Today, HJ is pleased to share with you Kendall Ryan’s new release: All the Way
His protective streak runs a mile wide. She won’t let her past define her.
I know it’s time to move on from my rocky past and get back out there and start dating again.
It’s just that every time I think about it, I get all nervous and sweaty.
Good thing I have a secret weapon to help me—my best friend, professional hockey stud Owen Parrish.
He’s the king of hookups, and promises he’ll be my guide through the world of online dating. With his help, I know this won’t be as hard.
I’ve never been this hard in my entire life.
My friend Becca wants my help hooking her up with some douchey guy from a dating app.
I said I’d help her—but now I’m noticing all kinds of things I can’t ignore, like how pretty she is behind those baggy clothes and messy buns.
I want to be the one to help her, to show her the ropes in the bedroom, and it turns out, Becca’s game to let me take a more hands-on approach.
But what happens when she’s ready to take her newfound confidence and move on? I’ve never been boyfriend material, but for her, I want to try.
If you’re in the mood for EXPLOSIVE CHEMISTRY, soul-mate deep love and tons of feels, get yourself a copy of this standalone romance today.
Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from All the Way
“Take my bed. I can sleep on the couch in the media room,” I say after steering her into my room.
I close the door behind us, shutting out the noise of the party.
“You mean you’re actually going to take a break from sleeping around tonight?” she murmurs, her voice playful and a little surprised.
“I don’t sleep around that much.”
Okay, yeah, I do, but still, I don’t know why she’s calling me on it. Becca and I have been friends for years, and she’s never commented on my overly enthusiastic sex life. Just like I don’t comment on hers, or the lack of it. Which is exactly the way I prefer it. I’ve never let myself think about Becca as anything but a friend.
While she sits on the edge of my bed to remove her boots and socks, I hunt around in my dresser for a clean T-shirt she can wear to sleep in. When I turn to hand it to her, she’s halfway through undressing, her pants unbuttoned as she tries to shove them down her hips, awkwardly and with a lot of grunting.
I toss the T-shirt on the bed beside her and turn my back to give her some privacy.
She seems unconcerned right now about putting on a free show, but I know in the morning she’ll be horrified to learn she did that. Becca is normally so modest and composed. I don’t remember the last time I saw her get drunk like this.
“I’m safe now. You can look.”
When I turn, she’s standing across from me dressed in a soft gray T-shirt with my team’s logo that engulfs her five-foot-four frame, hitting her below the knees. She looks so small, I can’t help but grin at her.
“You good now?”
“Yup. But don’t lie to me, Owen.” She takes a step closer and jabs her finger at my chest. “I know you better than you think.”
I smirk at her. “Oh yeah? And what is it that you think you know?”
I’m suddenly a little worried about what she might say next.
My sexual appetite isn’t exactly a secret. Ever since making it to the pros, I’ve indulged probably a little more than was necessary, but I have no qualms about this. I’m young and single, living my best life after years of hard work and dedication to my sport.
I’m having fun, and no one gets hurt by false promises of more than one night. And I’m sure as hell not ready to settle down. But now with Becca looking at me like I’m a puzzle she wants to solve, I find myself feeling a little uneasy.
She purses her lips, thinking. “Honestly? I kind of wish I could be like you.”
She wishes she could sleep around? That’s news to me. Not to mention, any guy in his right mind would be perfectly happy to introduce her to the business end of his dick.
I’m transported back to our chat last week when we met for coffee. Listening to Becca complain about her dating life, I thought it was nothing more than a little dry spell, but now I’m starting to think maybe there’s a lot more to it than that.
“Um, why?” I manage next.
“I wish I could have a more relaxed attitude like you have about sex. You just seem to enjoy yourself and have a good time and not overthink it, I guess. That’s all.”
I shift my weight, realizing how close we’re standing. “Yeah, that’s true. I enjoy it for what it is.”
Something doesn’t add up. Becca is a good girl. She’s not the kind of girl who does casual hookups—she’s the kind of girl you settle down with once you’ve sowed your wild oats and are ready for monogamy. She’s serious, and straight-forward, always has been.
She reaches up, patting my chest, whispering and giggling at the same time. “You know, there are rumors that you have a really big dick. I’ve been on message boards and seen girls talk about him—I mean it.”
