Those who know me, know about my family's long-standing love affair with football! I was especially excited about this book because it combines football and romance. You can't go wrong with that, right? I was hooked from the first page of Pass Interference and know you'll love it
Taylor Hart's book, The Christmas Groom is coming next week.
If you haven't gotten your copy of Love on the Rebound, you can get it HERE.
Get your copy of Pass Interference HERE.
Hyde Metcalf, wide receiver for the Denver Storm, is recovering from pneumonia and needs the best personal trainer in Colorado to get him in shape for the season. With his dad missing again and his mom fighting Alzheimer’s, it's crucial he stays close to home.
Lily Udy idolizes Hyde Metcalf and the Denver Storm. Her dream is to be a team trainer someday. When Hyde walks into the gym she’s working at and her boss gives her the opportunity to train him, it’s more than a dream come true.
Hyde thinks he may have found the perfect trainer and maybe more with Lily, until another man who wants Lily for himself, the media, his mom, and a horrible accident come between them. Happily ever after may be a pass that neither of them can jump high enough to reach.
Pass Interference: A Last Play Romance by Cami Checketts
“Lily.” Ike interrupted her as she demonstrated to the six a.m. group training session how to do a proper dropping pushup. Several of them were cheating and she knew they could do it correctly and would thank, or possibly cuss, her tomorrow when their chest muscles felt like they’d been ripped apart.
“Malee needs you,” Ike said.
“I’m in the middle of a session here.”
“I’ll take over.”
“She said it’s really important.” Ike winked. “Like maybe as important as you going out with me Saturday night.”
“Not happening, Ike.”
Several of the class members overheard and snickered at Lily shooting down the body-building trainer. His looks weren’t the problem, it was his attitude toward women. Like they were beneath him in the professional realm, but he would forgive them for that if they fawned all over him and dated him. Ick. He asked Lily out so often she’d become an expert at rejecting him.
“You’ll give in someday.”
She laughed. “I highly doubt that.”
“You really need to go talk to Malee now.”
Lily noted that he was actually being serious and acquiesced. “Okay. The workout’s all on the board.”
Ike squeezed her arm as she walked past.
“Thanks,” she muttered. He was an okay guy, but always too cocky and flirtatious. She was at the gym to work or workout, not to flirt, but that was a hard concept for some of the men.
A few of her class participants gave her desperate looks. They liked her to be there to motivate them through the boot camp style class. Ike did a good job. He just wasn’t as intense as she was, tended to start talking with the clients rather than pushing and motivating them the entire hour.
Lily always made sure that her clients got their money and time’s worth and then some. She’d lived through lean times growing up with six siblings and fighting her way through college with a scholarship, grants, and a full-time waitressing job. She worked in the fanciest gym in Golden, Colorado, the Fitness Academy. It was nice and had all the equipment a trainer or gym goer could hope for. It might not be as ritzy as some of the gyms in downtown Denver, but it was closer to her home and family in Georgetown, and the rent in Golden was much cheaper than Denver. Some trainers, Ike, would claim she shouldn’t feel guilty about taking rich people’s money, but she refused to take advantage of a client’s time or money, no matter how much of it they seemed to have.
She walked down the hallway and the stairs to the personal training office across from the main weight room. Poking her head in, she saw a tall, well-formed man with his back to her. Some men were just built right and this guy definitely had some good genes. The broad shoulders and sculpted lines of his neck, back, and arms, right down to his glutes and legs. The soft cotton of his T-shirt and fleece of his sweats couldn’t hide any of his musculature from her trained eye.
Was he applying to be a new trainer? Lily immediately felt the competition swell in her. She was fighting to get enough clients as it was. Giving deals for training and trying to prove she was every bit as good as any male trainer. With her specialty in sports-specific training, she was building up a great clientele of high school athletes, and even some from the local college. Her dream was to someday work for the Denver Storm. A girl had to have dreams, even if they were monstrously big.
