Rumor Has It
Series: Real Love #4
Author: Jessica Lemmon
Publisher: Loveswept- Random House Publishing
Releases: May 15, 2018
This is one bad boy who’s fit to print. A notorious jock tackles life—and love—after football with a type-A journalist in this sexy standalone from the author of Eye Candy.
Barrett: As a former pro football star, I’m used to playing the field. After injuries cut my NFL career short, my second act as a broadcaster ended on live television when a hot mic picked up a little verbal . . . indiscretion. But this latest publicity stunt might just land me back on top—much to the chagrin of Catarina Everhart, the prissy, beautiful journalist who’s been assigned to date a bad boy (i.e., me) and write about it. Catarina swears I’ll never touch her, let alone kiss those full lips of hers. Based on our chemistry, I’m not buying it. . . .
Catarina: Barrett Fox seems to be doing everything in his power to make me hate him. The cocky egomaniac is infamous for his bad behavior, and now, thanks to my boss’s harebrained schemes, he’s apparently my problem. As one fake date leads to another, I start to see a different side of Barrett. He’s close with his family. He does volunteer work. And, okay, he kisses like a dream. Am I really dating Barrett Fox? Or is he playing me? Because suddenly I’m risking my reputation—and my heart.
Rumor Has It Excerpt
By Jessica Lemmon
“Your cohort will be writing from his own POV on what it’s like to be the bad boy who’s committed to dating. It’s a dash of fiction, a dash of romance, and a dash of what you’re best at writing: relationships.”
“Who is it?” Nanci asks, excitement rounding her blue eyes. I’m not there yet. I’m still in shock.
“Me,” a rough voice announces from the doorway behind me.
I turn my head to look over my shoulder, stunned further into silence by the sheer attractiveness of the man standing there. He’s so good-looking it’s criminal. But then, he is—
“Barrett Fox!” Nanci says and then bursts into a series of nervous giggles.
“In the flesh.” He bends at the waist to place a kiss on Mia’s temple. “Sorry I’m late.”
“I’d expect no less,” Mia says with a smile that—yeah, is a little gooey. She bats her un-mascaraed lashes while she’s at it.
Who knew my boss had a sexual bone in her body? I thought she was made of steel beams and asbestos.
Everyone at the conference room table, save me, stands as one and moves to Barrett Fox like he has his own orbit. Mia shushes the chatter around us.
“Okay, all right. Now that you all have your assignments, let’s leave Barrett and Catarina to theirs.” She makes a shooing motion and everyone shuffles reluctantly out the door.
I slide a derisive glance to my new “co-worker” and wonder what I did to Mia to make her stick me with this assignment. Except I know exactly why she did it. Mia’s work ethic can be described in two words: bottom line. She knows a prime opportunity to bring money to this paper when she sees it.
She flips to another sheet in her yellow pad and tears it out, laying it in front of me.
“I’ll let you hash out the details.” Before she shuts the door, she adds, “Barrett. You know where to find me.”
“Sure do, doll.” He winks then takes her chair at the head of the table, leaning back and kicking up his feet.
I recoil from the blatant rudeness of that move, but I shouldn’t be surprised. Barrett Fox is known for his rude antics, and this one is tame by comparison. Unlike the photos of him I’ve seen online: sweaty, streaked in dirt, or even dressed in a suit making lewd gestures at the camera.
There’s no way to escape the popularity of the local OSU football player who went pro, especially in Columbus. This paper was built on a foundation of footballs.
He wears a crisp, white shirt tucked into dark pants, black leather shoes, and because he kicked his feet up and crossed them at the ankles, I also notice a pair of red socks with white polka dots.
“What’s your name, gorgeous?”
I reroute my gaze to his face. Sharp, angular, a deep dent in his chin. His eyelids are narrowed in assessment, but I know under those red-brown eyelashes his irises are so blue they border on turquoise.
Nanci had a calendar of him last year. I’ve seen this guy in every pose from decked out in full gear to shirtless, to the one where he’s lying on a beach, his shorts pulled past his ass crack.
He’s long and lean, and I might have had a passing appreciation for how attractive he is if I didn’t know so much about him.
“What if I called you Ginger? Would that upset you?” I ask tartly, referring to the perfectly coiffed reddish hair on top of his head. He’s good with gel, or has his own stylist. Or maybe he’s sleeping with a stylist.