I almost swallow my tongue. Drunk Becca is freaking hilarious and has absolutely no filter. What exactly does one say to that? “Thank you” feels inappropriate. And I’m certainly not going to disagree with her, so I opt to stay quiet.
“Okay, then.” I clap my hands together once. “Enough with the bedtime stories. It’s time for you to sleep off the booze.”
She drops onto my bed, sighing dramatically, and as she does, the T-shirt I gave her rides up her thighs, giving me a clear view of her panties beneath.
They’re light blue. Cotton. Basic. And still sexy as hell.
I swallow and take a deep breath. “Becca, close your legs.”
She sits cross-legged and looks up at me. “Hmm?”
“I can see your panties.” I make a point of looking down at her lap and swallow. “Please close your legs.”
She seems unconcerned about this, probably because she’s so comfortable with me. And it’s not like they’re even sexy panties, but my body doesn’t care.
Becca is gorgeous, poised, sweet, and smart. Just because we’ve always stayed firmly in the friend zone doesn’t mean I don’t notice how attractive she is. You’d have to be blind not to.
I should tuck her in and leave. I definitely shouldn’t be standing here ogling her like she’s on tonight’s menu. She’s a good friend to my younger sister, Elise, and she’s a good friend to me, one of the only females I’m close with to be honest. She works at the arena, and I cannot, will not fuck anything up by objectifying her.
“You’ll be comfortable in here, right?” I hear myself asking.
She nods and smiles. “Thank you, Owen. What would I do without you?”
I suck in a harsh breath between my teeth. “Becca. Your legs.”
“I mean, here I am all broken, and you’re being so sweet to me.”
“You’re not broken.” My voice has a hard edge to it, and I clear my throat, trying again in a softer tone. “Why would you say that?”
I know her history, and it’s awful. It makes my blood boil just thinking about it.
Becca survived a brutal attack her freshman year at college, and the upperclassman who tried to rape her only got a slap on the wrist. It was some bullshit technicality that the judge latched onto. The deed hadn’t been completed before the fuckface was pulled off of Becca by a bystander, who I wish I could thank. Still, the attack left a lasting impression on Becca. I didn’t know her then, but I do know she’s been through years of counseling to deal with it, and still carries the emotional scars. How could you not?
She grabs my pillow and hugs it to her chest. “It’s just, I want to move on, you know? I don’t want to be defined by my past. But every time I get close to someone . . .”
“What?” I ask, stepping closer to the bed.
She shakes her head. “I don’t know. I guess I’m just a big pussy when it comes to hooking up.”
Realization of her choice of words hits her, and Becca starts laughing. “Pussy. Oh my God!” She clamps one hand over her mouth, still giggling.
I chuckle along with her. “You don’t have to hook up and sleep around if you don’t want to. There’s nothing wrong with being choosy. Hell, I think it’s a damn good thing.”
She licks her lips, curling her legs under her in the center of my bed. “I know. It’s just, I feel like I’m finally at a place where I want more, and I have no idea how to go and get it.”
I’d already met her through Elise, but it was when Becca started working in the office at the arena that we became instant friends. I used to tease her about why she never dated, and then she finally told me the truth. She’s dated casually but has a hard time trusting people and opening up, and anytime a man attempts to take it to the next level, she completely freezes up. Which makes sense, obviously.
“I mean, seriously, do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been kissed?” Her eyes are wide and eager.
“A long freaking time.”
“Any man alive would be happy to kiss you.” My voice comes out a little tight.
She nods. “It’s what comes after the kissing that makes me nervous.” Then she looks up and meets my eyes, her bright blue gaze inquisitive and demanding. “The only guy I’m comfortable with is you. I mean, if you wanted to take a break from all the hookups and help me get back in the saddle . . .”
She starts giggling again, and my heart fucking stops.
“Saddle. Get it?” She chuckles, raising her eyebrows dramatically while she pokes me in the ribs.
I hope like fuck I’m hearing things, because otherwise I’m pretty sure Becca just suggested we have sex, and there’s nothing about that scenario that makes any sense.
“How much have you had to drink tonight?” I ask, my voice sounding as tense as my body feels.
