eyes of fire that fate sat next to me on the airplane.
I didn’t know who he really was…British rock star…my stepbrother.
He kissed me because he thought we’d never see each other again. We would.
Everyone warned me about him.
They told me he was ruthless and cold and screwed up.
They said he’d leave me with a hole in my heart.
Maybe I should have listened.
Maybe I should have built up a fortress to keep him out.
But I crumbled instead.
They say an unbreakable thread connects those who are destined to meet. If that’s true, then the moment he sat next to me, we were bound together forever.
He just had to figure it out before it’s too late…
How can one human man be so hot?
Spider sits on my toilet, shirtless, while I dab at his swollen eye. I’m doing my best to keep my eyes averted from the ink on his body, the way his tattoos swirl underneath his jeans, the way his chest is carved from stone.
Of course, I’m the stupid person who suggested he remove his shirt so I could see if he has any bruising on his chest. A cracked or broken rib can cause a lot of pain, and I want to be thorough, that’s all—I swear to baby Jesus.
He grinned at my request and whipped it off—which is the reason I’m now a mess.
There’s hardly any room to breathe with him in my small bathroom. I wipe at the spot of blood on his cheek as he watches me stoically, never taking his eyes off me, tracking my every movement.
“This will look worse tomorrow,” I murmur, just to ease the tension. I stand between his spread legs, acutely aware of his fresh scent, his pure magnetism. My hands shake and I have to focus to push an image of me straddling him, both of us naked, out of my head. I want to run my tongue over the tattoo on his neck. I want to bite him like an animal while he--
Good grief, Rose, stop the fantasy!
“You’d make a good nurse,” he says softly, his long black lashes fluttering softly against his chiseled cheekbones.
“Doctor of Psychology,” I correct him.
“Yes.” Although right now I’m dreaming of him… “I know that feeling. That’s how music is to me.” His golden-brown eyes watch me as I reach over to the medicine cabinet for more antiseptic and antibacterial cream, my chest perilously close to his face. I swear my nipples are reaching for him.
I nod, pretending like I’m not all discombobulated. “My granny mainly. She loved to read people—literally. She ran a little palm-reading business out of her home before she died. All the old ladies of the neighborhood would come to see her. She’d make them coffee and they’d just…talk. She’d tell them what they needed to hear while I sat on the floor next to her and listened. There wasn’t any magic involved of course.” I laugh. “But…she was incredibly intuitive. She just got people. If someone twitched or looked left or right while they were talking, she’d have a reason for it and she’d tell me all about it after they left.”
“I think I would have loved your granny.” He curls an arm around me, tugging me close until my chest is a hair’s breadth away from his face. I recall our epic kiss on the plane. I feel the pressure of his taut thighs and my breath quickens as desire unfurls inside me.
A hum warms my blood. I want him—desperately.
And it’s entirely foolish.
He’s my stepbrother.
He doesn’t call girls back.
“Why does it seem like I’ve known you forever?” I ask, feeling myself gravitating closer.
He thinks about it, pushing a piece of hair out of my eyes. Cupping my nape, he pulls me in tighter until our noses meet. The back of his hand caresses my cheek and the heat from his touch burns, yet there’s a tautness in the roped muscles of his arms, as if he’s holding himself in check.
“Because I am you,” he says softly. “We’re so much alike, it’s staggering.” He pauses and stares deep into my eyes.
I nod. I can’t think. He’s so close to me, his eyes burning into mine. He closes his eyes and exhales. “I want you, Rose. You’re intoxicating.”
I suck in a sharp breath, our lips inches apart.
Is he going to kiss me? I want him to.
His eyes open after the silence has gone on too long, a smirk forming around his mouth. “You scared of me, Rose?”
“I’m scared you’ll rip my heart out.”
He stares at the LOST tattoo on his hand. “I probably will.”
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About the AuthorNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap. She's addicted to dystopian books and all things fantasy, including unicorns and sword-wielding females. Other fascinations include frothy coffee beverages, dark chocolate, Instagram, Ian Somerhalder (seriously hot), astronomy (she's a Gemini), and tattoos. She has a degree in English and a Master's in Education. When she's not pecking away on her computer, she shops for cool magnets and paints old furniture.
Connect with Ilsa
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorilsamaddenmills/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/ilsamaddenmills Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2k6L96J Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jjRzlD Website: http://www.ilsamaddenmills.com/