The Boys of Summer are back! In Katie Rose’s sweet, sparkling novel, the newest New Jersey Sonic falls for the woman who’s trying desperately to save his career.
Physical therapist Jessica Hart has learned her lesson: Never date professional athletes. She’s been down that road, and barely recovered after the relationship crashed and burned. Then Jessica meets Gavin King. An All-Star slugger with chiseled good looks, Gavin was traded to the Sonics because he hurt his knee sliding into second, and now his future is in her hands. Gavin’s no bad boy—but he’s tempting enough to make Jessica think twice about all her rules.
Gavin is trying to find a comfortable routine. If he wants his old life back, he must take it easy, stay out of the limelight, and keep his distance from gorgeous redheaded physical therapists. The thing is, Gavin isn’t the kind of guy to sit on his ass and let other people pull his weight. And when he sees something he wants, he can’t help but fight for it, even if it means risking everything, even if it only lasts a single moment: like one kiss from Jessica.
Pete walked into the PT room a moment later, popping his gum with a grin.
“I want you to meet our new player, Gavin King. Gavin, this is Jessica Hart. She is the best sports therapist in the business, and a hell of a trainer. Jess, Gavin just joined the team, but he’s on the DL.”
Jessica turned to the coach, saw the ballplayer beside him, and her heart stopped.
He was exactly her type. Or her former type. As she took in his magnificent physique, black eyes, and Colgate smile, she felt an instant attraction.
Gavin was the kind of guy she used to dream about, drool over, and date. She’d met enough of them growing up, friends of her brothers who started out as decent guys but got caught up in the hype and eventually stomped all over some poor girl silly enough to give up her heart. Unfortunately, she’d had to walk that path herself. She’d made the fatal mistake of falling for an outfielder who played for Cleveland, and eventually played her. Zach had the same dark hair, heart-stopping smile, and killer body.
He’d taught her what the word devastation meant.
“Good to meet you.” She extended her hand, reminding herself to think of him in clinical terms: he was a pro baseball player, a young athlete, and he was hurt. “So what seems to be the problem?”
“I had surgery for a meniscus tear,” he said, lifting his left pant leg and indicating a bandage. “It’s pretty much healed, but the surgeon wants me in physical therapy for a few months to build back up. I think they sent my test results, the MRI, and a script.”
She nodded, squatting before him and removing the bandage to examine the pink half-inch line on his knee. “I’ll take a look at the films. Red zone?” she asked, referring to the location of his tear.
“Yeah, I think so. But they said it spread into the white zone.”
Her eyes shot to Pete’s, and he gave a slight negative shake of his head. This news wasn’t good, and neither one of them wanted to share their misgivings. A tear that went into the white zone could mean big trouble for a ballplayer, or it could heal well and the limb would fully recover. It would take weeks before they’d know, and she understood now how the Sonics had acquired this magnificent specimen of a man:
His previous team didn’t want the risk.
So New Jersey had rolled the dice, gambling on his recovery. She could only hope they’d beat the odds.
“Okay, let’s get started. Have you done any therapeutic exercise up until now?”
“Yes, for a couple of weeks,” he said, flexing the knee to demonstrate. “They had me doing leg raises until they took the brace off.”
“That makes sense. We won’t do much today; we’ll do an evaluation, take a look at your records, and then we will put together a program.”
Her eyes met his and she saw the pain and frustration there. No player ever wanted to be on the disabled list, especially for any period of time. She didn’t want to raise false hopes, but she also didn’t want to discourage him. She took a deep breath, carefully choosing her words.
“It’s different with everyone. Some people recover much more quickly than others. A lot depends on how well you heal, how much you can tolerate, and if you’re willing to do the exercises at home. That will give us the quickest turnaround.”
“I’ll do whatever it takes,” he said fervently. “I just want to get back in the game.”
Jessica nodded as she wrapped the limb with the heating pad. No way in hell would she tell him the truth:
He might never be back.
romance! When not watching baseball, Katie is at her lake house in New Jersey, hard at work on her next book.