Her boss, Malee, stared at the man as if he was a superstar. That didn’t bode well if she was hiring him to train here. Lily really liked Malee and she was great to shuttle clients Lily’s way, but this guy could steal her clientele just by being a walking billboard. Maybe he was a future client, though he didn’t look like he needed any body sculpting help, that was for sure. Their low conversation didn’t carry, so sadly Lily wasn’t getting any clues ahead of time.
Lily stepped into the office all the way. Malee’s head popped up and the man turned to face her. Lily’s jaw dropped. That good-looking face was not one anybody who had an electronic device of any kind wouldn’t recognize. “You’re, holy Toledo, you’re Hyde Metcalf!”
He smiled and she honestly wanted to swoon right then and there. “Holy Toledo?”
On camera, Hyde Metcalf always seemed to have half a smile on his face, like he knew a joke everybody wanted to be privy to. But when he really smiled, wow, it was a good one. She didn’t have as much insight as she wanted to about his personal life because she tried diligently not to become obsessive about him, but she knew he had an African American father who’d also played for the Storm back in his day and a beautiful, blonde mother. He was the perfect blend of his parents. His eyes were dark with long lashes framing them and his face was just nice—the right amount of manly lines with enough softness to make him real.
Just because she didn’t allow herself to Google his personal life any more than once a week, or read every article put out by the gossip magazines about him, didn’t mean she didn’t know his every stat, watch his games faithfully, and follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, really wherever he had an account. Okay, she was pathetically star struck by him.
Her hands were trembling with nervous excitement and she wasn’t sure what her face was doing. She wanted to touch him and make sure he was real.
“And I hear you’re Lily Udy,” Hyde said, extending his hand to shake hers.
“The one and only.” Lily gave him a firm handshake, liking the size of his hands. Of course they had to be big to snatch the ball out of the air like he did. Oh, my, goodness, he was real. She wanted to jump up and down, take a selfie with him, and call her brothers to tell them how amazing this was—she was meeting Hyde Metcalf and he knew her name. Her youngest brother, Josh, would go completely berserk.
“Malee is telling me you’re the best sports specific trainer in Golden,” he said.
Lily cocked her head and tried to appear confident, though he could probably see the pulse in her neck jumping. “Maybe in the state of Colorado.”
He chuckled. “Oh, I like confidence. This is the girl I need.”
Need for what? Because she was totally up for whatever he needed. Lily! Her mother’s voice in her head told her not to be infatuated with him just because the guy was a big time star. But come on, she loved him. Well, not loved him, loved him, but he was the best wide receiver to play the game. He had 1871 receiving yards last year. Plus, he was always just doing cool things. Coordinating an event to raise money for juvenile diabetes research and, from the video footage she saw, spending time with many of the children one on one. Helping a single mom whose daughter had cancer with medical bills. The media captured all of it and she knew famous people had a hard time hiding nowadays.
The only bad media he got was when his mother was interviewed, an older blonde lady who was a bit rotund, but still beautiful. It was interesting that they involved his mom so much, but she always said hilarious things, usually bragging about her “sweet, little boy”, but she always seemed to somehow cut his girlfriends down and whether it was intentional or not, it came out pretty funny, but not exactly good PR. The other day she’d told a reporter, “That girl’s shorts were so short I saw her tush.” The reporter had goaded her and she’d continued with, “Well, I shouldn’t say the word tramp, but if you saw her tush what would you think?” Last year, she’d called one of his girlfriends a “floozie” then she’d been horrified when the reporter looked shocked and she kept repeating, “I meant frou-frou because she dresses so … fancy all the time.” The press had a field day laughing about that one.
Okay, so maybe she Googled Hyde more often than once a week and knew a few things about his personal life.
“Hyde wanted to meet you before we signed the contract,” Malee said.
“Contract?” Oh my, calm down, heart. Hyde Metcalf is looking at me and smiling!
“You probably heard about the pneumonia?” Hyde asked.
