Par for the Course
© 2008 Jenna Bayley-Burke
There’s something wildly enchanting about the columnist who arrives at Ben Cannon’s golf resort. He’s felt this magnetic pull only once before, for a bespectacled brunette back in college. That woman was nothing like this platinum blonde from New York—confident, poised…and hitting on him like crazy. Is she really interested in him, or merely seeking fodder for her Dating Diva column?
Just one wrong move from Ben, one more disappointment, and Jillian will finally be able to stop obsessing about her college crush, leave town, and get on with her life. Except the more rope she gives him to hang himself, the more he ties her up in knots. Every move he makes is the right one, both in bed and out of it.
Shaken to her college-nerd core, Jillian begins to wonder if giving him a taste of love-’em-and-leave-’em is what she wants after all.
Warning: Fore! This title contains explicit sex, and a love story hazardous to your hankie supply. Oh, and exploding toads.
Enjoy the following blog only excerpt for Par for the Course:
Jillian tried to swallow, but her mouth had gone dry as the bottom of a birdcage. She stood barely inside the doorway, every hormone in her body surging. Her brain clouded and her heart thudded unevenly in her ears, as her eyes fixed on him. That dangerous old urge propelled her forward through the crisp air-conditioning of the clubhouse into the pro shop. Why did he affect her like this? Why was it whenever she saw him she lost all self-control?
She forced herself to stop and suck in a cooling breath. It was no more than an unrequited crush, soon to be remedied. Then this all-consuming, sanity-undermining, heart-wrenching need would disappear.
Ben turned, his eyes widening with…what? Interest? Recognition? Arousal? Whatever it was, it washed away Jillian’s resolve, imprisoned her in his glance. Explicit cravings powered through her veins, raising her body temperature. She couldn’t help but stare as his long legs danced across the hardwood floor. Jillian drank in every physical detail about him with insatiable hunger. From the tips of his dusky brown hair to his sun-kissed skin and those blue-black eyes, she memorized every inch of his face.
Before she could cast her gaze lower, she realized he studied her as well. His gaze seemed to stutter between her eyes and lips. Oh God, did he recognize her?
Jillian slammed her eyes shut and rolled her lips inward until she could almost taste the lip-gloss she’d so carefully re-applied before making the final turn into the pro shop. If he recognized her, the plan would never work. His expectations would be the same as they’d been that night, probably more once he realized she’d moved heaven and earth for one more shot with him.
Even with her eyes closed, she couldn’t escape him. His murky masculine scent of soap and grass filled her. Jillian choked on something that felt a whole lot like pride as she wrestled with her self-control and opened her eyes.
Ben was there, close enough to kiss if she’d been wearing heels. How she needed to make love to him. That was the only thing that could break the spell. Reality was the only thing that could force her to realize mind-bending, dreamy, worth-dying-for sex existed only in her imagination.
The adrenaline pulsed through her body, sending her senses into hyper-alert, fight or flight. She’d been running from him for far too long. Time to finally deal with it. Jillian gritted her teeth against the nervous churning of her stomach and looked up at him.
Lost in a trance, her eyes locked with his. Her carefully formulated speech died on her lips. She didn’t dare open her mouth. No telling what she might do to him this time.
“Looking for someone?” His voice was as thick as she remembered, though they’d barely spoken that night seven years ago at the party.
Jillian swallowed hard, catching herself as her gaze dropped to his mouth. Focus, Jilly. You will get to kiss him, later.
“Are you meeting someone, or do you have a lesson scheduled?” His voice lilted at the end. Was he hoping she was looking for him? Jillian shook her head, forcing herself back to reality. Ben Cannon wouldn’t hit on her, no matter how much better she looked. She’d have to seduce him.
“I’m having a lesson today. My first. Ever. With Lauren.” Way to go, Jilly. Babbling is SO attractive. Ben’s lips parted, showcasing neat rows of pearly teeth as he grinned. Like little candies all in a row. Down girl. He is not a steak.
“Jillian Welch, from Mine & Ours magazine?” She could barely nod as his lips formed her name. “I’m Ben Cannon. I’m glad you chose Cannon Meadows for your research. I want to make sure you get the best possible experience here, so I’d like to give your lessons myself. That way I can answer any questions you have about the course and the resort.”
Jillian struggled against her body’s insistence that she run. Don’t panic. You knew you had to see him. That was the plan after all. Just not this soon, not this way. She forced a smile, her jaw twitching at the effort. Calm down. You can do this.
“If you’d rather work with Lauren, I can arrange that.” The outer corners of his eyes drooped slightly. “I thought it might be more productive for your research. I’ve been giving lessons for ten years. I’m great with beginners. I’ll ease you in nice and slow, I promise.”
“It’s not that.” But what was it? Get a hold of yourself, Jilly. No one wants to be seduced by a bumbling idiot. Confident, poised, assertive. That’s what she needed to be. She shook her head as if to switch gears. Superman was just Clark Kent in a cape after all, Zorro a mere mortal without his mask.