Kissing Madeline

By: Lex Martin

About Kissing Madeline





What’s the worst thing about wanting a sexy NFL football player? Everyone else wants him, too.



After catching my boyfriend getting deep-throated by a skanky cage girl, I’ve learned my lesson – never date a professional athlete. Never. Besides, I have more important things to worry about, like not blowing my shot to make it as a broadcast reporter. I won’t let anything get in my way, not even the new “it boy” of the NFL and my hot-as-hell neighbor.



What's the worst thing about getting death glares from his new neighbor? It doesn't make him want her any less.



I’ve worked my ass off to make it to the pros. The last thing I need is the complication of a relationship, especially since my last one was a total train wreck. But I can’t stop thinking about the feisty girl next door with the smart mouth. And I’d love nothing more than to show her what to do with that mouth.



Friends with benefits might be the best idea he’s ever had. Or the worst.



KISSING MADELINE, the third book in THE DEAREST SERIES, can be read a standalone novel. This new adult romance is recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content.





“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

- Confucius





Prologue





(Early May)





- DAREN -


Some people think I have it made. I say looks can be deceiving.

The white lights blare down on me, and I smile. That’s my answer for everything. I’ve broken bones, sprained ligaments, twisted joints, and I always smile. It’s how I get through the pain until the numbness settles in and I can breathe again.

The cameras crowd closer to the conference table, and the answers roll off my tongue. “I’m the new guy. I’m just looking to be a part of this team, to do my part and fill in the gap.” I glance at Coach Reynolds and Shawn Brentwood, the veteran quarterback. “That is, if there is a gap.”

Everyone chuckles, but underneath Brentwood’s grin, I know what he’s thinking. Because I’d be thinking the same thing. That I’m the asshole here to take his job. He’s right. Because what the hell kind of QB would I be if I were content to sit my ass on the bench all day? I’m here to win. It’s what I’m good at.

The coach fields a few questions, and my eyes travel to the back of the room where I spot wives and girlfriends of fellow players. Hell, even my father took time off from corporate domination to come, and he and I aren’t even talking. He’s standing in the back next to my mother, who looks like she might pass out from the euphoria of clutching my NFL jersey.

I should be just as elated. After thousands of hours of practice and games, I have arrived. Achieved my dream. But as I search the room, that numbness swells.

She didn’t come.

My jaw tightens. I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am. Because I’m the dumb asshole who thought that after all this time she’d be different. That she’d actually mean those promises. That she’d change.

She’s probably off buying some Armani luggage or a new Gucci watch or some shit that’s only going to crowd her overflowing walk-in closet.

I never ask her for anything, but I asked her to do one thing for me. One. To be here today, the biggest day of my career.

My temple throbs, and I rub it with my palm.

Deep down, I know I deserve this. What do they say? Payback is a bitch. Yeah, they got that right.

“Daren! As the Heisman winner, do you feel extra pressure to perform?”

Of course.

I shake my head. “Titles mean nothing. Only wins. While I’m honored to have received the Heisman, that award represents my college career. My NFL career starts now. As any athlete will tell you, the only thing you can control is the here and now. So I don’t let titles or previous wins or awards dictate how I think about the game. I play to win. That’s it.”

He nods, ignoring the fact that I didn’t answer his question. They always do because they only see my stats, my completed throws, my touchdowns.

It’s easy to see why people think I have it made. When I look in the mirror, sometimes I think the same thing. That the victories are too easy, that there has to be the other side of the coin, the dark side, the part no one sees. Because no one can walk between the raindrops like I can. I’m a fucking master.

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