“Follow you on Twitter,” she admitted.
“Nice. I like a girl who’s informed.” He cocked an eyebrow and folded those beautiful arms across his chest. Yum, what she wouldn’t do to work with biceps like that, or touch them, touching them would be a little creepy though, right?
“I’ve recently been cleared to return to physical activity,” Hyde was saying and she tried to keep up, “and I’ve got two months until practice starts full bore for the season. I’d like you to train me.”
Lily had to grab onto a nearby chair. “Your team trainers are some of the best in the nation.”
“Hey, what happened to that confidence?” He cocked an eyebrow at her. “You’re the best in the state of Colorado.”
“I am. But I’m a year out of college, I don’t have the experience your trainers have.” She had to be honest with him, even if it killed her if he decided to walk away.
“So you should have all the most recent training info,” Hyde said.
Lily gave him a grateful smile and tried to find that confidence again. She was a specialist in sports training and she could do this. She could do a fabulous job of training this man to be ready for the season, but truly he did have some amazing trainers at his disposal.
“Yes, that’s right,” she said, “but why did you choose our gym?” Shut up, Lily, and sign the stinking contract before he gets away.
“I wanted to stay close to home,” Hyde admitted, ducking his head.
Lily raised her eyebrows, waiting for him to explain. She knew he was from Golden, everyone in the town knew and were more proud of that fact than Livability.com listing Golden as a top small town. But Hyde didn’t live here anymore, did he? She tried to remember all the places he had homes—a coastal place in California, some island in the Caribbean, and maybe Park City, Utah. She’d have to check, but he also had a penthouse in downtown Denver. I mean, come on, the man made over fourteen million dollars a year and who knew how much in endorsements? Who wouldn’t want that face selling cologne on television? She’d buy whatever he sold, if she could afford it.
“My mom needed some help so I had her house remodeled a few months back and I’m staying with her.”
Whoa. He obviously didn’t need to share that information with two basically strangers. She could see why he kept it on the down low. The press would have a heyday with the mega-stud moving back in with Mom, no matter what the reason.
“That’s so sweet,” Malee gushed.
Lily stared at her friend. It was sweet and Malee was obviously as infatuated with him as Lily was. Lily couldn’t blame her.
“I wanted a trainer and gym close by so I don’t have to drive into Denver every day for workouts until practice and team training officially start. My agent got great recommendations for The Fitness Academy.”
Lily nodded. “Well, you made a good choice.”
He smiled again, looking relieved. “I hope so.” He sobered. “But you really do have to be the best. I’ll give you one week to prove yourself. If I’m satisfied with your workouts and my progress, I’ll keep working with you and give you a ten thousand dollar bonus at the end of June. If I’m not satisfied, I’ll pay off the training for May, but I’ll have to go with the team trainers.”
Lily gulped. A ten thousand dollar bonus? Oh, she loved this guy so much.
“Malee informed me that your hourly rate is a hundred. That’s reasonable.”
A hundred? She charged sixty at the very most, quite often less, and usually was doing package deals where her clients got an hour free for every three hours they trained. Malee was giving her the glare, telling her not to reveal any of what she was thinking. Lily’s breath caught. Tick off her boss and maybe lose her dream client or be honest?
“I don’t usually charge that much,” she said in a rush.
Hyde looked her over and nodded. “That’s okay. I’ll pay a hundred.”
Lily exhaled, grateful she’d spoken up and even more grateful he’d dealt with her revelation so well.
“I’d like to do two hours a day, six days a week,” Hyde continued.
Lily appreciated that he was a get things done kind of a guy, but seemed like he could joke and make things fun as well. He was every bit as cool as his media persona, maybe more, and she got to train him for two hours a day, six days a week, for the next two months. Her brothers were going to be insane with jealousy. Her little brothers idolized Hyde Metcalf, especially the youngest, Josh. She wondered if there was any way she could arrange a meeting. It would be the highlight of Josh’s life.