She taps her fingers to her chin, pondering this. “Two margaritas at the bar.” She counts those on her slender fingers. Her nails are painted pale pink. “And then I think a couple of tequila shots when we got back here.”
“Who let you have that much tequila?”
She shakes her head. “I’m fine. I’m not even that ’toxicated. Plus, this is the most genius plan I’ve ever had, really, Owen. It’s brilliant.”
Averting my eyes, I groan. “Please, for the love of God, close your legs.”
“Because I can see your panties.” For the fourth time.
Does she seriously think I’m mad? I’m about to go certifiably insane.
Becca twists one long dark lock of hair around her finger as her gaze wanders over my body. “I hope you haven’t shaved your chest, because I love the hair on it.”
I’ve never heard words like this come out of her mouth in the four years we’ve been friends. My heart begins to hammer against my ribs.
“I mean, I know you’re probably a lot bigger than the toy I use, but we could at least try.”
Toy? My mouth has gone bone dry. Focus, Owen.
“Becca, I’m not going to fuck you.”
Why not? Sweet fuck. I can’t with her right now.
“Because. You have issues with intimacy and trust and . . .” My mind goes completely blank. Where the fuck am I going with this?
She’s nodding. “Exactly. And you could help me get past those insecurities because I trust you completely, and we’re besties.”
I shake my head. “You should sleep it off.”
Several tense seconds tick by. Neither of us moves.
“Can I just at least look at it?” Her words come barreling out, her tone hinting at annoyance.
She’s annoyed with me? Oh, that’s rich. I’m trying to do the right thing, and she’s making my job ten times harder. Literally.
“Look at what?”
Her gaze drops to my crotch. “Your penis.”
My eyebrows shoot up. “You want to look at my dick?”
“No. Well, yes. I mean, please, Owen. I need to prove to myself that there’s nothing scary about this, right?”
Something painful squeezes inside my chest. She needs help remembering that men aren’t scary, and she feels safe enough with me to not only talk about it, but also ask for my help.
Fuck. I rake my hands through my hair as my mind runs at a million miles an hour.
I would do anything for this girl. The moment I really got to know her, I became protective of her. Even though her request is crazy, there’s this achy feeling in the center of my chest for her.
“It’s just a plain ol’ wiener, right? Nothing to be scared of. But every time I even think about it . . .” She squeezes her eyes closed and gives her head a firm shake. “I freeze.”
“Becca.” I stop beside the bed and place one hand on her shoulder. Her eyes open and latch onto mine. “You can’t be serious here.”
“Just one quick peek before I go to sleep?” she asks again, those big blue eyes still peering hopefully up at mine.
Christ. Why won’t she just drop this? Doesn’t she know my self-control is hanging by a thread? I’m a guy . . . and a woman wants to see my junk, so, of course I’m actually contemplating it.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Understatement of the century.
She scoffs. “The guys in the locker room have probably seen it eight thousand times. It’s not a big deal.” She pouts, pushing out her lower lip.
Apparently, because I’m a masochist who has no problem showing off his dick, I start to soften to the idea. “One quick look, and then I’m leaving and you’re going to sleep.”
She bounces up and down on her knees, practically giddy. “Yes. I promise.”
This is so fucking weird. Like a twisted version of show and tell.
“You’ve got ten seconds, Becca.”
She nods in agreement.
I’m wearing athletic shorts, so it’ll be simple to pull them down my hips. Yet there’s nothing simple about the way Becca’s gaze appraises me. Her brow is crinkled in concentration and her expression is serious. It’s like she’s studying for a damn calculus exam.
Sliding my hands under the waistband, I draw my shorts down a couple of inches and stop. The top of my manscaped pubic hair is visible now, but nothing else.
I watch Becca carefully, waiting for any signs that she’s uncomfortable, that this is a horrible idea and I should slam on the brakes. But she bites her lip, her eyes wide as though she’s waiting to unwrap a long-awaited Christmas present.
Excerpt. ©Kendall Ryan. Posted by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.
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Meet the Author:
A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than three dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 3 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world.
Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than 70 times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.
She lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.
Visit her at: www.kendallryanbooks.com for the latest book news, and fun extras.
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