Friday, November 18, 2022

{Blog Tour} He's A Player by Stacy Travis

The last time I saw Tim Cheltenham, he was an eighteen-year-old soccer hottie with an irresistible English accent, a painfully gorgeous face, and an enormous . . . ego.

He’s A Player, a spicy fake engagement standalone sports romance from Stacy Travis, is out now!

To the world, he’s a sexy soccer superstar.
To me, he’s the arrogant jerk who broke my teenage heart–and my new fake fiancĂ©.

The last time I saw Tim Cheltenham, he was an eighteen-year-old soccer hottie with an irresistible English accent, a painfully gorgeous face, and an enormous . . . ego.

Fifteen years later, with a medical degree under my belt and a new dream job with The Strikers soccer team—his team—I’m not about to let Tim’s bad attitude and grumpy scowl ruin it for me.

But when my chauvinistic boss implies that he doesn’t trust single women to stay on the job long-term, I panic and tell him I’m engaged. And to my surprise, it’s Tim who comes to my rescue, offering to play my fake fiancĂ© if I’ll do him a favor–cover up the truth about his injury.

The lie could derail both our careers, and I’ve got no desire to spend more time than necessary in Tim’s surly presence. And falling for him again? Ha! That’s never going to happen.

So with my job on the line, I say yes. Now, the more time I spend with Tim, the more I sense a softer side beneath those chiseled muscles and broody exterior. But the more I understand him, the harder it is to pretend that we're just for show.

And when a rival player threatens to expose our secret, I’m terrified I’ll lose everything.

They say you have to fake it to make it. But what happens when love is the goal?

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Keep reading for a look inside He’s A Player!

“Hello.” The voice is accented. Gruff. Deep.

Even amid the din, I recognize the voice as huskier than Charlie’s. My stomach drops to my feet, and I fight back a surge of adrenaline mixed with nausea.

I turn, and I’m met by broad shoulders under a tight black Henley with the Strikers logo on the front. Even in heels, I have to look up to see Tim Cheltenham’s face.

It’s gorgeous. Undeniably gorgeous—angular jaw, olive-colored eyes under criminally long lashes, lips that inspire fantasies among virgins. And everyone else.

Except right now, those beautiful eyes are squinting in confusion, and his luscious lips are pressed into a line. The only thing harder than this man’s muscles is the intensity of his stare, and his muscles could tear holes in his shirt.

My eyes go rogue, taking a slow tour of his frame, starting with his ripped, low-slung jeans and those sculpted soccer player thighs, hugged tight by the denim fabric, which is probably having its own orgasm from the contact.

Lucky-duck jeans.

His shirt is tight enough that I can clearly see his six-pack abs, right below carved pecs that have me swallowing hard, so I don’t open my mouth and take a bite out of his bicep. It would be embarrassing but so worth it.

“Tim.” That’s all I can muster.

Bringing my glass to my lips, I feel a tremor in my hand, which I hope he doesn’t notice. Fifteen years since I’ve seen him in person. Same damn reaction.

I take a long sip. Then another.

Thank you, bartender. I’m drunk now.

Just looking at him brings back age-old hurt coupled with memories I’ve pushed down hard and tried to forget. Tried and failed.

Tim had burrowed in deep, affected me in ways I couldn’t fight and couldn’t fathom. I stopped thinking about him eventually out of pure self-preservation, but I never forgot about him.

Besides, it’s pretty hard to forget when his name and face are plastered all over the sports news, which I started looking at when I applied for jobs as a medical director. And for years before that, right about the time I met Tim. Coincidentally.

“What are you doing here?” His eyes flicker under the dark blond hair that falls across his forehead before he pushes it back with a large hand. His gaze bears down on me, and he jiggles the sudsy remains of a beer in a pint glass.

You’ve earned this. Own it. Just breathe in and out, in and out.

I choke halfway through my inhale. I sputter my exhale. I don’t own a damn thing.

“I work here. Or at least I will in a month.” I feel a tic in my cheek.

He stares at me like my words make no sense. Like I make no sense. “Doctor Jordan Page.”


He shakes his head. “You went by Danny. Back then.”

“Nickname. Jor-dan. Dan-ny. No one calls me that anymore, except my mom on occasion, and even she mostly doesn’t because I’ve asked her not to. Of course, I think that makes her want to do it more. Or maybe old habits die hard.” I’m oversharing. Or under-explaining? Or rambling because he makes me nervous—that hasn’t changed at all.

But he still seems flummoxed. “Doctor Jordan Page. Fuck me for thinking it was a bloke,” he mutters, raking a hand through his hair. My eyes track the motion, fixated on how much better he looks in person than in recent photos. Pure masculine virility radiates from him.

And yet…

“Because you assume all doctors are men?” My sexism radar flares to life, my bottom lip jutting out with my retort.

“No, I—”

“Good. You shouldn’t.”

“You’re the team doctor?”

“Director of Sports Medicine. Yes. I’m—”

“Part of Charlie’s new brigade. Coming to fix what isn’t broken. Right. I know all about it. Don’t think much of the plan.” His accent makes him sound so much more polite than his sharky smirk suggests.

My confidence shrivels like a sunburned grape. I feel my attempted smile pull down into a glower.

Is that what all the players think?

I tell myself I don’t care what he thinks, that I’m a professional. But I do care. And I have worked hard to get this job. I should own it. I’m tethered to my resolve by a fraying thread.

As I try to kickstart the syrup in my brain to find a witty retort, I’m jostled from behind by someone big—big enough to send me off-balance in my stupid two-inch shoes.

I lurch forward toward Tim, who puts his hands on my shoulders to steady me, but not before his entire beer spills down the front of my blouse.

His eyes go to the spill, which makes my shirt virtually sheer. And now it’s sticking to my bra, which has demi-cups made of thin baby blue lace—a stupid gift from my mother, who hoped I’d wear it on a date. Instead, I wear it on laundry day when all my plain cotton bras are in the wash.

After a mortifying second or six, Tim wrenches his eyes upward and releases his grip on me. I close my eyes to blot out the image of him. Of everyone.

Tonight was supposed to be the beginning of my future, the culmination of everything I’ve worked to achieve. It was supposed to be proof to my mother and anyone else that I don’t need a boyfriend to be happy. I was supposed to drink and celebrate and meet the players who’d be grateful to have me on their team.

But apparently not. They’re not all grateful, starting with this one.

I must have stepped on a puppy in a past life.

Because karma’s acting like a little bitch.

About Stacy Travis

It’s a rough world out there, and we all sometimes need a good, romantic beach read, even if we can’t make it to the beach. I’ve spent many lazy days walking the streets of Paris and other gorgeous European cities, and if I’m doing it right, I’m bringing you a dash of romance and a vacay fantasy.

I can’t sit still, so when I’m not hiking, biking or running, I’m playing a very average game of tennis. Background music for writing undoubtedly features some U2, Lizzo, Billy Joel, Pink, Taylor Swift, and Led Zeppelin. Not necessarily in that order. And if I could only eat one food group, it would be cheese. Or wine. Or bread. Are those food groups? Whatever.

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