NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
She’s on the verge of realizing her dream.
Christa Bailey is one cut away from making the Olympic softball team when threats from an obsessed fan jeopardize her dream and her safety. Forced to put her life on hold until the risk is eliminated, she reluctantly turns to ERT officer Rayne Hutchinson for help, praying the police catch her stalker before she is cut from the team or does something stupid… like fall in love with her unattainable protector.
But her dream has turned into a nightmare.
Having served in the Marine Corps before becoming a cop, Rayne is no stranger to threats. But Christa is worth fighting for, and her stalker is something far more sinister than either of them could have imagined. When the worst happens and her life at stake, Rayne will be forced to put everything on the line to save her.
This book opens at one of Christa’s softball games. There are scouts there and she’s hoping to make the National Team and head to the Olympics. She’s also noticed a fan who’s beginning to be more of a stalker. It bothers her that his comments can break through her concentration on the game, but when he waits for her and follows her to her car she’s more than a little concerned.
She heads to her best friend’s instead of home because of the creepy feelings left by the guy. Teryl and Drew are very protective of her after her last break up so when she offers Rayne a ride home that instinct comes to the fore. Christa however really likes Rayne and he certainly wants to know her better.
This is a favorite scene.
“I can take you home,” Christa blurted. The others looked at her. “I’m heading home anyway, so I can drop you off on my way. If you’re okay with it,” she added, hoping she wasn’t blushing.
“That’d be great,” Rayne said.
Drew regarded Rayne with an arched brow. “We can trust you to behave yourself alone with Christa, right?”
Rayne winked at her, sending her pulse skyrocketing. “Maybe.”
Christa laughed. “I love it when you get all protective of me. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.”
“Damn right we’re protective of you.” Teryl had a habit of referring to Christa’s ex as ‘The Shithead’, which was true enough, but she tended to go overboard with the overprotective thing.
Christa picked up the bag holding her dirty uniform and spoke to Rayne. “You ready to leave?”
At the door Teryl leaned up and kissed Rayne’s cheek, then rubbed away the lipstick mark. “Okay, go off and save the world for us tomorrow. But don’t shoot anyone unless you have to.”
“I’ll try and restrain myself,” he said, and let Christa precede him outside. The cool night air was damp and smelled of freshly cut grass, stars twinkling overhead. He followed her to her truck and opened her door for her.
“Oh, thanks,” she said and scrambled up into the cab. She couldn’t remember the last time anyone had opened her door for her.
“You’re welcome.” He even closed her door before rounding the hood and climbing in himself. The truck suddenly seemed small with him in it. Well over six feet tall, broad through the chest and shoulders, he made her feel petite and fragile, and with a five-eight medium build, that was saying something. He dominated whatever space he occupied, his confidence so absolute she’d once mistaken it for arrogance. Now she understood he was a natural leader, an alpha male who just happened to be loaded with charisma and sex appeal. As the notches on his bedpost no doubt proved.
She started the ignition and pulled out of the driveway. “You live down by the beach, right?” No sense tipping him off that she’d committed every detail she knew about him to memory. Kind of obsessed, like her stalker, but way less scary. And more pathetic.
As she thought of her fan her eyes scanned the street to see if anyone was following her, but nothing suspicious caught her attention.
“Just down from the pier, on Marine Drive.”
“You must have an incredible view.”
“It’s pretty tough to take, all right.” He swiveled his head to study her, and her fingers tightened on the steering wheel. “Where’s your place? How come I’ve never been there?”
“Huh?” She shot him a glance. That had come so far out of left field she wasn’t sure she’d heard him correctly.
“Drew and Teryl are always talking about how they go over there all the time, but you’ve never asked me over with them. There a reason for that?”
“No, I swear. I promise, next time I’ll invite you too. Deal?”