“When do you want to start?” she asked.
“You’re cleared for all activity?” She was already planning the workout she’d put him through.
“Malee has the doc’s note.”
She put out her hand and grinned. “Let’s do it.”
He stepped closer and grasped her hand again, but this time it wasn’t a nice to meet you handshake, more like—you passed the test and now you get the privilege of shaking my hand good and long. Lily noticed that his hands were not only big, but tingly. Wait, were they tingly or was she? The scent of fabric softener and musky man smell wafted over her.
“Snuggle?” she asked.
“Do you use Snuggle fabric softener?”
He laughed. “I think so. My mom insists on doing the laundry rather than sending it out.”
He came from a different world than her obviously, and she wondered what the media would do to him when they found out he was living with his mom again. The momma’s boy taunts would probably be horrid, but she thought it was pretty honorable. Moving back home to take care of his mom. She wondered what was wrong with his mom and she wondered if she needed to let go of his hand now.
She forced herself to release the clasp and he looked down quickly, as if he wasn’t ready to be done touching her either. Okay. She had to keep this professional no matter how smitten she was. This was a huge paycheck for her and the gym, and also a huge advertising tool. She could imagine Malee was planning all kinds of scoops on that one.
“Obviously people are going to know I’m coming here, but I’d like you to wait on using me for advertising until after July first.” He looked at Malee. “Can you add that to the contract?”
Malee nodded, sat at her computer and typed away.
“We have a private room upstairs where we do personal training,” Lily said. “If you’re okay with seven to nine in the morning or any time between eleven and four we could workout in there and not many people would see you.”
“Do you have all the equipment we need?”
“Yes, or I’ll bring it in from the main weight room. I’d also like to do some workouts outside.”
His smile crinkled his cheeks. “I’d like that too. Let’s go for the morning time slot.”
Malee pulled the printed pages from the copier. “Can you look this over, Mr. Metcalf, then sign at the bottom. I’ll also need a credit card for billing purposes.”
“I’m going to run quick and check on my class while you sign the paperwork,” Lily said. “They should be finishing up, but I don’t want them to think I left them hanging.”
“Okay.” Hyde nodded to her.
Lily bounced upstairs and down the hallway. She could not believe this blessing that had fallen from heaven. She wanted to scream and dance, but forced herself to be somewhat calm.
Ike was talking to a couple of the girls from her class, but everyone else was gone. “Are they already done?” she asked.
“I let them out early for good behavior.” Ike winked. “I’d do more than that for you if you could demonstrate a little good behavior.”
Lily glared at him. “Stop, Ike.”
The girls giggled and said their goodbyes as Ike strode right up to her.
She stood her ground, not willing to back away and let him think he could bully her. “I don’t like you making my class too easy,” she said.
“I could make things real easy with you.” Ike had the nerve to brush his fingers up her arm.
Lily whirled from him and ran right into Hyde Metcalf. Hyde held onto her arms to steady her and she was amazed at the difference of his solid, entrancing touch and Ike’s touch that felt like creepy spiders on her skin.
“You okay?” Hyde asked in a low tone. He lifted his eyes over her head and pinned them on Ike.
“Yes, I’m fine.”
Ike smirked as he walked around them. If he knew who Hyde was, he didn’t acknowledge it. “See you later, sweetheart,” Ike said to Lily.
Lily ignored him, trying to hide the shudder that ran through her. She didn’t want to be unprofessional with Hyde watching.
Hyde kept his eyes on Ike until the trainer rounded the corner then he turned back to Lily.
“You ready?” she asked.
“Sure.” He grinned at her. “Put me to work.”
Lily rubbed her hands together, putting Ike completely from her mind. She was training Hyde Metcalf. Super athlete extraordinaire. It was better than being a Denver Storm trainer. She got Hyde one-on-one and this paycheck was going to make a huge difference for her family, especially her sister just younger than her. Life had just taken an enormous upswing.
Find Pass Interference on Amazon.