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Excerpt from THE RED ZONE

“He is just Lukas Callihan. He is not God. You can resist him. You are his sister’s teacher. He will probably leave and break your heart all over again. You can abstain. And you will.”

Feeling strong and tipsy, I yelled, “Hell, yeah!” as I left the bathroom and plowed right into a hard wall of muscle. “Oomph.”

I almost fell back on my ass hard, but two strong hands wrapped around my upper arms and held me steady. I blinked and two molten brown eyes smiled down at me.

“You okay?” Lukas questioned.

I nodded frantically because he was so close and my willpower was so low. All of my inhibitions had flown the coop, the alcohol only hurting my resolve in the long run. I wanted to lean in and kiss him right on those gorgeous lips. Damn him. “I’m great. Perfect! Wonderful!” Oh my God, why couldn’t I shut up? “And why the hell didn’t you tell Mason we knew each other?”

Using his pointer finger, he tapped his own chest. “Me? Why the hell didn’t you?”

I threw my hands out in front of me. “Because it was awkward after you didn’t!”

He grabbed my arm and dragged me down a small, dimly lit hallway near the bathrooms until we were alone. “Speaking of Mason. I don’t think you should go out with him.”

“What?” Of course I wasn’t going out with Mason. I had no intention of dating Mason. I wasn’t interested in him, but I didn’t think that had anything to do with Lukas.

He ran a nervous hand through his hair and I almost softened. Until I saw his jaw tick and he ground out, “I don’t want you going out with Mason.”

My eyebrows landed at my hairline. “Excuse me?”

I couldn’t be hearing him right. He did not get to tell me who I dated. “He’s not the boss of you! Girl power!” Drunk me wanted to yell.

“Mason’s not for you, Red.” He had the audacity to look mad.

I scrunched up my face and crossed my arms. “Oh, please, tell me then, Luk. Who is for me?”

He stepped toward me and pushed in with his big body until he had me pinned between him and the wall behind me. He placed his hands on either side of my head and brought his head close to mine. I sucked in a breath at how close he was. His smell. God, it was addictive and intoxicating and if I hadn’t been drinking beer all night I would’ve blamed that scent alone on how drunk I felt.

“I’m calling dibs, Scarlett.”

I shook my head back and forth, trying to clear it. “Dibs?” I questioned. “Dibs?” I asked again because what the hell was he talking about? But the possessive look on his face said it all. And I didn’t like it one bit. Oh, no, he wasn’t. I wasn’t a pork chop or a few Skittles. “You can’t call dibs on a person, Lukas. What the hell is wrong with you?” Oh, the alcohol was out in full force now.

“I already did,” he said from between clenched teeth, his face hard, unyielding. His nostrils flared as he took a few deep, calming breaths, but I was still hella fired up. “Come on, Red. I think you can feel this thing between us.” He leaned even further into me and I caught that fresh pine wood scent that made my head spin and my knees weak. Like the girl from every romance movie I’d ever seen, I swayed in a bit, all the while loathing my poor choices.

This man. He made me angry. I was his sister’s teacher. It was unethical as hell. He could break my heart. He had. It had only been a teenage crush, but nevertheless I’d felt destroyed. What would I feel like as an adult? An adult who wanted to be married and have children. And then I dared. I dared to dream about this sweet smelling man with his expressive eyes, plump pink lips, and square jaw covered in the most delicious scruff I’d ever seen in my whole life coming home from work all sweaty and dirty. I wouldn’t make him dinner or greet him at the door with a highball of his favorite scotch. No. Oh, I’d give him a bath. I’d put him in the tub and soap him up with my bare hands, ditching the very idea of a washcloth and touch him in all the places I’d been dying to touch him since I was fourteen years old. Apparently drunk me loved baths and abs.

“I don’t feel anything,” I denied vehemently, lying through my teeth. I felt a lot, mostly right between my legs.

He smiled. The devil. “You do.” His eyes bore into mine. “Right here.” He tapped the spot right over my heart through my shirt with the tip of his pointer finger.

I brought my own hand there, rubbing the spot dramatically. “What? No! That’s just heartburn. I had tacos for lunch.”

“Fucking adorable.” A low chuckle hit me straight in my girly parts and I pressed my thighs together and closed my eyes.

 

Our Review

‘It was how a girl’s first kiss should be. Romantic. Devastating. Sweet.’

We absolutely love Amie Knight so we were not surprised when we fell in love with her latest story, a sweet and emotional second chance romance. The Red Zone is an addictive sports romance that has a wonderful balance of humour and the emotional after-effects of tragedy. Not only that, it has wonderful humanity and sibling love as well as the importance of friendship and love.

“I want to call dibs. So bad,” he whispered almost against my lips.
“On what?” But I knew. I knew what he was saying and it was too good to be true. And too late. Way. Too. Late.
“You.” His voice sounded as tortured as my heartfelt. “I wanna call dibs on you, Red.”

Scarlett and Lukas met in high school when quarterback Lukas, then seventeen, needed French tutoring from the lovable and nerdy fourteen-year-old, Scarlett. They forged a strong friendship with those beginning sparks of a romance. However, timing intervened as Lukas went on to embark on a professional career in football. Life has a funny way though of throwing obstacles in the path of our dreams and kicking us when we’re already one knee down. Lukas experiences tragedy for a second time in his young life and must now step up to the parenting plate of his much younger sister and leave parts of his dream behind. Almost, every cloud and all that….Lukas’ relationship with his sister, Ella was everything. He stole our hearts as did she. What a wonderful bond with an unquestionable unconditional love.

‘Everyone who’d believed in me was gone. That’s what I wanted to say, scream. But I couldn’t do that. Because I was a grown fucking man with a kid now. I couldn’t afford to be sad. I had to keep my shit together.’

The Red Zone is told through flashbacks from ten years ago and present time where Scarlett reminisces about the one boy who stole her heart and still has it, unbeknownst to him. She’s tried to move on romantically to no avail, yet has achieved her dream job as a special education teacher stemming from her love and respect for Lukas and his then baby sister, Ella. As fate would have it, Scarlett becomes Ella’s teacher and sparks fly when Lukas realises and is thrown down memory lane.

‘It was silly, almost immature how I still thought of him ten years later as the one who’d gotten away. As the one who’d broken my teenage heart and stolen my first kiss.’

We loved that we got to hear both voices and experienced their deep-set love from its tender teenage stage, we felt the emotions of their struggles, joined in laughing at their banter and we became part of their world. Not only did we love Scarlett, Lukas and sweet Ella. We also fell in love with Lukas’ teammate Mason and we’re intrigued as to just what is going on between Oliver and Hazel. Amie Knight proved once again why she’s an automatic one-click for the hopeless romantics like us and YOU! We call dibs on Lukas and you can have our red skittles…..

‘There probably wasn’t anything in the world better than being unconditionally loved by Lukas Callihan.’

Synopsis

They say the red zone is the hardest place to score.
But for me, those last twenty yards were my sweet spot.
They didn’t call me Lukas “Last Minute Lucy” Callihan for nothing.
I was at the top of my game…until life sacked me harder than any linebacker ever could.
Losing my mom was devastating and left me as the sole person responsible for my little sister.

Taking care of Ella and juggling my career was like playing the hardest game of my life.
My only saving grace was Scarlett Knox, Ella’s sexy, red-headed, no-nonsense teacher.
She loved Ella. She hated me.
She thought I sucked at this parenting thing, and she wasn’t wrong.
But whenever she was around I got the same earth-shattering, heart-stopping feeling I did when I was only twenty yards from the goal line.
She made me feel like I was back in the red zone, a place I’d never fumbled.
Until now.

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