Title: Talk to Me (Public Lives, #1)
Author: Clare James
Release Date: June 9, 2014
Genre: Steamy New Adult Romance
*Caution: This story contains explicit sex scenes with an alpha hockey player … who gives an entirely new meaning to the term Body Checking. *
Finn Daley took the world by storm two years ago when he was drafted by the NHL. The young, handsome, high-scoring player quickly became a fan favorite. He had everything going for him: fame, fortune, a promising career, and his pick of women. But when he made an abrupt exit from the NHL last spring, everything changed and he’s been in hiding ever since.
Casey Scott plans to find out why.
After interning for free all summer at the top television station in the Twin Cities, Casey lands an on-air gig. Trouble is, the new role is Sports Girl—which means reporting from local bars and tailgating parties to create excitement for the hometown heroes. All while wearing tiny team jerseys that are so tight they leave little to the imagination.
But she has a plan. Uncover the biggest sports mystery of the decade, and she’ll be on her way. Question is, how far will she go to get the story?
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I was a bloody mess, sitting on Finn effing Daley’s kitchen counter. My skin was torn and mangled, and there were rivers of crimson running down my thigh and puddling in my socks. It was an unusually warm fall day, so I was wearing my favorite blue running shorts and a t-shirt—an outfit that allowed for such an injury, and one that now felt exceedingly indecent. Especially when he was so close that I could feel his breath marking my skin.
If I was producing this clusterfuck of a story for TV news, I would definitely use this scene as the Teaser. That’s what I wanted to do with my life, work as a broadcast journalist. I had learned that starting a story with blood and the hint of sex was pure magic. It didn’t get much better for the viewing audience.
Remembering back, however, I guess there was more than just a hint of sex that day—so there’d have to be some major editing done before it ever hit the air.
Consider this the unabridged version.
Finn ran his hand through his hair and tugged it—at the root—two times. After spending countless hours studying him, I had learned it was a nervous habit. When he looked back up at me, his eyes dilated. All the softness is his gaze had grown hard. Gone was the sweet caretaker intent on patching up my injured legs. This guy looked more like the violent hockey player on the ice who bashed players into the boards whenever he got the chance.
“It’s no accident that you just happened to be riding your bike past my house, is it?” he asked, backing up from me. “No accident that we just keeping running into each other?”
“What do you mean?” I said, holding my breath. There was no way he could’ve known who I really was or what I was really doing here.
Just play it cool, Casey.
“I admit,” he laughed, balling his hands up into fists. “It’s been awhile since I had a little visitor. I guess I should be flattered that the girls haven’t forgotten about me. Who sent you? Gina? Heather?”
He moved in closer and my heart thrashed around in my chest. I had no idea what he was talking about, but it couldn’t have been good. I tipped my chin up so he’d know I wasn’t afraid. He would not intimidate me.
“Nobody sent me,” I told him.
“Ah.” He smiled. “Came here on your own accord, huh? Curious Casey Scott. Does your brother know what kind of girl you are?”
“Look,” I said, my concern on the verge of panic after his drastic change in tone. “I’m sorry, I bothered you. But nobody sent me. I was just biking in the area…”
That’s it. Deny. Deny. Deny.
I continued to babble, but Finn wasn’t paying attention to my words. It was well past time to abort this mission. It was a stupid idea anyway, and I was coming to realize that maybe Finn Daley was just plain crazy. And Lord knows I had enough of that to last a lifetime.
Bracing my arms on the ledge, I started to slide down to make a run for it.
Finn caught me.
He flipped me back up onto the countertop and caged me in with his arms. He leaned forward and I was immediately consumed by his scent—clean, crisp, and welcoming, like everything in his home. It was almost serene there; a bubble of calm in what must have been a terribly chaotic life. At least when he was still playing hockey.
When our gazes finally locked, a wave of relief washed over me.
I don’t know how I mistook his demeanor for violent. It wasn’t. Aggressive? Yes. And definitely in control. But I knew he wouldn’t harm me. He worked his way between my dangling legs and I swear I wanted to pull away. I tried, but failed epically.
My face went hot. Hell, my entire body went hot.
Finn’s stormy grey eyes turned even darker. His cheeks flushed. His chest rose and fell with accelerated breath.
Yes, even I knew what this was. He wasn’t violent or angry—at me anyway. This was lust. Pure, carnal, and desperate.
It paralyzed me.
Finn pushed my legs open, gripping each thigh in his hand. My breath caught and all that heat pooled between my legs. I opened my mouth to say something—I’m not sure what—but nothing came out.
“Did you want it like this?” he asked, moving one hand to stroke me right down my center. Slow and deliberate. There was no hesitation in his motion, and no mistaking what these girls did for him. What he thought I was there to do.
Could I play along?
I knew I should’ve been logging all this information in my mind. This was part of his story. I needed to get more details; I needed to work. Yet all I could focus on was his touch, and the effect it was having on my neglected body.
He moved his hand away and my body screamed in protest. I bit the inside of my cheek because there was no way in hell I’d let him know I wanted more.
Who did he think he was, anyway?
“Or.” Finn clamped his hands onto my waist and pulled me off the counter.
No. No. No.
As much as I hated to admit it, I wasn’t ready for this to end. Whatever this was.
He then flipped me around, and bent me over the cool surface.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
My head was spinning. I was not a tiny girl. Still, he tossed me around effortlessly. It made me feel utterly defenseless. And completely desirable. My body was bent over the counter and it was freaking glorious.
In my indecent workout clothes, every sensation was magnified. The cold granite chilled me right through my top, and my nipples pebbled on contact. The breeze tickled me as my shorts road up, revealing a nice slice of my ass.
“Wait, Finn,” I choked out. I had to put an end to this. This situation was obviously a case of mistaken identity, and he was obviously expecting someone else. I had to tell him.
Finn heisted my waist up so high I was balancing on my tiptoes. I could only imagine how I must’ve looked—sprawled out over the counter with my ass high in the air.
I should really tell him.
He reached between my legs and pulled my shorts and panties to the side.
Well, maybe I could wait another minute to see where this was going.
Finn didn’t say anything as he began to stake claim over my body. I stayed mum, letting him take over.
The cold air hit my most private parts and I almost came undone right there. I tried to pull myself out of the lust-induced state. I knew this wasn’t right. It was actually mortifying, but I couldn’t make him stop. I didn’t want him to. I never understood the insane things woman did for men, or for sex … until right at that very moment. I had been thinking about nothing but him for days and now I was here at his home. And he wanted his way with me. I couldn’t help feeling that I so wanted to give it to him. Strange that I still felt empowered. Even in this vulnerable position. It was a heady sense of control I had over him and I was getting drunk on it.
“Tell me how you found out about my interests, Casey,” he growled in my ear as he plunged two fingers deep inside.
“Ah,” I called out and my eyes rolled back in my head.
When he repeated the motion, I was so disoriented I had to remind myself to breathe. Still, somewhere under the sublime layer of need, I knew I had to set the record straight. But all that came out of my mouth was needy whimpers and incoherent chatter.
“That’s okay,” he said, with a deep chuckle. “I guess I’ll just have to make you talk to me.”
About the Author
Clare James is the author of steamy contemporary romance and new adult novels: BEFORE YOU GO, MORE and DIRTY LITTLE LIES. A former dancer, Clare still loves to get her groove on—mostly to work off her beloved cupcakes and red wine.
A fan of spunky women, gorgeous guys, and super-hot romance, Clare spends most of her time lost in books. She lives in Minneapolis with her two leading men—her husband and young son—and loves to hear from her fans.