As he settled back into the seat with a creak of his leather jacket, she caught the tangy scent of his citrusy cologne. It was cruel for a man she couldn’t touch to be so beautiful and smell that good. She had to fight the urge to lean over and breathe him in. Instead, she checked the rearview mirror to make sure she still wasn’t being followed. As awesome a distraction as Rayne was, she couldn’t forget about that weird encounter it the parking lot.
Through her open window, the salt of the ocean teased her nose, the lone cry of a seagull blending with the quiet background music of the radio. In the distance the shadowy forms of the San Juan and Gulf Islands rose out of the Strait of Georgia, the lights of Semiahmoo Resort winking from across the bay. Moonlight shimmered silver across the water, silhouetting the gentle contours of the shore. Crescent-shaped tide pools on the exposed sand glimmered like a scalloped lace hem that stretched the length of the beach. On Marine Drive they headed east, past the people strolling along the promenade and the illuminated pier jutting into the dark tide, past the gift shops, restaurants and ice cream parlors, the trees lit year-round by delicate strands of lights.
With Rayne beside her, she let herself relax. Maybe she was too wound up about this whole stalker thing, she thought as she checked the mirror again. If he hadn’t followed her to Teryl’s, and he wasn’t following her now, then chances were—
She glanced at Rayne, then focused back on the road. “No, why?”
“You seem distracted, and you keep looking in your rearview like you expect to find someone behind us.”
His bang-on observation left her speechless. Maybe she should tell him. He was a cop. But what if Seth was harmless and she was just overreacting? Last thing she wanted was for Rayne to think she was a head case. “Sorry. It’s nothing.”
“Okay.” He let it go. “My building’s on the left at the next corner.” He indicated a condo complex in sleek lines of stucco and glass.
“There you are,” she announced, pulling to the curb. “Front door service with a smile.”
He tipped his head. “And a beautiful one at that. Thanks for the lift.” His grin had her heart tripping.
Flattered, but not allowing herself to dwell on it, she shrugged. “Anytime.” He climbed out of the truck, his jeans hugging his powerful thighs and butt, and she had to will her heart to slow down.
“Don’t forget to call me,” he reminded her as he turned around and shut the door.
“I won’t.” She was more likely to forget to breathe.
“I’ll give you my cell number. That’s the best way to reach me.” He searched in his pocket for a piece of paper and pen, then leaned on the truck to write. “No excuse now.”
“Thanks.” Her schedule was so crazy, between work and ball— “Wait … how about tomorrow night? For dinner,” she clarified when he stood there frowning. She cleared her throat. “I know it’s short notice, but I don’t know when else I’m—”
“I work until seven. Seven-thirty okay?”
Relief flooded her. “Sure. I’ll invite Teryl and Drew too.”
“Okay. Give me your address.”
She recited it, said goodnight and rolled up the passenger window, then pressed a hand to her galloping heart.
Pulling out her cell phone, she asked her oldest friend to be there tomorrow night and Teryl agreed.
Driving away, she glanced in her rearview mirror, but Rayne had already disappeared inside. Well, of course he had, she told herself. Only the weirdoes watched until you were out of sight.
Cross, Kaylea. Out of Her League (Suspense Series Book 1) Kindle Locations (187-249). Kaylea Cross. Kindle Edition.
The dinner party for all her friends takes a turn and it becomes just Rayne and Christa. Totally not a bad thing, but when the conversation turns to her stalker Rayne is more than willing to attend a game to evaluate the situation. A situation that escalates when Christa is injured during the game.
Between the stalker’s moves and the mutual attraction between Christa and Rayne, I couldn’t stop turning the pages.
Intrigue, suspense, romance, sizzle and so much more!
5 Contented Purrs for Kaylea!
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kaylea Cross writes edge-of-your-seat military romantic suspense. Her work has won many awards and has been nominated for both the Daphne du Maurier and the National Readers’ Choice Awards. A Registered Massage Therapist by trade, Kaylea is also an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dance enthusiast and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband and family.