He grins at my question—straight white teeth he didn’t lose any of playing ball for eight years—and props his hands behind his head.
His shirtsleeves are uncuffed and rolled to the elbows, the scruff on his face two days past clean-shaven.
“Apologies, beautiful, but you know my name. I don’t know yours.”
“You mean Mia didn’t tell you my name when she threw me to the wolves?” I snap. I have a momentary fantasy where I talk Mia into reassigning this puff piece to Nanci, but she won’t. Nanci mostly helps out with articles. She hasn’t honed her journalistic skills well enough to be entrusted with a column.
When ad dollars are involved, Mia’s focus is ensuring a climb in readership. Not to brag, but that’s the reason I’m in charge of the relationships section. I’m good. Not because of some magic fairy dust but because I work my ass off.
Still, it would have been nice to write a commentary about how to date a real man instead of this one. A man who knows how to properly wear a button-down shirt, for example. Like North.
“Ouch. I’m guessing you’re not a fan?”
“Of you? I barely know who you are, Mr. Fox.”
“You seem to know plenty. I can read it in the pleat between those two perfect eyebrows.” He runs those blue eyes over my face, down my blouse and lingers at my breasts.
I lift the paper Mia left behind in front of my chest to avoid further scrutiny.
“Catarina Everhart,” I say as I read over the sheet of paper in my hand. Mia’s shorthand is atrocious but after five years of practice, I can read her hieroglyphics without any problem.
“Do you go by Cat?”
“No. I don’t. Do you go by Bare?”
“Sometimes.” He shrugs, lowers his feet to the floor, and leans over the table. He flicks the back of the paper I’m using as a shield.
“Is this what ‘dating you’ is going to be like?” I sneer.
“Close.” His lips twitch at the corner. “Add in a few slow, long, wet kisses that’ll curl your toes and a little under the shirt/over the bra action, and you’re there.”
Photo By Nicholas Long
A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing about super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.
Jessica is a social media junkie who loves to hear from readers.
Former NFL star player Barrett Fox is use to having women vying for his attention, each one he comes across hoping to catch a single second of his time, and he usually obliges and treats them to a good time... but then he meets Catarina Everhart and the tables seem to have been turned. He can't even manage to get a perusing look from her let alone a smile, she stumps him, and has him instantly questioning himself and feeling like he is off his game. It's as if she is completely resistant to his charms, and to a guy like him that is a huge blow to his ego, he is not use to being the chaser, the one vying for attention and it drives him a little crazy. He has never had to work this hard for a women's attention, but he knows they would be good together so he bides his time, puts in the necessary work, and waits for her to see things his way... and once she does all bets are off! And suddenly the player has no desire to be a player anymore!!
Catarina Everhart has never met a man quite as infuriating as Barrett Fox, he knows he is good looking, and has no qualms about showing it, and he wants her time and attention, but she can' t really stand to be around him... or can she? When her boss informs her that he will be playing the role of her new boyfriend, for the sake of her column, she is more than a little ticked that her boss would cross the line and suggest such a thing, but she likes her job and wants to keep it, so she plays along. But somewhere along the long resisting the playboy becomes a lot harder, and things that were supposed to be fake suddenly become real, and feelings start to get involved and it has her more than a little nervous for her heart. Question is can you really take "the player" out of the playboy and can he really be a settled man?
Rumor Has It is a gem of a story; with it's playful banter, smoking hot sexy times, and endearing characters you really can't go wrong with this one, I guarantee the moment your eyes land on the page you will be hooked!! I loved my time with these two, Barrett originally came off as a egotistical playboy that always got his way, but then Catarina entered the picture and she forced him to take a good look at himself, clean up his act a little, and she brought out a side in him that was sweet and unexpected. He quickly saw the error of his ways, and realized she wouldn't be a quick little conquest, she was a woman that was worth more than that, and that he needed to take his time with her and really invest himself in their relationship and it was a lot of fun to watch him discover all of those details! I have had the pleasure of reading every book in this series and I have to admit this one just took the top seat as my favorite, there is just something about a cocky athlete that speaks to me, and Barrett spoke volumes!! I highly recommend you get your hands on this one, Barrett is sure to steal your heart and make you swoon!
I requested an advanced copy of this title from NetGalley, and voluntarily read and reviewed.